I originally wrote about my Honest Review of Monat Hair Care for Postpartum Hair Loss in October 2017 (as a separate post).
Because I wanted to take the time to try the products for a longer time period, I posted a separate review including research I had done on Monat and (both positive and negative) experiences of other Monat users.
Below, you will find my original review as well as my 5-month update and some research on the products.
Original Monat Review:
When I was approached by a consultant to try Monat, I was intrigued because I had heard some great feedback about this brand from other moms in some of my Facebook groups.
*Note: I received a free sample of several Monat products in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.
Living more naturally has been a goal of mine for the last few years, although I try to take a practical approach to most things in life (translation: I still like my Oreos on occasion).
So, trying out a new hair care line with naturally-derived ingredients was a no-brainer for me.
When I was told that Monat has been shown to re-grow thinning hair due to postpartum hair loss, I was even more on board.
I used to have VERY thick hair in my younger years. Four kids later, all that changed!
I ended up with dull, dry strands that definitely reflected my lack of attention and time to spend caring about it.
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Hair Care Back-Story
Before trying Monat, I had used many different brands of shampoo and conditioner.
I really don’t use other hair products except for hair spray as they seem to always weigh down my hair and cause buildup.
And, you should know that I’m just not one to fuss over my hair that much.
Sadly, hairstyling has never been my talent and I don’t like to spend time thinking about it! I’m lucky to get out of the house on time these days, and having perfect hair is the least of my concerns.
In fact, if it weren’t for my sister who is a professional hair stylist, I’d probably still have “weenie-roll” bangs from the 8th grade. Thanks, sis. 🙂
Brands I’ve Tried prior to Monat
My favorite store-brand that is more-natural than most is Not Your Mother’s.
I’ve been using their Shampoo and conditioner for quite a while now, on and off.
It works fairly well for my purposes and doesn’t seem to dry out my hair, cause much buildup or make my scalp itchy- which I can’t say for a lot of shampoos.
I seem to have super-sensitive skin (scalp included) and I try to avoid fragrances and things that might potentially cause a reaction. (I discuss this in my DIY hand soap recipe post also.)
Not Your Mother’s does not contain any sulfates, parabens or dyes which is awesome for the low price tag.
With all that said, while this product does accomplish a little volume for me, it doesn’t seem to make my hair extra shiny and I sometimes have trouble with frizz in humidity.
A salon brand I’ve used most recently is Nioxin, which is supposed to specifically “put your scalp in optimal condition for hair growth” – which is what any hair growth “formula” must accomplish. (Direct quote from my sister.)
I do think Nioxin helped my hair to grow more than usual. But other than that, it didn’t seem to help with shine or volume.
And the Nioxin conditioner I used did NOTHING for my hair (about as good as not using any at all).
I won’t even mention the vast other brands I’ve tried, but again, I’ve gotten a lot of birthday and Christmas hair-product-gifts from my sister over the years so I’ve had opportunity to try many of the top brands.
I had a friend who once referred to her collection of discarded hair products as her “drawer of broken dreams”. 🙂
Yeah, I’ve got one of those.
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss Anyhow?
But in a nutshell, the drop in pregnancy hormones post-baby typically leads to shedding of hair for most moms.
Most people are also aware that stress can be a contributing factor to hair loss, and there’s even been shown to be a link between lack of sleep and hair loss.
I find this interesting because, obviously, new moms rarely get enough sleep! I know I sure didn’t.
With that said, if your baby won’t sleep AT ALL, you should look into the Baby Sleep Made Simple programs by my friend and baby sleep expert, Jilly Blankenship. Her programs have been a lifesaver for so many moms.
Related post: Expert Baby Sleep Tips I Wish I Had Found MUCH Sooner
I think it’s important to consider all the factors that might be causing or making your hair loss worse.
And also keep in mind that if your hair loss is excessive or lasts beyond first year of baby’s life, you should talk to your doctor.
So there’s the long-winded back story to this review. I like to be thorough!
But back to Monat.
My Initial Experience with Monat
I was sent samples of Revive Shampoo, Renew Shampoo, and Revitalize conditioner.
I started using the Revive Shampoo and Revitalize conditioner and I did notice right away that it seemed to get my hair squeaky-clean and had more volume.
I was told it’s supposed to be great for removing all the buildup that other chemical-loaded products can cause.
