The Cleanser That Saved My Hair From Ruin – Racked

I was drawn to Hairstory’s New Wash because of the promise that it was for “all hair types,” and I had between four and seven when I started using it. When two years of platinum-blonde bleaching caught up with me in the form of breakage, I dyed my hair brown to give it a rest. Cloaked deceptively in a uniform color, my naturally oily roots clashed with the puffed-out bleached parts that still accounted for 70 percent of my total hair space, and the broken chunks that looked like cowlicks were so dead set on sabotaging any semblance of normalcy in my hair that I almost admired them.

I had a lackluster encounter with a keratin treatment, a comical attempt to follow the countless blogs that advocate using eggs and avocados to soften my hair like it was brunch or something, and even bought conditioner with caviar in it like I was god dang Marie Antoinette. My hair was still a bird’s nest that no self-respecting bird would live in. Then one fateful night, my friend Suzan — a sophisticated blonde with shiny hair and a tasteful Southern accent — told me about New Wash.

New Wash contains several oils, including sunflower, lavender, calendula, and rosewood, among others (I love a long list of ingredients. It makes me feel safe). But what’s most important about New Wash is what’s not in it: sodium lauryl sulfate, which is basically a detergent that throws the baby out with the bathwater, stripping your hair of what’s still good in there.

The product development team at Hairstory explained that the compounds in New Wash are “naturally derived of long fatty chains that are called amphiphilic substances.” In layman’s terms: The ingredients are really good at cleaning up the gunk that isn’t supposed to be in our hair while leaving the natural oils, moisture, and water.

Using New Wash for the first time was a bit disorienting because I was so accustomed to the sudsing from the sodium lauryl sulfate of shampoos from my former life as a bird habitat. But the lack of suds turned out to be one of New Wash’s greatest assets: Instead of feeling a big mass of bubbles that gives the illusion of cleaning, I was focused on massaging the product into my scalp, making sure I covered every strand, and then being pleasantly surprised that I could run my fingers through my hair without difficulty despite no traditional conditioner.

It also has a fresh, recognizable fragrance that’s subtle enough that only you and the people kissing your head will smell it. But in my five months using it, way more people have taken notice of the increased lustre in my hair (most people just say it looks shiny, but lustre sounds very hair-product endorsement). I’ve personally noticed a new thickness and ease of movement that I’ve never had —neither before nor during my platinum days.