Two things immediately endeared me to the sulfate-free Nutra-Lift Shampoo before I'd even tried it: the base ingredient is aloe vera (rather than water) and there isn't a silicone in sight. I already loved Nutra-Lift Conditioner ($15), and there is a bevy of impressive plant extracts to go with the anti-aging ingredients that would look right at home in a serum. OK, so that's more than two reasons...

What I like about using this shampoo is that it cleanses while being gentle with my chemically colored hair. There is never the slightest scalp irritation (unusual for me). And I've got to believe that it is doing my hair the power of good.

There are far too many good things in Nutra-Lift Shampoo for a comprehensive roll call, but there are a few that are worth a shout out. This shampoo majors on marine extracts with four types of seaweed, which are antioxidants. Research has shown that antioxidants can prevent hair from being damaged by the sun.Talking of antioxidants, I haven't come across astaxanthin in a shampoo before now. It is found naturally in salmon and is associated with hair growth because it inhibits 5-alpha-reductase.

Panthenol (provitamin B5) is a predictable hair ingredient and I was more impressed to see the inclusion of vitamin C, as deficiencies can cause hair to be dry and brittle (and, in extreme cases, fall out).

Amongst the botanicals, burdock is an age-old scalp treatment that is thought to promote hair growth. Nettle is an astringent that helps treat flaky scalps. Horsetail essentially does the same thing; although a folk remedy for baldness, horsetail has not been proven to assist hair growth. An oddity in this shampoo is turmeric, an Indian spice that has been traditionally used to get rid of unwanted facial hair. However, the key compound in tumeric is curcumin, an anti-inflammatory that may be able to control inflammation in the cells around the hair follicle. Slippery elm may be playing the role normally given to silicones. It contains a substance called mucilage that is a natural lubricant.

Ingredients in Nutra-Lift Shampoo: Aloe Vera gel, cocomide betaine, sea algae, bladderwrack, sea kelp, ascophyllum, vegetable glycerin, Vitamin C ester, soy liposomes, hyaluronic acid, di-panthenol, linoleic acid, astaxanthin. infusion of the following natural extracts: burdock, buckthorn, charparral, comfrey, cranesbill, nettle, jojoba, rosemary, horsetail, hops, ivy, jasmine, calendula, horse chestnut, slippery elm, elder flower, olive leaf, orange blossom, ylang ylang, fennel, bilberry, milk thistle, golden seal, turmeric, arnica, butchers broom, passion flower, red clover, sage, linden flower, gentian, white willow bark, mulberry, eyebright, grapefruit seed extract, peppermint, yarrow, coltsfoot, birch sap, Austrailian tea tree oil, witch hazel, natural mixed tocopherals ( Vit.E.) niacin, biotin, capsaicin, colloidal sulphur, colloidal minerals.