After using this combo for about 2 weeks, I tried the Renew Shampoo with the same conditioner (Revitalize) for a few more weeks.
Personally, I liked the Renew Shampoo better. It’s formulated for hydration, which I need!
And it’s probably just a preference thing, but it had a little thicker texture and seemed even more effective in cleansing.
This might just be from again, removing even more product buildup as I used Monat longer.
•The picture on the left is the day before I started using Monat. And the right is after using Monat for about three weeks.
(Before picture – I truly wish was better quality. I’m terrible at curling the back of my hair too, ugh. #BusyMomProblems)
One thing I found amazing: if you look at the right-hand picture, you can see how straight my hair is. This was after ONLY blow-drying with a Wet Brush.
Normally, I can’t get my hair this straight without using a straightening iron. My hair is just wavy enough to not comply.
I think that Monat helped to smooth and relax my hair, and it was awesome to be able to skip the flat iron!
I had no issues with sensitive scalp, itchiness or any other reaction, as was expected. Just a really clean feeling after each wash.
Also, I was able to go THREE days between washings with Monat, which I’ve never been able to do with other brands.
My hair is weird – it feels dry and brittle to the touch but it also typically gets very greasy if I go more than 2 days between washings. So, three days was AWESOME for this busy mom.
Monat: The initial verdict
I think I would see even better results over time. I am going to order the Magnify System and see how I like it over the next few months.
I have to admit I thought the prices were a little high for what I’m used to spending.
I’m frugal BUT I know that you sometimes have to spend a little more for quality natural products.
So this is one of those things you just have to weigh the benefit versus price.
Additionally, I think the cost would even out over time if I’m able to use less product via less frequent washings.
I’m told this is because Monat uses about a 20% higher concentration of product versus water compared to other brands.
You can check out my consultant, Melanie’s direct website link for more information on Monat.
At this point in time, I would definitely recommend this brand for anyone looking for a toxin-free hair care system that seems to be proven to make hair healthier and smoother – at least for me!
5-Month Update, Additional Thoughts and Research:
Based on feedback I’ve received, there apparently are a lot of women and moms searching for Monat hair reviews and wondering if Monat will be the holy grail for hair growth after having babies.
And it’s no wonder, because postpartum hair loss can be pretty concerning.
I think it’s true that our hair becomes a part of our identity as women and even though we gladly give up about everything for our children, we hope that our hair isn’t one of those things we have to sacrifice completely!
Five months ago, I had received a free sample of a few Monat products from a consultant in a mom-group I belonged to on Facebook, and I thought it would be fun to try out something new and blog about it.
Plus, my hair had taken a beating from four pregnancies and I thought the review might be intriguing to other moms who have experienced the same hair issues as I have over the years.
Just a reminder: I am NOT an expert beauty / hair care blogger, nor do those topics really rank high in importance to me at this stage in my life.
(Translation: I’m busy raising kids, I work mostly from home – and you’re not going to find me stressing over my appearance!)
However, I DO write about my semi-crunchy lifestyle and how I’ve been slowly incorporating products that promote more natural living in my home over the last few years.
I also write about work-from-home opportunities and I realize there may be moms considering Monat as a direct selling business opportunity.
Why I’m Writing This Updated Monat Review
It’s important to me that others who might be curious about the same types of products I’ve mentioned can trust that I’ve researched them to the best of my ability.
I want to provide an honest opinion that might help others in their own decision-making processes.
First of all: I do not sell Monat (nor do I plan to), and I do not receive financial compensation from the sale of any of their products.
As I stated, I received a free sample in the beginning which anyone could receive from any consultant if they asked.
But neither my original post nor this post is a sponsored post — in other words, I’m not being paid to write Monat reviews.
So, when I started receiving questions about “hair detox” and readers wondering if I had lost hair, experienced sores on my scalp – obviously I wanted to know what they were talking about.
Clearly, there are a lot of people searching for answers about Monat products, their effectiveness and Monat hair growth reviews.
So I’m going to do my best to summarize my own results as well as what I’ve found through reading tons of articles about this company, the good and bad reviews and whether the customer complaints are something you should be concerned about.
First I’m going to talk about my personal results with Monat after using these products for a full five months now.
Then I’m going to discuss some information you might want to know before you consider using (or selling) Monat.
My results with Monat after 5 months:
At this point, my hair has grown quite a bit. Here’s the progress from October 2017 to March 2018:
It’s a little hard to compare the very first picture to the last two because I had (sloppily) curled my hair in the “before” picture, and it was rainy/humid that day as well.
