I’m not someone with a very strong sense of brand loyalty. I think it’s because of my change-loving nature and a general lack of sentimentality. I like to try new things; but it’s not only about the new-ness – the more you sample, the better chance you have of discovering something amazing.
In life and everything else, I make decisions about what I buy, eat and use based on quality, value, attractiveness and convenience… and not much else.
When I love a brand or business enough to keep returning to it, it’s not due to a sense of so-called loyalty but out of genuine respect for what they do – for example, if I seem to favour certain clothing brands or online shopping sites, I only do so while their style and taste continue to align with my own. If that ceases to be the case, I drop them without a thought – and when nothing really clicks, I keep looking around without discrimination.
If I do fall in love with something I don’t hesitate to tell others to give it a go. Usually, this is something related to food – a surprising but delicious pairing of ingredients, an amazing new restaurant – but sometimes, it’s fashion. I don’t expect people to take my word for it; I’m not often swayed by others either – I won’t be fooled by the fact that dress looks great on you, because I can tell at a glance whether it will also look good on me or whether it’s “me” at all. People who “copy” or “channel” others’ fashion and steal their shopping finds will never come to discover their own distinctive style or identity. That said… it can never hurt to broaden your horizons and at least contemplate new things.
Let me tell you about a “New Thing“. Today, we’re going to take a little break from examining food to enter a very different world.
When it comes to beauty and haircare products, I’ve always been all over the place. I rarely wear makeup and never foundation, so obviously sticking to a particular makeup brand or product range isn’t really a “thing” for me – I haven’t had to find the perfect shade for my skin tone or type. My hair, however, needs a little bit more love.
Being a colour nerd means I can never leave alone for long the bland black locks that nature gave me. Generally speaking, my hair is healthy and soft and it doesn’t take much bleaching to lighten it enough to re-colour it. However, keeping it up does mean sustaining a bit of damage, especially to my ends; and knowing this, I’ve always been careful to avoid “supermarket brands” of haircare whenever possible. But that hasn’t stopped me from buying all sorts of different brands of nicer shampoos and conditioners over the years – I’ve never settled on one as I’ve never quite been able to tell the difference! I can see the obvious quality discrepancies between a bottle of $6 supermarket conditioner and a $25 salon quality brand conditioner, but not as clearly between all the different $20-$30 products. So I keep trying different ones, in the hopes that one day, one will stand out.
Then I started using Osmo. Hailing from the UK from humble “cult” roots, Osmo arrived in Australia only this year and my good friend Kasia (who is not one to advocate for something she doesn’t believe in whether it’s her job or not!) handles the PR for the country’s only distributor. Osmo offers a range of salon-grade products accessible to both professionals and the average home user.
When I bought my first Osmo products, my hair was purple from the ears down. Not purplish-tinted, but actual purple. Being that my locks tend to require minimal maintenance otherwise, my first priority was to keep the purple vibrant. My second priority was to continuing keeping my ends healthy, and a very close third, to add body and volume to my thin hair.
My very first order contained a 1 litre bottle of Colour Mission Colour Save shampoo and a 1 litre bottle of Extreme Volume conditioner – the big bottles were a leap of faith, but not a giant one as so many friends had already tried and loved Osmo. The Colour Save product, containing anti-fade magic and UV filters, promised to prevent colour loss when shampooing my hair as well as provide it with much wanted moisturising, and the conditioner was said to make my hair weightless, strong and full bodied.
The verdict? Bad news first, though there isn’t much of it at all – my only complaint was that I’m not at all fond of the fragrance of neither the shampoo nor conditioner; but as they’re not strong, it hasn’t been an issue.
The Extreme Volume was extremely effective, and more so than the vast majority of the expensive salon volumusing conditioners I’ve ever tried. At times it worked almost too well and I had to take care to comb and style while blow drying to ensure my hair didn’t poof up all over the place from the fantastic lift the product gave to my roots! Yup, I could definitely see a difference here, and that was using only the conditioner without the Extreme Volume shampoo!
The Colour Save shampoo had less obvious effects, though I have no complaints whatsoever. It’s a lovely, pearly shampoo and leaves my hair moisture rich and the colour reasonably sharp after several washes, so yes, it does its job and does it quite well – however, I will not say that it is a big notch above other good quality colour protection shampoos I have used.
But then… with my next order came the amazing product my hair colour really couldn’t do with out. Meet Osmo’s Colour Revive range.
