There has been a ton of hype surrounding hair stylist Jen Atkin's new line Ouai Haircare and rightfully so. Atkin has done a fantastic job styling the hair of fashion's latest crop of models and "it" girls, so of course, I had to try the products for myself! I picked up Ouai's Volume Shampoo and Conditioner along with the Treatment Masque and Wave Spray, and immediately went home to wash my hair.
My very first impression is that the products smell amazing. They have a few different scents through the collection that range from classic chypres (think bergamot, oakmoss and patchouli) to musky florals. Apparently, these fragrances will be released as individual perfumes in the near future! I also love the packaging; it's chic and minimal, adding a little touch of luxury to my shower. And what's not to love about a brand known for easy, effortless hair? I don't have time for a perfect blow out every day and Ouai gets that.
Now for the formulas. I rarely use volumizing shampoos and conditioners despite having fine hair because they are usually too drying, but Ouai's Volume Shampoo and Conditioner said it would give me volume, moisture and strength from their proprietary Smart Complex, so I gave it a whirl. After using the duo and blowdrying, my hair was left feeling light and full without the usual dry ends I get from most volumizing products. What did end up feeling a little too dry, though, was my scalp. On one hand, I've been able to go longer between shampoos because this offers such a deep clean, but on the other, I'm nervous that with regular use this shampoo could leave me with some serious dry scalp issues, hindering my plans to grow my hair out. That said, I think this pairing would be great for guys and girls with normal to fine hair who go heavy on styling products or have a more oily scalp as they would need extra deep cleansing. Since neither of those is really me, I would prefer something a bit more gentle and will go for one of Ouai's more moisturizing formulas in the future.
Now the Treatment Masque is a different story. I really liked this product! Most masks are too heavy on my hair. Sure, they moisturize and repair, but they also weigh everything down. Paired with the Volume Shampoo, Ouai's Masque rinsed out easily and cleanly, leaving my hair moisturized but still light and bouncy. I also love that it comes in travel-friendly, single serving packets. At $32 for eight 0.3 oz servings it isn't the most wallet-friendly, but I've been able to get at least two uses from each packet, which eases the blow a bit.
As for styling, I grabbed the Wave Spray hoping for an easy "wash and go" look. Unlike most wave sprays which are salt or mineral-based, Ouai's has a rice protein base, which creates the same texture as a salt spray but doesn't leave hair feeling dry or tacky. I tried the Wave Spray on air-dried and blowdried hair, and in both cases it gave me a soft, tousled look, but didn't do much in terms of creating or enhancing waves. To be fair, my hair lives somewhere between straight and wavy. Curling my hair with my flat iron did the trick though! I curled, leaving the tips of my hair straight, followed up with the Wave Spray, and was left with perfect slightly messy (in a good way!) textured waves. Ultimately, I really liked the product, but it seems more like a soft texturing spray than a wave enhancer. It gives great texture, but as far as waves go, I say curl first, spray second.
So, all in all, I was pleasantly surprised! I expected the brand to be all hype, and although I think there is room for improvement, it seems like a strong start. After using Ouai for a few weeks, it hasn't become my everyday routine as I'm starting to find the fragrance a little heavy, but it's nice to have in my rotation. Don't get me wrong - the products smell great, but the scents are strong and they really linger, so I feel like any other products I use need to be unscented. For now I will think of this as my special occasion haircare!
Have you tried Ouai? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
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