I recently purchased a few hair products from Snobgirls, a Canadian professional line of products specifically for color-treated hair with their “100% free series,” banning over 40 harsh ingredients commonly found in skin care and hair care products. Each product contains their TruColour Guard antifading system. One of the hair oils I got are the Curalign Ultra-Smoothing Control Hair Oil Capsules, a leave-in treatment for dry, unruly, frizzy and/or coarse hair. These oil capsules are said to provide weightless control, tame frizz, smooth hair, provide protection from heat and UV light, soothe irritated, dry or itchy scalp, preserve and prolong color, diminish drying time by 55%, help hot tools glide through the hair, add shine, keep moisture in and humidity out and provide lasting results until the next shampoo.
Directions: Twist or cut open stem of capsule. Rub into palms to activate. Glide through clean, towel-dried hair and/or scalp. Do not rinse. Blow dry hair straight and follow with flat iron if desired. To be used after each shampoo and condition. To add shine or control static, apply one drop to dry hair.
The hair oil contains a few silicones, vitamins, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, plant extracts and oils and proteins.
I have thin, frizzy and dry hair and have used the Curalign hair oil capsules a few times when doing a quick blow dry and flat iron on the hair.
The capsules themselves do not smell good, however, the oil has a slight perfume type fragrance that I cannot smell once applied to the hair. The oil is quite thick, the capsule contains a lot of oil and it seems like it would be heavy, but I used a whole capsule on my collarbone length hair and my hair was not weighed down or greasy and had no residue or stickiness. I also added one drop after flat ironing to smooth some flyaways and static. Using more than a drop or two on dry hair would for sure weigh the hair down and it would feel oily. Rubbing some of the oil onto my hand made my skin feel so smooth and this feeling lasted until I washed my hands.
For each of the above photos, I added the respective oils to the hair when damp, blow dried and then did a quick flat iron (still using this one). These are perhaps not the most accurate for the look of the hair because I used minimal heat and large sections to minimize heat damage; I am getting my hair colored next month and want it to be as healthy as possible (I am so looking forward to covering all this grey hair). The Curalign oil provided the best results in terms of smoothing and straightening the hair and adding shine and a sleek feel. The next day my hair was still straight, felt very smooth and had no poof (I usually get poof on my flat ironed second day hair).
The Snobgirls Curalign Ultra-Smoothing Control Hair Oil Capsules add shine and give the hair a smooth, sleek feel without adding heaviness or residue and I will continue to use this when blow drying and flat ironing the hair.
K18, formerly known as KhairPep and one of the latest products in hair bonding technology, is a reparative leave-in treatment that claims to reverse hair damage from lightening and chemical services, mechanical damage and heat, bringing hair back to its youthful state.
There are two lines of K18, one for professional use and one for home use. The in-salon service includes a mist that is applied before color service and the mask after the service. The same mask in a smaller size is for home use.
The K18 hair mask is not a protein or conditioning treatment, but does contain small amounts of protein and behentrimonium chloride that has conditioning and smoothing properties. From the K18 website, “the K18Peptide shuttles amino acids (the building blocks of hair) into the inner structure of the hair. Once inside the hair cortex, the unique amino-acid chain goes directly to the broken disulfide bonds to replace the lost amino acids, regenerating the bond and restoring ultimate strength, resilience and softness.” This contains denatured alcohol, benzyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol that allows the product to penetrate deeper into the hair.
Directions: Before the first use, wash with a clarifying shampoo. Shampoo hair; do not condition. Towel dry hair. Start with one pump and add more as needed depending on length and thickness. Work evenly through hair from roots to ends. Let sit 4 minutes. Do not rinse. Add styling products if desired and style as usual. Use for 4 to 6 consecutive washes and then every 3 to 4 washes for maintenance.
For about a month before I started using the K18 hair mask, my hair had been breaking, very small pieces from the front hairline (while combing or even just fluffing it up) and long pieces from the back hairline. The breakage from the back was similar to when I had blonde hair and when finger combing conditioner (or using “prayer hands”) through the hair, I was left with almost a handful of thick strings of hair such that I would get rather nervous on wash day and as a result my hair feels shorter and thinner at the ends when putting it in a ponytail. My hair does not seem to break off when combing before washing (other than the very small pieces), only while conditioning. I got the K18 mask hoping this would be a solution. I should mention too that it has been just over 2 years since I have had a haircut and hair that has not been cut for so long can split and break.