If you read the instructions for use on the bottle, it reads a little like a temporary hair dye like Fudge Paintbox, but it’s far from it! In fact, Colour Revive is totally natural, ammonia and peroxide free and infused with Avocado Oil, vitamin A and vitamin B and also acts as a deep moisturising hair treatment. And yet, not only does it protect and prolong colour, it adds it – by using it only once a week, it gave a very strong boost to the colour of my hair and prolonged the sharpness of the purple by at least 50%.
At the time, my hair was coloured using a combination of purple and pink shades of Manic Panic Amplified and Special Effects semi-permanent dyes, which tended to fade and lose its vibrancy every 3 weeks or so. With Colour Revive, my hair stayed shiny and purple for over 2 months, and also gradually changed a little to veer towards the deep violet tint of the Colour Revive shade I was using rather than the fuchsia-purple I originally had. This is by no means a bad thing – by the time you want to recolour your hair, the treatment easily comes out with a few shampoos and you’re all set for your next hair adventure!
After a year and a half as a purple-haired Asian, I was ready for a change, though I didn’t realise it until I booked a last minute appointment at a salon and impulsively turned my purple dip-dye into a blonde-brown-black ombre. Here’s what my hair looked like the day after I took the plunge:
Immediately, I bought the Colour Revive in Platinum and squeezed less than a quarter of a bottle into my conditioner. By this time, I had also acquired the Colour Save conditioner and started using that on my ends for extra moisture, while still using Extreme Volume on my roots for body. As the toner the salon put into my hair washed out, the Platinum Colour Revive (silvery in appearance) kept my lightened ends pretty and blonde by neutralising the yellow tones in the bleached hair.
But I still had over half a bottle of Violet Colour Revive left – whatever was I going to do with it?! Early one morning, on a whim in the shower, I got creative. Using my previous mixing idea, I grabbed another bottle of Osmo Colour Save conditioner and oozed a whole heap of Violet into it and just squirt or two of the Platinum for good measure. I estimate that the Colour Revive to conditioner ratio was a little less than 1:3. I then shampooed and rinsed my hair as usual, squeezed out most of the excess moisture and slapped on my Conditioning Colour Concoction (say that three times fast!) almost haphazardly. I tied up my hair and went about my other showerly activities for about 4 minutes, then rinsed out the “CCC”.
Here was the result:
I was beyond pleased! I wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen, but this was pretty much what I’d hoped for or imagined. I’m not sure what I would have done if it was a disaster, as the next thing I had to do was head in to work. To my corporate job. Now, I’ve decided to use my purple-ised conditioner once every two weeks or so to get the occasional pastel pink dip dye effect, and my silver-ised conditioner the rest of the time to maintain my blonde. It’s a perfect routine, and I thank Osmo for it!
Some of my friends are developing slightly worrying Osmo addictions, because it’s that good – I’m not quite there yet, but let me tell you about a couple more products I think are pretty cool.
Every girl with long hair needs good dry shampoo in her life. Because of its fineness, my hair becomes oily quite quickly, yet I don’t want to use shampoo everyday for various reasons (hair health, laziness, colour prolonging, though that’s no longer applicable), but cheap dry shampoos smell cheap and are only semi-effective, and others leave powdery white residue visible on my dark roots. I’ve used just a few which have been good, including some designed just for dark hair. Osmo’s Day Two Styler is not specifically for dark hair, but it brushes through remarkably evenly leaving not a trace. It is as effective at removing oil as any of the better products I’ve used, better than most at adding volume, and best of all, it actually smells amazing with notes of citrus.
Lastly, the Power Dust is potent stuff! Just a couple of dabs of this miracle powder and your hair will rule the universe! Ok, not really, but it will double in size and drama, and if you have super soft hair like me which just won’t stay put without hair spray, this will help, too. But beware about using too much – not only is it unnecessary, an excess of the stuff will also make your hands and hair sticky.
After months of trials and experimentation, I think finally found a haircare brand I can be “loyal” to… for now. Are you as convinced as I am yet? I have no doubt I’ll gradually make my way through Osmo’s entire product range and I promise to report back with my verdict on each one.
In the meantime, you can try Osmo’s products for yourself; and while you’re at it, why not follow them on Facebook for tips and tricks, and success stories from other real, happy customers? Go on. Don’t just take my word for it.