By Rhea Cartwright
hether deliberately or inadvertently, if your nether regions have ever been in close contact with Original Source Mint & Tea Tree shower gel, you will be acutely aware of the stimulating nature of those plants. On a sliding scale from idle twinge to effervescent tingle, mint has an unwavering appeal.
Depending on your olfactory repertoire, not everyone may know offhand how sandalwood, bergamot or heliotrope smell, but the pungent bouquet of mint is democratic. Be it peppermint or spearmint, there is a wonderful familiarity to this hardy perennial, whether found in toothpaste or somehow surviving in plant pots balancing atop cramped window ledges. With mint, we know what to expect.
Mint is seen in products that cater from head to toe, from refreshing foot creams to stimulating shampoos, but scalps in particular are having a minty moment. The scalp was once routinely ignored – we’ve tended in the past to focus our attention on the hair itself – but Space NK reported that sales of scalp care products almost doubled in 2020. According to Dr Sharon Wong, a dermatotrichologist (an expert in both the skin and the hair) the increase in interest is for a good reason. “The health of the scalp is crucial in maintaining healthy hair; it is commonly said that healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp, and that is true, because the hair follicle is actually a mini-organ that is embedded into the skin,” she says. “Keeping the scalp skin healthy provides the best environment to support healthy hair growth.”
Using a peppermint shampoo removes product build-up and stimulates the scalp by increasing the blood flow to hair follicles, and will wake you up after a late-night Netflix binge. Think of using a peppermint shampoo as having a deep-clean facial for your scalp. However, although mint’s clarifying properties of mint make it great for those with oily hair, mint shampoos can often be far too drying for those with colour-treated, processed or dry hair. Below are two of my trusted favourites at different prices, which are regular staples in my hair armoury.
My first foray with Philip B happened aged 20 while working at Space NK, and I remember balking at the cost of his Russian Amber Shampoo, at about £155 for 355ml. That was, until I took a sample pot home and instantly began justifying the price on a cost-per-lather basis. Put simply, his haircare formulations are unmatched. Enriched with active botanicals, the ingredients lists read like an A-Z of healing herbs, and his products deliver results.
While his Peppermint & Avocado Volumising and Clarifying Shampoo is a little more conservatively priced at about £31 – though still at the premium end of haircare – I’d happily relinquish posting avocado on toast to my Instagram stories if it meant I could afford it in my shampoo. The amalgamation of peppermint with avocado deep-cleans the scalp while injecting a healthy dose of moisture and opening up your sinuses: this is intense. For those with damaged or dry hair, the extra nourishment from the avocado is welcome.
I stumbled upon Avalon Organics while being seduced by the nauseating charm of the Whole Foods beauty aisles. For any beauty lovers, I defy you not to find interesting product discoveries in health-food shops that all smell like a combination of earth and yeast.
Minty, though not as strong as Philip B’s, their shampoo performs particularly well in clarifying, removing product build-up and excess oils. Despite the delicate lather, it can be drying, so follow up with a hydrating conditioner. At about £6.99, this could happily serve as a monthly treatment, particularly if you don’t suffer too much from scalp problems.
The very nature of peppermint shampoos that clarify means they will remove a fair proportion of your natural oils, so if your hair is dry, damaged, colour-treated or processed in any way, then it’s a clear vote for Philip B. The addition of avocado, jojoba and sweet almond oil act as a buffer, so the shampoo doesn’t leave hair too parched while still doing its job. With either option, they’re not for everyday use and should be looked at more as a treatment, be it fortnightly or once a month.
Minty zing for the scalp can be had for any budget.
By Rhea Cartwright