Following the announcement of Tati Westbrook’s (aka glamlifeguru) beauty brand, Halo Beauty, there has appeared to be a bit of controversy. Tati has created a hair, skin and nails booster. Beauty supplements are something that can affect our bodies, and therefore people are generally reluctant in accepting Tati’s word for it. They go on sale tomorrow, which is when I suspect Tati will release more information about the product. Meanwhile, I asked a pharmacist to analyse and break down the ingredients for us.
Liliana has been a pharmacist for twenty-five years and is currently running her own chain of pharmacies. She agreed to firstly break down the ingredients for us, and then to discuss some of the benefits and possible side effects of this supplement.
Breaking down the ingredients:
|Vitamin C||Vitamin C is very important in the synthesis of collagen. Hair and skin have collagen in their composition. Collagen can fade fine lines because it restructures skin areas.|
|Vitamin D3||Calcium has an important role in the hair synthesis and in having healthy nails. In order to be able to assimilate calcium, we need Vitamin D. Vitamin D can be synthesized if staying in the sun, however, as modern man lives mostly inside, it is important to have Vitamin D in our supplements.|
|Vitamin B1 (as Thiamine)||B vitamins help in fixing and assimilating iron. If you have an iron deficiency you would not only feel tired, but you could also develop hair loss.|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||B vitamins help in fixing and assimilating iron.|
|Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCI)||B vitamins help in fixing and assimilating iron.|
|Biotin||Biotin (Vitamin B7) is considered the ‘beauty vitamin’. It contains sulfur, one of the main components in all skin, hair and nails supplements.|
|Zinc (as zinc methionine)||Zinc is another mineral that is in the hair structure. A zinc deficiency can cause damage to the skin and makes hair fragile, easy to break. All these hair and skin supplements must contain zinc.|
|Copper (as copper gluconate)||Copper has the role of taking a biochemical reaction to its completion. For a general understanding, copper helps with the other ingredients to reach a final result.|
|Manganese (as manganese gluconate)||Catalyst.|
|Catalase||Bio enzyme with a detoxifying role. It decomposes peroxide which is harmful, thus protecting the cell from the harmful effects of peroxide.|
|Rosehip powder extract (4:1)||Natural Vitamin C, as previously said, having the role in the synthesis of collagen.|
|Methysulfonylmethane (MSM)||MSM and biotin contain sulfur, which takes us back to the anatomy of skin and nails, sulfur being an essential element in their structure. Therefore, deficiency in biotin leads to problems such as very oily hair, hair loss, dandruff etc.|
|Saw Palmetto (45% beta sterols)||
Saw Palmetto extract is used a lot in products for treating prostate. It inhibits the production of Dihydrotestosterone. It is slightly controversial, but it could help with hair loss. Saw Palmetto could be a natural alternative to chemical treatment which helps with hair loss caused by hormonal imbalances.
However, it can produce hormonal imbalances if you are taking oral contraception. This could lead to headaches and/or depression. Furthermore, the tannins can inhibit the absorption of iron into your body. See the discussion below for more details and side effects.
|Embilica Officianalis (Amla) (45% tannis)||Similarly to catalase, this has a strong detoxifying effect. It also helps in stopping the premature appearance of white hairs. It also helps with hair growth.|
|Grape Seed extract (85% polyphenols)||Very rich in vitamin E, with antioxidant properties. Helps with psoriasis, hair loss, stimulate tissue regeneration, and fades wrinkles. It indirectly stimulates circulation, irrigating the hair root, thus stimulating the bio chemical reactions for hair growth.|
|Pumpkin Seed 10:1 Extract Powder (Curcubita pepo)||Natural source of zinc. Rich in vegetal omega 3. Its properties are tied with natural phytoestrogens that can help women during and after their menopause. It can help with hair loss caused by hormonal imbalances. Again, can cause side effects, for more details see the discussion below.|
|Ceramide Rx Phytoceramides (Rice extract)||Appears more and more in supplements. Ceramide is one of the main components of the epidermal skin layer of human skin. It helps with hydration, stopping water loss from the epidermis.|
|Horsetail Equisetum arvense||Rich in silicon, diuretic. Mostly found in this type of supplements.|
|Astaxanthin||Natural source. Strong antioxidant effect, helping with wrinkles.|
|L-Glutathione||Antioxidant, with an immune stimulator effect. It helps with the endogenous detoxifying, cleaning the organism. Implicitly, it helps with the hair composition, stimulates hair and nails growth and improves skin.|
|Alpha Lipoic Acid||Natural source. Its role is to protect the other vitamins. It is useful in fading wrinkles, and it could help with the under-eye bags and with acne scarring.|
|Microcrystalline cellulose||Excipients, harmless.|
|Vegetable capsule (Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose)|
|Vegetable magnesium stearate|
Discussing the claims, the price and possible side effects
Q: Tati promotes this as having anti-gray fighting ingredients, that it improves skin, making it smoother, softer, more hydrated and it can even make those fine lines to disappear. Especially the last statement seems hard to achieve. Could this be true?
