This $26 Product Helped Me Grow Super Long and Healthy Hair
Bonus: It smells like a high-end hair salon.
My infatuation with the Olsen twins lasted throughout most of my childhood and well into my preteen years. Beyond the since-abandoned collections of VHS tapes and bandana headbands, the only evidence of my Olsen obsession are the childhood photographs with a shoulder-length bob. You see, both Mary Kate and Ashley grew out their bangs — and my mom only allowed me to do the same if I chopped my hair short.
Even though I wanted to ditch my bangs forever, I never wanted to say goodbye to my length. And so, a new obsession started: long hair. Over the next decade, growing long locks reminiscent of Rapunzel became the end game. Despite a few bouts of balayage and plenty of heat styling, my hair thrived and quickly became one of my attributes.
But here’s the confession: I’m guilty of breaking a ton of hair-care rules. I play Russian roulette when it comes to shampoo, only get haircuts once a year, and aggressively brush my hair when it’s wet despite expert warnings. Occasionally, I make up for my questionable choices with a hair mask or serum, but I’m more likely to play defense than offense.
In fact, the only reason I manage to maintain my long hair is Ouai’s Leave-In Conditioner. The lightweight mist has been a savior to my tangle-prone tresses with a sulfate-free formula that simultaneously hydrates, strengthens, and protects. A long-forgotten hero of my childhood, it makes brushing through knots easier and leaves my strands feeling silky smooth.
Celebrated for a cleaner ingredient list — which features amino acid blends to strengthen hair follicles and tamarind seed extract to hydrate — it’s the epitome of what makes a great leave-in conditioner. With one spritz, I can successfully tame flyaways, protect against heat damage, and nourish my dry ends.
As someone prone to massive knots (I have a lot of hair, but the strands themselves are thin), this mist treatment is a key part of my routine to prevent breakage. It helps brushes glide through my hair without snagging and causing my delicate strands to snap. Plus, it smells like a high-end hair salon instead of the fruit-scented detangling sprays that dominated my youth.
While this leave-in conditioner might feel like an extraneous addition, it’s actually the very secret behind preserving my mane. It’s the champion ready to step in and defend my hair against daily aggressions, like 400-degree curling wands and yanking brush bristle. Not to mention, its affordable price tag is way easier on my wallet than collecting Olsen memorabilia ever was.
Shop now: $26; nordstrom.com