As someone who graduated from her mom’s trusty braid and bang combo to regular hair salon visits, I’ve grown accustomed to a certain type of cleansing routine. Specifically, the part where you scrub, rinse and repeat until you literally hear your clean hair squeak, even if it also feels so dry that the most hydrating conditioner with amazing slip wouldn’t soften the blow unless you used the entire bottle. Now that I’m a grown woman who splurges on Seamless dinners instead of salon visits, I’ve been hyper-focused on hacking my hair routine sans professional help and achieving goals I’ve long put on the back burner, like figuring out why my hair seems to hate water. During what has been the most unpredictable year, I’m getting answers and have this MyKirei by Kao shampoo to thank for keeping me focused on the mission at hand.
About two months ago, after working my way through a series of unsuccessful product experiments, I realized I hadn’t spent any time literally getting to the root of my problems. So I decided to conduct an old-fashioned porosity test. I know people either love or hate it, but it’s worked for me in the past. In case you’re not familiar, a typical hair porosity test gives some indication of how your hair retains water. After shampooing your hair and before adding product, pluck a strand from your head and drop it into a cup of water. If after a couple of minutes it’s still floating at the top, that means your hair has trouble taking in moisture (low porosity).
If it sinks to the bottom, your hair has no trouble taking in water (high porosity). If it lingers somewhere in the middle, you probably don’t need to be as careful about your routine (but should still be thoughtful about your choices). Again, there are flaws to this system, but it can at least point you in the right direction.
Once I saw my hair floating at the time nearly 40 minutes after dropping it in water, I knew I would have to focus on cleansing to banish buildup sitting on top of my strands, literally watering my hair on the daily, and sticking to lightweight stylers with water as the first ingredient, followed by other penetrative nutrients. I won’t bore you with the long-winded deets of my entire routine (more on this later), but I have to talk about this shampoo. I discovered MyKirei by Kao’s Nourishing Shampoo while researching rice water as a hair growth treatment. Since my hair is protein-sensitive, I can’t go overboard with daily protein products. However, a once-a-week cleanser provides just enough strengthening properties without damaging my hair.
But that’s not even the best part of this shampoo. Despite being loaded with surfactants to pull oil and other buildup from the hair, it’s the first shampoo to leave my hair so soft, I can run my fingers through it without conditioner. I don’t know if it’s the mostly plant-based, cruelty-free formula or a specific ingredient (perhaps the softening Tsubaki extract or reparative succinic acid). Or maybe it’s just something my unique head of hair loves. I’ve stopped categorizing my hair into a specific “type” or number system because I believe everyone simply has to find a routine that’s specific to their needs.
This shampoo—housed in a sustainable air bottle that reminds me of Capri Suns—just so happens to compliment my daily conditioner and current favorite hair mask: As I Am Jamaican Black Castor Oil Moisturizing Masque. It’s basically a luxurious bubble bath for my head and I can’t imagine using anything else. If your hair is also prone to gunk and dryness, I highly recommend putting this on a “maybe I’ll try it” list.
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