Talking hair health (and my perpetual quest for all-around hair betterment) is a common occurrence whenever I see a celebrity colorist for a bout of fresh highlights. And just as steady as my unwavering taste in ultra-blonde strands (my color preferences don’t stray), so goes the typical conversation regarding the state of my head.
Colorist: How often do you wash your hair?
Me: Two or three times per week.
Colorist: Good! But how often do you blow-dry or heat-style?
Me: Like, barely ever.
Colorist: Great! Do you use a good hair mask?
Colorist: And hair vitamins?
And so it goes. Now, I’m not trying to sound ungrateful or ambivalent to the colorists’ expertise—hardly. But if you take into consideration I’ve been foiling the heck out of my head since I was in elementary school (brassy blonde zebra stripes were just so chic back then), you can understand how I’ve slowly become increasingly jaded when it comes to supplements, products, or practices touting transformative healing powers. And up until about three weeks ago, I’d convinced myself a devout commitment to my favorite air-dry spray, a twice-weekly suds cycle, and two heart-shaped hair gummies (from Hum!) a day would be my long-lasting saving grace.
After all, my hair’s health has vastly improved since I’ve instituted said rituals, and to be honest, I’d been feeling pretty content with the state of my hair. It’s growing, and I’ve been getting compliments. My life's two main hair goals. Until, that is, celebrity colorist Lorri Goddard (a Hollywood color legend who regularly caters to Ashley Olsen, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Chloë Grace Moretz, and more) told me a certain relatively unknown supplement had quite literally transformed her hair.
In fact, when she stopped taking it (only because she forgot to pick up a new bottle at Erewhon Market), she immediately noticed a difference in the health and appearance of her hair (eyelashes and eyebrows included) and skin. Then, when she went back to it, even her friends noticed the difference—quickly commenting on the lush appearance of her fringe.
So what’s Goddard’s secret and now the object of my obsession? Sea buckthorn oil—a nutrient-rich source extracted from the berries and seeds of the eponymously named plant and one of the world’s richest under-the-radar sources of omega-3s, -6s, -7s, and -9s. And more specifically, she swears by this one from SeaBuck Wonders. Intrigued? Read on.
Like many other naturally inclined and/or herbal remedies, there isn't necessarily a wealth of hard-hitting scientific research to back up legitimate or measurable benefits. But considering sea buckthorn's stellar nutrient makeup, it's easy to attribute the plant's nurturing oils to longer, stronger strands and a glowing complexion—especially in thanks to its outstanding range and saturation of omega fatty acids, which have indeed been linked to increased hair growth and shine.
"The plant has a large number of active ingredients, the properties of which are successfully used in the cosmetic industry and in medicine. Valuable substances contained in sea buckthorn oil play an important role in the proper functioning of the human body and give skin a beautiful and healthy appearance," explains one study. "Moreover, its unique unsaturated fatty acids, such as palmitoleic acid (omega-7) and gamma-linolenic acid (omega-6), give sea buckthorn oil skin regeneration and repair properties.
Sea buckthorn oil also improves blood circulation, facilitates oxygenation of the skin, removes excess toxins from the body and easily penetrates through the epidermis. Because inside the skin the gamma-linolenic acid is converted to prostaglandins, sea buckthorn oil protects against infections, prevents allergies, eliminates inflammation, and inhibits the aging process. With close to 200 properties, sea buckthorn oil is a valuable addition to health and beauty products."
Thus, it's the sheer concentration (and vast variety) of nutrients that may separate sea buckthorn from the rest of the pack in terms of hair-boosting supplements and even growth-promoting foods. Of course, just as you would any supplement, it's best to check in with your physician prior to incorporating sea buckthorn into your lifestyle, and it's also a good idea to ensure you're investing in a high-quality form. To get you started, we've rounded up some of our very favorite sources of sea buckthorn—from capsules to gummies to topical hair elixirs.
Infused with powerful sea buckthorn berry (along with aloe vera, coconut oil, Irish moss, sea kelp, organic nettle, marshmallow root, and other fantastical-sounding fare), this dreamy shampoo-and-conditioner duo reinvigorates hair with shine, texture, moisture, and a long-lasting dose of antioxidants.
If your strands are feeling as dehydrated and damaged as ours are this time of year, this intensive elixir from Swedish haircare brand Sachajuan is your ticket for success. Try using it before you lather to treat your hair to a drink of hydration and an added bonus of nutrition.
Phyto's known for its all-star lineup of ingredients and this cleansing care cream contains today's MVP: sea buckthorn. Joining forces with castor oil (another fan favorite for hair growth), marshmallow extract, and hibiscus flower, it instantly gifts strands with a smooth and silky finish while simultaneously drenching the scalp with soothing hydration.
Technically, this oil is for your face, but since the scalp is just an extension of your complexion and in just as much need of some TLC, we're loving this organic sea buckthorn oil from Russell Organics. We recommend massaging it into the scalp a few hours before you plan to shampoo or even pre-gaming with it before hitting the sheets to use it as a more intensive treatment option. (Just make sure to wash it out come morning.)
Fun fact: The first time I ever heard of sea buckthorn (or at least took note of it) was actually when I scanned this bottle's list of ingredients. It's one of my all-time favorite hair products, and as it turns out, sea buckthorn is one of its starring ingredients. A coincidence? I think not.
These sea buckthorn–containing gummies are not only delicious (they taste like just-picked berries), but they're also infused with a skin- and hair-enhancing kick of collagen and hyaluronic acid.
Simply add this powerful elixir, which is rich in all the aforementioned goods (omega fatty acids, vitamins, the like), to your beverage of choice or other liquidy foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, or whatever else sounds good.
If you prefer getting your dose of sea buckthorn via a high-quality supplement, we recommend this option from Sibu, which features premium Himalayan seaberries and 100% natural ingredients.