We put the brand’s shampoo, conditioner, definer and elongator to the test
Wavy, curly, coily or textured hair – in whichever way that your curl pattern unfolds, from a 2A to a 4C, there is a significant difference between maintaining healthy hair and looking after your scalp, and enhancing and defining your curls while doing so. Often we have to re-introduce our curls through styling and defining products, and the routine can become endless.
With afro-textured 4C locks, this reviewer’s hair is as coily as it gets – it’s often a struggle to detangle, with major shrinkage and tight curls. On top of that, as our hair is in protective styling, we often find that it becomes drier more quickly and so has less-defined curls when it comes to wash day.
With that in mind, we normally look for hair products that are extremely hydrating (with naturally moisturising butters such as shea butter, jojoba oil and sunflower seed oil) that will also strengthen our hair in between washes, due to our braids. A huge plus is when a range looks after our curls: more often than not we have to go in with styling products afterwards to re-introduce the volume and definition.
So, when we heard that Living Proof was introducing a curl range dedicated to defining, smoothing, strengthening, holding and improving the look of curls – we were immediately intrigued.
The hair range consists of a curl shampoo, curl conditioner, curl definer, curl defining gel, curl elongator, curl moisturising shine oil and curl enhancer. The shampoo and conditioner offer a low-lather formula that is designed to coat and strengthen the hair while moisturising and defining curls. The curl-defining products work like a serum and moisturiser duo to hydrate and redefine the hair from root to tip.
Errol Douglas, hair stylist and textured hair specialist for Living Proof, says that the team surveyed consumers and discovered that “traditional products just mask curl concerns, neglecting the bigger issue: curl strength”.
Douglas says that every product in the collection contains Living Proof’s “patented healthy curl complex which forms a strengthening shield around every curl, giving curly hair types better structure… [and] leaves curls three times stronger”. So did the products live up to the brand’s claims? We tested them to find out.
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Living Proof curl shampoo, 355ml
The first thing to note is that the range is paraben, silicone and phthalate-free, and so the shampoo is rather low lather. We noticed that the creamy consistency means it feels more like a moisturiser than shampoo. Massaging a five-pence-sized amount onto already wet hair, the shampoo takes to the hair and coats each hair shaft generously. When massaging into the scalp, we found that our hair still felt light and not weighed down by product. Going in with two washes – one to remove dirt and the second to actually clean the hair – our fingers slipped through the curls without any pulling or tugging.
Living Proof curl conditioner, 355ml
Douglas highly recommends the shampoo and conditioner with all curly hair types as a way to hydrate and, after one wash, we noticed a huge improvement in how our hair felt. Perfect for those with dry, lifeless curls, the conditioner is the ideal companion for transforming them.
After our wash we used the recommended coin-sized amount on wet hair and coated the strands from root to tip. We then left the product on the hair for a few moments while massaging our scalp, finding that our fingers could seamlessly detangle our curls without pulling at their definition and, once washed out, our hair felt soft, moisturised, hydrated and free from any heavy residue.
Living Proof curl elongator, 236ml
While the curl elongator is recommended for use during wash day, we tried the product on damp hair mid-week as a refresh. Spritzing our curls with a mix of water and the curl conditioner, we then worked the curl elongator into our hair before styling. We found that the elongator was the perfect in-between wash product to keep curls looking and feeling defined while eliminating frizz and conditioning the hair.
Living Proof curl definer, 190ml
Using the curl definer, we were taken aback by its creamy consistency – traditionally, many curl-defining products are in a gel format. The curl definer acted as a mask and conditioner combined. Priming our hair with the curl defining gel (£27, Livingproof.co.uk), we then worked the curl definer into the hair, coating each strand from root to tip as recommended. We found that the natural movement and bounce to our curls was visibly evident, as was the ease of parting, styling and combing through. After styling, the results were impressive – our curls felt conditioned, stronger, moisturised and the definition from pre-wash was 10 out of 10.
The verdict: Living Proof curl range
While slightly more expensive than, say, the Shea Moistures of the world, the time and research that has gone into developing formulas that hydrate and define the hair while looking after the scalp is an achievement by Living Proof. If you’re after a range that does it all without having to dip into other products and formulations, the curl line is for you. Dry, dull and lifeless curls will see impressive results after one wash – we’re sold!
Traditionally, those with curly and afro-textured hair have had to be wary, as it’s often not clear if a brand has taken the difference in hair structure seriously, even when a brand claims to cater to such hair types. A good curly hair treatment not only looks after the health of the hair, but the vibrancy of its texture too.
Living Proof has done this well – they have taken their time to understand the foundation of curly and textured hair, and what makes it different. They’ve asked what it needs and how best to enhance it – and the results are refreshing.