There was a time in my life, as a self-loathing adolescent with a yet-to-be-diagnosed serotonin deficiency, where I truly believed that my ability to become confident and well-liked by my peers was based solely on the appearance of my hair. That might sound hyperbolic, but I promise you it’s not: I remember in vivid detail days that I showed up to eighth grade at noon, sulking in my mother’s car, because I didn’t have enough volume at the roots. Once, when I was sad about a boy, my dad drove to the CVS around the corner and brought back a bag full of styling products to pull me out of my funk. It helped, for a little while.
My relationship with my hair (and, um, myself) is a lot healthier now. For one thing, its natural state — fine but plentiful, wavy yet lank, with a disobedient cowlick on the right — no longer makes me cry. (Except for the year-long interlude after I bleached it white and had to cut it all off and start fresh, but that’s a story for another time.)
Even better, the obsessive time-suck of a hair-styling ritual is long gone. I just shampoo, condition, run a generous amount of the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In-Shower Styler through my hair from root to tip, rinse, air-dry, and go. The thick, slightly gummy cream serves a unique purpose, one you might have gleaned from the name: It’s a styling product that you use in the shower, while your hair’s still wet. Just slather it on, rinse off lightly (so that there’s still some product left on the hair), towel-dry, scrunch, and live your life.
Like everything else from the science-backed brand, the In-Shower Styler has real technology behind it. You won’t find an ingredients list of essential oils and organically-sourced butterflies — rather, it’s powered by cationic resins that bind to the hair to enhance natural texture, the patented “thickening molecule” that creates body, magnetic texturizers to bring out your wave, and hydrophobic resins that control flyaways and add shine. It’s engineered to help flat, lazy hair step up its game — and it works.
I’m finally the low-maintenance woman I’ve been pretending to be for the past decade or so, back when I was spending 20 minutes I didn’t have applying a texturizing spray over a volumizing mousse over a heat-protectant serum over a styling primer, just to look effortless, like I just rolled out of bed, so that my friends would like me. Those were dark days.