My stylist cringes every time I see her, and I don’t blame her. About twice a year, I bleach my Asian-black locks to as light as they’ll go, causing serious damage. (Getting my locks to the ashy blonde I desire requires harsh chemicals to open up my hair cuticles and dissolve any pigment.)
And as much as I wish I could treat my hair more gently between salon visits, I wash it a lot, which is not recommended when your hair is bleached. Since I surf almost every single day, I need to wash the salt water out of my hair! As a result, my mane often looks—and feels—like a bird’s nest.
As you can imagine, this constant havoc means my hair needs quite a bit of TLC; otherwise, it dries out and starts to feel like straw.
“If your hair is colored or bleached, the cross-links within its structure are already altered and salty water can worsen that condition,” says dermatologist Dr. Enrizza Factor, M.D. “Overexposure to seawater fades or changes the hair color on top of making it rough, causing split ends and breakage.”
In my quest to protect my fragile hair from the salt, sun, and sea, I’ve spent quite a bit of money over the past few years trying out different leave-in products all promising healthy hair. Most of the products I tried left my hair either still dry or weighed down. Recently, however, Camille Rose Honey Hydrate Leave-In Conditioner caught my eye, and I figured I’d give it a shot to see if it could improve my dry, sometimes limp, bleached hair.
About Camille Rose Honey Hydrate Leave-In Conditioner
I was attracted to the fact that this product is suitable for all hair types and contains many natural (and, I won’t lie, delicious-sounding) ingredients, including pure honey, olive fruit oil, castor oil, and aloe leaf juice. I’d heard these ingredients were beneficial for hair and skin but never gave them a shot before.
According to Factor, honey being the main ingredient is a major plus: “It’s completely natural and full of good-for-you antioxidants that help keep your hair healthy,” she says. As an emollient, honey works to smooth the hair follicles and help make dull hair shinier. As a humectant, it bonds with water molecules, moisturizing dry strands. Thanks to these properties, it’s a real winner for restoring your hair’s natural luster, Factor explains. On top of that, honey can support a healthy scalp by promoting cell growth, restoring nutrients to the hair, and soothing skin irritation.
It’s worth noting that some people suggest honey is a bleaching agent and can lighten your hair, so testing it out on a small section just to make sure it doesn’t change your hair color is a good idea before going all in on a product containing it, she recommends. I personally didn’t notice anything.
The other ingredients in the product also help to moisturize hair. Olive fruit oil, for one, has vitamin E and antioxidant properties that protect the hair against environmental pressures like salt water. And, “while aloe leaf juice helps the moisture in the formula penetrate into the hair shaft, castor oil sits on the surface to help the hair retain moisture,” says Factor. “Hair shaft penetration and moisture retention are two factors that make this product great for low- and high-porosity hair alike.” Bleached hair is quite porous, so that’s good news for me.
FYI: Curly-haired people will find that the sugar cane in this product offers both hold and hydration to keep their curls “juicy,” according to cosmetologist Ghanima Abdullah.
The final aspect that struck me about this conditioner was the absence of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates. I find that hair products with sulfates irritate my scalp and that phthalates weigh my hair down.
Trying Camille Rose Honey Hydrate Leave-In Conditioner
For two weeks, I added the leave-in conditioner to my haircare routine. After I washed my hair and got out of the shower, I squeezed a big dollop into my hands and ran it through my locks. (It was easy to apply!) Upon first impression, this product smelled really delicious—just like honey and not too sweet. I may or may not have been tempted to taste it.
Though I expected a bit of stickiness (honey is pretty darn sticky), that wasn’t the case. (According to Abdullah, I had those nice oils to thank for that.)
After I applied the conditioner, I ran a wide-toothed comb through my hair to remove any tangles. Though I would hit snags when using past leave-in products, this conditioner made my hair easy to gently detangle.
I surfed pretty much every day during my trial with this conditioner, which meant I also washed it at least once daily. Amazingly, after just a few days, I already noticed a difference! Previously, when I would try to scrunch my hair while it was damp for a little style, the ends would feel a bit crunchy or my hair would eventually look limp. No longer! After incorporating this leave-in conditioner, my hair would dry into soft, beachy waves that held for the day after being scrunched.
I can’t say how this product holds up should you go days without washing your hair, but it certainly worked for my routine. My hair felt softer and looked healthier, despite being washed so frequently.
Now that I’ve tried this conditioner, it feels like a no-brainer addition to my beauty routine. Not only does it smell great but it actually works great, too. My hair really feels softer and my waves last all day. Given all the wear-and-tear I put my locks through, I’m excited to keep this product in my daily routine and feel good about the ingredients in it.