Hundreds of products come across our desks every month, but not all of them deliver on their claims or live up to the hype. (Not everything that goes viral on TikTok is a miracle worker.) This is our exclusive curation of the best-in-class hair-care products receiving rave reviews from our team and hitting shelves right now.
“This mask really is a game changer,” says brand cofounder Leyla Milani. “It’s formulated with some of the same ingredients you’ll find in our hair-growth formulas, so you have biotin and curcumin, which is the active chemical compound of turmeric that has all the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. You also have coconut oil, shea butter and rosemary, which has so many clinical studies showing it supports healthy hair growth.
All these ingredients together create a synergistic formula that targets hair breakage and hair loss; it helps to thicken and plump up your hair; it gives your hair nutrition, hydration and shine—and all of this after one use.”
In a clinical study, 96 percent of participants said their hair appeared thicker and stronger after just one use. It’s also complementary to the brand’s hair supplements (both my husband and I love them), so now there’s both a topical and supplement solution.
At a Unilever event last fall, celebrity hairstylist Clariss Rubinstein used the new NEXXUS Unbreakable collection on me during a styling session and editor preview, and I was hooked. According to the brand, Nexxus scientists discovered that fine hair has a smaller inner core and 40-percent less protein than thick hair. Therefore, they created an exclusive Strand Exxpand technology to thicken each strand by 3.4 percent.
This root-lifting mist gives fine hair the “look and feel of more than 3,000 more hair strands” with every use, while also protecting from heat damage. It’s also color-safe, which is something I always triple-check on any product before using it directly on my roots.
The secret weapon for achieving a bombshell blowout at home, this lightweight, flexible mousse can be used on either damp or dry hair to add noticeable fullness. The scent is the brand’s Polynesian Pink Sugar, which is a yummy, tropical mix of Caribbean coconut, fresh Mandarin orange and Hawaiian sugar cane, and my hair smells so good when I use this on damp strands before a blow-dry.
Some mousses get a bad rep for making hair stiff and crunchy, or leaving behind a residue, but this blends right in and does what it says it will. To use it, shake the can well, turn it downward and pump it into your hand and then apply it on your roots before styling.
If you’re someone who frequently colors their hair and/or uses hot tools, this drugstore duo is for you. Taking its iconic frizz repair technology to the next level, John Frieda’s new shampoo and conditioner pairing tackles multiple concerns at once: it smooths, repels humidity to reduce frizz, helps repair damage, and also hydrates dry hair. Argan, coconut and moringa oils nourish stressed strands without weighing them down.
Breakage was one of the biggest buzzwords in hair care last year (weak, brittle hair can be so frustrating!), and we don’t expect that to change in 2023. We’ve seen a host of products launch in the “anti-fall” and “resilience” category, including this mask, which is the newest addition to the brand’s hit Hair Alchemy collection.
Rich and creamy, the mask employs shea butter and cold-pressed yacón root juice to moisturize and hydrate hair, and the brand’s Curative Blend (chia seed, bio-fermented bamboo leaf and plant-based protein) strengthens it from the inside out. Use it as needed, or in place of regular conditioner if your hair could use some extra TLC. In clinical testing, it was shown to reduce breakage by three times after one use due to an increase in hair elasticity.
Hers Full Volume Shampoo and Conditioner ($17 each)
Known for its hair regrowth treatments (you’ve probably heard of its sister brand Hims), Hers has branched out into the world of strengthening hair care to complement its existing products. Formulated with Biovolume 128 and created with the help of dermatologists, this sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner actually make the hair look fuller, rather than many volumizing shampoos that just create hold to “lift” the hair away from the head.
“We want everyone to feel like they have options when it comes to their health and wellness care, and this in particular, is a testament to providing people with more choices when it comes to improving their hair, and ultimately, their confidence,” says Lindsey Roberts, senior director of innovation at Hims & Hers. “We’re so proud of these new formulas and look forward to hearing from customers who experience a boost in hair volume as a result.”
coastal cedar citron scent
As a result of the benzene recall and rising concern, non-aerosolized, powder dry shampoos are becoming a more desirable option for reviving second-day hair (and beyond). This new one from the gray-hair gurus at Arey has a slight beigey tint that blends into my dirty-blonde hair seamlessly, and the brand says it works on all hair colors and types (men are loving it too).
In true dry shampoo fashion, it absorbs oil and adds some volume, but unlike other formulas, it’s made with the brand’s “clinically efficacious peptide that helps with repigmentation by stimulating the MC1-R (melanocortin 1 receptor).” This means it actually works to preserve and stimulate pigment in the hair in an effort to prevent grays. And, though it’s free of synthetic fragrance, it does have an herbal-woodsy scent (the brand’s signature cedar-sage), which I personally really like.
Designed for those with allergies, scalp or skin sensitivities and any hair type or texture, this shampoo/conditioner combo is intended to provide a moment of clarity for your hair and scalp. Both formulas are fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and made without potential irritants like essential oils, soy, gluten and lactose.
The shampoo gently cleanses the scalp and hair with soothing comfrey leaf and Japanese swertia, while also delivering strengthening amino acids and antioxidants to the hair via a moisturizing plant extract called chufa milk. The conditioner is silicone-free, yet still leaves hair feeling soft and easy to detangle thanks to manuka honey and apricot oil.
Part of the brand’s new Pure Moisture collection, this lightweight spray delivers 10 benefits in a few quick spritzes: It quenches a dry scalp and dry hair, rehydrates hair between washes, adds shine, adds softness, detangles, provides heat protection, tames unruly hair, makes hair easier to style, and doesn’t weigh down the hair or leave behind a residue.
Plus, it does all of this while moisturizing the scalp and hair for up to 72 hours. With the frequency at which we wash our hair dipping lower and lower, this leave-in is the answer.
RPZL Detangling Brush ($40)
You’ve probably seen RPZL’s hair extensions on a celeb at some point: From Lea Michele and Chrissy Teigen to Vanessa Hudgens and a long list of influencers, the clip-ins, ponytails and braids are popping up everywhere lately. But the brand goes beyond faux hair to accessories and tools as well, including this new detangling brush that can be used in the shower on wet hair, whether you want to evenly distribute conditioner, massage shampoo into your scalp or just detangle. (You don’t need extensions to use it either.)
According to the brand, “the unique design features anti-static, gentle metal bristles that won’t sink into the rubber cushion or catch on extension attachments, regardless of your hair type.”
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