I have thin hair that has not been colored or cut in 2 years and I rarely use heat. I used the K18 mask for six consecutive washes, using a clarifying shampoo the first wash. I towel dried the hair, parted my hair in two sections and used one pump on each section, let it sit for 4 minutes, applied a leave-conditioner (I still use this one) and air dried as usual.
The K18 hair mask is 75 USD/89 CAD for 50 mL. I got my mask from coastalbeauty.ca at 75 CAD. One pump is 1 mL, so I get 25 uses applying two pumps each use.
K18 is a medium-thick cream that has a sort of fake fruity scent like other salon products. While shampooing, my hair does not get too tangled and it is thin, so applying the K18 mask worked relatively well to detangle. When I was figuring out how many pumps to use, I first used one too many and my hair felt heavy and sticky after air drying. Using two pumps was better; the hair had movement, no residue and more body than usual (perhaps because conditioner is not used).
Above shows before using K18, after six consecutive K18 uses and after normal shampooing and conditioning. I noticed a difference in the feeling of my hair by about the fourth consecutive use. My hair is usually quite frizzy and feels a bit rough and dry and after the strands of hair felt much smoother and the ends felt less dry.
Comparing Olaplex No. 8 and K18, I do not see too much difference in the hair; it looks smoother and less frizzy. After K18, my hair feels much smoother than the Olaplex Intense Moisture Mask that provides a similar function (I have used the No. 3 and No. 8; not sure which would be more comparable) to repair, strengthen and smooth damaged hair. I will note that when I went blonde, my hairdresser used Olaplex during the service and a while later I used the Olaplex No. 3 hoping to repair some damage; my hair could not be saved (not to say Olaplex does not work of course). From the Luxe Color Lounge website, “K18 is great if you are dealing with damage from heat styling, while Olaplex is more for bleached hair. The Olaplex method uses fake bonds, and you can reach a point where you are using it so often that your hair becomes so strong that it breaks. Because Olaplex is not a natural protein, when you stop using it, your hair can no longer hold on to it, therefore it falls out reverting your hair back to its previous structure.” With K18, however, as I have seen on Instagram, hairdressers are using it during lightening and color services and seeing much improvement in the quality and strength of the hair. From the K18 website, with one salon treatment using the mist and mask as part of the bleaching service, hair is restored to 91% its original strength and 94% its original elasticity. K18 apparently rebuilds keratin bonds permanently, and is not a rinse-out treatment like Olaplex.
Since K18 claims that the mask restores hair to a youthful state, I wanted to compare from 2018 when my hair was the healthiest it felt and looked in a long while. Not sure it is quite a fair comparison as in my case, hair, lifestyle and stress have changed over time; I have more greys, my hair is drier and frizzier, diet and exercise habits are not where they should be compared to 3 years ago and stress has greatly increased over the last months to year.
As for the breakage of long pieces of hair, while finger combing the K18 mask through, I had hair fall, however, not the breakage I was getting while conditioning my hair. After the 6 uses of K18, I shampooed and conditioned my hair as normal and was quite worried, however, I just got my typical hair fall and was not pulling out broken hair. K18 stopped my hair breakage?! I continued with the my normal wash routine four times (still no broken hair) and then used the K18 mask. This time while finger combing the mask through, I pulled out strands of broken hair; not as much as before using the mask.
I think the K18 Molecular Repair Hair Mask is good; I kind of expected my hair to look better though. It does not really look much different, but feels really smooth; K18 seemed to repair my hair so there was no breakage for a few washes and then less breakage than I was getting previously. For the tiny pieces that were breaking, instead of seeing six pieces after combing my hair, I was getting 1 or 2. I will hopefully get my hair cut soon and have enough of the K18 mask to provide an update here. When I get my hair lightened/colored (likely not for a while), I will be looking for a salon that uses K18 and will update again.
