After years of straightening and a few dodgy bleach jobs, Stylist’s junior beauty writer Ava Welsing-Kitcher was struggling to restore her hair back to its former glory – until she found this game-changing hair mask…
We all know what our hair enemies are. Heated tools, bleach and colour all wreak havoc, but the temptation of a sleek blow-dry or summery balayage can make us temporarily forget that our hair might start to look the worse for wear a few weeks after that salon visit.
I’m especially guilty of this; I love changing my hair, and it definitely suffers as a result. I have fluffy curly hair, and I’ve tried quite a few hair colours (thanks for the inspiration, Rihanna) and had a straightener addiction along with every other Noughties teenager.
Once I discovered peroxide, it all went downhill. My curls turned into zig-zags and snapped off, and no restorative hair mask could coax them back other than coconut oil. For the past few months, I’ve been sleeping with the magical stuff in my hair overnight once a week, but waking up to a greasy pillow and clusters of angry red bumps along my hairline.
Just as I was wondering if a hair mask could ever match the powers of coconut oil, Dizziak’s deep conditioner, £22, landed on Stylist’s beauty desk. I’d never heard of the brand before, but soon discovered that Loretta De Feo, a beauty journalist and Stylist contributor, had founded it to “push multicultural hair products into the 21st century”.
“I created it because I needed it,” De Feo tells Stylist. “The shopping experience for black hair care is still not on the same level physically and metaphorically as that for European hair and I really wanted to change that.
“Traditionally, I’ve had to pay ridiculous postage fees to import products from the US, or travel to slightly run-down and cramped hair shops run by men who always insisted on trying to educate me on my hair (despite not knowing anything about my hair type).
“Alternatively, I’d try and shop in the same retailers as my straight-haired friends - the ones you can just pop into on your lunch break or buy with one click - but got frustrated by the lack of products to cater to my hair.
“I wanted to be able to pick out a contemporary and beautiful looking and fragrant product on the high street that really worked without relying on harsh chemicals,” De Feo continues. “The answer came so simply to me - make a really great quality product that a retailer can’t ignore. For anyone with afro, curly or dry hair that needs moisture, this is the product for them.”
And it’s true; although high street retailers have stepped up their afro haircare game a little bit, there’s still much to be done about branding, ingredients and affordability. The cheaper products don’t always have the chicest packaging, and tend to be loaded with suffocating silicones to bulk out the formula. Dizziak’s futuristic tribal font on the white tube piqued my interest and the triple promise of vegan, cruelty-free and silicone-free ticked all the boxes.
I waited until it was time to take my box braids out, then slathered the mask onto my hair. Usually, I’d skip conditioner, deep or normal, for a few days after braids. My hair is at its most fragile after being wrapped up in synthetic plastic hair, and too much product leaves it resembling wet candyfloss. I couldn’t wait to try Dizziak, so I ignored my usual post-braid protocol, and I have zero regrets.
What makes this hair mask different?
First of all, it smelled like actual heaven. With inca inchi, babassu and argan oils for smoothing, quinoa for protein (which bleached hair lacks) and aloe vera for hydration, it felt rich and buttery but not dense and slimy like other masks loaded with silicones.
You can keep it in for five minutes for a quick fix, or thirty for a full-on treat for your hair. I went the extra mile and stuck one of those hotel shower caps on to make a mini steam room situation on my head (the heat from your scalp helps the mask penetrate your hair shaft), then rinsed with cold water as instructed. I skipped my regular leave-in conditioner and curl jelly, then patiently waited for it to air dry.
Usually my frazzled ends dry first and look frizzy and fluffy while the rest of my hair takes a good couple of hours, but after using Dizziak my ends stayed hydrated and defined – a good first sign. Considering that I hadn’t used any other products at all, my curls looked amazing once fully dry. Bouncy, shiny and with just the right amount of volume. My hair is at its best a day or two after washing, but I had instant hair envy this time around, of my own hair.
Quite frankly, I’m thrilled. I was losing hope that I’d find a holy grail mask that does everything my usual six-product arsenal does, and I’ll be using this once a week for constant good hair days. Dizziak’s debut has me really excited to see what else it has in store.
Images: Dizziak / Instagram