Posted on: December 25, 2023 Posted by: Comments: 0

We all know the power of a really good hair day. When your hair looks and feels good, you walk a little taller, you exude confidence and you might even admire your crowning glory in every reflective surface you walk past. If you manage to re-create salon-worthy results at home, you know it’s going to be a good day. On the flip side, when a bad-hair day strikes it can completely kill your vibe. That’s why finding the best haircare brands for your hair is key to having a good hair day. Every. Single. Day.

However, it can be easy to get in a haircare rut. Over time, our hair may have varying needs depending on its texture, cut and colour. What might have once worked for you might not be serving you now, and with so many haircare brands around, just walking (or clicking) into the aisle can be hugely overwhelming if you’re thinking about switching things up. 

As a beauty editor (who previously worked on a specialist hair magazine before joining Who What Wear UK), I’ve been lucky enough to try a lot of haircare products. My bathroom is brimming with shampoos, conditioners, hair masks and hair-styling products that I have on rotation for testing. But only the very best take permanent pride of place in my shower.

To help you find the very best brands that I think are genuinely worth your cash (rather than money down the drain), I’ve rounded up my all-time favourite brands and enlisted the help of the Who What Wear UK team to share theirs, too. 

Ouai—pronounced “way”—is top of my list as one of the best haircare brands around. Not only does the minimalist packaging feel right at home in my bathroom, but I’m yet to try a Ouai product that I haven’t fallen in love with—not to mention the scents, which have become so covetable that the brand has created perfumes with the same fragrances. Who What Wear UK’s managing editor Poppy Nashis also a fan. “2023 is the year I discovered Ouai, and I honestly don’t know what I was doing before the brand came into my life,” she says. “I absolutely love every single product in its roster, from the leave-in conditioner (my holy grail) to the detox shampoo (legitimately the best shampoo I’ve ever used). It’s the brainchild of celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin and is just simple, fuss-free and effective. The brand uses sulphate and paraben-free formulas too, which is a total plus. I now get regular compliments on how healthy, shiny and smooth my hair looks, so there’s really no going back for me.” One of the brand’s best sellers is Wave Spray, which enhances curls and texture on hair that isn’t dead straight for effortless, cool-girl locks. Simply mist onto damp hair and allow to air-dry. 

Both myself andPoppy fangirl over this shampoo. It’s a clarifying shampoo, which is a game-changer if you use a lot of styling products or dry shampoo. Consider this as your Sunday reset to rid roots of excessive product build-up. It gently cleanses with apple cider vinegar, leaving roots feeling weightless and lengths unbelievably shiny. 

Another of Ouai’s bestsellers is Leave In Conditioner, which, quite frankly, makes your hair smell amazing (think Bondi beach). It detangles, hydrates and helps prepare for a smooth and sleek result. You can even use it on dry hair if you have curly or thicker hair to refresh curls and add a hit of hydration and definition. 

“K18 has truly changed my hair game,” says Grace Lindsay, Who What Wear UK’s junior beauty editor. “The first product I tried was the famous leave-in mask, and my hair had never felt so soft or looked so smooth. After seeing the results, I also gave the Peptide Prep Detox Shampoo a go, and it’s incredible for removing product build-up to keep your scalp healthy. This brand is so good that since getting my hands on it, I’ve had two hairdressers ask me what products I use.” The Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask is the brand’s hero product. Whilst expensive for the amount of product you get in the bottle, a little goes a long way (one pump will work on shorter hair, and two will be enough for very long or thick hair), and the results speak for themselves. I used this after having an in-salon balayage service and it really helped to restore health to my bleached ends. If your hair is suffering from heat, chemical or colour damage, you won’t regret buying this.

Grace really rates this clarifying shampoo. It removes build-up from the hair that can make it feel flat and look lacklustre.

The newest addition to K18’s lineup uses hydrating oils to nourish lengths whilst shielding hair against heat damage.

Virtue is a favourite amongst editors for its luxe formulations that deliver visible results. The key ingredient is Virtue’s Alpha Keratin 60ku—a type of naturally occurring keratin found in our hair—which rebuilds strands that have been subjected to heat, chemical or colour damage. You’ll find this magic ingredient in all of Virtue’s products, but these ones are our favourites. “Ever since I started using Virtue’s Smoothing range I’ve noticed a real difference in how sleek my hair looks, even when I leave it to air dry,” notes our editor-in-chief, Hannah Almassi. “Not only that, but the shampoo never weighs my hair down and I’ve not noticed any sort of build up. As a bonus, it smells absolutely divine and a little of each product goes a long way.”

Celebrity hairstylist Zoe Irwin introduced me to the wonders of this hair oil, and I’m never looking back. It’s lightweight enough in that it doesn’t weigh down lengths if you have fine hair, but smooths hair to it’s full, silken potential.

This hair mask is truly worthy of the investment-status price tag. It brings even the most damaged hair back from the brink—just look at the glowing reviews online. Expect strong, shiny and bouncy hair.