Update (January 3, 2022): I finally got my hair cut at the beginning of November and have used K18 a couple times since then. I have not noticed further improvement in using the K18 mask, but my hair really needed a cut; I have had no further breakage and my hair looks and feels much better (update to my hair story here). I will be getting my hair lightened and colored (a balayage and/or color melt) in about 3 weeks. The salon I am going to does not use K18, but I will use my hair mask at home and update at that time.
Update (February 21, 2022): My regular hairdresser no longer works weekends nor later in the evenings, so I am currently looking for a new salon; a color/K18 update will likely be posted in the summer.
DpHUE’s Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse is a hair cleanser that is said to take the place of shampoo and conditioner to give the hair a break from harsher, stripping shampoos or as a quick wash after a workout or any time. This can be used safely daily and claims to gently cleanse without stripping the hair oils, seal the hair cuticle, add shine and reduce frizz, soothe and calm the scalp, lock in color and triple the strength of the hair.
Silicone Quaternium-8 is a conditioning ingredient that is water soluble (rinses out with just water or normal shampoo). Polyacrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride and Linoleamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate Dimethicone are conditioning ingredients. Rapeseedamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate reduces static.
Directions: Section wet hair and gently squeeze about 2 tablespoons of product on to the scalp in the hair sections; massage in and pull through the lengths of the hair. Leave on 1 to 3 minutes and rinse well.
I have fine hair, oily scalp and dry lengths and ends and wash my hair every 3 days.
This is how my hair looks normally after shampooing and conditioning, then air dried (after using the Aquis hair turban).
The vinegar rinse feels like it cleanses most of the oils from the hair, better than just using diluted apple cider vinegar, however, on air drying, my hair did not really feel clean beyond being less oily (my roots still had buildup and I do not use any styling products) and was frizzier and drier (even closer to the scalp) than when using a shampoo and conditioner. I also used this product followed by conditioner, which of course, worked better for dryness and frizz. Using the vinegar rinse, I could go 2 days before washing again, but my hair really did not feel nice and almost felt a bit sticky. I used the product daily for a few days after doing a clarifying shampoo and hair mask, thinking maybe my hair had buildup already, and my hair still had a sticky, dry feeling after using the rinse and my scalp was getting itchy (though claims to soothe and calm the scalp).
I suppose this could be used before shampooing as a pre-cleanse, though the shampoo would wash away the apparent benefits of reducing frizz, sealing in color, soothing the scalp and sealing the hair cuticle, and I would rather use diluted apple cider vinegar for this purpose.
I have recently used a cleansing conditioner for use between shampoos from Snob Girls that I like much better in terms of being gentle on the hair and helping dryness and frizz.
This smells quite strongly of apple cider vinegar, but once rinsed, there is no vinegar smell.
I would not repurchase dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse.
This is more of a first impression rather than a full review of Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask as I have only used it once. I will update at the end of the post in a month or two with more photos (3-month update at bottom of this post).
The No. 8 mask is Olaplex’s newest product for all hair types and textures and particularly for damaged hair. This hair mask claims to repair, add shine and moisture, smooth and add body to damaged hair. The No. 8 mask is different from the No. 3 Hair Perfector in that it is to be used after shampooing in place of conditioner once a week. No. 3 is a treatment used on damp hair that is then shampooed and conditioned.
The mask contains dimethicone as the second ingredient. As mentioned in my review of the Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil, from what I’ve read on different sites, dimethicone is a cheaper silicone that is not water soluble and is hard to remove. However, Olaplex says they use a high quality, low molecular weight, water soluble dimethicone that easily washes away and does not build up in the hair. The mask is formulated with plant oils, ceramides, amino acids and the bonding technology Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate that rebuilds broken and weakened bonds in the hair due to chemical and mechanical damage.
Directions: Apply to clean, damp hair from mid-lengths to ends. Work through with fingers. Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly; style as usual. Start with one pump for shoulder-length hair; use more for longer or thicker hair and less for fine or short hair. Use sparingly on roots. To be used once a week.
For deep repair, Olaplex recommends using No. 0 and No. 3 along with No. 8 once a week. This could also be followed with No. 7 on damp or dry hair.
I have fine, frizzy, dry hair that I have not gotten colored or cut in a long while, but I am getting breakage towards the front hair and the shorter side pieces, particularly when brushing, that I hope the Olaplex mask can improve. After last getting my hair colored, I have had a band of frizz/damage that looks different from the rest of my hair which I hope will also improve with continued use.
