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Soften Strands With Ecru New York’s Acacia Protein Oil

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The acacia tree (or shittah tree, as it is otherwise known) has deep spiritual roots. Its wood was employed to build coffins in ancient Egypt and, according to Exodus chapters 37 and 38, it was used to construct the Tabernacle. Because of the acacia tree’s  connection with the divine, many still employ the oil extracted from its wood in their spiritual practices, using it to clean incense burners , to purify altars, and relying on its aromatherapy benefits. And, as it turns out, acacia oil can also work wonders in the beauty realm, helping hair and skin better retain moisture.

 Ecru New York‘s new Acacia Protein Oil ( $30 at EcruNewYork.com) fully explores these benefits. The main ingredient in the lightweight hair oil’s formula is acacia collagen, a plant-based, water soluble collagen that both hydrates hair and helps it retain moisture, thereby helping to tame frizz and softening strands. This ingredient is paired with argan oil, which boasts an extraordinarily high concentration of oleic and linoleic fatty acids (80% of its composition can be attributed to these fatty acids) and is also rife with vitamin E. Last but not least, the formula incorporates hydrolyzed keratin. This last ingredient is key since keratin is the main structural component in human hair and reduced levels of this fibrous protein often mean damaged and dehydrated strands. Since hydrolyzed keratin mimics the amino acid structure of the keratin normally found in our hair, it is able to penetrate strands, helping to repair existing damage and effectively fortifying strands, while also coating the hair to prevent any further moisture or protein loss.

This trifecta of ingredients, then, creates the foundation for Ecru New York’s latest offering, a multi-tasking hair oil that can be used on both damp and dry hair. Because it’s packaged in an air-tight tube with a pump dispenser, you don’t have to worry about the oil becoming exposed to the environment and ingredients oxidizing (which would essentially render them useless), plus the handy pump allows you to dispense just the right amount (as opposed to squeezable tubes that often leave you with excess product). The product itself has a delightful consistency — it’s a bit more viscous than your standard oil, so that it almost feels like a serum, making it easier to handle. It also doesn’t leave hair feeling tacky, greasy, or slippery, nor does it weigh hair down in any way.

In terms of its performance, I’ve noticed that the Acacia Protein Oil makes my hair feel markedly softer — silkier even — and it does wonders in terms of helping to detangle and condition strands. That being said, though it’s touted as a frizz-fighting agent, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using it for this purpose alone since it won’t smooth unruly strands as effectively as some of the other products on the market (like John Frieda’s Frizz-Ease, for instance, or Frederic Fekkai’s Brilliant Glossing Cream). Typically, I apply the Acacia Protein Oil to damp strands and, once I dry my hair, I’ll smooth on an anti-frizz cream or serum to tame those stubborn fly-aways and unruly strands.

Ideally, you’ll want to use the Ecru Acacia Protein Oil after washing your hair since, while you can use it on dry strands, it doesn’t seem to be absorbed quite as readily so that it can leave a bit of a greasy residue. When you apply it onto damp hair, however, you’ll find that it easily penetrates strands. You’ll want to use a small amount, rub it in between your palms, then apply to your ends and work your way up strands, concentrating on the bottom half of your mane. The oil will help to seal the cuticle so that, once you blow dry (or air dry) your mane, it will appear to have more body and movement. Best of all, your hair will feel incredibly soft — even my beau commented on how soft my hair felt after applying this stuff!

That being said, don’t expect the Ecru Acacia Protein Oil to undo the damage you’ve done to your hair since, however wonderful it may be, it can’t rewind time and undo months of abuse with bleaches, dyes, relaxers, heat styling tools, and so forth. The acacia collagen in the oil  will coat strands, thereby strengthening strands by creating a “wall” of sorts that prevents excess moisture loss, but it’s unlikely to penetrate the cuticle so deeply as to impart any type of real structural change. Still, it does manage to improve the appearance and feel of your hair — and, unlike so many heavy creams and serums,  it won’t weigh hair down or render it  lifeless or limp.

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