Let me pre-face this by saying: this blog post (and ultimately this blog) will not be about hippy dippy products. I colour my hair, highlight it, have had extensions in the past; I am not one for natural hair. I can’t use any old hair prods and expect silky soft tresses. My hair is DAMAGED (but, you know, a really nice colour). Often the search for cruelty-free and/or silicone-free products leads me to what I refer to as ‘health-food shop type’ brands, which are great for virgin hair that has not been chemically tortured, but I can’t wash my hair with baking soda and vinegar as is the online DIY trend and expect good results. I need (and want) salon quality, high-tech ingredients, and in most cases nice packaging. I’m superficial and if I’m spending $30 on a conditioner I want it to look damn good on my bathroom cupboard (incidentally my experience with a homemade olive oil and egg hair mask left me with cooked-egg-covered, matted hair, which has turned me off DIY attempts).
Yarok ‘Feed Your Volume’ shampoo and conditioner:
This are my least favourite of the above products. I read online reviews before purchasing and was assured you would get great, super-soft results. After using the shampoo, however, my hair had that horrible squeaky-clean feeling after use which to me means that hair has been stripped of moisture. To be fair, the idea behind this is probably to remove any oily residue from roots which would give volume, but my hair was as flat as ever and now felt dry to boot. The conditioner, to be honest, was fine. I like that it includes macadamia nut oil and it smelt lovely in a smoky, musky way. My hair felt nice-ish after, but certainly the results weren’t worth the price ($17 for the travel size, which I bought, $35 for the full size). I do like that Yarok products are vegan and cruelty free, and say so right on the front of their product packaging, but I wouldn’t repurchase. If however you have fine and/or oily hair that is not damaged or dry at all I would give these a go as they would suit this hair type much better. Bought from http://iamnaturalstore.com.au.
John Masters ‘Scalp’ spearmint and meadow sweet scalp stimulating shampoo:
This is one of those new-fangled, trendy hair prods designed to stimulate hair growth. The spearmint and meadow sweet purify the scalp and encourage blood flow to follicles to induce, and create a ‘clean canvas’ for, hair growth. I am growing my hair out and was instantly won over by the promise of hair growth. I haven’t this product long enough to comment on that claim, but this product is FANTASTIC. Leave it for 30-60 seconds and you get a wonderful clean, fresh, tingling peppermint-y feeling and your hair feels clean, but not in the stripped way of the Yarok shampoo. Your scalp practically feels glowing. Its gentle enough for my damaged hair and leaves it soft. Other key ingredients: eucalyptus oil removes bacteria and is anti-inflammatory, zinc reduces irritation and protects the scalp and soy protein strengthens hair follicles. Purchased from http://www.greenorganics.com.au.
John Masters ‘Honey and Hibiscus Hair Reconstructor’:
I like this because it sounds like a high-tech salon product, despite being cruelty-and silicone free. The ingredients include honey to moisturize, hibiscus to add shine and maintain a healthy scalp, linolenic, hyaluronic and wheat amino acids to repair and smooth the hair shaft and soy protein to strengthen hair follicles and make hair thicker. The very exotic sounding cupuacu butter is also very moisturizing and lends a rich, creamy consistency to the product. This product, despite the name, doesn’t smell as amazing as I expected, but made my hair feel instantly and noticeably smoother, softer and less frizzy. My hair felt much healthier after washing, was easier to comb, and surprisingly had more volume than usual (due to the lack of silicones). It was shinier, and the effects lasted AFTER my hair dried until I next wash it. This is the sign of a truly good silicone-free product. Silicones in normal products coat the hair and make it feel smoother and less damaged, but only because you essentially have a plasticky layer on your hair shaft. Over time the ‘cones build up and moisturizing ingredients can no longer penetrate the hair shaft, ultimately causing drier and more damaged hair. If a silicone-free product makes your hair feel softer and smoother it is actually improving your hair condition rather than masking damage. They will not have the same silky ‘slip’ that ‘coney products have, but are much much better for your hair long term. I will be repurchasing this product, and reccomend it for dry and slightly to moderately damaged hair (truly damaged hair will benefit from this product’s use long-term, but if your hair is genuinely damaged beyond repair, i.e. due to bleach damage, a silicone free product will not be able to improve the condition. This type of hair may actually need ‘cones until it grows out, imo). Purchased from http://www.greenorganics.com.au.
