People with fine hair look at hair products the way most people look at a bottle of tequila — intrigued by the possibilities, but scarred from past experiences that usually involve losing an article of clothing and a 48-hour hangover. The thing is, it’s way easier to avoid those Patrón shots your drunk friend just bought for the entire bar than it is for those of us with thin hair — myself very much included — to swear off hair products all together. It’s practically impossible, and actually impossible if you have an oily scalp or workout regularly.
I’ve learned to be wary of hair products. Most salt sprays make me look more like a drowned rat than a sexy beach goddess. Any shampoo or conditioner must be formulated for fine hair or I look like Morticia Addams by midday. Dry shampoo is great at first but starts to weigh down my roots after two days of using it. And don’t even get me started on smoothing creams, shine enhancers, and hairsprays. The teensiest bit too much of any of these and I might as well just hop back in the shower immediately.
That’s why when French hair colorist, Christophe Robin, told me he was launching a shampoo specifically for fine hair and oily roots I nearly cried — especially since all his products are some of Sephora’s top-sellers and are made to be totally and utterly gentle and color safe (Robin used to develop all of L’Oréal Paris’ at-home hair color products).
The Christophe Robin Cleansing Volumizing Paste is unique in many ways. First off, as the name suggests, it’s a paste rather than a liquid, and it comes in a jar. Secondly, it looks a bit like poop, which is off-putting initially but thankfully smells like a bouquet of fresh-cut roses. And then there’s the star ingredient. Formulated with Moroccan rassoul clay, which can only be found in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and has been used as a skin treatment in the region for centuries (it’s also the same ingredient that can be found my favorite facial cleanser: Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser), this shampoo is basically a clay mask for your hair and scalp. And it does all the things a clay mask for your face would do: soak up excess oil, soothe irritation (that’s also in part to the rose water in the formula), and break down dirt and grime.
It’s amazing to watch this stuff foam up in the shower. Scoop out a dollop from the jar and the brown clay instantly transforms into a frothy lather. As you massage it into your roots, it actually feels like your hair is being inflated like a balloon. As for the final results? Air-dried or blow-dried, my hair feels much lighter and bouncier when I use the Cleansing Volumizing Paste, and looks full without being fluffy. And unlike other volumizing shampoos, this doesn’t leave my highlighted hair feeling parched, tangly, and straw-like. I can easily brush through it (which admittedly doesn’t happen very often these days) and it feels silky and soft to the touch.
My reality is that I have to wash my hair every other day if I want it to not look dirty. Using this regularly, however, has tacked a day onto that, which as anyone with truly fine hair know is an impressive feat. Sure, my hair doesn’t look ah-mazing after two days of not washing it, but since the Christophe Robin Cleansing Volumizing Paste has gained a permanent spot in my shower my roots are noticeably less greasy, my messy waves are still wavy, and overall my hair just looks fuller. And because it leaves my hair so light and clean, it means any product I add on top of it — thickening spray, wave spray, texturizing paste — seems to work better. I still have to be careful how much I use, but I don’t have to be as scared of styling products as I used to. As for those tequila shots? Nope, still terrified.
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