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What does "vegetable mucilage" do in haircare?

Hi BeautyBrains!

I wanted to know a little bit more about a certain hair product. It's called a "hair cream" and seems to basically be a leave-in conditioner....however it's got no traditional conditioning agents that I can see. Here's the ingredients:

Marshmallow Root Extract (Mucilage Végétal), Lecithin (Soy), Apricot Kernel Oil, Glycerin, Burdock Root Extract, Calendula Flower Extract, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Willow Leaf Extract, Sage Leaf Extract, Propylene Glycol, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Benzoate.

As far as I can tell, you've got the plant oil and glycerin for moisture, and preservatives, and a bunch of plant extracts that probably aren't going to do anything. But the main component seems to be "vegetable mucilage" from a certain kind of plant?

I hear a lot of people rave about this product, but I've never seen "vegetable mucilage" discussed in any sort of science-y way relating to beauty products. What is it and what does it do? Is there any kind of mechanism for it to condition hair (am thinking of those Kligmann Questions!!)?

Would love to know the reason how/why this product seems to 'work'! Thanks :)


  • Good question with a fairly simple answer. This kind of mucilage can help bind moisture to the hair and provide some lubrication (just like a lot of other conditioning agents do.) The catch is that it won't stay on the hair through rinsing so it can only be used in leave on creams such as this one. 

    It doesn't really have to pass the Kligman questions because it just works on the surface.  
  • Thanks for the response!
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