Liliana: In a supplement like this, that promotes such things, one would have to add similar elements as those present in the dermis and the hairs’ anatomy in order for it to work. One needs to take into account their anatomy and biological structure. And then, of course, we reach this list of ingredients, a mixture between vitamins and amino acids which in their turn, have their role.
Yes, there are certain ingredients in there that can help with all of those, including making fine lines disappear, as seen in the table above. Hydration, prevention of white hairs and fading wrinkles are all elements that can be achieved if taking this product.
Q: Is it all-inclusive?
Liliana: First of all, it is important to note that it does not contain vitamin B12. By avoiding B12 this product becomes available to a wide range of people, such as persons that do cytostatic treatment. They could use a product that does not have vitamin B12. Also, it does not contain sugar, soy, gluten and is vegan, being thus suitable to a wide range of customers. Furthermore, the reason why you need two pills instead of one could be because they tried to make the pills easy to swallow. Combining the quantity into one tablet would potentially make it bigger. This again shows inclusivity, as some people cannot swallow large pills.
Q: What about the ingredient of Saw Palmetto? It created some controversy online.
Liliana: It has positive and negative aspects. It can help with hair loss caused by hormonal imbalances. However, the presence of tannins can inhibit the absorption of iron into your body. It creates thus, a vicious circle – you have B vitamins that help in fixing and assimilating iron as ingredients, but the tannins present in the Saw Palmetto can inhibit this assimilation. As I said when filling in the table above, Saw Palmetto is certainly used in many products, but it has collateral effects – it can help with hair loss, but it can also lead to iron deficiency.
It would have been better if it was not put in as an ingredient. Saw Palmetto could have been used to produce another pill, to complement the treatment, rather than having it included with all the other ingredients. Thus, people could choose to take it or not based on their hormonal imbalances and other treatments they are doing. For example, if you are taking anti-coagulants this ingredient would interfere with it, being harmful. So even though the product does not contain B12, it is still potentially harmful to people who take anti-coagulants. Saw Palmetto can also cause stomach discomfort if you are sensitive in that matter. So yes, it would have been better to include this in a separate pill, so some could complete their treatment, but leaving others able to take the original product.
A similar problem is caused by the Pumpkin Seed ingredient. By producing the natural phytoestrogens it can help women with hair loss during and after menopause. This ‘hormone helping’ is a controversial matter. It can help some but be harmful to others. For example, it can also help men with alopecia, women after menopause, hair loss after giving birth. It is a good thing Tati wants to include these types of customers as well, but it puts a question mark for the others. A woman in her fifties could take this supplement, benefiting both from pumpkin seed and Saw Palmetto. However, to more younger women and men it could be harmful. I would have suggested that this ingredient, pumpkin seed to be put together with the Saw Palmetto in another additional pill, leaving the choice to clients if they need help in this respect or not.
Q: So what is your overall opinion about this product?
Liliana: Overall, for the chemical composition, on a scale from 1 to 10 I would grade it as 7,5 to 8. It has good parts and bad parts, as previously discussed.
Q: Compared to other supplements of this kind, for example the much cheaper Superdrug Skin, Hair & Nails, is the Halo Beauty Supplement special? 
Liliana: It is sugar free, soy free, gluten free and vegan, so the Halo Beauty does offer something special, as well as mostly having natural ingredients. However, the Superdrug one seems to have a good list of ingredients as well, being soy free and vegan on top of that. The Superdrug one does not contain anything that can influence hormones, which means is safer to use.
Q: Do you think $40 for one bottle per month is overpriced?
Liliana: It depends if you need this type of supplement or not. If your organism needs help in this matter and your skin, nails and hair need help, then no, $40 is not overpriced. Ceramides as an ingredient appears mostly in more pricey products. However, both with the Saw Palmetto and Pumpkin Seed that help after menopause, and with the price, I would say this product was created with an older generation in mind.
Q: What would be the age range you would recommend this product to?
Liliana: I would certainly recommend this to people older than forty, both men and women. If someone younger would ask me about this product, I would tell them to further think about taking it.
Q: So what is your final answer about this product?
Liliana: It is not a bad product at all, but I believe it is targeted more to people over forty. Also, the ingredient association is slightly unusual, raising questions, but for the right customers, it could work.
I am not in the demographic Liliana recommended for this product, but I do support Tati and I hope my post helped in informing those of you that could benefit from it. Meanwhile, I wish Tati all the best and I congratulate her for having the courage to create her own brand. I am looking forward to seeing what product she creates next!
Update: To read more about the second product released by Halo Beauty please click here.
Read Liliana’s thoughts on the new Hers & His Daily Multivitamins here.
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Disclaimer: Photo credit