Confession: I am a hopeless hype-hound when it comes to haircare. I’m blessed with very low maintenance, very thick, very straight, very fast-growing hair that can take a lot of abuse so of course, I take it upon myself to fuck with it as much as possible.
I’ve gone through many ill-fitting phases including baking soda + vinegar (stinky), shampoo bars (icky), “all-natural” haircare (pricey and ineffective), and even a phase where I only used products for relaxed hair, which is essentially the polar opposite of my hair type. All things considered, my most recent foray into Korean haircare is actually one of the more appropriate trends I’ve jumped on. I’m 100% East Asian and part Korean, so Korean products should work for my hair, right? I looked around, saw this shampoo very positively recommended by a bunch of bloggers, and threw it in my cart.
Packaging and Appearance
This shampoo comes in a deep red colored bottle that looks very grown-up. Shampoo is dispensed through a pump that is mostly very functional but sometimes gets clogged from residue shampoo.
The shampoo itself is a yellow-ish brown liquid that smells like roots and herbs and doesn’t really lather. If you like bubbles, you probably won’t like this shampoo. I usually use 2-3 pumps for my hair and very thoroughly massage it around my hair and scalp.
The tl;dr for this review is that this shampoo has been amazing for my scalp but terrible for my hair.
Let’s start with the good, because in many ways this shampoo is really good. It promises to reduce dandruff, reduce hair loss, increase hair growth, and increase hair thickness. I didn’t notice any change in hair growth or thickness, but my hair is not exactly lacking in either of those departments. As for the first two claims, boy does this shampoo deliver!
I used to suffer from a bad case of dandruff. Switching to shampoos without sodium lauryl sulfate (other sulfates, including sodium laureth sulfate, seem to be fine) shampoo cleared up most of that issue so I was skeptical of how much additional improvement I would see from this shampoo. Turns out, quite a bit! This shampoo has essentially reduced my dandruff to a point where I never notice it anymore. It has also greatly cut down on any itchiness or irritation I experience on my scalp, which is really nice. I almost wish I had more dandruff to start out with to see how this shampoo would work on a more extreme case!
Equally impressive is the reduction in hair loss. I’m not at all worried about going bald or anything right now, but when I shed hair, it is very visible on my pillowcase, bedsheets, shower floor, and sometimes laundry and a real pain to clean up after. After I started using this shampoo, there has been a significant reduction in the amount of hair I shed. I don’t know what witchery is responsible for this, but I’m very happy about it!
At first, I was even happy with how this shampoo was affecting my hair. It does not leave my hair as silky soft and shiny as my beloved Shiseido Tsubaki shampoo + conditioner, but it did leave my hair well moisturized even without the help of a conditioner. However, with continued use, the moisturizing agents become too much! I get SO MUCH build-up with this product. My hair is not normally oily – with other shampoos I can easily go 2-3 days without washing, but with this shampoo, I was washing my hair every day and it still never felt clean. It just does not have enough cleansing power! The only way I’ve managed to use this shampoo as much as I have is by rotating in a stronger shampoo once a week (sometimes more) to clean up the gunk that this shampoo coats my hairs with, but even then my hair does not look its best.
This shampoo has a fairly impressive ingredients list. In addition to the “17 natural herbs used in Chinese medicine” it possesses, it also contains 1% zinc pyrithione, which is a proven anti-fungal ingredient that is used to treat seborrhoeic dermatitis. It is a common ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos because some cases of dandruff are caused by malassezia, a yeast-like fungus. Also, for those who are interested, this shampoo has a pH of 5.5, which is higher than the natural pH of your scalp but still mildly acidic. A shampoo with too high a pH may increase friction between hair fibers, which may lead to cuticle damage and fiber breakage.
The full ingredients, according to Wishtrend, are as follows:
Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Arvensis Leaf Extract, Polygonum Multiflorum Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Citrii Unshiu Immature Peel extract, Lycium Chinense Fruit Extract, Lycium Chinense Roof Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Seed Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Cocoyl Apple Amino Acids, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Pyrithione Zinc, biotin, nicotinamide, Disodium EDTA, d-panthenol, Citrus Paradisi (Graperuit) Fruit Extract, Xanthan Gum, Polyquaternium-10, Glycerin, Silk Amino Acids, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, L-menthol
My scalp seems to love this shampoo, but unfortunately it is ill suited for my hair. I think that this shampoo might work better for someone with very dry, bleached, or very curly hair. It almost feels like a co-washing conditioner, but with more cleansing agents.
Have you guys tried any Korean hair products? Are there any you would recommend?
Disclosure: This product was purchased by me. An affiliate link is used. You can see my full disclosure policy here.