How do I take care of my fine hair in France : hard water issues, French pharmacy, drugstore or eco-luxe ?

If you live in a French city and not in the countryside, you probably have very hard water. If you have fine hair like me, you will soon realize that using a mild shampoo while having hard water will make your hair weird. Your hair will have a greasy appearance even after washing it, and the more you will wash it, the greasier it will look. So you will want to wash even more, and the vicious circle will never end. I will give you my most honest opinions about haircare that you can find here. I don’t use only local brands, I buy what’s the most efficient for my hair. If the most efficient product is local then it’s perfect, but I don’t settle down just for the sake of buying local. I think it just contributes with being wasteful, and resenting the products I am using. This is a very long article, so do not forget to bring some drink with you !

First of all, I apply hair treatment before I shampoo

If you tell me it’s useless because it goes in the drain and it’s wasteful, you probably don’t have hair like mine. My hair is much better after I apply a deep treatment before I shampoo. I can’t use a hair mask after shampoo after every wash, because my hair will look flat. However, I can use the deep treatment before shampoo and my hair will still have volume. Usually, I use Shea Moisture hair masks. I also love their Yogurt protein treatment. Shea Moisture is a brand that you can find easily in France, but it’s not sold in the most common stores. I often add rice protein from Aromazone to the Shea Moisture masks and it’s so much more efficient. Often I add aloe vera, honey or panthenol. I also love using the Rahua oil before I shampoo. These treatments make my hair really soft and shiny. However I often skip that part if my hair become too soft with no waves.

Then I shampoo twice

I shampoo every two or three days. I have tried every dry shampoo on the market, and I dislike it. I just need to shampoo often and I will never be that person who can wash their hair once a week, period. I do use sulfates. However, many shampoos that contain Sodium Laureth Sulfate make my hair coarse, with no definition at all, and my scalp itchy. It’s not that Sodium Laureth sulfate is a bad ingredient : the lack of conditioning ingredients makes the hair appear coarse, and the concentration of sulfates / lack of calming ingredients makes my scalp itchy.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate washes the hair really well, but you do need to condition the hair after if you want a nice texture. For most people, a good conditioner or/and a leave-in conditioner is enough. For me, if I use Sodium Laureth Sulfate, I like the shampoo to also have conditioning ingredients. If the shampoo with SLS doesn’t have enough conditioning ingredients, I will have to use it much less often. Lush shampoo bars used to make my hair really coarse even with a conditioner. Godiva is meant to be a gentle shampoo, however the fact that it’s a shampoo bar means that there is a higher concentration of surfactants. I find the shampoo Keraness by the Morrocan brand Botanika Marrakech to be so effective for any coarse hair texture. I have wavy hair but this shampoo is also amazing for any kind of coarse hair.

The only thing I dislike about this shampoo is that it contains methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone which can trigger contact dermatitis on some people. I haven’t noticed such a reaction on my atopic skin, and I stopped washing hair in the shower unless it’s fragrance and essential-oil free by the way. So I still really love this shampoo. I can even say I never had such pretty and shiny hair. When I used it, my hair was bleached and colored, and this shampoo still made it super soft and wavy ! It also smells divine, and it cleanses the scalp so well despite its creamy texture. The other shampoo I used when my hair was bleached was the Oi Shampoo by Davines. If you do not mind the grandma’s closet smell (I love it) which is close to Christophe Robin prickly pear seed oil mask’s smell, this is a great product. There is a good amount of leather. The hair are super clean afterwards, but you still can’t skip a day of washing. The best thing about this shampoo is that it gives fine hair a lot of volume ! It’s also super great if you find your waves to be too perfect, too defined… This works well as a reset shampoo to get bigger clumps of waves instead of super small too defined waves. The things that I dislike about this shampoo : first, the hair can get slightly unruly if you don’t condition enough, and the bottle lasts so long. I was so bored with the smell at the end of the bottle…

