The Best ‘OUAI’ To Minimise Hair Damage?
It’s no secret that my hair is my crowning glory. I’ve been platinum blonde for 8 years straight. In fact, it’s SO platinum that my Twitter bio used to read “you’ll spot my hair in a crowd”. It wasn’t even a lie – friends used to find me at concerts purely by my hair colour. I used to have a bob so asymmetric, I was verging on an undercut. I’m currently rocking 22″ extensions. But with peroxide comes hair damage – something not helped by extensions, in any form! Add in damage from styling, and you’re guaranteed to have breakage.
Over the years, I’ve tried various shampoos, conditioners and treatments to minimise the damage to my hair. When I was younger (and backcombing my freshly bleached hair to within an inch of its life) I learned very quickly that conditioner was my closest ally. Have you ever tried washing bleached hair without conditioning? I wouldn’t recommend it – you might end up with more hair damage than you’d think. When I first got extensions last year, I had a chat with my stylists about what products I should (and shouldn’t) be using to retain the quality of the hair. Their main advice was to avoid products with sulfates in them, as these can dry out the hair and scalp. Scientific speak really isn’t my strong point, but this article explains the issues with Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) in simple terms (if I can understand it, you’ll be fine!)
I’ve tried a few different brands since then (with varying success) but after a successful trial of their dry shampoo, I found myself online eyeing up the shampoos and conditioners from OUAI Haircare. I’d heard various influencers (hiya Jamie Genevieve and co) raving about their products, so I was fairly confident that their output would be high quality. Let’s not forget that the brand is headed up by Jen Atkin, hair stylist to the stars! I opted for the Repair collection, and headed over to the ingredients list… and discovered that not only are their products sulfate and paraben-free, they also don’t test on animals. Winner! I popped down to Space NK in Glasgow’s Princes Square the next day, handed over my card, and prepared myself for a night of hair washing.
But were their products any good?
I picked up the OUAI Haircare Repair Shampoo (£22 for 300ml) and Repair Conditioner (£20 for 250ml). The packaging is simple yet chic, with hexagonal caps adding a bit of artistic flair. It fits perfectly with the company’s brand vision of laidback, Parisian chic.
The shampoo was first to be put to the test (I’ve never been brave enough to try that trend of conditioning first!) My hair is pretty fine, but I have a full head of nano-ring extensions in at the moment, not to mention the length of them – so I do have to use a reasonable amount of shampoo! I found that it lathered up well, which I do like in a shampoo (even without the sulfates). I should point out that this shampoo, like many others, includes an ingredient called Sodium Laureth Sulfoacetate (SLSA) – I initially panicked and thought I’d wasted my money, but it’s NOT the same as SLS. Again, I’ll point you to another article which can explain the differences much better than I can! After rinsing, my hair felt clean and free of product, but bleached hair definitely needs conditioner after any shampoo…
It’s got to be said, the star of the show is definitely the conditioner. I’m always careful of how much conditioner I use near my roots (sliding extensions are NOT fun) – but I hardly had to use any product at all, even on the rest of my hair. I can instantly tell when a conditioner is going to be good, as soon as I apply it – and this one smoothed my hair out straight away. It’s probably not the best comparison, but have you ever drank a smoothie whilst hungover, and you can literally feel your body being replenished with vitamins?! That’s what my hair feels like when I use this conditioner – replenished, yet not greasy after rinsing. Even when brushing my hair afterward (carefully, gotta avoid that hair damage!) my extensions were completely tangle-free. My own hair is prone to knots, especially where the extensions are in place, but even then I’ve found it fair easy to sort.
With the last few products I’ve purchased, I’ve generally found that a higher price point equates to higher quality. The drugstore sulfate-free shampoos I’ve encountered haven’t been great – hopefully it was just my luck with the ones I chose – but I think you really do get what you pay for. In comparison to drugstore brands, £22 is pretty steep for a shampoo, and certainly not one that everyone can afford to splash out on – but when you need to use less product than you would with a cheaper one, it softens the blow a little. I’ve also found that since forking out for my extensions, I’m more willing to spend that little bit extra to keep them in good condition.
Will I be repurchasing? Absolutely. I think I might switch things up a little in terms of shampoo, and try the Smooth one next. Combined with the Repair Conditioner, I think I’ll have the sleekest, healthiest hair in Glasgow!
Have you tried any OUAI products yet? Let me know in the comments, or pop on over to Insta and we can chat about it! xx