Summer means one thing for my hair: it’s straightening season. That’s right, at this time of year I willingly choose to brave the heat and sit in a pool of my own sweat to acheive sleek hair. Why? Because with the lack of rain, my hair actually stays straight! If you have curly hair, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Unfortunately, heat styling also means damage, so it’s really important to include some sort of heat protection in your hair routine. I was using the Tresemmé Kertain Smooth one which I didn’t feel was doing much for me, so I decided to switch things up and try something new.
Hot off my success with their Coconut Mask, I was really intrigued when I came across this heat protector from Garnier’s Ultimate Blends Oat Milk Sensitive Scalp range. Yay for short, east names, am I right? The range claims to soothe the scalp immediately and reduce the feeling of itchiness, while nourishing the hair and leaving it feeling soft and shiny. My skin is constantly itchy from head to toe, so anything that promises to help with that is a winner in my books.
I picked up the heat protector for £4.49 for 150 ml (currently on offer at Boots & Superdrug for just £2.99!), as well as the shampoo for £3.99 for 360 ml (on offer for £1.99), thinking it could replace the Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp shampoo in my routine. I’ve been using it to keep the itchy feeling under control for about 10 years now, and wanted to see if I could find something which would do the same thing, while also contributing to the look and feel of my hair.
As I mentioned in my previous Garnier haircare review, the brand is not considered cruelty free as it falls under the L’Oréal umbrella and sells in China. They do however offer one full vegan range, are committed to reducing waste by using recyclable packaging, as well as using ethically sourced ingredients (more information can be found on Garnier’s website). The range is also paraben free.
Both of these products have a lovely fresh scent which isn’t overpowering in any way. For some reason, it makes me think of clean bed sheets and sunny weather. Can’t explain that one. It’s just a very delicate and pleasant scent.
Before starting to use the shampoo, my routine consisted of the following once a week:
- Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Shampoo – first wash
- Maui Moisture Revive & Hydrate + Shea Butter Shampoo – second wash
- Garnier Ultimate Blends Coconut Milk Dry Hair Mask
- Maui Moisture Revive & Hydrate + Shea Butter Conditioner
I sometimes add a midweek wash depending on how my hair is feeling, where I only use the Maui Moisture products. If I’m styling my hair, then I’ll leave it to dry naturally before spraying on a heat protector. I finish with the Keratin Smooth Shine Oil to keep the frizz at bay.
In comparison to the Head & Shoulders shampoo and most shampoos I’ve tried, the Garnier one has a very runny consistency. I never feel like I can cover the whole of my scalp on the first go, so I find myself reaching for the bottle again and using more product that I usually would.
On top of the claims for the range, the heat protector promises to leave your hair soft and shiny, and to make detangling and styling easier. Equally as exciting when you hair tangles within minutes of brushing it. The directions state that it should not be used on dry hair, which I wasn’t sure about at the beginning: if I curl my hair, I actually have to straighten it first, so I would normally use heat protector again between the two. While it’s not something I do very often, I was worried about the potential damage.
When I first used the products back in May, I hadn’t actually read all of these claims. At the time I did actually find that straightening my hair was quicker and easier, and once I was finished, I couldn’t help but interrupt my boyfriend while he was tending his crops on Stardew Valley to show him just how soft my hair was.
Off to a great start, right? If only it had lasted. I normally like to try hair products for two months before reviewing them, but as I got to the end of the first one, my scalp was just getting more and more itchy. I think I decided to give the shampoo an extra week, at which point I think I found myself scratching away before my hair had even fully dried. It got so bad that I was starting to find scabs in my hair. I know, lovely. I went back to the Head & Shoulders shampoo the next week, but it took several washes before my skin started feeling stable again and stopped being so itchy.
But hey, not everything in this story has to go wrong, and in fact we do have a happy ending. While it was obvious I needed the shampoo out of my routine, I was disappointed that my hair wouldn’t feel as soft anymore. Turns out, the heat protector is enough to help with that. It’s obvious to me that this is also having no positive effects on my skin, as it got worse while using it, but I pleased to report that it does live up to the other claims. Even now that it’s just a bit too unbearable to break out the straighteners, I still like to use it as a leave in conditioner. When I have curled my hair recently, I haven’t noticed any difference or more damage compared to when I was using another spray in between styling tools.
Overall, definitely some mixed results. I really wanted to like both of these, if only for the smell, but it was clear the shampoo had no effects on me at all. That’s not to say it’s a bad shampoo, it did a decent job at cleaning my hair, but I just didn’t see the benefit it was claiming to offer. I will definitely repurchase the heat protector however, as I love the way it makes my hair feel when I use it.
If you also suffer from an itchy scalp, I would love to hear your recommendations and holy grails! Make sure you let me know what they are in the comments below.