In French, the word sans means without and Sans Ceuticals is as much about what has been left out of its products as what’s in them. No parabens, artificial fragrance, sulfates or silicones. We recently received some samples and because I can never resist unusual haircare products, I pounced on Sans Ceuticals Nourishing Hair Hydratant ($42).

I use it as a conditioner, leaving it on for a minute or two before rinsing off.  On hair that tends to be dry, it can be used in addition to your regular conditioner. I am very pleased with the way that SansCeuticals Nourishing Hair Hydratant leaves my hair soft and manageable, and over the course of a few weeks seems to have boosted the health of my hair overall. It is way less prone to tangle and feels stronger when I pull a brush through it.

At the heart of Sans Ceuticals Nourishing Hair Hydratant is a complex that includes glycosphingolipids and cholesterol. It is supposed to repair hair at the intercellular level, “the cement” that holds a healthy hair shaft together. I haven’t found any independent research on this, but I do know that glycosphingolipids regulate communication between cells, and on the skin barrier cholesterol helps in the retention of moisture levels and also regulates cell activity.

Wheat amino acids and protein are fairly commonly used to strengthen the hair. More unusual and interesting is butter from “wild mango” (Irvingia Gabonensis). An extract of the seeds are touted as weight-loss aids, but more relevant here is that it is supposed to be a better moisturizer than shea butter.

I also like the inclusion of alpha lipoic acid. This fatty acid is found naturally in skin cells and is a potent antioxidant. It works, like other antioxidants, by protecting cells from environmental and sun damage. But unlike its peers, it’s one of the few antioxidants that is both fat- and water-soluable, meaning it can work inside the cell and in the cell membrane. It appears in anti-aging skincare, but all too rarely in haircare.

Another intriguing ingredient is gluconolactone. This seems to be scavenger of free radicals, thereby protecting from some of the damaging effects of UV radiation. Gluconolactone may provide up to 50% protection against UV radiation and UV radiation-induced elastin promotor activation.

Despite the name, behentrimonium methosulfate is not a sulfate, but a detangler derived from rapeseed oil. Some concerns about skin irritation are associated with octyldodecanol, which is used as an emulsifier. But the only ingredient that I really don’t like is the controversial sodium benzoate, a preservative that kills DNA and may be carcinogenic when combined with vitamin C.

Ingredients: Water, behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, glycerine, water (and) glycerin (and) glycosphingolipids (and) phospholipids (and) cholesterol, wheat amino acids, hydroxypropyltrimonium, hydrolyzed wheat protein, octyldodecanol (and) Irvingia Gabonensis kernel butter (and) hydrogenated coco-glycerides, alpha lipoic acid, pathenol, retinyl palmitate, daucus carota (carot) extract, cetyl esters, avocado oil unsaponifiables, natural fragrance, gluconolactone, sodium benzoate