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Are living proof no frizz products good for curly hair?

Vananners asks… Hi! A while back I read an article about an “innovative” new hair product called “No Frizz” by Living Proof. The article stated that this product was an amazing new anti-frizz product for hair, silicone-free, that works better than anything else before. They use something called “PolyfluoroEster.” I was wondering, from an ingredients standpoint, what the brains think of this product? It’s so expensive and I want to be sure nothing else exists like this on the market (for cheaper) before I spend the big bucks. Thanks!

The Right Brain responds:

Living Proof has generated quite a buzz since it’s launch late in 2008. For example, here’s an article from Xconomy.com that describes the secrecy around the brand’s initial roll out. The basic idea is that an MIT professor and a capital venture company teamed up to create the first new anti-frizz technology in 30 years. It was all very hush-hush until the last few months. Since this article was written, we’ve learned a lot more about Living Proof’s frizz fighters.

How Living Proof Works

The quick story is this: instead of conventional conditioning agents like silicones, Living Proof uses a type of chemical known as a PolyfluoroEster (or PFE for short) to smooth the hair shaft and prevent moisture from being absorbed. Is this a breakthrough? Well, there have been dozens of new silicone compounds created over the last few decades that serve a similar function so we think the claim of this being the “first new anti-frizz technology in 30 years” is a bit of an exaggeration. But PFEs (which are Teflon-like compounds) are VERY good at lowering surface tension, and so in theory they could provide the three main benefits that Living Proof claims on their website:

Frizz prevention

Living Proof products are formated to leave “a smooth, perfect layer” on your hair that “adheres tightly to the hair, which allows for long-lasting moisture resistance and rebalancing of the hair fiber’s interaction with the atmosphere, even after extreme humidity.” This layer reduces swelling of the hair shaft due to moisture absorption which in turn prevents the cuticles from lifting up and causing frizz.

Dirt repellancy

PFE’s repel materials like water and oils, “translating into a non-greasy coating that doesn’t attract dirt and other particulates.” They claim that Living Proof makes hair “more repellent to dirt and particles than natural hair.”

Shine and color enhancement

The PFE coating has a very low refractive index that produces a “unique, long-lasting shine and “pop” in the color of the hair.”

The Beauty Brains bottom line

We haven’t tested these products but we have worked with similar chemistry in the past so we know that PFEs are highly functional. Based on looking at the ingredient list of the products, the formulas contain a relatively high percentage of PFEs instead of more typical frizz fighters. Therefore we’d expect these products would leave a very different feel on the hair. We’re not aware of any other products on the market that are formulated quite like this. Are they worth the price ($24)? We don’t know, but they do appear to have a scientific basis for their claims and we’re anxious to give them a try.

Has anyone used Living Proof? Leave a comment and share your experience with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hedda April 7, 2014, 8:12 am

    the idea of waterproofing hair sounds really good. The only thing that bothers me is the similar sound of the PFE to the also Teflon-like compounds used for waterproofing fabric, which accumulate in the environment and exhibits some toxicity there. Even if the stuff might be great for my hair, I wouldn’t want to ruin the environment with it or having my grandchildren eating it with their next fish dish. Do you know of any related studies?

    • Randy Schueller April 7, 2014, 9:08 am

      Thanks an excellent question, Hedda. We haven’t seen such studies but hopefully the Living Proof company has evaluated the environmental impact of this ingredient!

  • Allie May 11, 2014, 6:14 pm

    Has the Beauty Brains had the chance to give these products a test drive? I’m on day two of trying the Restore line. So far, my hair feels drier, more tangled, and has much less shine than usual. I really want to love these– the science behind them makes sense, and I do have buildup issues with the more standard silicones. I plan to keep using the Restore line for a couple weeks, as they say that things continue to improve with time. Any insights?

    • Celina March 30, 2018, 2:42 pm

      Hi I know that your question want for me, but I find layering with a hair oil before using anti frizz products helps a lot. Especially with a product like this which repels moisture and oil, you need to add the moisture before applying. Hope that helps!

  • Gabi August 17, 2015, 9:54 am

    Is this “PolyfluoroEster” ingredient a petroleum by-product?

    • Randy Schueller August 17, 2015, 9:57 am

      The “fluoro” part is not. The ester part may be petroleum derived. I suggest you contact the company if you need a definitive answer.

  • Peg March 28, 2016, 8:22 pm

    I tried the Restore products and had an allergic reaction. My scalp became very dry, itchy and broke out. At first my hair felt great and then it began tangling and breaking. I was really disappointed since I have been using other Living Proof products. It is also worrisome that it has a chemical similar to Teflon. I grew up along the Ohio River where C8 was dumped and is the suspected cause of cancer. If I had known before hand I probably wouldn’t have bought it.