My hair and I have been through quite the journey together. I've experienced phases of intense straightening and subsequent heat damage, months of incorporating volumizing treatments and special mousses into my routine to give my natural curls some bounce and the most recent being a blowout obsession, thanks to the Revlon Volumizer Brush. However, one thing has remained consistent throughout each of these phases: It doesn't take much for my hair to get super greasy.
After hearing celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin speak about hair care in an episode of Shop All Day, I learned that having nice hair (and a cleaner scalp) means you need to invest in quality products. Atkin specifically described two items from her own brand, Ouai, which happen to target everything I wanted to fix about my own mane — oil buildup and hydration.
Thanks to a timely PR package, I recently had the chance to try them. (Spoiler alert: I don't think I'll ever turn back.)
Since I have curly hair, I try not to wash it too frequently. Although less cleansing helps it retain moisture, it can also lead to oil buildup from styling products. I thought a "detox" shampoo would strip my hair and leave it feeling brittle, but I was wrong. I fell in love with the way this product lathers (trust me, a little bit goes a long way) and how soft my hair feels after I wash it out. I'm also a big fan of the formula, which includes apple cider vinegar and keratin.
I'm no hair care expert, but I've heard a number of good things about these ingredients and the benefits they reap for your locks. Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist, previously told Shop TODAY that apple cider vinegar has antioxidant properties and can help remove buildup by gentle exfoliation, in addition to adding shine.
This Ouai shampoo is also sulfate-, paraben- and phthalate-free, which means it's safe for all hair types, including my color-treated tresses.
I was particularly excited to try the shampoo around this time of year because the dry winter air tends to make my scalp feel itchy and flakey, but I've been holding out on purchasing a dandruff shampoo (they never smell good). Massaging this into my hair not only feels like it's soaking up all of the gunk and impurities, but also giving my scalp new life. Plus, the scent is amazing. It smells so good that sometimes I shampoo my hair a second time just to get another whiff. It boasts subtle notes of bergamot, lychee, white musk and champagne, which I don't mind because it smells fresh and clean, but other reviewers have noted that it might be a little overpowering for those sensitive to fragrance.
Over the years, I've started to notice that conditioner alone doesn't quite give my hair the hydrating boost it needs. I haven't tried any of Ouai's actual conditioners, but I did try the Ouai Leave-In Conditioner spray — and I love it just as much as the Detox Shampoo.
Maybe the shampoo is so good that I'm left without knots, or maybe the leave-in conditioner works its magic in seconds, but I haven't had to deal with any tangles after washing my hair since I started using this product. It works so well that I've cut my regular conditioner from my routine altogether and just use this post-shower. My hair feels just as good, maybe even better!
The lightweight formula doesn't weigh down my hair, which is exactly what I've been looking for in a product like this. It distributes into my hair evenly and doesn't come off on my hair tools when I brush them through. In addition to leaving my hair hydrated and free of frizz, the leave-in also acts as a pre-styling primer and can protect hair from heat damage up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the brand, this can reduce heat-related breakage by 52 percent.
At $26 a bottle, it's pricier than other leave-ins I've tried, but I'd say it's worth it. It also comes in a mini size if you want to try it before investing in a full-size bottle; you only need around three spritzes to get the job done, so you'll likely get a lot of life out of a smaller bottle anyway.
The conditioner has a bit of a stronger scent than the shampoo, which I can still smell for up to two days after styling my hair with the Revlon brush. It's a plus for me, since most of the products I've used in the past have a scent that fades away within minutes, but this might not be for everyone.
Long story short, I think I found a couple of new staples to add to my hair care routine — and they're definitely worth the investment.
For more hair products we're loving, check out:
- This TikTok-famous headband lets me roll out of bed with perfectly curled hair
- After using this biotin shampoo, my hair has volume that I haven’t seen in years
- This hair care brand has seriously helped repair my locks — for less than $6