MONAT :: Too Good To Be True?
**I published this piece on Medium.com a while back and as expected, was attacked by a MONAT re-seller. Also: The company that did the studies is called Princeton Consumer Research, not Princeton University as some re-sellers believe.**
I Tried MONAT
Yesterday, I decided to try out MONAT for the first time ever. My friend had gifted me a set and swore by it — so much so that she sounded like an expert herself. But I had just gone through nine brutal months of hair school and come out the other end victorious and pretty much educated on hair, I’d like to think.
So when I read about MONAT online, and all I could find were distributors who swore by it, and no real substantial scientific studies that explained how it works, I was skeptical. Actually, skeptical is an understatement. I hated the entire idea of this stuff.
I’m going to assume you are already familiar with this line of hair care products that claims it’s all-natural and that it grows hair like crazy.
I has worked for many of my friends. Yes, their hair is growing. It feels healthier (their words, not mine). It has treated the hair (their words, not mine).
Many of our clients when I was at school had switched to it and began selling it themselves. Oh, it’s a pyramid scheme, by the way. Another reason for me to seriously feel iffy about it.
I had been putting off this moment for months, but curiousity got the best of me. No, it didn’t kill me. At least not yet.
I chose two of the products in there:
Shampoo: Intense Repair Treatment Shampoo
Conditioner: Revitalize Conditioner “Volume”
I washed, twice, worked up a lather, and conditioned as usual. I double-checked the conditioner bottle. Does it say anywhere to leave it on for a few minutes? Nope. So I rinsed right away.
I noticed a pungant, almost ammonia-type smell that was clearly masked with perfume. Sniffed my hands again to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. Yup. The conditioner stunk. Smelled like serious chemicals.
I rinse out my hair and immediately feel my hair swell. Kind of like how it feels after a protein treatment. Except this wasn’t a protein treatment. Or was it? I don’t know, I’m confused. I can feel a coating on my hair.
I know how my hair feels after a good cleanse. I’m a hairdresser, and a woman, I might add. I’ve tried everything. This feels odd.
I dry my hair with a hairdryer without using any styling products because I want to see the true result of this miracle. My hair definitely feels softer, and I have a bit of volume and “grit”. I really like the volume, but am very skeptical.
I have fine and thin hair, so I might be just the ideal candidate for MONAT.
What throws me off, though, is how fast my hair swelled after using the conditioner.
The $$$ In Hair Industry
For years, beauty companies have invested millions, if not billions, of dollars in trying to create treatments for the hair that bring it back to health. One of those things is a protein treatment. As far as I know, a protein treatment is the ONLY treatment that works itself into the hair to add strength. You know why? Because our hair is made up of 90% protein. When we lighten it, we pretty much strip most of that away, so we have to add it back in.
In order for a protein treatment to work, it must be left on for a few minutes, to penetrate, naturally. And it must be used over time — once a week, preferably, until you start to see results.
In my own humble opinion, the Revitalize conditioner has ingredients that mimic protein. I think it coats the hair, rather than repair it. It just works too damn fast. Hair needs time and lots more than just a shampoo and conditioner to repair itself. It needs professional treatments. It needs Olaplex.
MONAT claims this for its conditioner:
Helps increase hair density strength and manageability.
A gentle volumizing conditioner for fine and limp hair that penetrates and nurtures the scalp while helping to boost natural growth, aids in improving follicle strength, and helps in reducing hair thinning. Delivers moisture and vital nutrients to aid in plumping and energizing hair from roots to ends. Fine, flat hair is left touchably soft and shiny. Safe to use on colored and/or chemically treated hair and extensions.
This sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. It sounds like something that was written for the consumer who has no idea what anything is. No offence. They hired someone to sell dreams with words.
And before I sign off, I have to tell about a couple of things.
First, henna. I used henna for years, and I loved the thickness, shine, grit and color it gave my fine and limp hair. Was it treating it? No, it was coating it. After years of coating my hair with henna, it became strong and could withstand heat and abuse. I got a ton of compliments on how thick, strong and shiny my hair was. I swore by it, but now, I know better. Did it change the actual texture of my hair? Nope, it was a band-aid.
Second, Wen. Wen claimed it would make hair grow only to have made people bald instead. Now they’re facing a class action lawsuit. PS. everyone and their mother swore by this brand when it came out.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
Third, baking soda and vinegar. There was a huge online trend on using baking soda and vinegar to wash your hair. It was part of the “no poo” movement (or something).
Women fanatically wrote about the amazing way their hair felt — shiny, strong, healthy — after not just one wash, but years of using this concoction. Not only was it natural (cringe), it was cheap! So they ditched their shampoos and went to the kitchen sink.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and those same ladies had noticed their hair was breaking so bad it looked it someone had fried it with Clorox. I don’t even know if that’s possible, but you know where I’m going with this.
The damage was non-reversible and they realized that shampoo might be on the shelves for a reason.
If you’re wondering, it didn’t work because the pH of baking soda is highly alkaline, and vinegar is highly acidic. Alkaline swells the hair (think lightener or bleach) and acid closes the hair cuticle, which makes it look shiny. Imagine constantly going back and forth between alkaline and acid and you’ve screwed your hair forever.
The pH of shampoo mimics our natural hair’s pH: between 4.5 to 5.5.
Shampoo companies are not evil and they are not trying to kill us with additives. So this whole all-natural thing is sometimes complete bogus.
If products were all-natural, they would start rotting just like our food would if left outside for too long, or fry our hair like with the example above.
There is a reason cosmetics companies have their own labs and sell some of their products professionally: because when you come into the salon, we educate you on the product, its ingredients and what they mean for your hair.
How does it work?!
I’d like to know HOW it works. For the love of God, no one has been able to tell me how this stuff actually works.
Where are the studies?
What happens when users stop using MONAT? Will their hair fall out in clumps?
I’d like to see some long-term studies done on a LARGE sample size before I can entertain it.