Back when travelling abroad wasn't such a logistical nightmare, you might have spotted haircare brand It's A 10 while perusing the jam-packed beauty aisles of New York drugstores like CVS and Duane Reade. If, like me, you're also very nosy, you'll have noticed shoppers filling their baskets — and for good reason: the five-star reviews don't lie.
The brand's global success makes perfect sense. Founder Carolyn Aronson has over 35 years of experience as a salon owner and hairstylist. In fact, her growing team of haircare experts vow to put each and every product through its paces (both in salon and on celebrity clients) to make sure that before anything goes into production – and eventually on sale in store – it gets a solid 10/10.
It's A 10 has been a cult favourite in the US for some time but it's still pretty under the radar in the UK. Most beauty editors consider it a best-kept secret. From transformative leave-in treatments and deeply nourishing hair masks to everyday shampoo and conditioner, there's a product to suit all hair types and textures. The biggest hype comes courtesy of the brand's new Plus Keratin range, which has also rather excitingly landed here recently.
What is keratin and what are the benefits for hair?
All hair is made up of protein which is called keratin. Matt Hawes, creative master stylist at Josh Wood in London, told R29 that it protects the hair from humidity, helping to keep frizz on lockdown. Over time, things like the environment, heat styling and frequent washing may break down your hair's natural keratin, making it feel a lot less soft and manageable. That's why keratin-infused haircare is so popular at the moment as it makes hair shinier, smoother, softer and therefore much easier to style. Because keratin is already found naturally in hair, it's suitable for all hair types and textures, and unlike stronger professional keratin treatments, it won't completely change your hair pattern.
As someone whose hair frizzes up instantly in humid weather, I can't speak highly enough of this leave-in potion, which is my rainy summer go-to. At first it feels quite thick but it disperses through towel-dried hair quickly and easily and makes hair seriously soft. It's also excellent for curly or wavy hair. As it's so lightweight, it doesn't make strands feel weighty or appear flat. Rather it works like a curl cream and helps to add definition, volume and bounce with no sign of any greasy residue.
This feels more like a serum. I think it's best used on dry hair after styling to minimise the appearance of fluffy, split ends. I'm in need of a trim but with this stuff I can go a lot longer between salon appointments, as it more or less fuses split strands back together! The pump's design means a lot is dispensed at once so if your hair is on the fine side, be mindful.
If your hair is bleached or coloured and feels very dry, swap your deep conditioner or hair mask for this. Pull it through damp hair immediately after shampooing and let it work its magic for at least five minutes. It's so hydrating, you'll notice how much softer and smoother your hair feels just after rinsing. The real results happen when you go to brush or comb your hair: no snags or fluffy strands whatsoever.
If you have coloured hair, make this your next purchase. While it isn't entirely free of sulphates (which many might see as a downside), it works well to preserve the vibrancy. My hair is bright blue (a shade that's notoriously difficult to lock in) but this is gentle so I can use it once or twice a week and it provides a much deeper clean than something that's formulated without sulphates — all without noticing much fade.
I'll get my only gripe out of the way first: the pump can be difficult to use so you might want to spritz the product into your hands first, rather than straight into your hair. This is a good detangling spray, especially for natural hair. The texture is silky and creamy, making it a lot easier to pull a wide-tooth comb or brush through thick lengths. It lends waves definition.
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