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Maybe it's because I was born in the '80s. Maybe it's because I grew up thinking Ariel, despite her naivety, was the ideal woman.
Whatever the reason, I can never seem to get enough volume in my hair. I've blow-dried from every angle, spent an embarrassing amount of money on products — including the best volumizing shampoos — and even broke combs while trying to turn my flat mop into Shania Twain's famous mane.
So, when I saw the John Frieda root booster with over 2,500 reviews on Amazon, it went straight into my cart. At this price, I couldn't afford to not try it.
It's hard for me to get out of Starbucks without spending at least $5 — and, my caffeine high only lasts a couple hours. This 6-ounce bottle of John Frieda Root Booster Blow Dry Lotion, on the other hand, looked like it would last a month or more. Of course, its 3.9-star average rating spoke volumes too!
Who is it for?
My hair is "normal." No one ever asks me about it or compliments me on it. It's not thick, nor is it fine. It's also not overly curly or stick-straight. I haven't found anywhere that says this product is designed for specific types of hair. I even came across a few reviews from men. The scent — which I would describe as slightly coconut-y and like a candle I'd want for my home — is there, but it's subtle.
The fine print
The bottle lists 17 ingredients, including sea salt and wheat protein, on its label. I read dozens of reviews and didn't come across any complaints about weird reactions.
Instead, a lot of the complaints — and again, most reviews were positive — had to do with the design of the bottle. I haven't experienced it yet, but apparently the nozzle can get clogged. However, it sounds like it can be easily fixed by scraping off the product buildup.
The other most common complaint is that it can make your hair feel crunchy. Personally, I think a lot of that has to do with how much product you use.
Also, despite its name, this product is not a lotion — it's a clear spray.
So, how does it work?
John Frieda has an entire line of volume-boosting products. I chose this one because it is designed to specifically lift at the roots, adding body to the lengths.
According to the brand this spray is, "formulated with a root-lifting complex, polymer technology, and panthenol" that boosts volume and strengthens hair.
The first time I tried it I wasn't expecting much. Still, I liberally sprayed my towel-dried hair (I washed with basic hotel shampoo and conditioner), focusing most of the spritzing around the crown of my head. Then, per the directions on the bottle, I blow-dried it with my hotel room's blow dryer.
The results silenced my inner skeptic.
You know that confidence you have when you leave the hair salon?
Imagine having it in your bathroom without having to get out your wallet. That's exactly how I felt when I first admired my voluminous new hair in the mirror.
It's important to point out that I didn't add any other products, blow dry with a special diffuser or even do a single backcomb.
Still, I had noticeably more lift at my roots! I would say at least a centimeter, if not two. It was as though a puppet master was lifting up my hair with invisible strings. The only problem was I didn't have plans to go out and show it off.
While no one has asked me to sign their old "Come on Over" CD and Disney World hasn't recruited me to be their Ariel, I can definitely commit to subscribing to this product on Amazon.
A part of me ordered it just so I could use it when I visit. That's not bad, is it?
This article was originally published on January 15, 2020.
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