When I was younger, the shampoo I used to buy a lot was Ducray extra-gentle shampoo. First it’s super cheap. You can find it in every pharmacy in France. The composition is really minimalist. The smell is divine, it smells like apple. This is maybe my favourite shampoo smell along with jasmine ! The texture is a gel. There is a lot of foam and it contains sulfates. The only issue with this shampoo is that it lacks conditioning ingredients, and it cleanses too well. So if you want to use it on a daily basis, just apply on the scalp, make sure you get a lot of treatments, and condition a lot ! I never had such clean hair than when I used this shampoo. I also think that this shampoo can be used as a clarifying shampoo and a chelating shampoo as well ! The composition is super minimalist, and it contains SLS, sodium chloride and citric acid. I never had any hard water issue while using it, despite having super hard water. I stopped it for years and I started noticing hard water issues with my hair. So my next haircare buy will be this shampoo. I was looking for a chelating shampoo, but these are usually super expensive. I usually alternate between using salt or diluted vinegar to prevent any buildup, but it’s not very convenient and I am always scared of getting diluted vinegar on my face ! I also really miss the apple scent. So, if you want a good cheap chelating shampoo that no one knows of (the Ducray shampoo is a classic here but I never heard anybody using it as a chelating shampoo), be sure to get it !

I also use a lot of shampoo bars from small soap factories. My favourite ones are Aromaury, Sativa and Naturayl. The Aromaury shampoo bars contain sodium coco-sulfate : it lathers really well, it leaves the scalp and hair so clean, and yet really soft and shiny. It gives plenty of volume. I was impressed because the shampoo bar never breaks into small pieces as long as it dries properly. It lasts really long, longer than any Lush shampoo bar. The Sativa bars are fantastic for delicate fragile hair. Their Kenavo coco shampoo bar is the most gentle shampoo I have ever used ! However, I think that it’s not great for oily scalp, as it is too rich and it doesn’t cleanse well. It is so gentle that you can’t wash oil treatment with it. People also use it also as a body or face wash as it is known to be gentle, but I have never tried it. The Sponta Nee shampoo bar is a holy grail for coarse texture. It is gentle but the hair is clean enough. It makes the hair so soft, it is much better than the Godiva bar by Lush ! It is also really cheap but of course there are shipping fees. The Naturayl shampoo bars are also super gentle. Since I have an oily scalp I do not use them as shampoos anymore : I use them as a hair treatment, like I would use a conditioner. I leave them on the scalp and hair a few minutes, after getting a real cleanse. The hair texture gets much softer, like baby hair soft kind of texture, and it makes me feel like I have more hair (it’s an illusion but it’s still beautiful). Naturayl and Sativa shampoo bars do not contain any sulfates.

I also like a lot of sulfate-free shampoos. My favourite shampoo ever is the Rahua Classic Shampoo. It is just a perfect shampoo for me. Maybe it is a bit rich, and the hair gets greasy fast (two days), but since I have regular washes, I do not really pay attention to that criteria. The smell is so original and fancy, the texture is beautiful and luxurious, the hair so much better with this shampoo. When you use it on a regular basis, you do see a real difference on the quality of hair and you can trim your hair much less often. This is a shampoo I always come back to ! Lately I have tried the Rahua exfoliating shampoo. I also like it very much ! I like the Classic shampoo more, but the exfoliating shampoo is fantastic as well. It is not stripping like Christophe Robin salt scrub. The Rahua shampoos are also very concentrated so they last longer than most drugstore shampoos. I also like John Masters Organics shampoos but I love Rahua shampoos much more. I just hate that it’s an American brand, because it’s so far away. I also think that their ethical and sustainability claims are a bit much : don’t get me wrong, I do not imply they are greenwashing, or lying. However at the end of the day, this is just a brand among others made for profit, there is no need to act like this is a non-profit charity who wants to save people and the planet. That is not evil to be just a business selling shampoos. We need shampoos. Yes, I am not really a no poo activist, you get it. It will not really save the planet to buy Rahua. Let’s be real, they ship all across the world, and I am not saving anyone by buying an American shampoo. However, when I buy a Rahua shampoo, they are so effective that I don’t need to buy ten other drugstores shampoos the next month. It does not give me eczema, so I do not need to buy scalp eczema treatment. The quality is really high !

