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These days, you can barely go anywhere without seeing the words 'natural' and 'organic.' Supermarket shelves are filled with natural and organic products. Natural herbs and teas now sit alongside traditional medicines and vitamins. And aromatherapy has become an widely used treatment, whether it be to soothe stress or increase energy.

Now, natural hair products are hot.

Aveda was one of the first companies to start the trend, with its line of hair products using natural products, along with companies such as Aubrey Organics. This year, many of the top hair companies have followed suit with their own product lines – from American Crew's Modern Organic Products 'MOP' line to Artec's Purehair line.

In one of its largest product launches, Artec recently came out with its Purehair division. The line includes shampoos, conditioners, styling aids and candles. Purehair, which has no artificial fragrance or color, uses 100 percent pure essential oils.

'Purehair and the Pureshop – the new organic and aromatherapy division of Artec – was started to provide the purist, most environmentally responsibly performing products for our cross-generational modern culture,' says Brooke Carlson, vice president of marketing for Artec. 'Purehair actually redefines aromatherapy, with top quality, pure formulations. Our products were developed using thousands of years old aromatherapy knowledge with today's technology and research.'

This summer, John Paul Mitchell Systems launched Modern Elixirs, a line of organically derived upscale products that use activated botanicals. 'The lure of elixirs is legendary,' says the Modern Elixirs brochure. 'The ancient cornerstone of Chinese medicine, botanical elixirs have gained the respect of the western world as more and more people embrace organically derived alternative therapies.'

Nexxus recently came out with its Phyto Organics line of natural hair care products that use natural ingredients to restore and rejuvenate hair.

The products contain quinoa, a natural supergrain packed with amino acids. From the Babassu Mud Revitalizing Hair Treatment, which uses Babassu from the Amazon rain forest, to Nectaress, a conditioner that uses Bringraj from India, the line draws on a number of different plants and herbs. Gru Gru, which is in the Hydruss Moisturizing Shampoo, is a woody vine from the Philippines. Natives soak the Gru Gru's woody vine overnight in water barrels to release its natural foaming cleansers.

And Back to Basics just introduced its Green Tea Collection, formulated with green tea, shea butter and other natural ingredients. Shea butter comes from West Africa and has been used for thousands of years by Africans to alleviate maladies of the skin and scalp. Shea butter is extracted from fruit of the Karite tree, a wild-growing tree that produces tiny, almond-like fruit only once a year. It has a high content of non-saponifiable fatty acids that are great emollients, which make for great moisturizing and elasticity benefits to the skin. As for its benefit in hair care products, it is great for treating damaged hair, in that it moisturizes, nourishes (shea butter has a high content of vitamins A,E and F) and protects hair from damaging sun rays, hair dryers, perms and dyes, as well as offers protection against chlorine and sea salt. Plus, shea butter provides incredible conditioning properties, as it maintains hair's natural shine, improves manageability and imparts brilliant shine.

Even Biolage has added more botanicals to its formula - more passion flower, hibiscus, sage and other natural ingredients. Matrix, which makes the popular Biolage line, officials refer to it as its 'botanical revolution.'

'Natural ingredients, such as green tea, shea butter, echinacea, ginseng, silk proteins, etc... have all been used for thousands of years for their therapeutic healing, nourishing and protective properties,' says Amy Tuliper, spokeswoman for Graham Webb International, which makes the Back to Basics line. 'Today, we have found numerous ways to maximize these ingredients' beneficial properties to create beauty products that are incredibly comprehensive in their treatment – naturally.'

But there are also intangible reasons for the boom in natural products, Tuliper says.

'These days it seems like we are all so interested in simplifying our lives, and by utilizing products with all-natural ingredients we are making a step towards getting 'back to basics,'' she says.

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