While attending the annual Vegan Fair in Stockholm earlier this year, my boyfriend and I received each a generous goodie bag from Maria Nila containing their Head & Hair Heal trio in full size, plus their ginger handsoap. They gave out the exact same goodie bags last year, but I gave it a pass, standing in line to receive the food-containing goodie bag instead. Maria Nila is a Swedish professional haircare brand that’s 100% vegan approved and cruelty-free. All their shampoos are also sulfate-free and suitable for color treated hair. Though this brand fits close to my values, I’ve mainly overlooked them because professional haircare tends to be marketed towards colored hair, and I don’t really deal with colored hair problems… But this year I’ve been more dedicated to growing out my hair long again and I might be tempted to get it colored so therefore finding the best shampoo for colored hair is important to me. Also, during my research for preventing hair loss and increasing hair growth, this Heal-series popped up. So when I knew they were going to be giving out goodie bags of the whole set again, I got really excited!
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Maria Nila | Head & Hair Heal Trio Set
Their Head & Hair Heal range consists of shampoo and conditioner that is suitable for everyday use, as well as a hair masque that can be used up to two times a week. The line is described as an anti-inflammatory and hair growth stimulating range, created to treat and prevent dandruff and other scalp problems, as well as, prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth. I was mostly interested in that last part, while my boyfriend – who tends to get dandruff – cared for the first part. Note that this is also their most expensive range, costing about €10 more in total than their other Soft, Volume, Repair and Color-range.
Active Ingredients: Natural Aloe Vera extract and Piroctone Olamine are the active ingredients that treat and prevent dandruff and scalp problems. While vitamin E, Apigenin and peptides are supposed to stimulate hair follicles for increased hair growth and Oleanolic acid to prevent hair loss.
I’ve been using the Maria Nila Heal hair set for about 3 months now and I’m just one or two uses away from finishing up the conditioner, but only half way through their shampoo. So I thought it’s time to evaluate and share with you my experience!
Unfortunately, Maria Nila seems to be kind of hard to find outside of Sweden.
If you live in the UK Sally’s and Amazon are the best choices. Scandinavian countries and those around should not have too much difficulty to find it.
Shampoo: The whole line smells good without being overpowering. The shampoo gets up to a lather without a problem even though it is sulfate-free. A little goes a long way.
However, I felt like when it came to washing off dry shampoo, I had to turn to a clarifying shampoo at least once a week to get my head thoroughly clean. Overall, it did feel gentle for everyday use – not that you should wash your head that often – and made my hair feel clean but not stripped. However, with regular use, without a clarifying shampoo, my hair would fall flat and feel like it needed washing more often.
Conditioner: Has quite a thick consistency. For some reason, I’ve gone through almost the whole bottle while I still have about half left of the shampoo. Maybe it’s just me being too generous with the conditioner or something? It does leave the hair feeling soft and nourished. But in the end, I feel like I’ve had better, and maybe that’s why I take so much. I remember using the Milk_Shake hair products my friend suggested to me, and it lasted me quite a while compared to this one.
You can massage some into your scalp without it weighing your hair down, but it depends on your head and hair and how often you work out.
Masque: When I first came across this range, I was mainly focused on getting the hair masque for increased hair growth. Apart from the shampoo and the conditioner, the hair masque is really the only product that will sit and touch the scalp for longer than 2 minutes and may actually do something. As a masque on itself, it doesn’t really feel that hydrating or softening, which was surprising. I would always finish off with conditioner after rinsing it off to have the feeling that I want in my hair. And looking at the ingredients on some of their other hair masques, this one’s really just a treatment for the scalp, not so much for the hair.
I genuinely wanted to love this range because 1) Maria Nila is a fully vegan brand and I’d love to support it, 2) they offer 1L bottles of their shampoo and conditioners, and 3) it’s supposed to help my boyfriend with his dandruff-issues and me with my hair growth!
What ended up happening is that my boyfriend got a spike of dandruff despite using this shampoo for 2 months. He will admit that he didn’t properly or ever use the conditioner, nor did he use the hair masque either. But that’s not an excuse as he’s not had this problem when using other dandruff shampoos from the pharmacy. So I had to go out and buy Daxxin again to treat his dandruff problem, which fixed it within one use. The irony is that both Daxxin and the Heal range uses the same active ingredient, Piroctone Olamine, to treat dandruff. But for some reason, Daxxin is simply better formulated for my boyfriend’s scalp? I shouldn’t complain as it’s also cheaper, but I would love it if we both could use the same expensive shampoo that’s also prettier on the shelf.
With my boyfriend no longer using the shampoo I don’t see the point in me using it either. It’s quite an expensive line, and if it couldn’t help my boyfriend then I don’t see why I should compromise and keep using it. So I actually sold the other trio set that we were gifted so I could focus on finding something else that works better for my hair.
The Maria Nila Heal-line felt a bit too generalized for my hair that needs more components than just a focus on dandruff and hair growth. I don’t think these components should be a range in itself but something that’s infused into every product instead. My hair is wavy and has fine to medium density, so it’s important for me that my hair feels fuller and dries soft with sort of definition after washing. The Heal shampoo and conditioner made my hair feel very thin and fall flat the next day. I also work out/sweat almost daily, so I need my shampoo to at least take me through 3-4 days before the need to wash again. While it’s lovely to have a shampoo gentle enough to wash daily, I preferably would love it if it could help me wash less.
Now, this line does leave your hair soft and, just like any professional hair care brand, it feels like you got it washed at a salon. But I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed in this range. 3 months may be a bit short to see results, but I can’t say that I’ve seen any huge difference in my hair’s growth rate during this time (that can be directly linked to this line). Another thing is that I’ve had more cases with itchy scalp recently. I don’t know or can say it has to do with the Heal range. But they are supposed to help with that sort of thing, and they haven’t. At least not for me.
With that said, I’m not giving up on the brand, just saying that this particular range is not for my hair. As I’m one or two uses from finishing up the Heal conditioner I bought a travel size conditioner of the Volume-range. And I have to say, this one matches my hair type and wants more closely. I’ll definitely be looking into and testing out their other ranges in the future.
So yeah, I’m willing to give up the promise and ingredients that help increase hair growth to find a shampoo and conditioner that suits my hair type more, I might even try something completely different like microneedling which is also known to help with hair loss. From my research I’ve found that it doesn’t really matter what shampoo you use, as long as it properly cleanses and doesn’t cause any scalp issues, it will help your hair grow out faster and stronger.