Life & Culture

The joy of crossover products

Skincare used to be just for face and body — but now it can help you get shiny hair and strong nails


Beautiful Brunette Woman. Curly Long Hair.

As I write this, I’m sat in the downstairs coffee shop of what was once the flats where I grew up. A lot of elderly Jewish people lived here (including my grandparents who raised me) as well as members of the Caribbean community. Fast-forward 30 odd years and it’s inevitably changed – I would once have my cheek pinched by various elderly “aunties” (both Jewish and Caribbean), now it’s populated by young families with Bugaboos and beanie hats. And colourfully-dressed types with laptops who work in the media like… erm… yours truly.

Things change and evolve for better or worse (the debate on gentrification is a whole other column), but it isn’t always a bad thing. Take the beauty industry: once divided into strict categories, it is now undergoing somewhat of a revolution, with skincare crossing over into pretty much every other category, from haircare and scalpcare, to makeup and fragrance. Scalp serums are an obvious example; whereas once a blob of Head n’ Shoulders 2-in-1 would suffice, many of us are embarking on multi-step scalp regimes. Grow Gorgeous have recently released a root-refreshing Scalp Tonic (£24) and a series of ‘boosters’ (£25 each), designed to be used with the tonic, according to what your scalp needs that day – to ultimately boost healthy hair growth. While I have an abundance of hair (you should see my hoover bag at the end of the month), Mama Levy who has fine, straight strands was kind enough to road-test these for me. What followed a few weeks later was a stream of WhatsApps waxing lyrical about how shiny and bouncy her hair looked and felt. Obviously there wasn’t enough time to see any effect on hair growth, but this is one notoriously hard-to-please lady we’re talking about here, so any thumbs-up from her is praise indeed.

Hair masks are also having a makeover: I recently met the founder of the wonderfully-named She Wolf, whose products are packed with nourishing oils that even managed to quench my frizz-prone mop. While most hair masks are just glorified deep conditioners, their Pre-Shampoo Hydrating Mask (£22) works slightly differently. With deeply nourishing apricot butter, it’s designed to be left on for 30 minutes or overnight, before being shampooed out. (NB: The addictive fig and tuberose scent of these products should be bottled and sold!)

Also on the radar, manicure maestro Leighton Denny has recently launched his Nail Rebirth Intensive Repair Capsules (£25), delivering a super targeted skincare boost to malnourished cuticles and nail beds. Simply apply one capsule to all ten nails every day (don’t wear polish) for two weeks to see a difference. Ideal if you’ve got a big event coming up, or your knackered nails just need a break from acrylics.

Beauty fads come and go, but category cross-pollination is here to stay – as are the interesting new hybrid products that come with it. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

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