For various reasons, most of which are to do with the election of Donald Trump and not wishing to have any part in promoting him, I am reviewing my skincare, cosmetics and hair care to try and substitute products made outside the USA. This is deeply annoying: not only had I established a good routine with Paula’s Choice products that suited me well, but the diversity of skin tones and colours in the USA, together with demanding consumer culture, means that US-based cosmetics ranges tend to cater to a wider diversity of people, including me. Ironic, isn’t it? Word reached me fairly quickly about the Deciem Organisation. Based in Canada – we like Canada – it’s a relatively new company with several brands.
Its marketing schtick is that it doesn’t have one. Well, of course it does: its ranges make no sensationalist claims but instead state the nature of the active ingredient or chemical in them. The idea is that well-informed consumers – the metropolitan, liberal elite if you will – do their own research on the active ingredient that suits them and then seek it out for themselves across the ranges. It’s this lack of consumer marketing hype, no ads, no promotions in expensive department stores, no make-up counter staff, that mean that they can bring their products to people mainly at very low prices in a stripped-back, minimalist sort of way that makes the “enlightened” consumer feel good about themselves. Clever, eh? I am trying several of these products currently, and I aim to tell you about them here. So far I’m pretty impressed with most of the things I try and I’ll review them separately.
My first new product is Hair is Fabric’s Intensive Detox Cleansing Conditioner. You see? It doesn’t even call itself a shampoo and, in fact, it’s nothing like a shampoo to use. It comes in a tube and looks a little like frogspawn when you squeeze a little onto your shampooing hand. The frogspawny thing is a trait that the Intensive Detox has in common with many Deciem products I’ve tried: no colour, just active ingredients in a carrier, see? The point about Hair is Fabric is that hair is actual dead keratin. All the hype and overweaning claims made by other shampoo companies are nonsense: you can’t reincarnate dead cells. (This is where your Met Lib Elite blogger taps the side of her nose in a knowing manner.) You can, however, clean them and make them feel nicer.
The product markets itself as dry cleaning for hair, only with water, and contains none of the foaming surfactants so integral to “shampoos.” This is where your woke consumer will think, “Oh yes. Because foaming detergent surfactants are killing our planet.” (I don’t actually know whether this is the case but I’ve probably read something about it somewhere.) So the frogspawny stuff is worked into wet hair in the shower and left for three minutes while you wash yourself and do your face and feet. It smells of menthol and, after a while it makes your scalp tingle in a non-burnt way. Then you rinse it off. Voilà! Clean hair using only a very mild coconut-based cleanser. And date extract, whatever that does.
We have trained ourselves into the culture of rubbing our shampoo in until we have a foam Mr Whippy on top of our heads, stripping the hair and scalp of oil, and then putting it all back again with conditioner. Odd, really, when you think about it. Here at Alliance Towers, a certain someone uses so much shampoo on their relatively small amount of hair that great globules of foam travel all over the bathroom floor.
So, anyway, I tried the Intensive Detox Cleansing Conditioner but a mixture of autopilot and scepticism the first time made me use conditioner afterwards. My hair looked and felt marvellous and didn’t get greasy at all in the next couple of days. The next time I used it, I did away with the conditioner, and it feels great. Not squeaky, squeaky clean, which is probably an indication that my scalp has been stripped, but clean and strong. I really like it and I’d definitely keep using it. I must add here that it doesn’t seem to work well with everyone’s hair. On first reading of this review, my Twitter friend, Health and Beauty writer @LeahHardy told me that it leaves her hair looking dirty and lank, and I’ve read another review that says this too. My hair is still thick and dry and tends to frizz, and it works for me, so perhaps it does depend on your hair type.
I’m keen now to try the Deciem cleansers for black hue support and anti-frizz and see whether they have any effect on my emerging silver strands. Hair Is Fabric Cleansers are not cheap – my tube cost about £20 – but I no longer need to buy conditioner so for me it works out at very good value. I see that there’s also a 1L bottle available. That’s an awful lot of frogspawny stuff.