A Not-So-#Basic Shampoo and Conditioner Combo for Really, Really Clean Hair

Rachel Krause


Clean hair has never really been my thing, which is to say that I prefer mine with a bit of grit. All the product in the world can’t replicate the mussed-up texture that a day or two (or three) without shampooing creates. That’s a fact. But to get that second-day quality without crossing the boundary lines between disheveled hair and downright dirty, you need to start with a clean slate.

Once a week—yep, I only wash my hair once a week, with strong doses of dry shampoo in between—I hop in the shower sans cap and scrub that shit down with whatever shampoo I’m feeling at any given moment, rinse, and repeat. Full disclosure: I rotate between so many hair care products, with new ones added all the time, that my boyfriend lives in a state of fear because he can’t take a shower without several bottles tumbling off the ledge onto his feet.

But maybe, just maybe, my selfish habit of leaving 50 shampoos and conditioners lined up systematically on any available surface is on its way to being broken. Lately I’ve developed a very real fondness for the R+Co Oblivion Clarifying Shampoo ($24) and its accompanying Restorative Gel Conditioner ($25), two new products that have fit so seamlessly and effectively into my routine that I almost—almost!—feel as if I could put all the others into storage.

MORE: A Brief Rundown on Clarifying Shampoo, and Why You Actually Need It

This combo is unassuming at first glance—what could possibly be so titillating about a shampoo whose selling point is that it’ll make your hair clean? “Go where no shampoo has ever gone before—to the simplest, cleanest place your hair’s ever been,” Oblivion promises. Simple is usually just a euphemism for uninteresting, but not in this case. Trust me: I used to be like you, eschewing the sound and straightforward in favor of all things flashy and imported from France.

What’s exciting about Oblivion isn’t the wording on the packaging or exotic ingredients you’ve never heard of. What’s exciting is the results. (OK, so the bottles are pretty cool, and the fresh, unobtrusive scent is wonderful, too.) The amino acid-rich shampoo makes my fine hair so, so soft and, yes, clean, but not at all stripped or so silky as to leave my roots flat and make styling impossible. The conditioner is lightweight to the point that if you didn’t know any better you might think it had no hydrating power whatsoever. That would be an incorrect assumption: I’m not entirely sure how the “oil-in-gel” system works (sweet almond, peach kernel, moringa seed, and coconut are the star oils of the formula), but it does, leaving nourished, healthy-looking lengths and ends in its wake regardless of whether I air-dry or hit it with the heat.

Used together, this pair gives me dreamy hair that looks and feels like it’s been restored to its original state, the way nature intended it to be. All the better to load up on five texturizing products and wait another several days before shampooing again.

MORE: I Don’t Know What It Means to Have ‘Separated’ Hair, But I Think I Like It