I have not had my hair cut or colored since right before I started using Monat, so if you look at the last picture, you can easily see where my highlights have grown out, which is sort of a marker for how much growth I’ve had at this point.
My experience so far:
1. My hair is as long as it’s ever been. In fact, the last time it was this long was right before my wedding (16 years ago).
In truth, it’s been 5 months and I’m way overdue for a cut/color. But it’s not uncommon for me to go 3 or 4 months between cuts, and I’ve never seen my hair grow this fast before.
It typically gets very frizzy and unmanageable by this point.
I get asked about my hair almost daily and how fast it’s grown, so it’s definitely noticeable by others as well.
2. My hair is a lot smoother, softer and straighter after blow-drying, without the use of a flat iron.
Again, in case you’re wondering, all I use to style my hair is an inexpensive blow dryer that I got on an Amazon lightning deal last year, and a Wet Brush. Nothing fancy.
3. I have not experienced any negative reactions such as hair loss, itching, breakouts, etc.
Thank goodness! I have definitely had reactions to other shampoos and conditioners (only a few times though) – even expensive salon brands.
4. I am still able to go at least 3 days between washings, sometimes 4, which I’ve never been able to do with any other products in the past.
So at this point, I’m very pleased with the products I’ve tried this far.
I do want to point out the EXACT products that I’ve used, which are the Renew Shampoo, Revitalize Conditioner, Air Dry Cream, Super Moisture Masque, and the Refinish Control Hairspray.
Most of the time, I just use the Renew Shampoo, Revitalize conditioner and Refinish hairspray and less frequently use the other products mentioned. (Back to that low-maintenance mom thing!)
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room (or maybe it’s more obvious than that):
Does Monat Cause Hair Loss and Other Negative Side Effects for some people?
This seems to be the million-dollar question, quite literally.
When I started researching “negative Monat reviews”, I discovered there are numerous complaints and even class-action lawsuits being filed against Monat, from women claiming Monat caused serious damage to their scalp and hair.
A quick search of “Monat Reviews” on YouTube seemed to highlight many more negative than positive experiences with Monat.
The main allegations are by women who have experienced symptoms ranging from from mild to extreme hair loss – losing hair in clumps, resulting in bald spots and even open sores on the scalp.
But is this a case of the “the squeaky wheel gets the grease?”
And why would a product that is marketed as being “naturally based, safe and pure” seem to have such severe side effects for so many people?
From what I can gather, it does appear that there is an unknown percentage of women who are particularly sensitive to some of the ingredients found in Monat products.
One ingredient that is speculated to be a culprit in many of these claims is Capixyl.
Capixyl has been around for a few years as an agent to promote hair growth but it hasn’t yet been cleared by the FDA, unlike Monoxidil which is used in Rogaine, for example.
Note: Monat has addressed the negative claims here, stating: “MONAT uses ingredients considered safe for cosmetic use by FDA and European Commission. All MONAT products are made in facilities that are GMP certified, registered with the FDA operated in accordance with FDA regulations and that are subject to FDA audit and inspection.”
(Update: the above-referenced page where I found this quote has apparently been taken down since I wrote this post.)
From what I am reading, the ingredients themselves are considered safe, but the drug Capixyl, a biomimetic signal peptide which is a combination of ingredients, has not actually been cleared by the FDA.
Friends, this stuff is a little complex. Bear with me!
Capixyl contains red clover, which is a natural substance that has been used traditionally for regulating hormones.
According to Web MD, “Red clover contains ‘isoflavones’ which are changed in the body to ‘phytoestrogens’ that are similar to the hormone estrogen.” The interactions information for red clover actually states that “Large amounts of red clover might have some of the same effects as estrogen”.
For this reason, cancer patients in particular should know that if they’re taking Tamoxifen they should not use products containing red clover.
I say this because I would guess that cancer patients could be a target audience for a product that is supposed to promote hair growth.
In this recent news story, a Monat spokesperson contends that their products are thoroughly tested and that there is no warning label regarding Capixyl because the amount of the controversial ingredient isn’t enough to warrant concern.
They also point to independent clinical studies on the safety and effectiveness of Capixyl.
It seems likely that where the problem really lies is in how the products were marketed to certain consumers.
