I was going about my morning routine, guzzling coffee and scrolling through the internet, when I came across an article about a seemingly amazing shampoo and conditioner. It had all the makings of a beauty product triple threat: I trusted the source, I'd heard great things about the brand, and the ingredients were totally up my ally. On top of that, the cleansing-and-conditioning duo boasted texture, extra volume, and moisture for color-treated hair. It was like fate! I hadn't switched my shampoo in years (I'm quite brand-loyal and admittedly scared of change), but I threw caution to the wind and ordered the products. A day later, I brought them into my shower and hid my long-standing shampoo and conditioner away in a drawer. I'm cautious, but I'm not crazy—I wasn't going to toss out those precious last drops.
While I lathered, rinsed, and repeated, I couldn't help but obsess over the incredible smell radiating from my hair. Check plus, I thought, and toweled off. I spritzed the corresponding texture spray into my hair and let it air-dry as usual. What I was left with was vaguely crunchy curls and less definition than I was used to. I shrugged it off as a bad hair day and went back for more a few days later. Again, I was disappointed after my shower. It must be the texture spray, I resigned, and started using my favorite nourishing oil again after that. It didn't even cross my mind that my new, delightfully scented, expensive, and well-reviewed shampoo and conditioner could be the culprit. Even then, though, my hair just wasn't the same. It didn't have as much lift and bounce as before. Finally, I decided it must be my new products. I was perhaps a bit more devastated than a normal person should be, but I'm a beauty editor. These things mean a lot to me.
Still, I wasn't convinced. I told myself I'd go back to my old, reliable formulas and see if it made a difference. The weather was changing, so I figured that could be it as well. I stepped out of that shower with a restored sense of self. Even wet my hair felt back to its former glory. I towel-dried, applied the oil, and waited for results. As predicted, my hair looked great! But, I was still bummed about throwing away my barely used new offerings. I gifted them to a friend (shhh!) who loved them and went back to full-time to my Shu Uemura classics.
So there you have it—what started as an exciting story about giving in to change and realizing there are a ton of great options out there became a cautionary tale about not trying to fix something that isn't broken. Shu Uemura just works for me (I'm a fine but curly-haired, slightly over-processed blond). So rather than regale you with more stories about the shampoo and conditioner that plagued two weeks of my life, I'll explain why my current habits work so well.
I start with Shu Uemura's Cleansing Oil Shampoo ($58). The oil-to-foam formula actually binds with the grease and product build up on your scalp and washes it away. (I always shampoo twice.) However, it maintains your hair's natural oils—very important for dry, curly hair—and adds an amazing yuzu citrus scent. It's the perfect balance between clarifying (I go a long time between washes) and moisturizing.
After washing out the shampoo, I switch off between Shu Uemura's Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Conditioner ($58) and the company's Moisture Velvet Nourishing Conditioner ($58) options, depending on what my hair needs that day. If I had it colored recently or if I feel like my blond is looking a bit dull, I opt for Color Lustre. It's really lightweight, but it detangles and softens my hair almost instantly. It protects my color, adds so much shine, and strengthens each strand with musk rose oil.
On days when I've been out in the sun, in the pool, or just need a little extra TLC—I reach for the Moisture Velvet. Even the name sounds soothing. The scent is a delicate camellia, which is heavenly, but the real hero is the formula. It never feels heavy, but it somehow quenches and moisturizes my damaged hair from root to tip.
Do you have a shampoo and conditioner you're totally in love with? Let us know below!