Before the pandemic shuttered stores in early March, the last place of business I visited in-person was my hairdresser. I had only recently adopted a dedicated routine of a trim every six weeks, finally freeing my poor tresses from years of general abuse and neglect. Two or three missed trims later, and it was starting to show: split ends, flyaways, breakage—I’m roughly six hair appointments behind and deep in the throes of “pandemic hair.”
“Pandemic hair” is any combination of the following hair ailments: split ends; dried out, box-dyed locks; ratty tangles from a five-day-strong topknot; or greasy roots from poor diet and poorly spaced washes. Luckily, even the worst of hair days have been kept under wraps thanks to quarantining and working from home. But if you’ve been staring at your locks and wishing for what once was, let me save you the endless scroll through the vast sea of hair care brands and suggest a health-forward, all-natural, amazing haircare company: Hairstory.
Hairstory first caught my eye because it looks different—bagged shampoo was a new one for me. A quick look at their website lets you know that their unique twist on traditional hair care is not skin-deep. Hairstory's products are free of dyes and detergents and sustainably packaged, and this company doesn’t shy away from the harsher truths of an industry of which they’re arguably a part:
We’ve all experienced the edgy pitch of a company claiming to be different from the next guy, so I approached Hairstory's products with a healthy dose of skepticism. How could a classic shampoo and conditioner combo routine be all that bad, anyway?
My hard-earned skepticism was (literally) washed down the drain after trying Hairstory’s Deep New Wash. The gentle cleanser didn’t feel like my usual sudsy shampoo, but the bubbles were hardly missed. Even the best-branded suds are full of harsh detergents and sulfates that strip hair of its natural protective oils, leaving scalps oily and ends dry and brittle.
Hairstory’s Deep New Wash skips the fake stuff altogether, transparently listing every ingredient on its website and clarifying whether they’re used for cleansing (aloe leaf juice, jojoba seed oil, primrose oil, and apple cider vinegar) or conditioning (stearamidopropyl dimethylamine from vegetable oil, cetyl alcohol from palm oil, and equisetum arvense—aka the horsetail plant). I’m not a scientist, either. Hairstory lets you hover over each ingredient to learn more, so there’s absolutely no smoke and mirrors.
Since this product is sans suds, I used their handy scalp brush to work the cleanser into every part of my scalp. Immediately, I was transported to pre-COVID days when a stranger could massage and wash your scalp in a sink without a bat of a non-socially-distanced eye. Not only do the soft plastic nubs of the scalp brush distribute Hairstory’s products evenly and safely; but it also feels like a world-class scalp massage. Good luck getting any of the hot water today, family.
I stared forlornly at my trusty conditioner before rinsing and stepping out of the shower, feeling strange but optimistic towards my new washing regimen. Feeling like I couldn’t leave my parched ends without extra moisture, I ran a pea-sized dollop of Hairstory’s Hair Balm from halfway down my hair shafts to the ends. The rich moisturizer soaked into my strands immediately, and I was pleased to find my brush ran effortlessly through my still-wet hair, not a tangle to be found.
Hairstory’s Hair Balm is jam-packed with vegetable proteins that work to penetrate and moisturize strands, regulate hair’s moisture content (even in high humidity), and help reduce stress from chemical treatments, external environments, and heavy or repetitive styling. In plain English, this Hair Balm is the ultimate all-natural remedy for the crunchy, dry, and tangly woes of the dreaded “pandemic hair.”
In combination with the Hair Balm, the New Wash left my air-dried hair feeling irresistibly soft and silky and smelling like a delicious blend of cloves, sandalwood, and rose, with hints of patchouli. My naval-length hair tangles to bits if I think about tangles too long, but I was able to continuously run my fingers through my hair with no snags or tugs as though I had just gotten home from the salon.
Along my Hairstory journey, I was also delighted to discover a modern solution to my usual baby-powder-at-the-roots routine. The baby powder trick has been a long-loved hack for the women in my family, but it can be messy, hard-to-blend, and it also makes your head smell like a baby’s bottom, which can either be a good or bad thing depending on who’s asked. Hairstory has transformed this age-old practice, ditched the harmful talc, and transformed it into a present-day science with an ingenious trumpet-spouted Powder.
A sweet-smelling blend of corn and tapioca starch, floral extract, and essential oils, Hairstory’s Powder lifted my post-yoga roots from a greasy mess to volumized, matte, and rejuvenated. The trumpet spout gently puffs easily-blendable powder straight to your roots, helping you accurately target particularly oily spots while eliminating the mess.
In addition to cleansers and moisturizers that keep hair looking healthy and strong as-is, Hairstory offers a wide range of all-natural, cruelty-free, and highly effective styling tools for sculpting, scrunching, and everything in-between. Pandemic hair is even more susceptible to damage from high-heat styling tools, but you can blow-dry, curl, and straighten worry-free with Hairstory’s lush Dressed Up Hair Protector.
Fend off limp, lifeless roots brought on by cold winter weather with Hairstory’s Lift, an aerosol-free thickening and holding spray. Or go for a bold, bohemian, and perfectly “unkempt” look with their Undressed Texturizing Spray, great for creating textured looks without the crunch.
I had my fiance try out Hairstory’s Wax, their medium-hold pomade perfect for short hair. Beeswax, essential oils, and thickening agents derived from vegetable oils left his signature pompadour looking thick, voluminous, and locked in place. Too much slick in a pompadour can quickly go from put-together to mob-boss, but Hairstory’s Wax left my hub’s head soft to the touch and just the right amount of matte.
A little of these luxurious products goes a long way, making their already-reasonable price tags all the more affordable. They even offer an online hair care quiz that will match you with the best products for your specific hair type and a subscription service that provides a sustainable, steady, and eco-friendly supply of your favorite products right to your door.
Pandemic hair is real, but it isn’t unfixable. Treat your tired tresses to natural, wholesome ingredients from a company that makes their products for the sake of healthy, happy hair, not the almighty dollar. Of all the things to add to the chaotic saga that was 2020, we can’t think of a better mix-up to your daily routine than Hairstory.