Amika The Wizard Detangling Primer

How many times has this scenario happened to you: you go into the hair salon, and your stylist uses a product that makes your hair absolutely amazing. You think, oh, I’ll buy that for myself so I can use that at home! But when you use the product for yourself, the results are not even close to what you got in the salon. Is it just me?!

Anyway, Amika seems to be coming into favor over the long-standing Redken at a few of the salons I’ve gone to in the past year or two. When I went home and googled this particular product some more, I was pleased to find there was no isopropyl alcohol — a weakness of Redken leave-ins — and decided to go ahead and give this a try for myself. Kind of stinks that it’s so expensive, $25 for the 4oz size.

A couple pros: this smells super nice. The packaging is really cute, and the sprayer is, as you would expect, easy to use. Two or three sprays will really go along way in your hair, too. With a light enough hand on the sprayer, this will make your hair feel smooth and soft, and easy to comb through.

But, for day-to-day use (or, in my case, “going into the office” days), I absolutely would not recommend this. I feel like the only time this product might make sense is if you had relegated yourself to NOT styling your hair that day, or if you have EXTREMELY dry/damaged/brittle hair. This stuff is heavy.

The hair closer to the top of my head is relatively healthy, with some obligatory fly-aways due to the frequent coloring. The ends are a bit more brittle from highlighting. When this primer gets applied to the un-highlighted hair, it weighs it down a lot, to the point where it’s almost impossible to style, even after blow-drying. Heck, even trying to straighten it — it’s almost like it protects your hair too much from heat, and refuses to bend at the will of any tools you’re about to use, even when you set it to max power. (I guess that means it’s working as a heat protectant, technically?)

The longevity of this product doesn’t produce great results either. Obviously, if you’ve gone a bit crazy and sprayed too much in your hair, you are going to feel as though your hair is a slick of oil all day. But even if you’ve gone in with just a couple sprays, it seems that the product sort of, settles into the skin of your scalp, which will also make your hair feel heavy. In either case, you might find that your hair becomes very difficult to work with — it’s just flat-out greasy. Which makes this product more suited for managing fly-aways, but… is it worth the greasiness??

I’ve relegated this primer to “damage control” status. If I’ve recently dyed my hair, or I don’t plan on going anywhere for the day that would require me styling my hair, I will use it. Other than that, I’m not sure if it will ever be a re-buy of mine. I’m guessing this is more well-suited for people with very damaged or brittle hair. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: 4/5

How much I actually like this product: 2/5

Hask Cactus Water

I picked this up at Duane Reed while travelling, after I realized that I really can’t travel without bringing a leave-in product with me! It was cheap enough ($6) where I wouldn’t regret at least trying it out with only two seconds of prior research.

And… man I’m glad this only cost $6. This is a terrible product — at least for me. This is a 5 in 1 leave in spray — none of those five things actually seemed to come to fruition with my hair. Let’s take a look:

Claim 1: “Conditions and hydrates.” Absolutely not. Hair was drier after application. I would say my hair felt brittle, in fact, and I hadn’t even used any heat that day! In a weird way, this leave-in was almost tacky — not only was it drying out my hair, but I felt like the strands were sticking together, as well. Which, in turn, made my hair feel heavy and weighed-down.

Claim 2: “Detangles.” Although my hair is straight, it is extremely knotty post-shower. This did nothing to alleviate my situation.

Claim 3: “Resists humidity and reduces frizz.” It was a balmy 65 and sunny in NYC while I was using this. Now, I don’t think I noticed extra frizz, so that’s a good thing, at least, but as I mentioned before my hair was plain ol’ brittle-feeling. If humidity was a factor in this, then this leave-in did nothing to stop it.

Claim 4: “Repairs dry hair and breakage.” Nope! Split ends seemed more split-endy than ever. My hair was super dry, itchy to my skin, and rough to the touch.

Claim 5: “Adds shine”. Nah, this didn’t happen either. Maybe after the first three minutes of spraying it on, but not so much after that.

I will say that this smells AMAZING, and the smell persists after even several hours, which is nice. There’s nothing that’s necessarily “bad” in the ingredient listing either, although I noticed dimethicone and panthenol are both present. Leave-ins that I use and like don’t generally contain these, and I can’t help but wonder if the dimethicone is what’s causing my hair to feel sticky. I’ve also read some anecdotes about how panthenol, despite being an emolliating agent to make hair seem “slippery”, is not necessarily effective for all hair types. All that said, I still wouldn’t recommend it. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1/5

Longevity: 3/5

How much I actually like this product: 1/5R

Eva NYC Mane Magic 10-in-1 Primer

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not super well-versed in hair products. For a long time I was always a big fan of air-dry and go, but things have changed in the past two years: I like straighteners and hairdryers, and heat.  That said, I needed a thermal protectant — but I also now use this on days I don’t style my hair, and I’ve noticed an overall increase in my hair quality.

This comes in a spray bottle — when you pull the trigger, a very fine mist will come out of the bottle, enough to cover a pretty big portion of your hair. Obviously the amount you use is dependent on your hair thickness and length, but I don’t feel that I need to use a lot of it to get the full effect. The smell is very pleasant and not overpowering. It smells like a lot of other argan oil products I’ve used — I’ve also been informed that my hair “smells like a dryer sheet” when I’ve used it. I’m going to chalk that up as a good thing, I guess.

This really does do everything it says it will. It works great as a detangler. My straight hair is extremely knotty right out of the shower, and it’s easy to push a comb through once I’ve spritzed this on. As a thermal protectant, it’s definitely doing it’s job, and the amount of split ends I’ve incurred have been reduced dramatically, had I not been using this, or had I been using another product. This is pretty good for frizz control also — not necessarily a long lasting frizz control, but certainly longer than any I’ve used in the past.

This product is NOT heavy at all, unless you go overboard with application. That was my biggest gripe with other detanglers and heat protectants: they were way too greasy! Your hair will feel silky to touch and look shiny for the first 4-5 hours, and I don’t ever lapse into that “ugh I really have to wash this out” feeling. Now again, note that I said 4-5 hours — this is really the prime window for this product in terms of “seeing the results” for all of it’s purported benefits, but even past that time frame, I can still say that the overall health and quality of my hair is increased.

Now the only thing I wanted to note about this product is that it contains the ingredient “lilial”. It can be a skin irritant for some individuals, and cause the potential for skin issues on your scalp or near your hair line.

The price point on this is pretty good — $12, and this bottle will hold up for about three months even if you’re using it daily. And for the final bonus, the very tall sprayer on this bottle has survived many unintentional drops on the ground, and didn’t break. Tresemme Thermal Creations had failed me many times in this regard 🙂 ~A

Buy this hair primer on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2U5ONim

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 3.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 5/5