Boris Oak, founder of clean, biology-driven hair care brand EVOLVh, is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to hair care. Like me, he’s an ingredient junkie at heart, and could go on and on about the ins and outs of creating the perfect product formulation. But, unlike me, he actually has.
Known for its magical hair growth, grey-reducing and strand-boosting abilities, each product in EVOLVh’s Better Roots line—it includes a hair oil, a hair serum and a supplement—contains an advanced RootBoost technology that features unique blends of natural active ingredients. While they have a slew of benefits on the scalp and hair, Oak tells us that the Better Roots line can prevent the onset of grey hair (sounds like magic right?). “After working with labs, we have found that there are actually certain compounds that can stimulate our cells and resume the melanin synthesis process, slowing the onset of grey hair,” he says. Here, he tells us all about the line’s grey-reducing properties, how the technology works and the extremely underrated but incredibly powerful ingredients within the RootBoost mixture to know about now.
Why does hair turn grey?
Before we look at why hair turns grey, Oak takes us to the root of the problem. “The hair is created inside the follicle, which lives just a few millimeters below the surface of the scalp,” he says, adding that there are two processes that take place inside the follicles. “The first process is protein synthesis, which is where proteins are brought together and turned into the physical strands of hair. The second process is melanin synthesis, which is the process where pigment is introduced to the hair fiber.” Without melanin synthesis, we lose the natural pigment in our strands. “When we start to grey, something happens that holds back the cells that normally execute the melanin synthesis. They suddenly stop working and melanin stops being added to the process, leaving your hair devoid of color.”
What is the typical age that hair turns grey?
Oak tells us that the onset of grey hair doesn’t necessarily have an age limit. “Melanin synthesis can be turned off at any age for any number of reasons. You could potentially have grey hair in your 20’s, in your late teens or when you’re in your late 60’s or 70’s.”
But, why the inconsistencies? According to Oak, we have evidence that stressful events (such as aging!) can result in the normal melanin synthesis process being broken. “Some scientists believe that synthesis could stop because your hair color is not an essential part of your biology for survival. So, what your body is doing is taking energy that it would use to promote your hair color and putting it towards protecting the vital organs. Essentially, if the body is under stress, it re-directs the energy it uses to grow melanin-rich hair to places like the lungs, heart or kidneys.” He stresses that there is a lot of variation biologically from person to person on how they respond to stress and even hormonal changes, so there’s no definitive answer on when hair goes grey.
How Do EVOLVh products prevent the onset of grey hair?
“We already know that healthier eating and regular exercise can slow the biological part of aging,” says Oak. “But, we have discovered how to do this to the hair with ingredients. After working with top labs, we have found that there are certain compounds that can stimulate our cells and resume the melanin synthesis process.” Oak tells us that these compounds prevent the onset of greying hair with everyday use. “We’re really at the start of a shift from thinking about products like this as being anti-grey or anti-aging to thinking about them as promoting hair longevity, putting emphasis on the healthy lifespan of the hair.”
Better Roots, highlights this concept. “We were trying to figure out how we can create products using new modern ingredient technology to help protect against female hair loss, and, in this process, we realized that the best time to use them is actually before you need them.”
How do you use the Better Roots products?
Oak says that incorporating the Better Roots products into your daily routine (even at an early age!) is the way to go. “Using the products daily is going to help nourish those cells, give them hydration and effect the gene expression of cells.” Yes, the line can actually stimulate the hair cells to act differently. “We can stimulate the expression of cells that tell the hair to produce or add color to the hair. These products are literally affecting the function of the follicle cell itself.”
Oak puts this idea into laymen’s terms when speaking about the Better Roots Serum specifically: “Think of your scalp as a garden and the skin is the soil in which the plants live. Part of the function of the Better Roots Serum is to nourish the cells so that the skin itself is healthy for the follicles to live. The follicles will not do as well if they’re not living in healthy skin, which, after using the serum daily, will be moisturized, hydrated and protected from UV light.”
What are the ingredients in the Better Roots Serum?
According to Oak, ingredients are everything. “Rather than relying on one or two active ingredients that are proven to work, our products use a meshed approach with many ingredients. We utilize this method because if one ingredient is not ideal for that person, we have ten other ingredients that will potentially work.” Oak tells us that the Better Roots line uses a balance of ingredients that focus on melanin synthesis and the overall health of the scalp. ‘This is where we’re different,” he continues. “We have a high number of actives for both.”
He starts by telling us about the most unique ingredients in the Better Roots Serum specifically: stem cells derived from apples and roses grown in the Swiss Alps. “These plants that live in difficult environments have unique compounds. The apple stem cells can stimulate hair follicle cells to get back to work and continue making hair while keeping its natural color. The rose stem cells stimulate skin repair so the cells on the scalp can repair themselves from UV damage.” He explains that this specific type of rose is usually found in expensive skin care, and this is the first time it has been found in a scalp serum. “We’re bringing some of the most advanced ingredients that are used for anti-aging right to the scalp.”
Besides the apples, Oak says that upcycled mandarin orange peels from the Greek island of Chios are another essential fruit in the formula. “They stimulate melanin synthesis and produce a hair-boosting compound that only exists in these specific peels.” Another interesting active is a compound that the brand extracts from organic pea sprouts. “This effects the gene expression of the cells in our hair follicles to send the signal for hair growth.”
Lastly, Oak tells us about a super trendy addition to the formulation lineup: mushroom-derived beta glucan. He explains that many studies have shown it can be 20 percent more hydrating than hyaluronic acid, so it’s an extremely moisturizing ingredient. “Plus, the polysaccharides that are found in mushrooms have a repairing mode of action on skin cells. Introducing that to the scalp is a real breakthrough and something super innovative with tremendous benefits.”