Beauty Editor Julia Alfert tested some Shampoos and picked her top 5 favorites
Shampoo in the bathroom is like salt in the kitchen: indispensable. Like toothpaste and soap, you simply need it and always will. In very few cases will you only find one shampoo in someone’s shower. And for the most part, you try out a lot of them over the years, maybe having one recommended by a friend or hairdresser or testing your own way through the drugstore according to your hair’s needs. In any case, it was always like that for me. You actually shouldn’t use a different shampoo every day, but a little bit of variety in your washing routine certainly can’t hurt.
Of course that suits me just fine, because I love trying out new beauty products every day.
So I tested my way through the world of shampoos over the last few weeks. It was foamy, at times even squeaky, fragrant, and sometimes sobering. And at the end, I was able to narrow down my selection to five – ok, six – favorites.
Here they are, my current favorite shampoos:
1. OUAI Volume Shampoo & Repair Shampoo
“Ouai(s)” is how the French colloquially give the affirmative. My inner Francophile is undisputed, and so is my predilection for products in beautiful packaging. Hair care line Ouai delivers both. Jen Atkins, the brand’s founder, isn’t French, but she does know hair – as a stylist, she’s worked between LA, New York, and Dubai. And the kind of care and styling products that she found lacking on the job, she created herself on the spot. The product line ranges from dry shampoo to texturizing hairspray all the way to conditioner – and of course, shampoo.
I tried a few and immediately picked out two as my favorites: one for volume, and one that regenerates and nourishes. Both have a nice, subtle scent – not too perfumed, but still one that gives a sense of “clean.”
The Volume Shampoo lathers really well. I rub a dab of it in my hands before I massage it into my roots and scalp. The rest spreads through the length of the hair on its own during rinsing, which is enough to get this section of your hair clean – by the way, that’s my general method for hair washing. Already during the rinse, your hair feels soft and clean. This shampoo doesn’t weight it down at all. Just the opposite – it makes your hair light and loose, even when wet. I always let my hair air dry, and after washing with the Volume Shampoo it feels light and fluffy. A volumizing shampoo that actually delivers volum.
The Repair Shampoo makes your hair soft and shiny and is just a tick easier to handle in the application than the volume kind. And both look unspeakably good on the edge of the bathtub.
2. MICHAEL VAN CLARKE Moisturising Shampoo
The Moisturising Shampoo puts tons of moisture back in your hair. I find that my ends get especially dry and fine, almost invisible, little hairs stick out in every direction from my roots.
Normally, something oily would help with that. And although I’m a fan of oil for every area of life, I steer well clear when it comes to applying it to hair. My own fine hair doesn’t take oil well and all too often there’s a light film left behind (only exception: a hot oil treatment in which I put a bunch of oil on my scalp and hair, let it sit, and then thoroughly wash it out with at least 10 shampoos).
But, getting back from that little oil digression. The Moisturising Shampoo has a similar nourishing effect on the hair like oil. The clear advantage: it provides my hair with moisture and lightly smooths it without weighing it down or leaving a film behind. I actually wash my hair every day. With this shampoo, I can actually go two days since it leaves my hair looking fresh for so long.
And, in addition, it’s also supposed to make your hair longer in a shorter amount of time – “three more inches” is what’s written on the bottle. I used this shampoo for a few weeks and actually had the feeling that my hair was growing faster. Of course that could also be my imagination, but as you know, such conceit has no bounds…but here in the nicest way.
3. OWAY Moisturizing Hair Bath
The name “Oway” was put together as an abbreviation of “Organic Way” and doesn’t just give name to a brand with a product line that comprises hair care and styling products – it’s also what the line is all about. As one of three brands that belong to the large Italian cosmetic company Rolland, it is the most consistently organic one.
Most of the product’s ingredients are sourced from the organically-run farm “Ortofficina” near Bologna, which is based on Rudolf Steiner’s agricultural ideas and principles. These fit well with the philosophy of the company: better ingredients, better products, and maintaining the constant balance between the best possible composition and effect. Planting, cultivation, harvest, processing, and distillation are all done without added chemicals and thus maintain the ecosystem. Sounds pretty good. Now of course I want to try out the products – which we here at hey woman! first became aware of through a recommendation.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t just walk into the closest salon to do that because the brand is only slowly coming into use and at selected hairdressers. Therefore, it’s hard to get. A few phone calls using the +39 dialing code and some emails later, I was able to get a few of these sought-after bottles in my hands however.
