Let me start off with a short description of my hair. It’s color-treated, relatively coarse, thick, and tends to take on the shape of a mushroom when it gets longer. Lovely, no?
Iâ€™m constantly on the hunt for shampoos and conditioners to fill a variety of needs: protecting my color, smoothing my strands, not adding any unnecessary volume or weight, and adding a bit of natural shine (not that gross shine that looks like a chef has been using your coiffure to season his wok). How demanding am I? No wonder Iâ€™m single…
So, with my pith helmet securely on my head and my trusty rifle tucked under my arm, I trooped off to Sallyâ€™s one day when my last round of hair products ran out. I had to take down the lioness-like saleswoman before I reached the hair aisle, but I finally found myself perusing the new arrivals, when I spotted a small display of One â€˜n Only products. Iâ€™ve used their Argan Oil Hair Treatment before (a near perfect dupe for MorrocanOil, at a fraction of the cost! Can anyone say hooray for non-branded packaging?), and having been pretty happy with the quality, I decided to take the dive and nab the matching shampoo ($9.49) and conditioner ($9.49). After having spent more time arguing with the cashier than shopping, repeating relentlessly that I did not want to sign up for a Sally Card because I already had one, I headed home to try out my mini-haul.
By this time, it had been about a week since I had used a clarifying treatment on my hair (to remove the residue left from the relatively heavy Jonathan:Dirt cream-paste and Davines Relaxing Fluid), and a day since I’d washed it, so these seemed like perfect conditions to put this stuff to the test.
Stepping into the shower, I just let the water splay over my back for a minute or two. Donâ€™t you just love that feeling of near-boiling hot water opening every pore on your body; little tendrils of steam wrapping themselves softly around your limbs, caressing your neck, providing a sensuous release from the stress outside the glass door? Donâ€™t tell me you donâ€™t, because I wonâ€™t believe you.
I started out with the shampoo, a slightly pearlescent, translucent gel, and squeezed about a quarter-sized amount into my hand. Working it around between my palms, I expected frothy mini-bubbles, but none appeared because the product contains very few surfactants — chemicals which, while providing excellent cleansing, strip color.
I worked it. And worked it. And nothing. Not a single bubble. The gel had just turned slightly milky and a bit thinner. So, from the get-go, I was already skeptical. But I was willing to tough it out for the sake of testing (and the fact that there was no way I was stepping out into the frigid bathroom this early).
I massaged the stuff into my hair, let it sit for two minutes (I have no idea why, and there is absolutely no evidence to support this, but my hair always feels cleaner if I let the shampoo sit for a bit) and washed it out. After recovering from the shock of the cold water running down my face, I really felt my hair. And it felt clean. Like, really clean. Near what it feels like after I use a clarifying treatment, but much, much smoother.
This was good. So I moved onto the conditioner. This stuff just seemed like your average conditioner — thick, white, and creamy. It spread surprisingly far and made my hair feel really slippery, definitely due in part to the few and various silicones in it. I busted out a quick showtune (â€œDefying Gravityâ€ from Wicked — really helps the conditioner absorb better), rinsed, and stepped out from the tender embrace of the tiled sanctuary and into the cold, bleak bathroom.
Blotting my hair partially dry, I finished washing up, changed, and lounged around for a bit while I let it air-dry (which is so much better for it than using a blow dryer, ladies and gents). When it was about 60% dry, I ran my hands through my locks and immediately
panicked entered my dark place. My hair felt coarse, piecey, and not at all â€œmoisturizedâ€ or â€œrepairedâ€. What happened? Deep breathing saved me from hyperventilation, and I let it dry the rest of the way.
Tentatively, I reached my hands up to feel what I was sure was going to be the hairy equivalent of a barren wasteland and was shocked to feel soft, luscious, healthy hair! Rushing to a mirror, my reflection confirmed what my hands had already told me (I was assured that they were lying). My hair had movement; it looked luminous — but not greasy — and just overall healthy!
After having used this duo for over a month, I can definitely say that my color has never looked better this far from my last cut. Barely any fading, and it still looks rich and multidimensional. And with no dryness that can often occur around the one-month period after a color. I couldnâ€™t be happier!
Scent-wise, both the shampoo and conditioner have the same faint aroma of Argan oil. Never smelled it? Itâ€™s hard to describe, but it falls somewhere along the line of hazelnuts cooked slowly in browned butter, with a dash of dark brown sugar to create a nice glaze, and some soft spice that brings to mind just a hint of an exotic land where the ground is made of soft silt, and trees grow in wild shapes, their gnarled branches spackled with green leaves the size of silver dollars, alongside thin reeds bending towards a clear, clean brook whose water rushes playfully over muted fish and silent stones.
Or something like that…
The scent is mild, but definitely there, and a hint of it stays on your locks for an hour or so after they dry, a true sensory experience to be enjoyed.
So, has my search for the perfect shampoo and conditioner come to an end? Perhaps. These two pretty much deal with every issue I face. Of course, Iâ€™ll still test out new products for reviews-sake, but I think Iâ€™ll be hard-pressed to find anything that can replace these.