When one of the Lemma Labs founders reached out to me about reviewing their brand new hairID test ($198), I thought it sounded interesting, but what would I really learn? I already know my ends are drastically damaged from heat and chemicals, and I know I have thick, course tresses. What I didn’t know, however, is that there’s a scientific hair care guide I’d be able to follow, based on my specific strands.
In other words, just because a particular shampoo is made with top-of-the-line ingredients and is raved about by reviewers, it doesn’t mean it will be the best fit for me. I mean, I already knew that, but I was actually shocked by just what ingredients were advised for me to stay away from. And we’re not talking the givens like parabens and sulfates. Upon receiving my results, I was actually told to stay away from shea butter, cocoa butter, grapeseed oil and jojoba oil, among others, in my conditioners and styling products. I also learned that my scalp is only slightly oily and my hair has low porosity (which is a good thing—yay!).
Regardless of whether or not you’ve found your go-to routine with products that seemingly work wonders for you, it’s really important to understand outlying contributors, including the hardness of your water and the oiliness of your scalp, for example. From there, this product provides scientific hair care tips. They even include a list of specific products that should suit your personalized needs.
Keep reading for everything to know about hairID.
Lemma Labs was founded by Dalar Nazarian PhD, Rohan Bansal PhD and Clare Plunkett MBA, who launched out of personal frustration. They felt like there were so many products out there to treat just about every hair characteristic or condition, but not many reliable ways to identify what your hair needs in the first place. After attempting the curly girl method for a while, Nazarian struggled to determine her hair’s thickness, porosity and damage level. The DIY methods touted online frustrated the chemical engineer in her because they were unreliable and often rooted in pseudoscience. She figured it couldn’t be that hard to scientifically test my hair, but as it turns out, if you want to do this in a lab, it will cost you thousands of dollars. Instead, she decided to figure out how to accurately and affordably test her hair. After extensive research and experimentation, she (with the help of Bansal and Plunkett) did it!
HairID helps customers learn about their hair’s properties and how to employ knowledge of these properties to build a personalized scientific hair care routine. The properties tested are scalp condition, hair porosity, hair thickness, type and extent of hair damage, and the hardness of client’s shower water. They don’t sell hair care products, but rather information to inspire confidence. Their goal is to gain informed clients. They want them to understand their hair and own it. Their mission is to empower clients with the information they need to navigate the all-too-complicated hair care world.
How to Use It
1. The brand samples around 20 of your hair strands, broken into sections to assess the average properties.
2. Everything is done scientifically. The founders determined the number of samples needed to achieve statistically significant results. Even the procedure for washing hair samples is based upon academic papers.
3. Their classifications of thickness and porosity are based upon a study measuring the hair properties of the general population. When they say your hair is thicker or lower in porosity, they know exactly how your hair compares to others’.
4. Most importantly, they actually measure porosity, which can’t be measured with a microscope. An experienced hair expert may be able to guess at your porosity by looking at a microscopic picture, but it’s just that: a guess. Porosity is a much more nuanced measurement than simply how many cuticles hair strands contain. Lemma is the only non-university lab analyzing the hair with a surface tensiometer, which is a proven way to determine porosity. Given that porosity plays such an important role in how one treats her hair, the founders believe it’s important that hair analysis services should be scrutinized on how they measure this property and prove that they give reliable results, rather than informed guesses.
Key Takeaways From Using the Test
The test results give you confidence knowing that you’re properly taking care of your hair with simple and clear instructions. The client process itself only takes five minutes, and the report focuses on teaching you what to look for. In addition to product recommendations, it contains an ingredient cheat sheet and a report that gives a range of product recommendations (from very affordable drugstore options to higher end brands sold at Sephora and Ulta).
HairID gives you personalized analysis and tells you how to find the products that will work for you. You’re not bound to a single brand or product. For the product-obsessed, hairID helps determine what products are compatible with your hair so you can experiment more effectively. While the price may seem steep, the report is thorough and shares valuable information that will save you from wasting time and money on products that don’t work for your hair. It also confirms theories or resolves misconceptions you may have about your hair.
Speaking of your specific hair, HERE‘s the right comb to used based on your hair type!