On the cheaper side I recently came across Burt’s Bees fragrance free baby shampoo and I was so impressed that I was already ready to call it a Rahua Classic shampoo dupe with a completely different smell and texture. I mean, they are completely different shampoos. However my hair are as soft and shiny when I use the Burt’s bees baby shampoo ! It is cheap and fragrance free, it can also be a body wash (but I find it quite stripping as a body wash), I will definitely repurchase. Usually baby shampoo make my hair shiny but since they lack conditioning ingredients and because the pH is so different, my hair lacks definition. Burt’s Bees fragrance free shampoo makes my hair really wavy. Only downside : like the Rahua Classic shampoo, hair gets greasy within 2 days. It is excellent as a daily shampoo !

A product I was also very impressed with is Avocado Cowash by Lush. This is just great any type of hair. My waves love this product. This is a cowash but the scalp is definitely clean. I even think that I never found another cleansing product that gives me more definition. However, I really dislike how they put pressure on the staff to get sales. I have heard it really depends on the store, but while I was quite annoyed (mentally) at the staff when I was a teenager, for being so pushy, I am now sad that the pushy staff was not an exception and that they were doing it out of pressure. When I was young I was convinced that working at Lush was a dream student job !

We all know that some people who have pushy personalities, and my naive teenage self thought it was just one or two members of the staff who wanted to get sales as an accomplishment. Many people who worked at Lush say that there is so much pressure to harrass the costumer and get more sales. Since I have never seen the other brands’ staff being that pushy, besides Sephora (another business I cannot stand), I just cannot imagine the pressure behind the doors… I wish that other bloggers, with more readers than me, would mention this. I would not want Lush to disappear because they make really good products, they are quite a myth, they make a lot of donations to charities and they are less apolitical than other brands who just do not mention anything. While it depends on the store, it remains the brand responsibility to make sure staff is safe and respected. I wish that they would get more bad attention for doing this, so they finally start being good to their workers. It’s not cruelty free is the staff is being scared to work ! Of course this is not the only business being cruel to the staff, but what I dislike is the claim that they are ethical. Their entire business model was build on this. The other business or brands involved the most with that kind of drama never claimed that much that they were ethical.

I condition

I do not need fancy conditioner. I barely buy Rahua, John Master Organics conditioners. I have tried them in the past, they are great, but since I discovered Shea Moisture conditionners and masks, I feel like fancier products are not worth it. I mosty use organic conditioners with decent price, like Centifolia rasperry conditioner and Emblica detangling balm. They are not that cheap but I always buy them with a discount so they end up as cheap as drugstore one. For discount you have to check organic stores or “anti-gaspi” online shops, there are many of them here. This is like Too Good To Go for beauty products. Some drugstore conditioners are great, like Timotei coco or Le Petit Marseillais coco, but any other drugstore conditioner will make my hair greasy. Both Centifolia and Emblica conditionners are fabulous for my wavy hair, they detangle my hair perfectly and they give a lot of shine and definition. They also make my hair very soft. What I also like about them is that my hair is not greasy afterwards. It has volume. You just have to apply a small dose. I usually do not use a conditioner if I had a rich deep treatment before the shampoo, because my hair are already detangled and soft. When I use a sulfate-free shampoo, I also usually skip the conditioner step.

