It’s not often that I’ll rush from the Upper East Side to the Village with barely an hour to spare just to grab a product. But my hair was getting long and resisting the mild styling power of my current crÃ¨me, and I had a big night ahead. A flat, shapeless â€˜do simply would not… do.
Australian hair guru Kevin Murphy was the creator of my previously favorite hair product, Easy.Rider. This potent, herbal crÃ¨me left my short, blow-dried hair soft, satiny, and de-frizzed; unfortunately, when my hair gets longer, it tends to lose definition. A quick jaunt through the interweb led me to Kevin Murphy’s interesting pop-art site (and here for the store). Nearly every page has an accompanying podcast where the stylist himself illustrates, step by step, how to style with the lotion, crÃ¨me, or powder; a great little addition that quickly helped me pick the small, jet-black box that was simply one of the most aesthetically appealing packages I’d ever encountered.
One metro ride down to a tiny four-seat salon in the Village completed my quest for my new Hairy Grail, and left me in possession of the cleverly named Night.Rider (about $20 for a 3.7-oz. box).
This soft paste promised a “tough hold and a rough matte texture,” but Kevin Murphy had never met my hair. Although I was still recalling memories of my wonderful jaunt with Easy.Rider, I was skeptical of what this product could do. On my indifferent locks, matte usually equaled flat, and textured often led to tangled. A thorough rinse in cold water and a quick blow out prepped my hair for its upcoming ordeal.
Clicking open the clever latch on the package, my nose was pleasantly assaulted by a smooth citrus scent, reminiscent of a hand painted ceramic bowl nestled in some sunny breakfast nook filled with bright tangerines. As it turns out, Night.Rider is laced with the oils of these tasty fruits, which, due to its incredibly high concentration of Vitamin C, imparts a subtle sheen and reverses environmental damage.
Rubbing a dime-size amount of the concentrated product between my palms quickly emulsified the thick paste into a slightly sticky film that I rather cautiously ran through my hair. Immediately upon contact, I could already see it setting, creating a thick, piecey look. I could have easily stopped there and ran to meet my friend across town, but I wanted more. I massaged the product deep into my roots in the way a good stylist at an expensive salon gives one of those marvelous scalp massages as they let the conditioner set in — strong, circular movements that made sure every strand was evenly coated from root to un-split end. My hair began to feel softer and looked softly defined: small pieces curled and overlapped, and fell in that enviable it-looks-like-I-rolled-out-of-bed-this-way-but-I-really-spent-a-good-deal-of-time-getting-my-hair-this-perfect way (an acronym for that would be greatly appreciated).
When I was done, I sort of looked like a wild man. My hair stuck out in every which way but slowly began to settle into place. I was left with a rough, tousled look with a fair bit of volume. Perhaps too much volume. Although I enjoyed the very slightly bouncy hair on top, the pieces that stuck out from the side made my head appear too round, and I don’t enjoy looking like I fit in with the Peanuts gang. So I pushed that extraneous hair flat against my head, and held it there for a good count of three (not one of those cheating, in-a-hurry counts). And… it stayed.
The amazing property of Night.Rider is how quickly and well it sets. The base of beeswax allows the paste to take control within 90 seconds and set completely within five minutes. Hold any part of your hair where you want it — be it flattened against your scalp, pieced across your forehead, or mussed up and out — for that good count of three, and it’ll stay. Style a perfect chignon, and pull a few pieces loose, holding them in place for that great disheveled look, or separate bangs to show off that great layering your stylist gave you. Hair still retains natural movement, but always shifts back into place. Hurricane force winds may give this product a run for its money, but if you can manage to avoid natural disasters, your styling should be good to go until you wash it out.
Unlike many thick products that require industrial level cleansers to extract from your â€˜do, Night.Rider is nearly completely water-soluble. Even my mildest color-protecting shampoo that lacks the surfactants to really strip out build-up can leave my hair soft and clean after using this product.
And since I’ve begun using this for my new morning scalp massages, my hair actually looks, and feels, healthier. I’ll chalk that up to the wonderfully fragrant tangerine oil infusing every strand with moisture and antioxidants, and the beeswax acting to seal in that moisture and protect from all sorts of damage.
My one gripe with Night.Rider is that the finish is more towards satin than completely matte. Actually, I prefer this, but would have preferred a bit more truth in advertising, and if that’s all I can say against this product, that’s not bad at all.
Night.Rider is like a wax but nowhere near as sticky. It’s like a pomade but isn’t oily in the slightest. It controls and defines short to medium hair and adds texture to longer locks. It can mold hair into modern, sexy, piecey looks, or shape, define, and set a classic â€˜do. Improve the natural state of your hair, and take your nose on a sensory journey.
Create a frozen moment in time that lasts till first light. Night.Rider gives you control, and let’s your hair ride free.