If you’ve been reading BOND EN AVANT for some time now, then you know my hair woes. If you’re new, let me begin by saying, “Hi, my name is Amy and my hair is thinning,” along my hairline to be exact. The thinning began almost a year and a half ago when I dabbled in veganism for a few months. My body felt amazing, but once my hair started falling out that was the end of that. I found out later that a food sensitivity to the bean agglutinin in legumes was the cause. I immediately went back to eating grass-fed, organic meat and seafood, which helped, but since then my hair never fully recovered. Hair thinning has been an ongoing on and off issue. I started to become paranoid about my haircare and supplement routine: no pony tails, no towel wraps, and lots of supplements: fish oils, biotin, vitamin D and vitamin C. It all helped a little, but it wasn’t until I switched completely to green haircare products, specifically, to the Rahua brand that things really started to change.
The Rahua brand of luxury organic haircare products contains the Amazonian oil, Rahua (pronounced raah-waah). Tribal women in the South American Amazonian have been making this oil from the seeds of the Rahua tree for centuries. It’s a month long process, Rahua co-founder, Anna Ayers, explained to me, that only women are allowed to partake in. The tribal men go deep into the rainforest to climb the Rahua trees and collect the seeds. The elder women in the indigenous communities then start the laborious, ceremonial and secret cooking process that breaks the nuts down separating the nut meal from the oil.
Anna’s husband, Fabian Lliguin, is Ecuadorian, a hair stylist and former salon owner, whom discovered the Rahua oil while doing tribal philanthropic work in his home country. He brought it back to his salon in New York City around 1996 and immediately saw his clients’ hair grow thicker, stronger and longer from the oil. Clients began requesting shampoos and conditioners in addition to the oil elixir. Two years later, the couple started their company.
Now, as demand has soared, the two make regular trips to the rainforest in Ecuador and work closely with the Amazonian people. Hundreds of indigenous families are involved in making the Rahua oil by hand as tribe leaders fly to meet with other tribes and teach them how to make the oil. The brand has created an economy for these tribes who are excited to make money to send their children to schools and buy goods outside of the rainforest.
The purity of this oil is one reason it’s so special. It comes from pristine trees unaffected by pollution and far from agricultural farming. The other is it’s natural makeup. The Rahua oil is rich in omega-9s. These particles are so small they can actually slip inside of the hair cuticle strengthening the root and shaft of hair that has weakened from over-processing, over-coloring or excessive heat styling. Palasanto oil, a shamanic ingredient, is also used in the Rahua products; it provides antibacterial, anti fungal properties and rebalances the scalp.
I had the opportunity to test out for the past couple of months the Rahua Voluminous Shampoo, Rahua Voluminous Conditioner, Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo and Rahua Elixir. Read on for which ones I recommend purchasing (now!) and which you should pass on.
I love the Rahua Voluminous Shampoo and Voluminous Conditioner! After a month of daily use my hair is noticeably thicker. I can’t tell if it’s longer, but it feels healthier. The best part: little tiny baby hairs have started to grow along my hairline! Now, I can’t say whether it’s completely due to Rahua, but I think that the products have played an important role. I’ve also noticed that the little bumps along my hairline and down the sides of my face near my ears have completely disappeared. I saw my facalist a while back and she suggested the bumps were due to irritants in my hair products. Well, they apparently were since they’re gone now that I’ve switched to the Rahua Voluminous Shampoo and Rahua Voluminous Conditioner.
Both the shampoo and conditioner are beautiful and I highly recommend them. The only drawback is with the Rahua Voluminous Shampoo. It has a difficult time lathering since it does not have chemical surfactants to create an intense foam. Due to this, in the beginning, I ended up using a lot of shampoo. Anna suggested I do a pre-wash first with a dime sized amount of product, rinse and then lather again with a normal amount of shampoo. Doing this has helped to create a better lather and use less product.
Scent: Both have a hint of lavender, but there’s a citrus, freshness and spice from the lemongrass and eucalyptus.
Ingredients: (Rahua Voluminous Shampoo) Aqua, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Lemongrass Extract, Aloe Leaf Extract, Coco Betaine, Sea Salt, Molasses Extract, Glycerin, Caprylic Acid, Glycine, Ungurahua Oil, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Potassium Sorbate (plant derived), Lavender Oil, Eucalyptus Leaf Oil, Citric Acid, Chlorophyll.
(Rahua Voluminous Conditioner) Aqua, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Lemongrass Extract, Aloe Leaf Extract, Colza Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Ungurahua Oil, Stearalkonium Chloride (plant derived), Glyceryl Stearate, Shea Butter, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Potassium Sorbate (plant derived), Vitamin E, Lavender Oil, Eucalyptus Leaf Oil, Panthenol, Citric Acid.
Price: $34 , 9.3oz – credobeauty.com
Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo
When it comes to green dry shampoo the texture of the powder is very important since most are packaged in shakers like spice containers rather than aerosols. So, it’s easy to accidentally dump more product in some areas than others. If the product is heavy, you won’t be able to shake it out of your hair well and you’ll have grey/whitish hair (trust me…). The Rahua dry shampoo prevents this in two ways – (1) it has a fine texture, so if you overdo it, it’s easy to shake out and (2) the bottle has a creative squeeze and shake container that poofs rather than dumps product onto your scalp for an even application.
Scent: A gentle sweetness from the vanilla
Ingredients: Fuller’s Earth Clay, Organic Tapioca Starch (Cassava Root), Star Anise, Vanilla, Citric Acid.
Price: $32, 1.8oz – credobeauty.com
This elixir contains the gorgeous Rahua oil. I want to love it, but the application, small bottle and high cost make it difficult to recommend. The instructions recommend applying 1-3 drops and massaging into hair/scalp, but I have long hair and find I need almost 7-10 drops to be able to coat the ends and massage into my scalp. Also, if I massage it into my scalp when my hair is wet or dry, the next morning I wake up and my roots are oily. I tried applying dry shampoo, but it sticks to the roots and doesn’t shake out well. Therefore, I think this oil is best used for the mid-shaft to ends only. I do feel it helps to nourish my hair, but it’s a little pricey for how much you get and how fast it goes (if you have long hair).
Scent: I found the scent reminded me of vegetable oil. A little unpleasant, but not offending.
Ingredients: Rahua Oil, Ungurahua Oil, Palo Santo Oil
Price: $175, 1oz – www.nordstrom.com
Written & Photographed by Amy Chang, founder & editor