This $3 Chemist Product Gives Me My Best (Non-Salon) Hair Days

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You know when you wash your hair and let it air dry without putting any product in it, and it still feels gunky? When you run your hands through it, your fingers get stuck and it just looks greasy?

If that’s never happened to you, I’m jealous. It used to happen to me all the time. For years, I’d go often a full month at a time, unable to thoroughly wash my hair. I’d wash it, and then that would happen. And so I’d try again the next day, hoping for a different result, but again, it would look greasy. I’d even change to a different shampoo, but still, it would be the same story.

Finally, after furiously Google searching and regaling my saga to too many people to count, I stumbled on a solution. Well, two, actually. The first came from my friend, who said all I needed to do was get a ‘reset’. Essentially, just a shampoo and condition by a professional.

So, I popped to my nearest Just Cuts, asked for just a shampoo and condition and not even a blow-off, and… found that it worked! As my hair was drying when I left, I ran my fingers through it and discovered they didn’t stick — my hair was completely gunk-free. Finally.

But, inevitably — whether it was after few more washes or months later — my hair gunk would come back. Onto solution #2, which I came across deep in my Google research: using a tea tree oil shampoo. I was game.

I headed to my nearest Priceline and picked up a Redwin Shampoo With Tea Tree ($2.69) and then headed home for a wash. I couldn’t believe it — not only did it clean out all the gunk, but my hair looked the healthiest it had in months. All for less than $3.

Here it is, freshly washed with a tea tree shampoo and a few all-over sprays of another first-cheap chemist product, John Frieda Vibrant Shine Spray ($8.99), which I use to detangle, add shine and prep my hair for hot tools.

Side note: when I’m after a deep hair moisturise, lately, I’ve been using and loving Coco & Eve’s Sweet Repair Hair Mask ($51.90). I put it on damp hair once a week, and then either leave it on while I’m doing something at home or while I sleep, before rinsing it off in the shower. It’s got keratin in it so it smooths hair, too.

“We often exfoliate our faces but forget that our scalp needs to be gently exfoliated as well,” Virginie Gaysott, Head of Human Resources and Education at Franck Provost Australia, tells me when I ask her why the tea tree shampoo cleared my hair.

“Gunk in our hair can be the result of product accumulation such as condition, which isn’t supposed to be applied directly on the scalp, styling products like hairspray and gels, or substances that a person naturally products like sweat, sebum and dead skin cells.”

Tea tree helps to decrease sebum production and inhibits dandruff, Gaysott explains. It’s also a natural cleanser that doesn’t strip your hair’s precious oils.

Another option for removing scalp build-up (what I’ve been calling “gunk”), she suggests, is to do a scalp scrub. “At Franck Provost, we have a range of different scrubs from Keratase that you can do in the salon,” she says.

“Alternatively, there are some great at-home scalp scrubs, which you can do 1-2 a week in-between salon visits. Before buying any product, though, make sure you speak to your hairdresser about what is right for your scalp.”

So, there you have it, to save you all the research and consulting of friends/random people on the street I did, consider a tea tree shampoo. And for $3, why not?

Redwin Tea Tree Shampoo, $2.69

John Freida Vibrant Shine, $8.99

Coco & Eve Sweet Repair, $51.90

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