Brands are like people. There have a lifespan and eventually die. And when they are gone they are often remembered fondly. One that has recently passed on but which is still being mourned is the cult conditioner Vitapointe.
This was the ultimate product for dry and frizzy hair. It was big in the seventies, as indeed was hair. If you wanted to be funky you needed serious hair to match, preferably in the form of the gravity defying ‘Afro’.
The problem this created was that this was not a very natural look and it put a lot of strain on the hair, in particular it was very prone to drying out. Vitapointe was the solution to that problem. How did it work? We had a close look at in the lab a while back and concluded that there were two unique features to it. It had an unusual structure for a hair conditioner. But it also had an extremely high level of mineral oil.
This was the key to its success. Mineral oil at the molecular level is very densly packed. This means that it creates a very effective block to water loss even as a very thin film. It can also penetrate to some extent. So basically it coats the hair shaft and slows down the rate at which it dries out. At the same time it is good lubricant, so that there is less damage when hair shafts rub against each other. Both of these would be very handy at keeping your hair in good condition while getting down tonight at the disco.
But times move on. Extravagant hair is no longer fashionable, and neither is mineral oil in these eco-conscious times. Vitapointe is no longer hip and has been quietly withdrawn.
If you wanted to come up with a high performing conditioner for dry and frizzy hair today you’d probably plump for a silicone based product. Silicones can outperform mineral oil. If you wanted to avoid silicones to produce a green alternative you’d be harder pressed, but I think the closest to mineral oil for this application would probably be hemisqualane. In fact simply substituting hemisqualane into the Vitapointe formulation would probably be pretty good from a performance point of view.