Give Your Strands Some Ceramide Therapy with the Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ultimate Remedy Collection
This winter has subjected us to bitterly cold days (it’s 18 degrees in New York City this morning and feels like only 9 degrees ), massive snowfalls (some folks are still trying to unearth their vehicles from the mountains of snow that accumulated on them), and rain showers that turned snow-covered sidewalks and roads into icy death traps (I’ve fallen at least twice in the past five months), all major hassles for homeowners, commuters, business owners, and moms attempting to take their kids to and from school. All of these polar vortex-related problems have also taken a toll on our hair and skin, with the dry and harsh air working to chap lips , dehydrate our complexions and make our hair more brittle and dull. Considering that I have dry hair even when the weather is splendid — the result of being a faux blond for almost a decade and dyeing my hair various other shades for years before that — this winter might have wrought havoc on my hair, but I had a secret weapon at my disposal: the Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ultimate Remedy collection.
Designed for people with ultra-damaged hair (meaning not the occasional split end), this entire hair care range features products formulated with lotus flower extract, which is high in lipids that work to keep hair feeling soft and flexible to the touch; and ceramides, the lipids that are naturally found in the hair fiber and which work to bind the cortex and cuticle together. When applied topically, ceramides can penetrate the hair fiber and strengthen it from within. Many believe that damaged hair is the result of a loss in ceramides and keratin, the main components of hair. Now remember that the hair cuticle, the outermost layer, is comprised of tightly packed scales that essentially lay flat and overlap ever so slightly like roof shingles. Taking this metaphor further, ceramides work as the adhesive substance binding the cuticle cells together. When you apply any leave-in hair conditioner or smoothing lotion or serum rich in ceramides to strands, it will likely benefit the cuticle immediately, which is why it leaves strands looking less frizzy and more lustrous. But because ceramides are also wedges between the cuticle and cortex, within the cell membrane complex, they play a role that extends far beyond the cuticle, holding the hair shaft together. In doing so, they also prevent moisture and protein loss and form a protective barrier around the hair. When applied at high concentrations, then, synthetic ceramides can patch up any porous areas, strengthen strands, and protect them from further damage and moisture loss.
With all these factors in mind, then, the Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ultimate Remedy collection offers products rich in ceramides — each with a different concentration of this lipid. The Shu Uemura Art of Hair Shampoo contains a ceramide concentration of 1000 PPM (parts per million), whereas the conditioner has a concentration of 1500 PPM, the Duo-Serum boasts a concentration of 2000 PPM, and the Treatment’s ceramide content amounts to a whopping 3000 PPM.The idea is that, when used together, these ceramide-rich products will have a cumulative effect.
Now, because ceramides act as a “glue,” they can’t reverse any protein or moisture loss — which is why the products also contain other nourishing ingredients like safflower glucoside, a natural conditioner that’s rich in oleic and linoleic acid; caramel, a hair softener; and yellow gentian extract, which works as an anti-inflammatory and contains nourishing phenolic acid and phytosterols.
I love washing my hair with the Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration Shampoo ($48 at ShuUemuraArtofHair-USA.com) and the Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration Conditioner ($58 at ShuUemuraArtofHair-USA.com) in part because of their dreamy, mysterious scent. The Twilight Fragrance developed for this hair care range boasts top notes of orange, peach and orange blossom for a perky and playful opening; a heart of jasmine, ylang ylang, and geranium notes that create a feminine and flirty feel; and base notes of Benzoin resin, tonka beans, and vanilla musk to add a woody yet creamy finish. The result is an intriguing scent that might recall woody expanses, making you feel like a forest nymph.
Aromatic traits aside, the shampoo lathers beautifully and effectively cleanses the hair and scalp while keeping it manageable. If you have dry and damaged hair, you might have at some point in time, washed your hair with a shampoo that was a bit too abrasive and, in the process, found that, after rinsing it out, you could barely move any strands thereafter without risking pulling and breaking them. Well, with this shampoo, you’ll never have to suffer through that experience again. And, once it’s time to apply the conditioner, you can enjoy the lightweight, almost milky consistency of this product and how, upon rinsing your mane, your hair feels soft and smooth without being weighed down.
My favorite product in the collection, however, is the Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration Duo-Serum ($38 at ShuUemuraArtofHair-USA.com). This amazing leave-in product features a dual-chambered design so that, when you press down on the pump, it will dispense a white lotion-like substance with a high concentration of ceramides (2000 PPM) while also dispensing a clear serum rich in lotus extract, which is rich in lipids, a necessary component in human hair. Together, these substances work to seal split ends, tame frizz, smooth hair, and boost shine. Now, you can use this product after washing and conditioning your hair, working a few drops into your mane, concentrating on the ends, but you can also use it on dry hair for quick touch-ups.
This hair care range has been my salvation during this winter, so I highly recommend it for anyone who is coping with dehydrated, frizzy, brittle, and breakage-prone strands.