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Alterna, Hair

I Knew My College Degree Would Prove Useful One Day…

When I started this blog, my intent was to conduct “playful” research into a variety of makeup, skincare and haircare products.  I was thinking more of trial and error research with products I buy, not like term-paper research where I feel forced to sit down and spew out a 1000 word essay on why I like purple eyeshadow.

Last night I was all set to sit down and write a little ditty about my newfound love of Alterna Haircare products.  Let’s just say I haven’t had this many good hair days this many days in a row in like, well, EVER.

But then I started thinking , which is usually a bad idea. Thinking usually ends up taking me in a very different direction. If you’d like an example of the Chaos Theory, just take a peek inside my brain.

My initial thought was why.  Why did Alterna shampoo and conditioner make such a dramatic difference in my hair? Was it because those products were so good, or was it because the products I was using before were so bad?  

There were a ton of other questions running through my head, too, but these seemed to be the most significant.

Often when I want to find out why a certain product behaves a certain way or produces certain results, I find myself going back to my roots.  No, not my dirty-dishwater blonde roots in dire need of a color touchup – I find myself going back to my roots in chemistry.

I’ve always been a science geek at heart. When it was time to choose a major in college, I remember thinking, “huh – chemistry sounds like it could be interesting” (yea, tell me about it, and that was before I was ever exposed to noxious, potentially brain-damaging chemicals!). So I finished my degree in chemistry and have worked in the chemical industry in various roles ever since.

But wait – what does chemistry have to do with why I love Alterna products?  Yea, welcome to my mind.

We cannot get through one single day of our lives without being exposed to or affected by chemicals. I’m not just talking beauty products – I mean everything from your television to the cushions in your sofa to the paint on your car. But in the world of beauty products, chemistry is the key – why do certain shampoos strip color out of my hair? Why does my eyeshadow crease? Why does my nail polish chip easily? Why does my foundation make my face look shiny by midday? It’s all about the formulation of the products – their chemistry – and how that chemistry interacts with our chemistry.

So instead of writing a glowing review of the Alterna products, I sat down with bottles of Alterna, Pureology, and Coppola Keratin shampoos to do research on the ingredients. I wanted to find out why Alterna makes my hair feel like a sheet of silk and the others don’t. I found a great cosmetic chemistry website and started researching ingredients. I was like a kid in a candy store – combining two of my great interests – science and beauty products. I ravenously absorbed the information – checking off ingredients as surfactants, antistatic agents, emollients, viscosity adjustors, fragrance maskers –  next thing I knew it was 1AM and I had to be up for work in 5 hours.

So my under-eye concealer really got a good workout this morning.

So what are the results of my marathon study session? I completed neither the glowing review of the Alterna products nor yet analyzed the information I found on the ingredients to answer why I love them so much.

I did formulate an opinion that the products I was previously using were damaging my hair. But more on that later, I have more research to do.


About Joanne

We're not beauty product experts, but we love to do research!


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