Millions of women experience hair-loss concerns as they age, and 2023 is breaking the stigma wide open with a new class of hair care products to, ahem, address the problem at its root. While there are over 829,000 women searching about hair loss on Google, and an estimated 21 million women suffering in the United States alone, up to 67 percent don’t do anything to address the problem. (We get it—it’s scary!) We’ve lost hair for multiple reasons including stress, illness, fatigue, hormones, and more, so it’s no surprise that over the past few years, we’ve started to notice more strands in the shower drain or the hairbrush. Still, it can feel a little devastating to acknowledge that our manes aren’t quite what they used to be.
While the beauty powerhouse Unilever already acquired a majority stake in Nutrafol in May 2022, the brand is also committing to the *growth* of the hair loss biz by bringing a two-year-old Japanese holistic hair and scalp-care line, Michiru, stateside. Available exclusively at Target, this eight-product line of shampoos, conditioners, scalp tonic, and an over-the-counter minoxidil topical solution includes fullness, clarifying, and strengthening formulas developed using Japanese ingredients for penetrative, clinically backed results—plus a delightful in-shower sensory experience. Salon and masstige hair portfolio director at Unilever, Jessica Grigorgiou, positioned Michiru (which means “fullness” in Japanese) as “holistic wellness meets advanced science.”
The brand’s line ranges from preventative to treatment options to best address any scalp’s needs. As a bonus, it’s also free of sulfates, silicone, parabens, and dye—which are ingredients that can be irritating for some. Instead, Michiru relies on ingredients like rice protein, sakura flower, citrus yuzu, and silk powder for results—and yes, they’re ultra-functional. With the exception of the Minoxidil Topical Solution Hair Regrowth Hair Treatment priced at $30, each product is available for only $15.
During hospice with a family member, and losing her shortly after, I started noticing hair fall out. Strands collected in my hairbrush and on the shower floor. When I put my hair up in a ponytail or bun, I noticed substantial thinning at my temples—which only agonized me more. I was already grieving—did I have to be losing my confidence too? So with the launch of Michiru, I had the opportunity to confront my hair loss head-on and test the line. I used these products for about a month and a half and my hair feels shiny and healthy. But for the actual hair growth aspect, they say it takes a few months to notice—so TBD on that front. Keep reading to learn my thoughts.
My experience trying out Michiru
The fullness line
Considered Michiru’s hero collection, the fullness-focused shampoo and conditioner set targets fine, flat, and thinning hair (and spoiler alert: turned out to be my favorite of the bunch.) Marisa Garshick, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist, suggests a volumizing shampoo to start your hair regrowth journey. “Using a volumizing shampoo can help to improve the appearance of the hair that is there while waiting for the hair to grow back.”
At the oh-so-friendly price point, the collection includes senburi extract, known to promote hair growth, and silk protein, to encourage moisture retention, hair elasticity, and shine. If you’re seeking a fast fix, this shampoo is the way to go. Because the shampoo ($15) and conditioner ($15) include flexible polymers, your hair visibly thickens by creating bond structures between every strand. For me, the immediate reassurance of the formula’s effectiveness was complemented by the silky-smooth feel of my hair as I worked it through. In alignment with Unilever’s focus on the “skinification” of hair care, consumers are encouraged to massage it into their scalp to stimulate hair follicles, calling the conditioner “practically lotion for your scalp.”
The strengthening line
Tragically, my hair is super dry and damaged after the COVID years. I pretty much gave up on maintaining it and neglected it for far too long—so the Michiru strengthening line intrigued me. The green-and-gold bottle includes sakura extract (AKA cherry blossom), known to boost collagen for cell repair, and rice oil known to repair without making it weighty or greasy. The blend features a protective technology that shields hair strands and allows hair to appear visibly less damaged each time ya hop in the shower. Best of all, the shampoo ($15) and conditioner ($15) each create a rich lather, making the process of using them feel like an active form of self-care. Oh, and it smells like cherry blossoms.
The clarifying line
Some research showed that when your hair is greasier, it's more prone to hair loss. Yikes. As someone who cannot go a *single* day without washing my hair lest I look like I’ve gone for a swim, that fact horrified me. For the greasy, residue-packed scalp, consider the clarifying line. It’s so gentle that you can actually use it daily—unlike most competitors—which is perfect for everyday washers like me. The shampoo features yuzu, known to encourage growth and strengthen hair, and peony, an anti-inflammatory. It essentially works by balancing the scalp, removing the excess sebum, (translation: oil from the skin) and nourishing—giving your strands the optimal amount of moisture versus dryness. And the fragrance? Be still my beating heart. Pair the clarifying shampoo ($15) with hydrating conditioner ($15), containing the same active ingredients, for a gentle way to restore shine.
The scalp tonic
The Michiru leave-on scalp tonic ($15) is like a serum for your scalp. It heroes niacinamide (vitamin B3) to moisturize and soothe a dry scalp. Plus, it has glycerin which is packed with moisture. Best of all, you can use it on no-wash days, so you’re not forced to align it with your shampoo or conditioner schedule.
The active treatment
While most of the line can be used preventatively, you should only use the Minoxidil Topical Solution ($30) if actively experiencing hair loss—a little easier now knowing that millions of women are right there with you. Minoxidil was previously available only by subscription, thus becoming the dermatologist's number one recommendation for women experiencing hair loss, but is now available over the counter—and FDA-approved, BTW. Research shows it works on different hair types—though you should consult your doctor before use. Dr. Garshick explains: “Minoxidil, when applied topically, dilates the blood vessels in the scalp, which may help to stimulate hair growth and reduce further hair loss…and it’s designed to be used consistently." Because if you stop using Minoxidil you will lose all the growth it gave you and return to square one.
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