Laura says…I am wondering about whether or not I’m being suckered into paying more for something I could get for cheaper. My hair seems to love the L’anza Neem Plant Silk Serum that my hairdresser and apparently Allure Mag also recommended. Even though I like to baby my tresses at $25.00 a pop this is a pricy product that my hair seems to drink up quickly. Am I doing right by my locks or really really wrong by my wallet?
The Beauty Brains respond:
What makes this product so good? Hint: It ain’t the Neem!
What makes L’Anza work so well?
Here’s what L’Anza says about the ingredients in this product and why it works so well:
“Neem plant extract (adds shine); cactus extract (protects against heat damage); benzotriazolyl dodecyl-p-cresol (sunscreen); keratin (conditions); peptides (strengthen).”
But when you look at the full ingredient list (below) you’ll see it’s quite a different story. Pretty much any natural oil will add shine to hair from a leave on product so there’s nothing special about the Neem in this context. (Unless you’re impressed that Neem oil can stop hamsters from getting cheek cancer.) The real answer lies in the first four ingredients, all of which are silicones: Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, caprylyl methicone, phenyltrimethicone.
The first is a volatile silicone that acts as a carrier for the rest. It spreads the other ingredients evenly through the hair and then evaporates so there’s less weigh down. The three that remain help smooth hair by coating the surface. That makes the cuticles lay nice and flat so hair is glossy and easy to comb. The rest of the ingredients are just window dressing. (For the most part anyway. The perfluorononyl dimethicone which is the 8th ingredient is probably contributing to the feel as well.)
How to find a cheaper version of your favorite product
There are many many silicone based products on the market that contain cyclopentasiloxane but if you want to get as close as possible to the feel of the L’Anza product you should look for one that contains all four of these silicones. (While these silicones all basically deliver the same benefit they may feel different.)
Depending on where you buy L’Anza will cost you $20 to $25 for 3.4 ounces which is somewhere around $6.50 per ounce. Here are a few cheaper alternatives:
- Agadir Argan Oil Treatment: $4.75 per ounce
- AG Smooth Firewall Argan Flat Iron Spray: $4.80/ounce
- Verb Ghost Oil is another but it won’t save you much $$$ unless you find it on sale.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
Look for other products that have the same first four ingredients and you should have a pretty good match for L’Anza.
L’Anza Healing Strength Neem Plant Silk Serum Ingredients
Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, caprylyl methicone, phenyltrimethicone, santalum album (sandalwood) wood extract, phellodendron amurense bark extract, hordeum distichon (barley) extract, perfluorononyl dimethicone, melia azadirachta (neem bark) extract, keratin amino acids, dimethiconol cysteine, ceramide 2, sodium hyaluronate, algae extract, dimethicone PEG-8 meadowfoamate, sodium PCA, magnesium PCA, zinc PCA, manganese PCA, citrus medica limonum (lemon) extract, fumaria officinalis (fumitory) extract, ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate, fumeric acid, tetrahexydecyl ascorbate, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, trimethylsiloxyamodimethicone, water (aqua), PPG-4-ceteth-20, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, dipropylene glycol, benzotriazolyl dodecyl-p-cresol, fragrance (parfum), benzyl salicylate, butylphenyl methylpropional (lilial), citronellol, coumarin, geraniol, limonene, linalool
Does you know of any other hair serums that use these ingredients? Leave a comment and help Laura save some money!
Note: If you do shop for Agadir Argan oil, please use our link above to help support the Beauty Brains. Thanks!