The latest chapter in the OOKISA saga is that a box containing shampoo, conditioner and serum designed to thicken hair arrived yesterday. I paid $19.95 in response to an introductory offer, a promise that I wouldn't be obliged to reorder and an apology from the company in an oblique reference to the phoney free trial that is being advertised everywhere. However, when I opened the package I also found a statement saying that I had paid $5.95 for shipping and if I did not return the products I would be charged $89.95 and thereafter every month for new supplies. I was obliged to call customer service and I was reassured that the statement was included in error. Phew, for a one off payment of $19.95, I was finally going to try OOKISA.

So far, I have used the Fortifying Shampoo and the Replenishing Conditioner, but not yet the serum (I'll report back on that and longer term use of the conditioner and shampoo in a few weeks). OOKISA's schtick is that it will help your hair look younger and thicker. When I tried it out yesterday, I found that after I had dried my hair that it had appreciably more volume, as well as having good shine. The effect has lasted through to today as I write this.

With both the shampoo and the conditioner, the botanical actives and peptides are bookended by scary looking chemicals. On close inspection, however, many of them are mild and fairly benign. For example, sodium lauryl sulfoacetate should not be confused with the true villain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate as its molecules are too large to penetrate the skin. The conditioner has a lot of silicones (about which there is fairly strong evidence of toxicity), a surprising number of petroleum-derived C12-13 pareths that are known irritants and, although there are no parabens, there are the usual suspects in the preservative department.

I noted some of the botanicals, such as yuzu, in my first article on OOKISA, so here I'll pick out a few others. Serenoa Serrulata is saw palmetto and is a herbal remedy for a type of hair loss and baldness called androgenic alopecia, or male- and female-pattern baldness. This type of hair loss is typically the greatest at the top of the head or around the temples. No one is sure how it works and there isn't any convincing research, but it's believed that it may block an enzyme (5-alpha-reductase) from allowing the hormone testosterone from being converted to another hormone, dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is considered a key contributing factor to the onset and progression of androgenic alopecia.

Biotinoyl tripeptide-1, turns up in quite a few hair growth products, such as Librow for eyebrow growth and Cargo's eyelash growth mascara. However, apart from a couple of patent applications, I’ve found nothing backing up claims that it prevents hair loss. Early research on apigenin indicates it is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-irritant, lightening agent, anticarcinogenic, and antiseptic. Used in a variety of skin care products, most often those containing the herbal extract of chamomile. Because it’s been shown to stimulate the blood vessels and encourage hair growth, it’s also incorporated into a variety of hair loss products.

Along with apple, peony and water lily, saw palmetto is fairly common in shampoos. And hair care products such as Nutra Lift or Alterna have the kind of antioxidants that may help aging hair. So it's hard to see what is really unique about OOKISA's formulation. Having said that, my hair likes it so far so I'm definitely going to keep going with it. My only question is what happens if I do like it and want to buy more? Will I have to go on OOKISA's monthly $89 refill program? If so, they'll have lost a customer. I want to buy my shampoo when I need it. Who - other than Rapunzel - gets through a bottle of shampoo every month?

Ingredients in OOKISA shampoo

Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Camellia Japonica Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Flower Extract, Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Apigenin, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf/Stalk Extract, Phytantriol, Panthenol, Hyaluronic Acid, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, Linolenic Acid, Oleanolic Acid, Tocopherol, Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Acetamide MEA, Glycerin, Cocamide MEA, Sulfur, Sodium PCA, Sorbitol, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Butylene Glycol, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Aminomethyl Propanol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Sodium Phytate, Carbomer, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Fragrance (Parfum).

Ingredients in OOKISA shampoo

Water, cetearyl alcohol, isohexadecane, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, behentrimonium methosulfate, glycerin, apigenin, citrus junos fruit extract (yuzu), oleanolic acid, biotinoyl tripeptide-1, camellia japonica leaf extract, aspalathus linearis stalk extract (red rooibus tea) panthenol, hydrolized vegetable protein PG-propyl silanetriol, pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, serenoa serrulata fruit extract, white peony, steardimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolized wheat protein, linoleic acid, nymphaea alba (water lily) extract, hydrolized soy protein, hyaluronic acid, linoleic acid, sorbitol amodimethicone, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil, jojoba seed oil, sodium PCA, tocopheryl acetate, polyquaternium-55, centrimonium chloride, acetamide MEA, polysilicone-19, tocopherol, C12-13 pareth-23, divinyldimethicone/dimethicone copolymer, C12-12 pareth-3, C11-15 pareth-7, laureth-9, sulfor, butylene, glycol, sodium phytate, trideceth-12, PPG-26-buteth-26,  PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, hydroxypropyl guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, caprylyl glycol, citric acid, phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin, fragrance.