Over the last 5 or 6 years, I’ve become very particular about my hair. This shift happened when I decided to start wearing my naturally curly texture, because the change necessitated a new hair care regimen that took my texture into account. Over the years, I’ve found products that work well, and I’ve stuck with them. So when Walmart offered me an opportunity to spend 6 weeks trying products from a brand I’d never heard of, I admit I was a bit skeptical. Still, I thought it was worth a shot.
Over the next month and a half, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on a variety of Schwarzkopf hair care products, from shampoo and conditioner to wax powder (I’m not sure how it works either yet. I’ll get back to you on that).
This week, I tried Schwarzkopf’s Essence Ultime Omega Repair and Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner.
But first, a word about my regular routine: I typically use products made of organic and/or natural ingredients that are designed for naturally curly African American hair. These products are neither of those things. Also, I rarely use shampoo. Seriously. I generally just co-wash with a moisturizing conditioner. I only wash with shampoo when I have product buildup or I’ve had a sweaty week. So using shampoo at all is already a departure from what I’m used to.
First, what my hair looked like before I got started:
Flattering pic, right? I won’t admit how long it had been since my previous wash, but let’s just say it had been a while.
The Essence Ultime shampoo surprised me. It lathered up really nicely and I was able to work it through my hair without creating too many tangles. The shampoo didn’t dry out my hair or make it feel like straw, which a lot of other shampoos do. This is important, because the next step in my wash process is detangling — also known as an hour in the shower.
I usually like a very slippery conditioner to aid in the detangling process. So I knew immediately when I put the Essence Ultime conditioner In my hands that it didn’t have enough “slip.” And I was right. I was thick and nice, but not super slippery. However, what it DID do was make my hair feel super soft almost immediately. Really. It’s as if the conditioning process activated the second it touched my hair. So though it didn’t have as much slip as I’m used to, the softness still aided the detangling process. I was pleasantly surprised.
This is my hair straight out of the shower after detangling and twisting.
Again, not the most flattering image, but it’s hard to properly convey the result in a photo. My hair was soft and bouncy. Felt great, actually.
Overall, I really like both the shampoo and conditioner, but I know I’ll get a lot more use out of the latter. My biggest qualms? The fragrances. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to mild, natural fragrance, but the smell was a bit overpowering to me, and it lingers. My husband came home from work hours after I’d washed my hair, and the first thing he said to me was “you smell different.” A day later, I could still smell it. It’s not a bad fragrance — just too strong and “perfumey” for my liking.
Lastly, and more importantly, I’m not a huge fan of the ingredients. Generally, I prefer ingredients I can pronounce and recognize. And while these specific products are not listed in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, other Schwarzkopf products are, and the scores aren’t great.
Next week, I’ll share my thoughts on a product I didn’t expect to find in their line: a curl defining cream that I used to style my hair after my wash.