Beauty editor Lucy Partington has been washing her hair every night for as long as she can remember – but she’s finally out the other side, and these are the products making all the difference.
The daily hair wash struggle is real.
That’s mostly because my hair is naturally curly but I insist on wearing it straight every day (which is a whole different story for another day). Of course I lack the talent to actually be able to blow dry properly, so instead I rough dry it and then straighten it. Or, if I actually want to wear it curly I’ll do exactly the same and then use tongs to give it texture. I know, it’s ridiculous and my hairdresser has told me off multiple times, but here we are.
I’ve tried so many things to help me get out of the rut, and I’ve almost nailed it loads of times, but then I slip back into old habits. I’ve tried specific shampoos and conditioners that claim to make hair last an extra day but to no avail. For a while I used Bumble and Bumble All Style Blow Dry Creme, £25 that has ‘oil absorbing powders’ in it, which did work, but it wasn’t quite The One, and I’ve tried almost every dry shampoo you could possibly think of.
Whenever I tell people that I’m one of those people who washes their every night, I’m asked how I can be bothered. But the way my hair looks and feels is so strongly linked to my mood. I can (usually quite happily) leave the house without make-up on, but if my hair looks shit or feels dirty, I’m 100% more likely to have a bad day or be in a terrible mood.
It sounds vain, but it’s true – and I know it’s a psychological thing that links back to my own self-confidence, how I feel about both myself and how I look, and I’ve come to the realisation that I’d much rather spend my evenings slaving over my stupid head of hair than be in an awful mood for the majority of my week.
But – and this is a big but – things have changed over the last few weeks. It’s still early days, but I think I’ve found the holy trinity hair products that are making a huge difference to my life (which means I have more time to sleep/do work/see friends/generally just live).
The first step was taking a new approach to the way I washed my hair. My scalp and its health never really came into the equation, but when I received Gallinée’s new hair care products – which are, apparently, the first of their kind that work to care for the scalp – I took notice and realised that actually, looking after the place my hair grows from could be a good place to start.
Gallinée’s whole ethos is around protecting the microbiome – which, in short, is the name given to all the good bacteria that live on and in your body. That good bacteria plays a crucial and protective role in the skin’s barrier function. That means all products from the brand are super gentle, yet effective, because they work in tandem with the microbiome, rather than stripping skin or drying it out. That also products are suitable for people with the most sensitive of skin.
However, the scalp’s microbiome is completely different to the skin’s, because it’s much more humid, hotter and richer in lipids, so it attracts a different - and unique - type of bacteria, which this hair care range has been formulated to help.
Some traditional shampoos and conditioners can actually cause you to have to wash your hair more regularly because they’re formulated with sulphates and surfactants, meaning sebum production can increase. The aim here, though, is for these products to work alongside the scalp to help regulate that sebum production, rather than against it, to make sure everything stays happy and balanced.
There are only three products in the range and I’ve, so far, tried two of them: Soothing Cleansing Cream, £23, and Care Mask, £28, which are designed to be used in place of regular shampoo and conditioner a couple of times a week, until you can get away with just using these. The bottles are quite small though so for anyone with longer hair, it could take longer to phase them in.
Soothing Cleansing Cream is the first step and it doesn’t foam up (which takes some getting used to but a small blob goes further than I thought). I apply directly at the roots, then I smooth it down the mid-lengths and ends, leave for a couple of minutes and wash it out. I follow up with the Care Mask, applying it first through my mid-lengths and ends before using the excess on my scalp. I leave that for around 3-5 minutes, depending how much of a rush I’m in, and then rinse.
I’d usually be wary of taking a conditioner-esque product anywhere near my scalp through fear of it making my hair greasy. However, these products have been formulated with pre and postbiotics, along with fermented rice water (an ingredient that’s never been used in hair care outside of Asia, and is loved by Yao women so much that the ancient Chinese village of Huangluo is often referred to as the ‘Long Hair Village’. It can also fight the fungi that causes dandruff) so that thought never crossed my mind.
Instead, my hair is left feeling refreshed, clean, smelling amazing and not at all heavy or weighed down. It’s not as frizzy when I carelessly blow dry it, and, because my scalp is being looked after and the sebum production is being regulated, hair wash days are no longer having to happen so regularly. I’ve also been inundated with complements about how healthy my usually-frazzled hair is - something that hasn’t happened for the longest time.
Then – because I’m still a tiny bit insecure – I’ve been using dry shampoo in the evening, letting it absorb any excess oil overnight while I sleep. Colab, £3.49 is one of my all-time favourites because it’s completely invisible on my brunette hair, but I’ve also been using Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day, £18, which is a bit more expensive that I’d usually like to recommend for something that tends to be used quite frivolously, but I’ve been so impressed by it that it’s taken the number one spot.
It’s really lightweight but adds just the right amount of texture, and even though it does leave a white residue, it dusts away (or on really bad days, my hair absorbs it) easily.
It also doesn’t leave my hair feeling dirty or gritty like some dry shampoos can, and instead it just gives me that extra bit of reassurance that, actually, I can get away without washing for an extra day - and sometimes that’s all I really need.
I guess now I really don’t have any excuse to ever be in a bad mood again, right?
Main image: courtesy of brands