Inkey List Dropped Its First Hair-Care Products and Everything's Under $15

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

The phrase "scalp care is the new skin care" has landed in my inbox again and again this year. Brands such as Neutrogena and Drunk Elephant have introduced scalp treatment products in recent months, and they're helping to make the case that we should treat our scalps as thoughtfully as the rest of our skin. Whether you've long dealt with a condition like scalp psoriasis or are just finding your curiosity piqued as these new scrubs, masks, and even serums hit the market, it's safe to say that we're in a golden age of scalp care.

If we're going to treat our scalps like our facial skin, it's exciting when a skin-care brand we trust turns its focus to hair and scalp. The Inkey List is doing just that, with a brand-new collection of eight scalp and hair treatments based around the same hero ingredient mentality as its skin-care line.

"We're taking the rules that we set for skin, which is that ingredients can have a major impact, and applying them to scalp," cofounder Colette Laxton tells ishonest. "People's skin-care knowledge is really high, but hair-wise, there's less understanding."

"I think hair care now is where skin care was five years ago," agrees cofounder and lead formulator Mark Curry. "You don't just cleanse your face, and you can do more than just shampoo your hair. You can really treat it."

With the knowledge that many of their fans already speak skin care, Laxton and Curry formulated the range around ingredients that you'll likely be familiar with, like a Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Treatment and Vitamin C Brightening Hair Treatment. If you've been coming here for some time, you'll already know the moisturizing and brightening effects of hyaluronic acid (HA) and vitamin C, respectively, and you can apply that same knowledge to choosing the best hair formula for you (or use the recipe builder on the brand's website.)

The line consists of three scalp treatments: Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment, Amino Acid Anti-Gray Scalp Treatment, and Caffeine Stimulating Scalp Treatment. In the U.K., where the line has already launched, the Exfoliating Treatment has been a standout seller. "In the reviews, people are like 'I've had a flaky scalp for years, and in one use, it's sorted,'" Laxton says.

The second-most-popular scalp product has been the Caffeine Stimulating treatment. "Caffeine does its thing, stimulates the follicles, and makes sure more blood gets to the scalp," says Curry. Recent research has shown that caffeine can help promote hair growth, in the long run, so to say I'm excited about this product — especially while dealing with stay-at-home-orders stress — is an understatement.

That leaves the Anti-Gray Scalp treatment, which is designed as an overnight hair serum that uses amino acids to stimulate the pigment in the hair follicle and prevent new gray hairs from sprouting. The product claims that you'll see fewer gray hairs within four months with consistent use (and potentially save yourself some time and money on root touch-up treatments.) While I have to admit it's certainly a tall order for a product to claim it essentially stops the production of gray hair, the technology behind this one does sound promising. But because I haven't tried it yet (nor have much gray hair to show for it), I can't speak to its efficacy — yet. I'll definitely report back on this one.

Also launching are five new hair treatments: Peptide Volumizing Hair Treatment, Shea Oil Nourishing Hair Treatment, and Chia Seed Curl Defining Hair Treatment, plus the aforementioned HA and vitamin C. (The founders recommend that last one if you've been skipping your hair-color appointments lately — "it has an instant impact in terms of brightness," says Curry.) The Shea Oil formula comes in the form of (duh) an oil, meant to be used on either wet or dry, clean hair. The other formulas are serum-style, with a subtly thinner texture. Each treatment is divided into pre-wash, post-wash, or overnight.

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