I apply a leave-in product

I have multiple holy grails leave-in products : Rahua leave-in treatment (the regular one, not the one for fine hair), the Shaeri leave-in spray and the John Masters Organics rose & apricot hair milk. The Rahua leave-in treatment is rich, but if I apply only a small pea of product, it does not feel greasy. I apply this product after my hair has completely dried. It leaves it soft, easy to style, and it prevents split hair because there is less friction. I can also apply it on damp hair, if I use it as a styling product for my hair. It gives me big defined waves. I use the John Masters Organics rose & apricot hair milk the exact same way, but it is even easier to use on damp (even wet) hair because it is so much lighter than the Rahua leave-in treatment ! The Shaeri leave-in spray is even more lighter, but it does not even require some extra other product to give definition and shine. It also makes hair very soft. It contains a lot of sweet almond oil and my hair love it.

All these products are very expensive, but the Rahua and the JMO ones always lasted me years (I never had any issue with these products going bad). The Shaeri leave-in spray does not last very long, because it is so light I usually apply 2-3 times a day. However I do recommend this product. The Rahua leave-in treatment has a very rich texture (the color was white with slight greyish tones if I remember well, and the texture was like a yogurt) and a strong floral essential oil scent which might be repulsive for some, but I love it. It smells … old, if that makes sense. The smell is very unique like any Rahua product !

Recently I found a product that is really inexpensive but great : the Watermelon leave-in treatment Pulpe de Vie. I have tried only one bottle, and while I was not as impressed as I was with other products, for the price this is really the best leave-in product for fine hair. It is light if you apply a small dose, and it gives definition to the hair. The scent is decent, it has a sweet watermelon scent that is quite artificial, it smells good but it does not smell unique. When I have tried it my hair had some hard water buildup, so I am sure I will be even more impressed if I try it again, without the hard water buildup. I also like the Gyada spirulina aloe vera gel very much ! It has a very strong hold and my fine hair does not get greasy with it. I can use it with another leave-in product with no issue, which is rare !

If you are looking for some great detangling products, I have tried three of them : Equave by Revlon, Le Petit Olivier Argan, and Rahua hydration detangler. My favourite was by far the Rahua one. Unfortunately it is so expensive. However, it is not a basic detangler : every decent detangler will reduce the apparition of split hair because they do reduce friction and breakage, but I found that the Rahua detangler made my hair much more healthy on the long run, much more than with other detanglers I have tried (combined with other products of course, but that product really made a difference). It claims to protect hair from UV, I do not know if this is true, but there was much less damage. Equave by Revlon is the best for detangling and styling only purpose. It has much more efficient detangling properties than the Rahua one. It also makes the hair more soft, silky and shiny, and it also has a styling purpose. You can spray it on wet, damp or dry hair. However, I think that the soft and silky effect does not really last during the day. If I apply the Rahua detangler in the evening, I will still see and feel the difference the next two days. I also do not see a long term effect on the quality of hair. It reduces hair breakage when you brush your hair, but nothing more special. It also makes my hair less wavy, or with different kind of waves : small beach waves instead of big waves.

Le Petit Olivier Argan detangler in a great cheap detangler. It does the work. It smells really good as well. However I do not really like fragrance in detangling sprays because it can reach my face so easily. The Revlon also has too much fragrance for my taste (it does smell good) and this is why I am not sure I will repurchase it. I have very sensitive skin and trying to finish my last bottle, I spray it on my hair brush instead, so it doesn’t touch my face. When I use a detangler like Le Petit Olivier or Revlon, it is because my hair has too many tangles, which does not happen daily. So I usually spray a bit of detangler before or after the shampoo. Usually, I will only use the detangler and will not add another leave-in product, because otherwise it will be too much. Sometimes, I also use hair oil and aloe vera gel together as leave-in conditioner, or hair oil alone as a serum. My favourite oils for this are Coconut Oil, Moringa Oil, Argan Oil and Prickly pear seed oil. The key is to add a very small dose for all the hair. Otherwise it will be greasy. For oils that do not solidify like coconut oil, just add 1-2 drops for all the hair.

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Ringarde Skincare

Le site qui ne vous vendra jamais de Drunk Elephant. Les conseils que je vous donne sont ceux que j'applique moi-même.

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