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I’m a total fucking slave to the whole slick-back hair look — to the point that I am forever putting my locks through an endless array of heat tools and products to give it that clean, frizz-free pony. But, a few months ago, I noticed that my scalp was weathering the impact of all these different creams, serums and slick sticks I was lathering on my head. So, when my editor asked me if I wanted to road test STRAAND’s new Crown Cleanse Shampoo, I can’t tell you how fast I typed “YES!!!!” into our Slack chat.

For context, I’ve tried many haircare products and scalp treatments over the last few years. Having wavy (and at times, frizzy) natural curls meant I spent the better half of my teenage years trying brand after brand hoping that one day, I’d finally find a product that does what it claims. So, as you can imagine, I went into this trial with hope, but also a little bit of warranted scepticism.

So, to start — what is the STRAAND Crown Cleanse shampoo?

If Yr Hairline Is As Flaky As Yr Toxic Ex, I Just Found A $24 Shampoo That’ll Sort Ya For Good

I know what you’re thinking — hold the fuck up, what is this shampoo you speak of and what the heck is a crown cleanse? Well, for starters, your scalp is host to a bunch of different microbes (from bacteria and fungi through to environmental toxins) that live on its surface and feed on sebum (your hair’s natural oil). A balanced scalp microbiome is one where diverse bacteria work together as a team to strengthen the skin’s surface layer and create a habitat for follicles to thrive and roots to grow.

Treating the skin on your head like you would your face and body is a surefire way to give it the best chance at thriving. That’s where STRAAND’s Crown Cleanse comes in because its specially curated formula (packed with prebiotics) focuses on removing all that rogue product build-up and eradicates any excess grime while balancing the biome — all the while, its calming ingredients are working to restore your locks, rather than stripping them entirely, which is the case when it comes to many anti-dandruff shampoos and scalp treatments.

It’s also cruelty-free, vegan, Aussie-made and natural, so all my plant-based babies can rejoice.

First impressions?

I started trying the dry scalp treatment the week it arrived, and my first initial thoughts were that:

It smells really fucking ace

It smells really natural, and dare I say, kinda minty? But not in like a weird breath mint kind of way. I’d say its more of a really nice natural essential oil type of minty. It’s also strong enough to enjoy without being overbearing to the point of a headache.

I spoke to Meagan Pate, the founder of STRAAND and she said one of her friends likened the scent to “a dreamy resort,” and there’s simply no better analogy for it. It’s giving spa retreat in every sense of the word.

Using it in conjunction with the scalp brush is comparative to eating Nutella out of a jar — therapeutic

The scalp brush that they sell alongside the shampoo is also literally ICONIC. Often, washing your hair can feel like a chore, but this made it feel like an extra little treat. It does get stuck in longer hair that easily gets knotty, though, so try to brush ya locks before you get in the shower to prevent it happening if you can.

The affordable price point has left my bank account not weeping (for once)

A bottle of this shampoo costs a nice $24 and holds 350mL, which is so much more accessible than those high-end brands that retail products for upwards of $100. I’ve been using the shampoo for a month now, too, and it’s still going strong because it’s barely half way finished.

How did it stack up in the long-term?

It really helped my dandruff/dry scalp skin

Before:

If Yr Hairline Is As Flaky As Yr Toxic Ex, I Just Found A $24 Shampoo That’ll Sort Ya For Good

After:

Scalp treatment, shampoo for dry scalp, dry scalp treatment, straand

Naturally, my life is documented via my BeReals, so when I went back through my photos for the last month, that’s where I initially noticed the subtle change. As you can see in the first picture, my front scalp line and middle part are very much dry and flaky after using all my slick-back hair products, the scalp underneath also looks red and irritated. Then, after only switching out my regular $5 Pantene supermarket shampoo with the STRAAND Crown Cleanse, I saw a noticeable reduction in all the rogue flakes that I’d often find scattered throughout my hair and a healthier, calm scalp underneath.

It definitely took a few weeks to notice a change, though — so don’t give up early if you don’t see the fruits of your labour right away!

My hair was way less oily between washes 

I’m someone who used to get quite oily hair between washes to the point that I’d often have to give it a full wash every two days. Not only is this SO fucking draining when it comes to organising my social calendar around my hair wash days (IYKYK), but it strips your hair of its natural, healthy oils that allow it to grow and flourish.

After a month now of using this dry scalp treatment, I can noticeably let my hair last up to four or five days before it needs another wash (provided I haven’t doused it in slick-back products). For full transparency, I do pop a spritz of dry shampoo on it during the later days, though. But it holds up pretty well otherwise.

It’s also important to note: it doesn’t come with a conditioner unfortunately, so I just run my regular old one through the ends of my hair (from my ears down — NOT my scalp) which also helps to elongate that time between washes.

My hair is so much more glossy and shiny

No further comment. The proof is in the pudding this video.

The overall verdict

According to Meagan, “Over 50% of people suffer from scalp concerns,” and given a vast majority of people are constantly lusting after healthy, luscious hair, “putting more effort into the health of your scalp allows you to tackle the root cause,” she said.

Using STRAAND over the last month has shown me the importance of doing exactly that — starting from watering the source (aka the scalp) has given my hair follicles a really healthy base to work with. It’s also given it a nice illustrious gloss that wasn’t always there before. So, in short, I’m a convert, and I’d recommend this dry scalp treatment/shampoo to anyone that’s been having a tumultuous journey with their scalp and locks, too.

You can shop the Crown Cleanse dry scalp treatment for $24 here. They’ve just released a really nice scalp treatment serum that you can shop here, too.

Image: Pedestrian TV