Create a healthy cuticle layer & intensify shine with 18-MEA

Healthier hair. That's what we all want right?  I mean, what else is there?  Today I want to chat a little with you on the topic of healthy hair and some of the fundamentals required to create and promote the natural health of our hair.  Long ago, I wrote a blog article on an Asian based hair product called Asience. I was truly attracted to this hair product because of a unique ingredient it contained. This ingredient is critical to the achievement of hair perfection. Those of us who relax, color, use heat, etc are especially in need of this amazing compound. What I speak of, is an ingredient called 18-MEA.

So what is 18-MEA and what is so special about it? Simply put, 18-MEA is a lipid (natural oil) which occurs naturally in the hair follicle. The purpose of this lipid is quite similar to ceramides in that they help maintain the integrity of the cuticle layer. When the cuticle layer is protected, that's when all the magic happens. But somehow, I had forgotten about this magical ingredient up until now. We've discussed another type of (hair) lipid in the past also known as ceramides. Adequate supplies of  these lipids are critical to having hair that is close to the way nature intented.   Hopefully by now, you have several ceramide containing products in rotation.  But now, it's time to take this thing to the next level!  For the past few weeks I've been racking my brain on what I can do to elevate the strength and resilience of my hair. I touched up recently and, immediately after a relaxer, I like to act with intention on how to restore the health of my hair after such a traumatic process. Then suddenly,  it came to me and I immediately swung into action.

The first thing I did was reach deep into my hair product closet to see if I had any of the Asience left. Much to my surprise, there was my Asience with about 1/3 of it left in the container. Next I re-read my previous posts to see what I can learn from my past experience. Turns out that this Asience did a great job of creating strength in my hair but I had to make sure I incorporated tons on moisture promoting products in the process. So I did exactly that. I mixed a few pumps of the Asience with Keracare Humecto and another moisturizing conditioner. During the roller set, I noticed how strong and resilient my hair felt. My Mason Pearson comb glided through my hair like a breeze. I was highly satisfied.

  Then I wondered what other products were out there, that were easily accessible, which contined this wonderful ingredient. Turns out that there aren't many products on the market containing 18-MEA. I looked around online and found some brands that few know about. Heck, the only reason I knew about Asience is because I happened to see a banner ad online once and was intrigued to learn more. I'll list the more "exotic" 18-MEA products below for those of you who are interested. But in the mean time, I would like to inform you that Redken's strengthening line of products contain what I consider the trinity of healthy hair ingredients....proteins, ceramides, and 18-MEA. Since I don't live far from an Ulta store, and they happened to have liter size bottles of Redken products on sale, I did what I had to do.

As of this moment, I haven't yet used the Redken product so I'll hold off my comments until I get a chance to try it.  I will say that most of the reviews I've read online are highly positive.  Honestly, I have high hopes for this product and I pray it won't let me down.  What really excites me most about 18-MEA is that with continued use, the hair continues to improve.  How cool is that??!!   For this reason, I have made the vow to always have an 18-MEA containing product on rotation no matter where I am in my hair journey from this point on.  My philosophy of creating healthier hair is all about bringing in the components that are missing from our hair as the result of chemical and every day damage. One of the most critical components are the lipids that help keep the cuticle layer sealed.  A properly sealed cuticle creates hair strands that shine, retains moisture, are less porous and less likely to break. Again, isn't that what we all want? I'll be sharing more about my take on the Redken product in upcoming posts but for now, here are some other 18-MEA brands out there for those of you who are as excited about this as I am.


  1. Nadege thanks for sharing this. I did some more research on the Redken Extreme line and it looks pretty TEMPTING! I might try the Extreme Strength Builder for deep conditioning.

  2. Thank you soooo much for sharing this!!!

  3. Wow, I used to use the redken extreme vials for my mid step protein until Ulta stopped selling it. I've been kinda missing it too. Thanks for this information on this ingredient.

  4. Another brand(UK) that is into the this product


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