Once upon a time, I had virgin, black, stick-straight hair as smooth and shiny as a silk ribbon. Then, two years ago I dipped my toes (figuratively) and strands (literally) into a dramatic silver ombré dye job. Next came purple. Then pink. Then back to black. Then blonde ombré. Then even blonder. Combine that with my near-daily use of a curling iron and you have the sad, rough straw-like threads on top of my head. I touch the ends and have to cry a little.
In spite of-or maybe because of-my enthusiasm for dyeing my hair, I have very little enthusiasm for…taking care of my hair. I cut it once a year, if at all. I’ll use shampoo and conditioner two to three times a week and pounds of dry shampoo on the other days-and that’s it. I’m apprehensive about anything that requires more than two steps, which is why I’m surprised I’ve fallen for what has become my hair savior: Nexxus’ Keraphix, a multistep system.
Designed for severe damage from heat styling, bleaching, and other means of wearing down hair protein, Nexxus Keraphix’s main ingredients are black rice and keratin. Keratin, the primary structural protein in hair, you’ve probably heard of, but black rice? It’s apparently rich in glutamic acid, an amino acid that Nexxus discovered to have reparative properties on hair fiber. The product developers were partially inspired by the Yao women from a Chinese village called Huangluo, who have a global reputation for having black, thick, nearly floor-length hair (think: Nicki Minaj’s wig…but real). They wash their hair in fermented rice water and, well, just look at it:
I wasn’t trying to turn into Rapunzel overnight, but I did hope using the Nexxus Keraphix system would spare me from having to chop off everything and start over. So, one quiet Sunday when I had enough time, I got to work. There are several steps: First, I used the Keraphix Shampoo. Then, I applied the Keraphix Reconstructing Treatment and left it on for five minutes. I shampooed again and applied the Keraphix Masque to my ends and left it on for another five minutes. Finally, I rinsed and let everything air dry. The whole process was about fifteen minutes.
I couldn’t stop touching my hair the rest of the day.
At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, after just one use, my hair felt silkier, softer and had the same swishy movement had before I started dyeing it. I didn’t even feel the need to mask scraggly ends by heat styling my hair-xxx-I just left it alone for the rest of the week. There was a nice slip and shine to the texture of my hair that I thought was gone forever.
Here’s what my hair looked like when I don’t put anything in it (other than using the Keraphix products) and let it air dry. So shiny!
My routine now involves using the Keraphix Masque and Reconstructing Treatment once a week, and the regular Keraphix Shampoo and Conditioner the two other times I wash my hair. I used to think I’d have to break up with bleach for good to have healthy hair, but now I know I don’t have to. Yes, it’s just a tad bit more effort than a regular ol’ shampoo and conditioner (and, god forbid, two-in-one) but it’s well worth the extra time.
Nexxus Keraphix Damage Healing Shampoo, $12; target.com
Nexxus Keraphix Damage Healing Conditioner, $12; target.com
Nexxus Keraphix Damage Healing Treatment Masque, $4; target.com