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December 08, 2021
The truth is, I spend an almost absurd amount of time testing hair products. When people tell me excitedly about a new product they’ve seen or read about they expect me to go “Wow!” or “Ooh and aah!”
But like Tinder dates they’re usually far from what’s promised. Realistically most new products are a rehash of the same old off-the-shelf siliconized formulas with all the newness going into the title, an invented backstory for marketing, and a new bottle design. In fact, some of the biggest companies have a formal process of alternate year - new development, with alternate year - what old formula can we just repackage with a new name and position it premium, so we can sell it at four times the price.
A few new bells and whistles to fool people into thinking they’ve found the holy grail of hair care. But don’t be too upset, top hairdressers and beauty journalists fall for it too. So desperate is everyone for anything with the word NEW attached.
LifeSaver is the hero product that started our range. We hadn’t long opened our salon in 1988 and we wanted the very best products for our clients. What was available didn’t feel good enough. Synthetic, cosmetic, unnatural feeling. We simply weren’t happy with the choices offered by international beauty conglomerates.
Their hair care products didn’t feel authentic and didn’t give the lasting results we wanted. Most were developed by clever marketing teams and based more on human behavioural science than hair health science.
We sought out the leading Mayfair trichologist to create products for us that dealt with real hair problems in a healthy way. He normally only formulated products for himself and other trichologists around the world, but he looked kindly on us; a small family business with a loyal client following. They were developed for our salon professional use over 25 years ago and prescribed to clients for take-home, in plain lab bottles with their names handwritten on the label. We used them for all the family’s hair. Even more so on holiday where sun protection for my daughters’ hair was important.
We stocked some international brands too but our own plain bottles outsold them year after year. Clients asked why we didn’t sell our products outside. But we had no proper packaging or branding, just our amazing treatment formula known by its lab code, VC711, and some equally effective shampoos and conditioners. And I knew it would be an enormous project to establish a brand in the wider market beyond our clients who knew and trusted us. The internet wasn’t mainstream yet, and I was too busy running the salon and raising four daughters.
But the years rolled by and eventually the pressure to do more with this unique product pushed me to make ready for a public launch. I found the time and commitment to create our own product brand. But by now we had been using the products for nearly 20 years. We thought they were uniquely effective, our clients thought so too. But what if we’d isolated ourselves in our own small world and missed some breakthrough science in the last decades?
I had to know before launching. I thought we had the finest hair treatment formula but didn’t want to launch something that wasn’t truly the best. So we spent £1000s buying in competitor products from all over the world and testing them 50/50 against ours. Left side against right side. Then next time swap sides and repeat. Everyone’s hair has a better side and we wanted to eliminate biases from the testing. Hair was left to dry naturally after testing and then checked next day too.
Our product outperformed them all and by then I realised that we surely had missed out. Luckily we’d dodged the bullet of silicone additives, which just about every manufacturer was now lacing their products with. A cheap way of giving a cosmetic gloss but with a downside of drying out the hair and aging it faster. There is also evidence that silicone may seep down into the scalp and cause thinning hair.
I realised that our naturally based treatment formula was now even more unique but set about trying to improve it further. We gave the challenge to four labs. Three in the UK and one in the USA.
They struggled to improve what we had, but one sourced a finer, more premium, cashmere amino-acid from France that the hair absorbed at a deeper level. At last a meaningful improvement. We made the change and set about further testing.
I gave litre bottles of sample product to six trusted human guinea pigs. People I knew would follow the program over a twelve-month period and who I saw regularly. One of them was Gaby my personal trainer. She started using the product when her hair was shoulder length, and full of split ends that stood out like the tips of fibre optic strobes against her dark hair.
Nine months later I was trimming her now longer hair in the salon and she remarked that it had never been so long or so healthy. (We dated and married 5 years later. Yes, it was the hair that did it!). It was probably 5 inches longer than when we started the test, and not a split end in sight. Like a thunderbolt, 3 more inches came into my mind. (It could have been 4 or 5 more inches but I’ve always preferred to under-promise and over-deliver).
Once I’d finished Gaby’s hair, I rushed to my library office to check if the domain name was available. I bought the web domain 3moreinches.co.uk. Alas, 3moreinches.com was taken. But .com wasn’t being used and I registered my interest if it came up for sale. I guessed it may end up being expensive but about nine months later I received an email saying I could purchase 3moreinches.com for just $150.00.Everything was coming together and we launched with our special Prewash Treatment VC711 now named LifeSaver, which to me was a perfect description of what it does for hair. But why does LifeSaver work so well?
