MOISTURISING haircare

Sometimes it feels like we can’t win, with dry hair. Summer takes its toll, via UV light, swimming in pools and the sea (not to mention the breeze whipping across the shoreline). Winter, meanwhile, saps the moisture out of hair via the centrally-heated atmosphere. But just as skins need moisture, so does our hair – no matter what our hairtype, haircolour or hairstyle. Think of these as thirst-quenchers for your hairdo. (It’ll thank you for the TLC.) We actually found five terrific performers, in this category – so do scroll down for other products that did well with our testers. (If any product makes it to our Awards, against such stiff competition, we’ve no hesitation recommending.)

IlesFormulaMoisturisingDuo.jpg

GOLD (JOINT) AWARD Iles Formula Shampoo and Conditioner

US-based Wendy Iles has parlayed her years of experience as an A-list hairstylist into a beautifully- and minimally-packaged capsule three-step haircare collection, which she designed to 'provide instant hair repair and visible results for celebrity clients walking the red carpet or models on global beauty campaigns.' But this win is about much, much more than looks – as you can gauge from the comments below. Flip open the sexy-looking shampoo bottle to discover a detangling, sulphate-free formulation with a surprisingly rich lather. (The key is to add a little more water to activate the shampoo, rather than dolloping on more of the product itself.) Silk proteins deliver (appropriately silky) lustre, nourishing the hair and adding volume and body. A huge achievement for this 'cult' brand, scooping Gold – so hats off. (To reveal gorgeous shiny hair!). The conditioner totally came up trumps too. Delicately perfumed with white flowers, this 'jewel' of the haircare line should be combed through mid-length and ends to leave hair smooth and silky while sliding tangles and knots clean away. (The clinical-but-sexy-looking bottle also has a discreet flip-top, NB.)

OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:

‘I have oily roots with very dry mid lengths and ends, due to highlight. Both products are easy to apply. The shampoo didn't lather up immediately but if you add a little more water and then massage your hair, it does lather up well. It left my hair with just one application. After applying the conditioner, my hair was very soft, shiny and smooth with fewer flyaway ends. It definitely had a smoothing, defrizzing effect. My hair was light and easy to style and my blonde highlights remained bright’ • ‘My waist length hair, which was dry and damaged before I trialled these products, was squeaky clean after shampooing and the duo together was moisturising. My hair had a bit of gloss and was smoother, and a little easier to manage. It didn't weigh down my hair and there was no irritation or flaking on my scalp. The products claim they give silky and ore manageable hair and this is true’ • ‘I absolutely loved this brand. It was really moisturising but still gave body/volume to my fine slightly dry hair. It was definitely softer and easier to manage with a bit of a gloss. It felt gorgeous, very soft. These products helped with summer frizz. They were really lovely to apply, smelt fresh, and felt luxurious’ • ‘I love the smell! It was incredible, it smelt very 'expensive' and fresh and clean. I couldn’t stop sniffing my hair! My hair was pretty dry at the ends and greasy at the roots but it felt incredibly moisturised after the first use. It was soft, clean, bouncy and healthy/shiny. I used the matching conditioner when I needed it so it would probably last about twice as long as the shampoo. It instantly detangled my hair and made it feel very soft’

Shampoo: £35 for 200ml - click to buy

Conditioner: £39 for 200ml - click to buy

PhillipKingsleyMoisturisingDuo.jpg

SILVER (JOINT) AWARD Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Shampoo and Conditioner

'This is designed, so the leading trichologist brand tell us, for medium-textured or chemically-processed fine hair, again to deliver much-needed moisture to mid-lengths and ends – 'where hair needs it most', they point out. It is suitable for detangling even the knottiest children's hair, too, the brand suggests. They honestly don't share much more info than that about this Silver Award-winning product – so we suggest reading the comments below, and making up your mind on that basis.

OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:

‘My very fine hair is dry, over processed and brittle. The shampoo foamed up very well even in my hard water area. There was no stinging in my eyes. My hair felt clean but not stripped of natural oil so I only needed a tiny amount of conditioner. The products certainly had a moisturising effect. My hair was softer but not flat and this is usually a problem. It lasted longer than my usual premium range, which was recommended by my hairdresser. The shampoo and conditioner work together very well and are excellent’ • ‘What a double act these two products are! My highlighted blonde hair, which can get a bit dry if not care for, felt moisturised definitely and rebalanced, back into decent condition with one wash. The products gave as much gloss as you can get with highlighted hair, and felt swishy and freshly washed all day, even when not brushed. One of the greatest aspects was that my hair didn't feel weighed down or limp’ • ‘These products cleverly balance the moisture needs of the hair – less at roots, more through mid lengths and ends where it’s needed most. I used this combo several years ago and am now wondering why I stopped. Am a huge Philip Kingsley fan. Fab, fab, fab’ • ‘My short hair had just been highlighted so felt drier than usual when I trialled these. I used both products for a week and it felt well conditioned, soft and moisturised. The colours appeared vibrant. I like how my hair looks while using this range. I can leave longer between washes, too’ • ‘I really cannot believe what a difference high-end hair care has made to my hair. Since using these together, my hair looks lovely and healthy, a bit glossy, much less flat and less greasy. It’s easy to detangle’ • ‘The blurb promised to leave my hair lustrous and tangle free. It did exactly that! Oh my goodness, this works’

Shampoo: £17.55 for 250ml - click to buy

Conditioner: £20.25 for 250ml - click to buy

SheaMoistureMoisturisingDuo.jpg

SILVER (JOINT) AWARD Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner

Not super-cheap, but of the winning shampoo/conditioner combos this is definitely the most accessibly-priced (and available at all good high street beauty destinations). It's also the most natural of the winners – and sulphate-free, too. From a brand whose roots go back as far as 1912, Shea Moisture is hugely popular with those facing the challenges of seriously unruly hair, including Afro-Caribbean locks – but it's actually appropriate for all hairtypes. Key ingredients include coconut oil and coconut milk, organic shea butter and an extract from Acacia Senegal, a small thorny tree also known as 'gum acacia' which flourishes in West Africa, where it's long been used as a hair-nourisher enhancing softness while reducing frizz. When combed from root to tip and left for just three minutes before rinsing, it also 'leaves hair wrapped in a light coastal coconut breeze', we're told – and testers certainly loved that aroma.

OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:

‘These products promised moisturising and hydration to hair and definitely delivered. My hair is bleached and the ends can be dry, a little brittle and knotty when washed, with a top layer of frizz. It felt moisturised, soft, silky and healthy. It had definite movement and held the style. Because it was less frizzy I felt able to go out without having to straighten it after washing, which is what I normally do’ • ‘I love this shampoo and conditioner, It felt like an almost spa experience washing my hair with it. The smell is out of this world and my colour-treated, extremely dry and brittle hair was left feeling clean, fresh and hydrated, lighter and bouncier. I have already researched where to buy more’ • ‘This promised to cleanse and nourish, which it did. The shampoo lathered well though it took a little more rinsing than my usual brand. My colour-treated hair felt lovely and soft and smooth after. The conditioner was quite thin compare with my usual one but I was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked’ • ‘These products smell divine and work well to clean and moisturise hair.  My very dry hair felt much softer than usual, was glossy and more manageable’ • ‘My hair has never looked better. After use, it is stunningly smooth, beautifully soft, health looking and easy to style. Lovely, lovely products’ • ‘I love this shampoo and conditioner as they really help control my frizzy curly hair. I have really difficult to manage hair and the conditioner is amazing. I loved it so much. My hair is so much softer and smoother and frizz free. Will definitely continue using’

Shampoo: £19 for 300ml - click to buy

Conditioner: £8.24 for 384ml - click to buy

L'OccitaneMoisturisingDuo.jpg

SILVER (JOINT) AWARD L'Occitane Repairing Shampoo and Intense Repairing Conditioner

When mooching in a L'Occitane store and perusing their many fragrant temptations, we think it's actually quite easy to overlook the fact that lurking on the shelves is a rather stellar haircare collection – of which the Aromachologie haircare range is the shining-in-every-way star. Testers loved this shampoo when used in combo with the matching conditioner. Ideal for dry, brittle and damaged hair, the silicone-free smoother works to shield against heat styling and chemical damage with a patented 'anti-breakage complex', combining provitamin B5, sunflower oil and a fabulously fragrant fusion of five essential oils: ylang ylang, sweet orange, lavender, geranium and angelica. The conditioner works to detangle and protect hair from styling and chemical damage, it features repairing oat amino acid to repair and restructure, along with a patented anti-breakage complex of provitamin B5 and sunflower oil, blended with five essential oils: angelica, sweet orange, ylang ylang, geranium and lavender; those are also responsible for the aromatic herbal scent that so seduced our testers, below. (The product's dispensed from the chunky bottle via quite a novel small flip-top, FYI.)

OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:

‘I was very impressed. Rare is the day that a shampoo that hasn't been specifically made for black hair is moisturising enough. But my hair was full of body and bounce and my curls were defined and glossy. Frizz is my worst enemy. This definitely had an anti-frizz effect on my hair, due to the high levels of moisture and the smoothing out of the hair fibres. After three days my curls were still frizz-free. I can only usually go one day of being frizz-free before having to apply a lot of product. I would recommend this to anyone with frizzy and/or curly hair. Mine hasn't looked this good in ages. I usually apply oils and heavy moisturising cream every day and I can honestly say my usage is more than halved. I was able to leave my hair for seven days without washing it; usually I can only manage five days. This has changed my hair. Thanks’ • ‘The results are second to none. I loved these products for my dry hair, which has lots of flyaways and split ends. My hair was left soft, smooth and silky with a very good shine – it just looked like good healthy hair. Even the split ends looked much healthier and less noticeable. When I blow dried it looked in a really good condition. I used straighteners and again it kept the shine and healthy look. The style stayed in place much better than usual. I colour my hair regularly and the colour stayed much more vibrant and fresh looking after using this product for a few weeks’ • ‘This duo gave a lovely effect, shiny and glossy. When I was out I kept wondering what the nice smell was, then I finally realised it was the shampoo and conditioner I'd put on my hair in the morning. The fragrance stayed with me the whole day. My hair was much easier to manage. The conditioner in particular seemed to work wonders with my hair. They both felt like a treat to use’ • ‘I have long, over the shoulder length hair and it can get dry at the ends. These products helped the condition, moisturising and giving my hair a shine and a medium gloss. It was easy to brush through’ • ‘I am now a convert to this premium brand. I’ve never thought these brands were worth the extra cost but I felt such a difference. My highlighted and bleached hair was smoother, softer and more hydrated. It was easy to comb through and felt so much less strawlike than usual. Wonderful’

Shampoo: £19 for 300ml - click to buy

Conditioner: £19 for 250ml - click to buy

Screenshot+2019-01-09+18.32.33.jpg

BRONZE & BEST NATURAL AWARD Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo and Conditioner for Dry/Damaged Hair

Alongside the fabled skincare in the Liz Earle collection sits a very small range designed to deliver TLC to hair – which our testers consider deserves just as much glory, frankly. It offers three options of conditioner (though only one suits-all-hairtypes shampoo), all packaged in flip-top tubes – but it was the Dry/Damaged conditioner which did so well here. Botanicals include Kalahari melon oil, shea butter, conditioning Abyssinian oil, protective seakale and apple and orange extracts, which both promote shine and smell pretty darned fantastic. Mostly but not completely natural.

OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:

‘This made my look like the lighting was right all the time, as it was so amazingly glossy. It was very soft after washing, normally it takes forever to go through with a brush but this made it easy. My scalp felt clean too, with no itching. My hair looked amazing and I could go without washing for five to six days instead of my normal two. I normally buy cheap hair products but no more’ • ‘I loved the fragrance, which is extremely fresh and clean smelling. I enjoyed smelling it on my hair. The products were very easy to work into my hair. The shampoo lathered with no difficulty. My hair tends to be dry, given that I blow dry and straighten it each time I wash it. This had a noticeably moisturising effect. It was softer and more manageable and surprisingly much shinier. A friend commented on how shiny it is. The conditioner helped it to blow dry smoother and stop the frizzes. It didn't weigh down my hair. I am highly impressed with these products’ • ‘My hair is coloured and has highlights. It tends to get oily at the roots but dry at the ends and frizzy. My scalp is very itchy. After using these products it looked healthy and bouncy and I couldn't stop touch it as it felt so soft. I have quite thick hair but I was started to lose a lot. After using these products I noticed a reduction. After drying/styling, my hair looked thicker and had so much bounce and my highlight looked shinier. My normal products make my scalp dry but this helped and my scalp didn't feel so itchy. My hair doesn't get greasy at the roots a day after washing now, it stays clean and light up to three or four days. This is by far the best hair care I have used. Please don't be put off by the price. It’s not the cheapest but you wont be disappointed with the wonderful results’ • ‘My very thick long hair is coloured and very dry and straw like. These products did soften and moisturise. My hair was very clean, with a natural healthy gloss, much easier to brush through as fewer tangles and less frizz, which I always get and is annoying. I usually suffer from an irritated scalp but not with this. I didn't have to wash my hair so often either’

Shampoo: £12.50 for 200ml - click to buy

Conditioner: £12.50 for 200ml - click to buy