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Ouidad Botanical Boost Moisture Infusing Refreshing Spray — Will It Make Curls Get Lifted?

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As a naturally curly-haired gal, I’ve always been on the prowl for haircare and hair styling products that would help moisturize my often dry mane, help me tame frizz, add natural-looking hold and definition to my sometimes unruly curls, revitalize limp strands, and basically resuscitate my curls, restoring them to their ounce coil-like springiness. Now, as we age, even our hair tends to lose some of its elasticity — and I’m talking about a phenomenon that occurs in your 30s and 40s, not when you hit a Driving Miss Daisy age. As curls grow limp, women find themselves increasingly dependent on curl-activating products that will add volume to their manes. But that’s not the only challenge curly-haired gals have to confront head-on. There’s mind-boggling humidity (the main cause of frizz and fly-aways); changing hair density (thin hair can be prone to becoming tangled, developing split ends, and so forth, whereas coarse hair can be more unmanageable and prone to dehydration); and the damage caused by free radicals (especially UV rays), excess washing (no need to shampoo every day, chicas!), overly tight hairdos like braids, cornows, and migraine-inducing buns, drying styling products like alcohol-based gels (those pink ones int he super-sized vats would be a prime example!), the disaster wrought by heat styling tools used excessively and without any type of protective styling aid, and chemical processes ranging from hair dyeing to straight perms (both of which can make hair more porous, damaged, and straw-like). Whether you covet Shakira’s beach-y tousled waves, Keri Russell’s tight spirals, Corinne Bailey Ray’s bouncy curls, Esperalda Spalding’s lush and beautiful Afro, or Debra Messing’s Shirley Temple-esque coils, years of experience should have taught you that, even when you wear your hair natural, you sometimes need a little bit of an assist to keep strands looking their very best.

 In my case, I need all the help I can possibly get. See, once upon a time, all I had to do was wash my hair, comb it through, dry it with a diffuser, and hit the road. But then, of course, I started experimenting with different looks and changing my hair color regularly — and not just from a dark brown to a lighter chestnut brown or auburn brown, but transitioning from jet black hair to platinum blonde to russet orange and back again. All these factors have contributed to my hair growing disturbingly thinner and more brittle. Split ends are more of a problem than ever before and my strands are always on the verge of having a straw-like texture (deep conditioning hair masks and hot oil treatments are necessary to avoid this pitfall). Needless to say, with all the damage I’ve wrought on my hair, it should come as no surprise that my curls have  basically wilted, becoming rather lifeless and droopy. It’s all a bit soul-crushing given that I miss my luscious, voluminous, curls and wish they’d rear their head on a constant basis, as opposed to only making a special appearance whenever they fancy doing so.

Over the years, then, I’ve tried almost every product targeting curly-haired gals: Carol Daughter’s Hair Milk, Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding and Pillow Soft Curls, Bumble and Bumble’s entire Curl Conscious line (which I love, by the way!), Mixed Chicks’ Gentle Clarifying Shampoo and Detangling Deep Conditioner, John Frieda Frizz-Ease’s Curl Reviver Styling Mousse, Pantene Pro-V’s Curly Hair Style Curl Defining Mousse, Moroccanoil’s Intense Curl Cream, TRESemme’s Flawless Curls Curl Definition Jelly, and so forth. Few products, however, have left me as ecstatic as those from Ouidad. I’ve been dazzled by the Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, the Curl Quencher Hydrafusion Intense Curl Cream, the Moisture Lock Leave-in Conditioner (possibly my favorite in the lot), the Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel, and the Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel – just to name a few.

Admittedly, I expected near-perfection when I tested the new Ouidad Botanical Boost Moisture Infusing & Refreshing Spray ($17 for 8.5 fl. oz. at Ouidad.com and Sephora.com), a lightweight leave-in conditioner that can also be used throughout the day and spritzed on dry hair to refresh and revitalize curls. Because I’d had such positive experiences with Ouidad’s products, I practically expected chubby-cheeked cherubs to sing, comets to blaze across the skies, four-leafed clovers to dance before my eyes — all impossibly high expectations, to be sure, but it’s only human to set the bar high for those we know have a penchant for excellence.

Perhaps because of these sky-high expectations, then, I wasn’t as impressed with Ouidad’s Botanical Boost Moisture Infusing & Refreshing Spray as I had anticipated.  If anything, I wound up with rather mixed feelings about this product.

As a leave-in conditioner, I found it stellar — it detangled hair easily without weighing it down, it made my scalp feel cool and tingly (and as we all know, healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp), and it didn’t weigh my mane down or leave it feeling greasy or oily (a result of the formula containing no oils or waxes). After washing and conditioning my hair and spritzing the Botanical Boost all over my head, I noticed that, once my hair dried, my curls were spruced back to life and they looked bouncy, lively, and healthy.

The hydrating and nourishing properties of this leave-in conditioner can be attributed to the botanical ingredients in the formula: conditioning panthenol, which leaves hair silky soft; hydrolyzed rice protein, which penetrates the hair shaft to repair damaged strands; aloe leaf extract, which cools and soothes the scalp while also protecting strands from UV rays; hydrolyzed wheat protein, which penetrates the hair cortex and strengthens weak and sensitized strands; dog rose extract, believed to prevent hair loss; ginseng extract, believe to soothe the scalp and to promote hair growth; and blue-green algae extract and centenella asiatica extract, both believed to strengthen hair strands and stimulate hair growth.

Now, while the Botanical Boost will give your curls a bit more oomph, the effect is temporary, so you’ll still need a defining curl cream, mousse or spray to give the look hold. But, beyond that, it’s a pretty good leave-in conditioner — assuming, that is, that your hair is pretty healthy. Someone with extremely dry hair, such as myself, may require a stronger leave-in conditioner (like Ouidad’s Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner) though you can still benefit from this product by using it as a lightweight detangler.

The one area where this product  really fell short was as a style refresher. When I applied the product to dry hair, the formula had a completely different effect — it didn’t really revitalize my curls or soften my hair. I may have felt a burst of coolness around my scalp (mainly thanks to the aloe) but, beyond that, the results were akin to spritzing my mane with water. My curl pattern wasn’t more defined after use, there was no noticeable change in volume or lift, and texturally the difference was minimal. And, oddly enough, it sometimes left my hair feeling drier and more porous than it did pre-application. This, again, could be due to my hair being so dry and having incurred damage over the years but, nevertheless, it leaves me thinking that this product is likely to work best on women who already have healthy wavy or curly hair and who don’t need a leave-in conditioner with added accoutrements.

Overall, it’s not my favorite Ouidad launch by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s also far from a bust. Use it on damp hair and you’ll be pleased — maybe not over the moon, but certainly pleased.

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