Above is one pump of the hair mask. It is concentrated and thicker in texture and spreads through the hair easily. I sectioned my hair in two halves and applied one pump to each section after shampooing and towel drying. I left the mask on for 15 minutes under a shower cap, then rinsed and air dried (after using the Aquis hair turban). While finger combing the product in, the hair detangled quite nicely. While rinsing, the hair felt very silky.
Above, after one use, my hair is much less frizzy and feels soft with improved fly-aways. The ends of the hair look generally better. I do not really have an issue with body, but the mask left movement and added bounce and my hair was not weighed down. My hair felt softer and more silky than when using the Briogeo moisture mask (though likely due to the silicone in Olaplex No. 8) and not as soft as when using Redken All Soft shampoo and conditioner, though again, has less frizz. My hair has more shine, I expect partially due to my hair being smoother.
So far, I like the Olaplex Bond Intense Moisture Mask and have noticeable results after one use in terms of hydration and frizz. I will update here after I have used the mask for a month or two.
Update – July 12, 2021:
I have continued to use Olaplex No. 8 for 3 months, once a week. I usually wash my hair every 3 days and I noticed that after using the Olaplex, the silky feeling disappeared after the first day and my hair felt normal (rather dry). Between one use of the Olaplex, I used Briogeo’s moisture mask to compare and the hydrated soft feeling on the hair lasted until wash day (maybe because there is no protein in this mask)? My hair looks wavier, though I’m not sure looks necessarily better. I’m hoping repair is taking place inside the hair that would not necessarily be visible. I was having breakage around my front and back hairlines which I am still having despite using No. 8 and a silk pillowcase; I just started using a silk sleep bonnet, so hoping that will help.
I’m not sure about this mask; maybe since my color damage is not recent, this will not help as much (though it is said to improve hydration and mechanical damage as well. I will note that when I went blonde, my hairdresser used the in-salon Olaplex and I later used Olaplex No. 3 and I still had to go back to brunette and cut off a lot of damaged hair (here and here).
I recently got the relatively new K18 hair mask and will be using that next. Follow for upcoming review.
This nourishing, protein-free hair mask by Briogeo is for all hair types and textures and claims to nourish, hydrate and soften the hair while providing improvement to frizz, curl definition and dryness.
The mask contains vegetable extracts; avocado that contains fatty acids to nourish and condition, kiwi that contains vitamin C for antioxidant protection and spinach with flavanoids and antioxidants for overall hair health. This formula has volcanic ash, which I see in dry shampoos and scalp products to regulate oils on the scalp, so not sure what this does for the lengths of the hair. Apparently turmeric extract can reduce breakage on the lengths of the hair and stimulate the scalp. Cocoa seed butter locks in moisture.
Directions: After shampooing, massage into lengths of the hair. Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse. Can be used 1 to 2 times per week in place of conditioner.
The Avocado Kiwi Mega Mask is thick and smells a bit sweet, though not in a pleasant way; the scent does not linger, however. I have fine, dry, frizzy, wavy hair and have used the mask a few times now. I apply on damp hair after clarifying every 2 weeks or so, leaving on for 10 minutes under a shower cap, then rinsing. On my first use, I had to apply more than expected and it did not apply that smoothly to the hair to immediately detangle, but on subsequent uses, I added more water and it spread nicely and after the 10 minutes, detangled well with finger combing.
The above photo is before and after 3 uses (air dried). My hair feels much softer, my waves are more defined and there is less frizz. The mask is not heavy and does not weigh my hair down; I had no loss in volume or body.
Above is after 5 uses. I do not have any good recent before photos of the front of my hair, but my face-framing hair has much improved; usually it will dry frizzy and somewhat straight.
As a side note, on one use I also applied the mask to the roots and my scalp got so itchy, however, this is to be applied to the lengths of the hair.
Compared to Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Hair Mask, the Mega Moisture Mask gives noticeable results with hydration, softness and defined my waves. While the Deep Conditioning Mask feels so nice to apply, smooths through the hair really well and feels like it coats each strand, it did not give the desired results in terms of dryness and frizz.
I would repurchase Briogeo’s Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfoods Hair Mask.