Pattern, actress Tracee Ellis Ross’ haircare line, has created a loyal following for its chic products that cater specifically to curly, coily and tight-textured hair. “Pattern is great for when I’m wearing my hair in its natural, curly state or prepping to install braids,” says Who What Wear UK’s social media editor, Joy Ejaria. The brand’s Styling Cream is ideal for quenching hair with moisture when twisting locs or doing twist-outs, braids and bantu knots.

Pattern’s Jojoba Oil Blend Serum contains a cocktail of nourishing oils in a non-sticky formula, which makes it so versatile. Coat curls in hydration, combine with other curl products in your arsenal or apply to the scalp to reduce irritation.

With a comb and bristled head, this is a great tool for brushing and styling edges into place. It also comes housed in a luxe, velvet pouch.

You’ll find Oribe—pronounced “or-bay”—products in the most luxurious salons around the world. The brand’s founder, Oribe Canales, was the genius behind the hair of some the biggest supermodels in the ’90s, and has since worked with celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Sarah Jessica Parker. So you can trust that his line of products is going to deliver results. To me, Oribe is the Bentley of haircare. Using Oribe’s Gold Lust shampoo is the closest I’ve ever felt to being in a hair advert. I might even go as far as to say that it’s the best shampoo I’ve tried yet. It leaves hair feeling incredibly clean—like the deep cleanse you get in the salon—and once dried, my hair feels super silky with a glass-like sheen. 

I’ve been pairing the shampoo with Gold Lust Conditioner, and the combo imparts silkiness like you’ve never experienced. A little of the conditioner goes a really long way.

Dry Texturizing Spray is one of the brand’s hero products, and it delivers cool-girl texture to limp strands that is never sticky or crispy.

Good haircare doesn’t have to be expensive. I swear by Got2b’s products for styling my hair. In fact, you’ll find this hairspray in just about every celebrity hairstylist’s kit bag, and it’s under £10. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve spotted it backstage at London Fashion Week, as it expertly secures everything from sleek buns to styles that need extra hold. 

This is another of Got2b’s best sellers, and it’s ideal for laying edges or coaxing flyaways into place when you want to create a really sleek ponytail or bun. You can even use it on your brows to keep them tamed. I just can’t believe the price tag.

When the Dyson Airwrap was at the peak of its popularity, everyone wanted to know how to make their curls and waves last as long as possible. This product soon went viral for securing styles in place all day, and it’s also great at adding beachy texture to your lengths.

“If you have a very specific hair type or concern that you want to address, I’d definitely recommend checking out Fekkai,” says Grace Day, Who What Wear UK beauty contributor and aesthetician. “The brand is majorly underrated, but what I really love about it is that the products don’t try to be everything to everyone, and they really do exactly what they say they will. There are different collections catering to everything from scalp buildup and thinning to dullness and dryness, all formulated with naturally derived ingredients,” she says.

“I’ve yet to meet a product from Fekkai that I haven’t immediately fallen in love with, but my favourite range is without a doubt the Brilliant Gloss collection,” says Grace. “Shine is my main hair goal, and when I use the Brilliant Gloss Shampoo and Conditioner they give my hair a truly glass-like finish.”

This finishing cream is amazing for adding extra gloss to lengths.

We know we can count on Jonathan Van Ness to raise our spirits, and his haircare brand does the same for hair. At the core of every product is hemisqualane, a hydrating ingredient that penetrates the hair follicle, helping to restore compromised strands back to their former glory.  Air Dry Cream is one of the brand’s most-loved products, lending a soft hold that allows your natural texture to shine through when you’re air-drying your hair.

Itchy scalps will benefit from Pre-Wash Scalp Oil, which adds nourishment and hydration to roots.

After more volume? JVN’s Volumizing Foam is amongst the best mousses I’ve tried for achieving weightless volume.

If you experience flyaways and have trouble achieving smoothess from root to tip, you have to try this TikTok-viral styling spray from Color Wow—it’s unlike anything I’ve tried before. You simply saturate the hair when its wet and activate the product with heat as you blow-dry, resulting in smooth, sleek hair with a glassy shine. It also lasts through washes, so you can go a while without having to reapply. This magic spray also makes hair humidity-proof, defying downpours and hot summer days alike.

The brand also has a dedicated formula for curly hair, helping to achieve definition and shine on curls.

If you have fine hair that needs lift at the roots and body through the lengths, then you won’t find many mousses better than this one. It weightlessly adds volume and bounce, proving that it’s truly deserving of its “bombshell” name.

Founded by the exceptionally talented hair maestro Adam Reed, Arkive Headcare allows you to create a salon-level finish without having to leave the house. “The All Day Everyday Shampoo has become a staple in my shower,” says freelance beauty editor and Who What Wear contributor Mollie Burdell. “It’s infused with Baobab protein to really help to moisturise the hair, a godsend as the weather starts to get colder.”

“I always follow with the conditioner, which makes my hair unbelievably soft and shiny,” says Mollie. “It also smells absolutely divine, and if I could wear it as a perfume I genuinely would.”

This blow dry spray will give your hair long-lasting hold without weighing it down. Also scores 10/10 for scent.

Next Up: The Experts Have Spoken—These 12 2023 Hair Trends Are the Only Ones That Matter

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