hair products

It’s been a month or so since my last contemplation of the problem that is the styling management of my hair. Back in defrizzing vs. fizzing I’d been messing around with Products. Some had not been successful (Giovanni Frizz Be Gone, their Shine of the Times; Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer); one had been more successful so far (Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother); and then there were some from back in days of yore.

Well, that Aveda smooth smoother wasn’t an unmitigated success either.


The pros:

  • yes, it controlled hair
  • no scent allergies set off
  • great results for first few weeks (errm, that is, almost exactly the time up to the writing of that post)

The cons:

  • eventual (minor) irritation on skin: neck, down back, sides of face, anywhere else that hair was touching. This could be controlled to some extent by not letting hair touch skin while hair was wet. And tying hair up/back at night. But not completely. Hence
  • hair got limp. Limpness is not a sought-after attribute for anything. Can you think of the last time you saw “limp” being used in a positive sense? “Flexible,” even “loose,” “fluid,” “bendy,” “languid/languorous” always get used instead.
    Even doing one more shampoo than usual. And using a cider-vinegar rinse (barf–much prefer using the stuff in cooking and salad dressings–I digress). I even used a friend’s clarifying shampoo. Main result: choice between limper hair that greased up faster (1.5 days after washing), or hair that was very clean but dried out faster (4 days).

Conclusion: some silicones may be OK on my hair, but only for occasional use or a short time. I can’t be arsing about with having products for different occasions. I need one single leave-in defrizzifier that I can use every time I wash my hair, just bung the stuff in and get out the house. Not really “need”–let’s be fair: “require.” I loathe clutter, and like wide-open spaces where one can fling one’s arms around, jiggle and jive, punch the air, and not live in fear of knocking over knick-knacks. And not have to clean and dust them and all around them. Being a minimalist means your aesthetic ideal is to have less stuff, fewer objects, each one precious and beloved because it’s been so carefully chosen as the ideal of its kind. Better, if it’s multi-tasking: hence my love of the multi-tasking cleanser, moisturiser, and oil. Even better still, one product that does it all. But it doesn’t exist. And the absolute ideal would be no products at all. Then again, that’s an ideal, and absolute, and like any such things–apotheosis, the sublime, zenith, Platonic Form–not of this (= the real) world.

So back to the virtual drawing-board went I.

To cut a long story short–because following research and data analysis is rarely riveting, and the momentary lapses of reason that result in interesting cognitive leaps are hard to follow let alone reconstruct reliably–I came up with this, have been testing it out, and pronounce it to be (IMHO, YMMV) Good:

It does what it says on the tin:

This natural, leave-in hair treatment uses organic kelp in place of synthetic silicone to smooth the hair shaft, leaving hair shiny and soft, all day long.

I’ve been using it on damp hair–stuck in towel after shower, patted and blotted a bit, towel left on while I stick moisturiser on face etc. (basically rest of morning titivation rite), towel removed, this stuff applied to hair that’s still moist, not dripping-wet, not dry (it’s thick, so would take about a week to dry if just left wrapped up in a towel).

Application: It’s a clear near-odourless gel. I love this stuff for the sheer amusement the texture provides: who doesn’t love jelly? and an excuse to play with jelly first thing in the morning? Following the advice of a good MUAer (see product reviews & hair-board comments), I mixed in some water. Just a few drops. Rubbed hands together. Ran them through hair, with more on the frizzier bits and on the ends.

Hair then combed through, fingers run through it, and left to dry naturally while the rest of me has clothing applied and applies itself to coffee and breakfast. Once hair is dryish, I brush it. Frizzy bits are curly. It all feels soft. It’s got a decent amount of shine: not dull, but not a mirror-like gloss (sorry, but you do really need silicone for that. And straightening irons or other heating devices. And post-styling shine serums, sprays, etc. Some glitter wouldn’t go amiss either.). And it’s bouncy.

No irritation on surrounding skin. No sneezing. This stuff does seriously smell of nearly nothing–there’s a little fresh sea-green note to it, but you’ve really got to stick your nose into the gel before it hits; no added essential oils, except chamomile and calendula, which may add a touch of the herbal to that greenness; both EOs are fine on my skin and up my nose, and indeed used in a lot of specifically fragile-/sensitive-friendly stuff.

The end result is a little like Phytodéfrisant (but softer and with more fullness; both products are unscented), and very like Aveda Curl Enhancer in terms of detangling, defrizzing, softness, volume, general feel: but minus the scent and irritation (and silicone).

Downside: this stuff is more expensive than either (+HST etc. in shops):
JMO Shine On = CAD 37.00 / 113 g
Phytodéfrisant = CAD 28.00 / 100 ml (there’s a 150 ml tube that works out a little cheaper per ml)
Curl Control =  CAD 36.00 / 200 ml.

We’ll see how long it lasts and whether I’m still getting the same results by the time I’m running out. Might rebuy, might go back to Phytodéfrisant. Who knows, something else new and shiny might be on the market by then; or something older that I’d not noticed might have sparkled and caught my eye. Fickle, me? Never…

INGREDIENTS: Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera leaf juice) gel, aqua (water), glycerin, guar gum, sodium alginate, daucus carota sativa (carrot) seed oil, olea europaea (olive) oil, calendula officinalis (calendula) extract, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) extract, xanthane gum, methylcellulose gum, macrocystis pyrifera (kelp) extract, marine phytoplankton, fagus sylvatica (beech) extract

Some more stuff off the website:

• organic kelp creates incredible shine, volume and softness
• gives a natural looking shine without weighing hair down
• does not leave oily build up on the hair shaft, which leads to dullness
• contains no petroleum-based silicone

• great for all hair types, even fine hair
• to add shine and volume to dull, limp hair
• excellent leave-in hair treatment to strengthen and fortify hair

• apply to wet or dry hair
• style as usual
• add more as needed for increased softness and shine

OK: couple of things here:

  • I have no objections (see elsewhere on this blog) to petroleum by-products. I do have massive objections to car-culture and its consequent selfish crass excesses of gas-guzzling. And I object to greenwashing that makes a big deal out of not containing petroleum by-products: though that’s usually also touting “no chemicals” (another of my serious allergens).
  • It works really well applied to towel-dried damp hair, dried naturally. It doesn’t work well–on me anyway–applied to dry hair.
  • Applying more are needed works on damp hair–I use more on my frizzier bits–but, again, not once hair is dry. This may be a matter of hair structure and type: mine responds well to things that lock in/on when damp–aloe vera gel, wheat proteins, plant cellulose, mucousy things–as in Shine One, and the marshmallow extract in Phytodéfrisant–but once the hair’s dry, cuticles down and contracted, that stuff does diddly squat.

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