First of – and above – all, they are really beautiful: brown glass with a simple beige label that shows off the pastel and black lettering of the name of the product and its ingredients. And because Oway is also always thinking about the environment, the glass and the label are both 100% recyclable.
The second thing that struck me was the wonderful aroma that was already flowing over me when I opened the package. Essential oils of cinnamon, orange, and vanilla lend the Moisturizing Hair Bath a great and intense scent. Hazelnut, organic honey, and murumuru butter provide the hair with moisture, making it soft, easy to comb, and shiny as it strengthens the hair structure from the inside out. The shampoo, or “hair bath” as they call it, is actually something like taking a soak in the tub – but for your hair. It has the same effect on your scalp and hair that a good soak has on your body. It nourishes and has a relaxing scent.
After a night in a smoky bar recently, I washed my hair with this shampoo. I personally hate the smell of stale smoke and normally it sticks around very stubbornly, but after using this it was completely gone and I was totally convinced: it’s like this shampoo was made for me.
4. SAFEAS Cupuaçu Derma Control Shampoo
When an email from my dear colleague Julia Knolle with the subject “this is something you’ll like” fluttered into my inbox, of course I had to take a look and immediately do some research. Actually, I knew the brand Safeas already from their Pure Lava Clay, which I sought out and found as a replacement for real lagoon mud after my trip to Yucatán. But this time it was the hair care that Julia thought I should try immediately.
Because the name sounded sweet and promising at the same time, I decided to go with the Cupuaçu Derma Control Shampoo. The experience of washing your hair with this shampoo initially takes some getting used to. It’s missing a lot that provides for a normal and comfortable shampoo, but not necessarily for healthy hair. The formula – which includes cupuaçu butter, broccoli seed oil, aloe vera, and extracts of calendula, witch hazel and chamomile blossoms – sooths and cares for an irritated scalp and cleanses hair both thoroughly and gently with natural washing substances.
This fragrance-neutral organic shampoo leaves your hair wonderfully clean and is perfect for sensitive scalps. I use it when my own scalp deserves a break and I want to wash, but not immediately plaster myself over with care products.
If I still need an extra portion of care after a wash with this, I use a spray-in conditioner through the lengths and let my scalp keep breathing. As a post-wash care product, the Organic Argan Oil is recommended – but with my fine hair, for the reasons described above, it’s unfortunately just not for me.
5. MALIN+GOETZ Peppermint Shampoo
This list of my favorite shampoos wouldn’t be complete without the Peppermint Shampoo by Malin + Goetz. I discovered it when, after a 16-hour flight and with the corresponding jetlag, I was lying in bed in a wonderful room at the Rose Hotel in Venice and tossing back and forth before I decided at some point that it didn’t make any sense and got up – in the middle of the night. I had barely arrived in the shower before I was marveling at the selection of Malin + Goetz products that were standing there lined up and ready to use. This included the shampoo, with which I was immediately love-struck.
Peppermint, I thought, sounded refreshing – exactly what I needed at that moment for a clear head. No sooner said than done, I had washed my hair with the stuff. The mint aroma had actually already taken care of making me feel more awake and much friskier while I was still under the water. And at the same time, this shampoo’s creamy and rich consistency was so easy and nice to use that the shampoo soon turned into a full head massage. My hair didn’t need a conditioner after – it was clean, nourished, and above all it was cloaked in this wonderful scent.
After the shower, I put on some baggy pants and a sweatshirt and called an Uber to drive me to Mullholland Drive and back. For the nighttime tour of the city, the sunrise over LA, and the discovery of the ultimate wake-up shampoo, getting up in the middle of the night definitely paid off. And the driver was happy about the mint aroma that I – or better said, my hair – carried into the car.
I found the shampoo at MDC Cosmetic in Berlin after I got back and have had a big bottle in my shower ever since. Often I have to control myself, otherwise I’d use this slightly addictive product way too much. That’s because it can quickly become too much and then have an irritating effect. But when I wake up tired in the morning and stagger still asleep to the bathroom, and it’s really time for another fresh, sense-awakening shampoo, I’m all the more excited to use it.
Translation: Melissa Frost
Originally from Hamburg, Julia Alfert moved to Berlin from Paris in 2010. After completing her studies in Art History and trying out different jobs, her path led her to Harper’s Bazaar, where she worked as Fashion & Beauty Assistant until mid 2015. While she’s harboured a love for all things beauty-related for as long as she can remember, her discovery of the written word is recent. When Julia isn’t busy trying out different creams, oils, and sprays she writes and styles for an assortment of magazines and websites.