Every curly-haired woman says she has tried a bazillion products, and I have, too. But, I am also the queen of Internet research (I do work in tech here at R29, after all). Therefore, I usually only try the most highly recommended and reviewed hair products out there — I’d like to think I have extra high standards.
So, when the beauty department asked me to test Pureology's new Curl Complete collection, which promises no frizz for up to three days without shampooing, I was immediately skeptical. First of all, the line has a shampoo, which I almost never use. (I'm a co-wash girl.) Then again, it has loads of other products — a conditioner, a hydrating mask, a taming butter, a curl-enhancing spray gel, and a serum.
Another thing that gave me pause was that there are a ton of ingredients on these labels. However, I felt better because the formulas are completely vegan and contain coconut oil. I was super excited about the coconut oil part, because I’d read that it's the only oil with molecules small enough to penetrate hair strands.
First part: The shampoo. It's thick, smells citrusy, and has a pearly-opaque creamsicle color that made me hope it would be creamy and not too drying. The lather was a fun alternative to my normal co-wash, but after rinsing, my hair felt dry and hay-like. I almost reached for my normal conditioner to fix the feeling, but I stayed strong and crossed my fingers that the Pureology one would be able to help the inevitable tangles that come with dryness.
Then, I got a little scared: This conditioner was actually thinner in consistency than the shampoo. My typical conditioners are often so thick that they come in jars, not bottles. Despite that, it actually had fantastic slip (curly-hair term for how easily it combs through). And, I didn’t have to use too much. I was officially relieved.
Post-shower, I clipped up my hair, went about the rest of my routine, and rinsed out the conditioner. It still felt detangled, moist, and smooth at this point, so I forgave the shampoo.
Immediately after stepping out of the shower, I threw a large gob of the Taming Butter into my hair. This stuff is VERY thick and kind of sticky (definitely doesn't have good slip), but I was able to work it through my hair pretty well because of how thoroughly the conditioner detangled. I wasn’t totally sure if I was supposed to also use the extend serum after showering, but I ended up saving it for my second- and third-day hair.
The next morning, my hair had dried completely. By the way, this never happens. It is always still wet after I shower at night, so I was pleasantly surprised. My curls were also much more springy than normal — I shook them out a bit and went to work. Within the first 30 minutes of sitting at my desk, my coworker walked by and told me my hair looked great! I honestly didn’t think it would be a noticeable difference, but her compliment came so immediately, and she didn’t even know I was testing products. A few hours later, I glanced in the mirror and my hair was sporting way more volume than usual: I loved it. I felt like Diana Ross all day, and I was ready to throw out all my normal products and commit to this line.
By day two, the volume was still there, but my hair was starting to feel dry. The label on the extend serum says it “evens out the porosity of color-treated hair,” which was exciting for me because my hairdressers have always said my hair is extra porous. The formula comes from two different pumps within one bottle: One is clear, and one is opaque and creamy. This was weird, but it felt high-tech. I mixed them and smoothed the product on my hair, focusing on parts that felt dry. This, unfortunately, took down some of the volume. Throughout my second day, I still had a majority of the volume and not much frizz, but there was also a foreboding feeling of dryness.
The morning of day three, my hair was back to its normal volume, and feeling pretty dry and tangly. I put more of the serum in than I did the day before, turned my head upside down, and scrunched, in hopes that my Diana Ross look would return. Unfortunately, none of this helped. I spent day three with “meh” hair. It wasn’t frizzy, but it felt limp and dry.
So, while the first day was one of the best hair days I’ve ever had, my strands felt so dry by day three that the excitement wore off. I was left wondering whether the extend serum was simply too heavy, like a lot of anti-frizz products out there. (They always seem to flatten and weigh down curls, which I chalk up to the high silicone content.) If I were to try this line again, but just use the butter — essentially a hydrating cream — I might get better results for my particular texture. Creams are more second-nature to me, especially because you can use them as a blowdry agent, which enhances the shape and bounce of curls.
Having said all of that, I would absolutely recommend Curl Complete to a friend (in fact, I already have). But, for now, I’m going to return to my normal routine. Because, while the enormous volume was amazing, I was also worried about my mane's health due to the tangles and dryness. I'll keep that conditioner in the shower, though, for when I'm feeling adventurous.
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