12 days of Christmas Best of 2013 – Hope’s Relief (Best hair products)

A newbie for the last day of 2013. Well a pair of newbies. I wrote at length in the latter part of 2013 about my ongoing struggles with seborrheic dermatitis. As a result, I had lots of contact from bloggers, readers and independent brands with advice about lifestyle and products to help manage the condition.

One of the people who got in touch was a contact from Mahi Naturals, the UK distributor of Australian brand Hope’s Relief. Founded by Melbourne-based naturopath Jacqueline Hope, Hope’s Relief products are formulated with a potent mix of natural herbs and ingredients to soothe the itch of conditions like eczema and Seb Derm without stripping or drying the skin.

Although the range encompasses therapeutic creams and cleansers as well, I was most interested in the shampoo and conditioner and was very grateful to be sent samples to try. Both shampoo and conditioner contain the following five active ingredients (quoted, with info, from Hope’s Relief’s website). They’re all powerfully anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and soothing, and I was familiar with all but one already:

  • “Manuka Honey – Well known for its natural antibiotic properties and research has shown numerous benefits for skin health and healing. Manuka honey contains the enzyme glucose oxidase, which provides its anti-bacterial properties.
  • Gotu Kola – Used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years, Gotu Kola contains chemicals called triterpenoids. Studies have shown these compounds may help heal and strengthen skin and increase blood supply to the area.
  • Aloe Vera – Contains 75 potentially active constituents including vitamins,enzymes, minerals and amino acids. Together these provide anti-inflammatory benefits and help support skin healing.
  • Calendula – Supports new tissue growth and conditions delicate skin.
  • Licorice Root – Anti-allergic and regarded as nature’s cortisone, licorice promotes healing and contains antioxidants, phytochemicals, magnesium and sodium.”

I’ve now used both shampoo and conditioner daily for nearly three weeks and I’m impressed. But they’re expensive products (£16.20 each) and, like anything that offers relief from a chronic condition – they come with big expectations so I’m determined to give you all the info you need to make a decision about whether they’d be right for you.

First up – scalp. The products have definitely helped my scalp. It’s much less dry and – as a consequence – much less itchy than it had been previously. Many conventional treatment shampoos still contain the usual suspects – SLS, parabens, petrochemicals and artificial colours/fragrances – which may be undoing the good work of any active ingredients. Hope’s Relief are free from all of these potential irritants.

I also love that Hope’s Relief made my hair feel light, fresh and soft without stripping out the natural oils. It just felt much better for me and it really did leave my hair feeling clean, which is another bug bear of more natural shampoos. Without the astringent lather, many natural shampoos leave my hair feeling a bit lank and greasy, as if it hasn’t all washed out properly. The first time I used Hope’s Relief, I was genuinely surprised at how soft, shiny and clean my hair felt.

Despite a period of rich food, late nights and overindulgence in sugar, Hope’s Relief has kept my hair and scalp feeling more balanced, clean and flake-free than they have in a long while. I am really impressed. However, it’s worth noting that they haven’t cured my Seb Derm, nor do they promise to. I’m using them every day – if I didn’t, I know my scalp would be itching again fairly quickly. They also can’t quite counter the effects of a couple of bad nights sleep. But if daily hair washing is a must nowadays, I’d so much rather use these products than less natural ones.

On the downside, they are pricey and it doesn’t look like smaller samples are available to test out before making a big purchase. They’re also very, very runny and I’m not sure the packaging allows for that. The first time I used the shampoo, I wasn’t expecting the liquid consistency and ended up tipping far too much product out and wasting it. While I’m getting used to the technique required (shake, open while inverted with hole facing up and tip quickly into palm of hand), the reason I haven’t shown a picture of my own bottles is that they’re now looking a bit gunky! I’d much prefer both shampoo and conditioner in pump bottles but there might be a cost reason why that’s not been done.

Scalp-Care-1-Shampoo-carton-340x340If you’re suffering with a dry, flaky or itchy scalp (as a result of Seb Derm, eczema or any other condition) then I would recommend trying these out. Particularly if a more natural option is important to you. And it might help your decision to know that Mahi Naturals (the site selling Hope’s Relief in the UK) is offering a Christmas discount until the 15th January. Use the code XMASGIFT30 at checkout to get 30% off everything on the site, including Hope’s Relief. The shampoo and conditioner are offered in a saver pack anyway to save a little more money. And if you’re not interested in shampoo or conditioner, they also offer creams, lotions, cleansing bars and products containing goat’s milk.


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