I’ve read several accounts of customers who experienced the hair loss and sores on their scalp and were told that these were “detox symptoms” by their consultants and that they needed to push through to see the positive results later.
I have searched for information about this “hair detox” term and have spoken with my sister about it as well, who is a stylist at a very reputable high-end salon.
There doesn’t seem to be any real science to prove that hair loss and open sores are part of any natural process your scalp should go through in order to regrow hair.
In fact, any reputable hair professional or doctor will tell you that if you experience these symptoms, you are clearly having a reaction to the ingredients and you should discontinue use immediately.
Although Monat refers to a “detoxifying process” on their website, they also clearly state that damage to your hair and scalp are not part of this process.
So, is Monat really “natural” or not?
It’s important to note that the term “naturally-derived” simply means that some ingredients from nature were used to create the product…which has ingredients not occuring in nature added to it, of course.
I knew that when I started using Monat that it wasn’t a chemical-free product, but that it is supposed to contain far less toxins than your average hair care products.
And I also understand that anyone can have a sensitivity or allergic reaction to just about any product.
Another thing I didn’t put a lot of thought into however, is that there are other natural ways to grow your hair longer and stronger, and there are many online resources to teach you how to do this.
This is something else to consider before investing a ton of money in a natural hair product line.
I’ve written a few different articles which mention my own sensitivities to products containing synthetic fragrances (I’ll list these at the end of the post).
So, I was a little disappointed that I somehow missed the fact that Monat does contain synthetic fragrances.
I noticed “fragrance” on the label as soon as I received my products in the mail. I, like most people, probably zoomed in on the possibility of thicker hair with Monat and overlooked it.
Monat’s website states this: “We use fragrances with ingredients approved as safe by the Research Institute for the Fragrance Material (RIFM) and the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). RIFM is the scientific authority for the safe use of fragrance materials.”
As for me personally, I have not experienced the problems with Monat that I would normally associate with fragrance sensitivities. (Dry, itchy, tender scalp.)
I HAVE had sensitivities to other shampoos with strong fragrances in the past.
Will I continue to use Monat in light of this (somewhat confusing) information?
To be honest, I’m not sure, and I’ll tell you why in a second.
The fact that Monat might not be as “natural” as I might have originally thought isn’t an absolute deal-breaker for me.
As I’ve said over and over, the term “natural” and “healthy” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
For me, it’s finding a balance with products that are the least toxic (as possible), but actually work.
So, in the “less toxic” and “gets results” categories, Monat meets those marks for me – at least as of now.
But the one nagging thing that disturbs me in all of this is the attitude that seems to be portrayed by executives at Monat as they are addressing the claims of hair loss and other damage experienced by consumers.
They are basically countering these claims with more negativity, stating that the women who have come forward are completely making up the information, falsifying photographs, and simply trying to redirect business to other competitors.
Could this be happening?
Your guess is as good as mine, but it seems illogical that a handful of women would go to such great lengths in an attempt to defame a multi-billion dollar company.
According to one report, the FDA is currently investigating 187 adverse reports related to Monat products.
This seems to be reminiscent of the Wen FDA investigation which has been ongoing since 2016.
Consumers reported many of the same symptoms with Wen products, although the number of claims was much higher (1,386 adverse event reports as of November 2016).
This article from Buzzfeed explains the lawsuit Monat is filing against one particular customer (and former consultant).
Maybe this is standard in the beauty industry to go to these great lengths to protect their reputation – I have no idea.
But I didn’t get the impression that the Monat executives were very empathetic at all to customers alleging very serious side effects from their products.
Monat Research – In summary
One important thing to keep in mind for each one of us: MLM consultants who are selling you a hair product likely do not have the same level of expertise as a well-trained hair care professional, nor the experience of dealing with hundreds or thousands of heads of hair.
Talk to a trained, reputable stylist about what hair products are beneficial for you.
Just because something is marketed as “natural” doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe for everyone.
Remember that essential oils are natural and can be very beneficial, but are also potent in large doses. Anyone can have an adverse reaction to a given oil.
And PLEASE talk to your doctor if you experience any adverse reactions to any hair or skin care products.
I don’t care if your best friend is selling it to you, your health should be the priority!
I truly hope that any potential problems with these products are resolved quickly, and that more information will be available for all of us in the future.
While I’m no hair and beauty expert, clearly, I would hate to recommend any product that turns out to be more harmful than helpful to you!