One of my goals for this year was to eliminate the clutter from my hair stash. And it’s been four months since I started working toward this goal. Since then I’ve been able to finish 8 different products from my hair care stash. But before I throw them away, I want to put my opinions of them on record because some will be repurchased and others will be put out (for now).
Aphogee 2-Minute Keratin Reconstructor. This product has been a part of my hair care stash since day one of this hair journey. For the first few years this was my go to protein treatment. It smells delicious and kept my hair strength in tact. Even though this product has been there for me through thick and thin, I’m removing it from my hair care stash. Not for lack of performance, but because I want to incorporate ceramide containing products as much as possible and this one sadly does not have ceramides. However, if I used a lye relaxer and/or my hair strands were thicker, this one would be a keeper because: it works; it lasts a long time; and it’s cost effective.
Eden Body Works Coconut Shea Cleansing Co-wash Conditioner. This product is a relatively new addition to my hair stash and until I started using this product I was not a fan of co-washing. In my prior attempts with co-washing, I would use one of the deep conditioners or instant conditioners that I had on hand, but it never really did anything for my hair. However, this product has ingredients in it that not only conditions the hair, but it also cleanses the scalp. It leaves me feeling like I just washed and lightly conditioned it without having to go through the two step process. And as an added bonus, it made detangling a breeze. I’m pretty sure that my strong affinity for this product has something to do with it containing Aloe Vera Juice, which has properties that allow it to break down dead skin cells, balances pH and conditions the hair while adding shine. Despite the awesomeness of this product it might not make the cut. Co-washing is not a necessity in my hair regimen and depending on how many products I’m left with at the end of this purge, it might be one of the first to go if the stash is still too large. But we’ll keep this one on the maybe pile.
Elasta QP Stop Action Neutralizing Shampoo. For as long as I have been relaxing my hair myself, this has been a must-have product in my hair care collection and it will most definitely continue to be. I use this shampoo only on relaxer day, after my mid step protein treatment. This is a neutralizing shampoo and it does not leave my hair feeling stripped after using it. But what makes me never want to let go of this shampoo is that it ensures that my hair is properly neutralized with color alarms. What are color alarms, you ask? Well essentially, when you lather with this product the suds will turn pinkish orange if your hair’s pH has not returned to normal. This prevents you from accidentally not washing out all of the relaxer; it makes sure that your hair is no longer processing; and it ensures proper pH levels after the harshness of your relaxer treatment. When you hair has been properly neutralized the suds remain white. Quick note if you decide to use this product: make sure that you properly rinse the suds from your hair in between lathers to make certain that you don’t contaminate the new lather with old pinkish orange suds. So, if I haven’t made it clear already, this will definitely be in my hair care stash after the purge (and honestly, now that I’m out of it, I will be repurchasing before my next relaxer because I simply will not relax my hair without it).
Generic Value Products Moisturizing Conditioner (Nexxus Humectress). This deep conditioner is one of those ceramide containing products that I mentioned earlier. In fact, the name brand version of this product was the first product that I had ever used that contained them. When I used it I was instantly a big fan, even though I wasn’t sure why it was so amazing. I ended up switching to the generic version of this product because it was cost effective $9.99 versus. $25.99 — tell me you wouldn’t test it out with that kind of discount! Well, I love this product a lot but when I really sit back and compare the two versions of this product, the name brand version is a little more effective and gives me slightly better results. So, I won’t be repurchasing this product with my revamped hair care collection. But if I’m ever in a pinch, I wouldn’t think twice about returning to the generic version of this product, because it really does deep condition and smooth my hair like few other conditioners can.
L’Oreal Damage Erasing Balm. When this product hit the shelves a year or two ago, I knew I would be giving it a try because — you guessed it — it contains ceramide technology. And of course, I really loved this product. It worked well for heat styling and air drying, which is not necessarily the case with my other deep conditioners. But my only qualm with this product is that I go through it so quickly. I’m not sure if it’s the wide neck jar container (as opposed to the smaller neck squeeze containers), but I use this product maybe once or twice a month and this is my fourth jar of the stuff. That’s a pretty high turnover rate for a hair product and for $6 a jar, I’m thinking that I might have to let this one go. It’s not a definitive no, but when I have other ceramide deep conditioners that I love just as much (or maybe even a little bit more) that last me several months to a year, I can’t quite justify keeping it in the stash.
Mizani Phormula-7 Neutralizing and Chelating Shampoo. Finding a shampoo that chelates is hard these days and when I found this one I was so happy that it was available at my local beauty supply store. While everyone doesn’t need a chelating shampoo, I certainly do because I use a no-lye relaxer that leaves my hair feeling perpetually dry even after neutralizing and deep conditioning like a mad woman. Not only does this one relieve the perpetual dryness, it also neutralizes my hair and doesn’t leave me with a stripped feeling. Instead my hair feels luxuriously smooth, which is rare for a shampoo. That being said, this will be a part of my hair care stash.
Proclaim Spray On Glosser. I only use this product when I’m flat ironing, although lately I’ve been thinking about finding a way to incorporate it into my roller sets as well. It’s really marketed as a shine booster, but it does a little bit more for my hair. First I can see a big difference in my flat ironed hair when I don’t use it (even if I follow all of my other wash day steps). It adds shine, smoothness, softness and frizziness is non-factor. Plus it contains natural oils like wheat germ oil and castor oil. I absolutely love this product and it will forever be a part of my relaxed hair regimen. Thankfully, I don’t have to repurchase it because I had a back bottle ready to go before I even started this “use up my stash” challenge.
Redken Strength Builder Plus. I purchased this product because Redken had discontinued the original mid-step protein treatment that I used on relaxer day replacing it with this one. I was really upset because I loved the original version of it, but because this new line boasted that it used ceramide technology and seemed to be a close replica of the original (just in a larger jar), I decided to give it a try. While it wasn’t as amazing as my original, I definitely had nothing bad to say about it. It was a nice replacement to my original midstep protein and was better than the Aphogee 2-Minute Keratin Reconstructor. However, I encountered the same issue with this product as I did with the L’Oreal Damage Erasing Balm. It runs out so quickly and I only use this product 2-3 times in a 12-17 week period. Since I started purchasing it in late 2012, I’ve gone through three jars of this stuff. And this products costs $16 a jar (almost 3 times a much as the L’Oreal product). Needless to say, I was trying to find an alternative. Lately, I’ve been testing out Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner, which is a ceramide containing protein treatment. But the jury is still out on that replacement, so this Redken product goes into the maybe pile along with the Cleansing Co-Wash Conditioner.