LifeSaver is the only silicone-free treatment system for all hair types and lengths that dramatically improves the strength health and beauty of your hair from root to tip.
A key ingredient is the ultra-fine amino acids from cashmere protein that are almost identical to the molecular shape of the human hair structure. They are absorbed deeper into the hairshaft to fill the voids and help the hair retain its correct moisture balance.
That means the hair flexes when it moves rather than snapping at a micro level which slowly shrinks the hairshaft. It’s why hair strands are much thinner and drier at the ends than when they are fresh out of the roots. But LifeSaver helps them stay thick, flexible and fresh for longer. LifeSaver helps combat the ravages of hot styling, sun, sea and modern living to give you A-List hair more often, more easily.
Instantly your hair will feel thicker softer and stronger with a healthy shine and swing. And it gets radically better with regular use as you see less thinning, less breakage, less splitting and less colour fade. You will have more natural volume, easier styling and richer vibrant colour.
99% of haircare ranges on the market use types of silicone (usually cyclopentasiloxane or dimethicone) to temporarily mask the damage with a cling film-like wrap. Your hair may feel better – softer more manageable with a cosmetic gloss – but in reality, it’s a ‘fake’ better.
Most silicones actually make the problem worse because they suck the vital moisture out of the hairshaft leaving it brittle and vulnerable to damage. So most haircare is the opposite of ‘care’. It’s destroying the health of your hair.
Blog – Haircare Dirty Secrets #1Blog – Why silicone free?Blog - Why silicone is bad for your hair
• It doesn’t weigh hair down like oil and silicone treatments – you cannot overuse LifeSaver even on fragile fine hair.• It doesn’t leave the hair feeling like nylon or plastic – LifeSaver is full of natural ingredients that leave the hair feeling like great hair.• It doesn’t sit forgotten in bathroom cabinets. LifeSaver is a prewash treatment on dry hair so just takes a minute to apply before going to the gym, spin, blowdry-bar or bed. Hair drinks it up and dries clean so doesn’t soil the pillow case. It fits in so easily with your shampoo routine.
• Hydrolyzed Cashmere Protein Amino Acids - Virtually identical to human hair structure, these ultra-fine molecules are absorbed deep into the hairshaft to repair broken bonds and maintain the moisture balance.• Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein - This helps strengthen and moisturise• Conditioning Complex - A unique blend on conditioning agents to seal and protect.
FREE FROM: silicones, plasticizers, parabens, sulphates, xenoestrogens, phthalates, fragrance or colouring.
For best results use at least twice a week, or if you wash your hair daily use every other day. Soak dry hair with LifeSaver from roots to ends and leave on for at least 45 minutes. Overnight is fine too, or all day on holidays. Then rinse through and shampoo with the appropriate 3’’’More Inches Shampoo for your hair type. Always follow with 3’’’More Inches Conditioner to seal and protect the cuticle.
• Apply LifeSaver a few hours before bedtime and leave overnight. Shampoo and condition next morning.• Apply LifeSaver before leaving home when you know you will be washing your hair – going to the gym, spin class, swim, run, massage, facial, or for your salon blowdry.• On beach holidays apply LifeSaver in the morning and leave in to give protection, shampoo and condition after swimming. Use LifeSaver UV* for extra sun protection.
Some people like the look and leave it in as a styling product or apply a little LifeSaver at the end of styling for finish. On fine to medium hair types LifeSaver UV* is a lighter product designed to be left in.
Healthy hair is 97% protein and 3% water. Naturally beautiful hair isn’t created by adding Silicone or Argan Oil. Too much of each will de-moisturise hair, aging it quicker.
Most silicones are hydrophobic meaning they repel water. If your silicone laden product says it’s moisturising or hydrating your hair, don’t believe it. Brands don’t brag about using silicone on pack fronts. They hide behind scientific names on the back. Dimethicone and Cyclopentasiloxane are the most common and worst for hair health.
Frizz-Ease, Moroccan Oil, Philip Kingsley, Bumble & Bumble, Virtue, and all the other silicone/argan oil laced cosmetic treatments. Then watch and feel as your hair begins to recover its natural health.
Finally, I’d like to thank all our clients who’ve taken the trouble to put reviews on our site. It’s really uplifting for our whole team to read them.
Michael Van Clarke
February 04, 2023
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