Kevin Murphy ‘Angel’ wash and rinse:These products, like Yarok and unlike John Masters, have a cruelty-free logo on the packaging, which I like. John Masters is certainly cruelty-free and do not test their ingredients or products on animals, but their packaging does not state this; it requires website-FAQ research. It doesn’t really make a difference but I prefer the packaging to have some assurance of being cruelty-free. Neither the products, nor the Kevin Murphy website, claims these products to be silicone-free, so please correct me if I am actually wrong, but I spent a few gruelling afternoons researching ‘cones and their many nom-de-plumes, and can’t find any in the ingredient lists, but I’m not an expert. I also believe this is an Australian brand, but again I’m certain. The brand is however used in many, many salons, which is a testament to its quality, and is generally only able to be purchased from a salon or specialty-hair product store like Hairhouse Warehouse. I love the pretty pink packaging and the ‘Angel’ name because I’m a sucker for a pretty product, and both smell amazing (the conditioner in particular has a very sweet, orange-y cupcake scent). Both are designed for dry, coloured, fine hair, and promise to moisturize and volumize. The ‘wash’ or shampoo comes out a beautiful pale lavender colour and lathers into a marshmallow-like foam, despite being sulphate and paraben-free and very gentle. It leaves hair feeling soft and smooth, but clean. The conditioner, OH MY GOODNESS I love it!!! Despite the ‘rinse’ name it is thick and luxurious in texture, and on the hair has this amazing silky texture. Your fingers literally glide through your hair when you rinse it out. I find it works best when I leave it for 15-30 minutes in the bath, like a hair mask. My hair feels very soft and smooth after use of these products, but I will mention that the softness fades a little after a few days post-wash. I don’t think this is really a negative point though, as I pointed out earlier my hair is damaged and these products don’t ‘mask’ that, but improve the health of hair over time. I would happily repurchase these products, though not from the salon where I originally bought them as the owner who served me was so rude. Therefore I will not name the salon.
John Masters Green Tea and Calendula conditioning mist:
This product is used after washing and towel-drying hair, and is essentially like a detangler or very light leave-in conditioner. It has a sort of light herbal, floral smell, and comes out in a very fine mist. I use this before a leave-in serum or oil to detangle, because I use the oil only on my dry ends, and still need something to moisturize and manage the upper part of my hair. This works very well and allows to comb my hair after washing where it would normally be very tangled and knotty. If you have oily or fine hair you could use this alone, but I like to follow with an oil or serum. Purchased from http://www.greenorganics.com.au.
The Body Shop ‘Shea Beautifying Oil’:
This product is designed to be used all over the body as well as the hair, but I prefer not to feel like a slippery snake after a shower. It is however a very light ‘dry’ oil that is great for moisturizing hair without leaving it greasy. It has a very liquid-y, fluid texture, which is unusual for a hair oil that does not contain silicones. It has a perfume-y sweet smell which is artificial, but I’m fine with that because my hair smells like caramel after using this. It makes my hair softer and SO SHINY. I’m finding it a little light for my bleached ends, but for finer or less damaged hair this would be an amazing product for shine and softness without weighing hair down.
Bought from the Body Shop store.
While I like silicone free products, I am interested in trying some with water-soluble ‘cones. These wash out with water and do not cause build-up at all, while acting essentially like a normal silicone (find more info here: http://www.pinksith.com/2013/05/silicones-in-hair-care-what-you-need-to.html). Cruelty-free prods with water soluble ‘cones are Paul Mitchell The Detangler and I believe The Conditioner (leave-in) and The Body Shop Brazil Nut define and no-frizz hair cream. I haven’t tried these though so I can’t review them yet!
UP NEXT: my amaze-balls experience with an online vegan beauty product store!!!