Percy & Reed’s Perfecting Wonder Balm has made its way onto Vogue’s health and beauty editor’s list of “very best new arrivals” for 2014. Percy and Reed claim that this “miracle leave-in balm preps and primes your hair in readiness for all styling products and techniques. It’s all you need for beautiful, healthy looking and flawless hair.” Let’s take a closer look, assess the science and address the claims!

So are the miracle ingredients that roll in to one wonder product?

Formulators for Percy & Reed have included polyacrylate 13 and polyimide 1 which are film-forming molecules. The molecules form a water-soluble film around the outer layer of the hair shaft called the cuticle. Polyimide-1 is a hair fixative in many hair gels and styling mousses, ticking the box for a styling agent.

Having already checkpracticality off the list, we turned our attention to (deep breath!) PPG-2 myristyl ether propionate.

This may sound a little daunting but it’s actually giving this product a softer touch…

PPG-2 myristyl ether propionate comes under the cosmetics umbrella term “emollients”. These are conditioning agents which form films on the cuticle of the hair, where they act as sealants to help retain moisture and prevent water loss. Ever wondered why your hair felt silky soft? Emollient molecules lubricate the hair to decrease the amount of friction between the hair strands which will stop any tangle tizzy disasters!

Humectants are next on Percy & Reed’s balm formula and include panethanol. Humectants are a common and widely used class of cosmetic molecules, but do you know why they are used? They are extremely hydrophilic (water-loving) molecules that use hydrogen bonds to attract and hold water molecules from surrounding environments and kindly pass it on to the hair. Increasing the water content of hair strands will hydrate and nourish the hair to combat the birds nest look we all hate!

Tocopheryl acetate or commonly known as vitamin E is next on the list and it doesn’t disappoint. It is a powerful antioxidant. The term “antioxidant” describes the molecule’s capability in neutralizing free radicals that emerge from healthy cells but snatch electrons from other structures to become stable. The antioxidant deactivates and inhibits radical multiplication to help relieve oxidative stress.

What does oxidative stress do to the hair? Experimental evidence supports the theory that oxidative stress increases with age due to an increase in these pesky free radicals and a decrease our body’s defence mechanisms against them. Oxidative stress can lead to damage and decline in melanocyte (pigment-producing cells) function leading to grey hair! Antioxidants help mop up these radicals to reduce their effects of hair ageing and fend off greying!

Other ingredients include phenoxyethanol which is a preservative (but be careful as it is known to irritate the eyes!) and myristyl alcohol, a fatty alcohol which acts as an emollient and viscosity increasing agent (to thicken the formula).

The Verdict

Boiling down the tongue-twisting ingredients of the wonder balm, it looks like we’ve got ourselves a functional lovable handy haircare product here. This one is already making an impact on the beauty scene, with some high praise from some beauty lovers saying there’s “nothing not to love” about Percy and Reed’s products. Unfortunately, not everyone is in agreement, with some other users saying it’s done nothing for their bobs! But on the whole we think the Beauty Geeks are with Vogue on this one though – between the weather and travelling to and from the lab, this film-forming formula may well save a Geeks’ locks from fallen flat.

If you want to make a purchase, click HERE!