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Hair ages just like the rest of our bodies, and as beauty brands scour the earth to keep us younger, firmer, and fit, we sometimes find those same anti-aging ingredients for skin in our hair care products.

Alpha-hydroxides and skin

Alpha-hydroxides (AHA) have been used for years in the beauty industry for their anti-aging properties. They are used for diminishing wrinkles, making skin more supple and moisturized, and even improving the complexion and texture of skin. They are natural acids found in plants, fruits, and milk and are used as chemical exfoliants that remove the outer layer of dead skin cells bringing about fresher new skin to the surface. 

Glycolic, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids are all AHAs with salicylic acid is the most popular because it is the simplest, smallest, and able to penetrate skin deeply and easily. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and has a reputation for being one of the safest of all AHAs in treating fine lines, acne, blackheads, and even skin.

Glycolic acid and hair

While numerous studies have shown the benefits of AHA, namely glycolic acid on skin, the benefits of hair was relatively unknown until DuPont and the Textile Research Institute (TRI) in Princeton, New Jersey, conducted several studies in 2009 on the effects of glycolic acid in hair care products. They conducted four experiments: Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) Test - testing the temperature on hair (like heat styling), tensile strength, repeated brushing, and wet combing. They found adding glycolic acid to hair improved the protection and manageability by conditioning, moisturizing, strengthening while also preventing breakage. This was the same outcome for healthy and bleached hair. They also found it helped hair to maintain its moisture and stay stronger at high temperatures like heat styling. There was more lubricity to hair which created less friction and tangles and overall better manageability factor.

Glycolic acid in your products

Hair care lines are catching onto the goodness of AHAs with glycolic acid and lauric acid as the main stars in their products. They are used in shampoos, conditioners, and detanglers for their cleansing, conditioning, and detangling abilities but also because they strengthen and keep hair moisturized.  While AHAs are making their way into hair care products, it is a slow process for all of them to be used. We find more hair products with citric acid or lactic acid but glycolic is making its way into lesser curly girl known products. We know this trend is gaining steam but here are a few below for you to check out.