not a professional. just crazy.

Naturelab Tokyo Makes a Near-Perfect Dupe for My Fancy Sachajuan Shampoo

Photo: Rio Viera-Newton.

Last week, I wrote an article about falling in love with L.A. Girl, a cheap-but-still-high-quality makeup brand. And this week, I’m happy to announce that I’m back with another supercheap holy-grail brand — but this time, it’s for your hair.

I first started researching NatureLab Tokyo after seeing a few of their products on Allure’s “Best of Beauty” list back in September. My internet sleuthing revealed that the Japanese brand uses botanical stem cells (which are found in the roots of plants like bamboo and the argan tree, and are said to contain a 1,000-times higher concentration of antioxidants than other botanical extracts), and are phthalate-, gluten-, paraben-, sulfate-, and cruelty-free. My sleuthing also revealed that every single one of their products is under $20. So when I ran out of my normal, fancy Christophe Robin hair products, I decided to give NatureLab a try.

When you’ve put your hair through bleach hell and the possibility of hair breakage becomes very real, it can be easy to convince yourself that fancy products are not just a luxury, but a necessity. NatureLab Tokyo singlehandedly made me realize that when it comes to hair care, price is not always commensurate with quality. For almost half of what I usually pay, NatureLab’s products left my overdyed, straw-like hair feeling smooth, healthy, and hydrated.

If you’re a bleach victim looking to save some money, look no further. Below, my favorites from the brand.

People with color-treated, bleached hair tend to have a love-hate relationship with washing their hair. On the one hand, it’s nice to finally get in and clean all that dirt out of your hair (when you’ve gone platinum, you can only wash once a week), but on the other, shampoo and conditioner can strip and fade the color you’ve spent your hard-earned money on. Though these products are not specifically marketed towards people with color-treated hair, they’ve never, ever stripped the color from my hair, or left it feeling brittle and lifeless. They do a great job of gently cleaning and washing away any dirt and grime. I typically just use the shampoo from this line, but I have also used the conditioner on days when I’m in a rush and don’t have time to mask, and have been pleasantly surprised with just how nourishing it is for my high-maintenance hair. I’d go so far as to compare this to my beloved, fancy Sachajuan Repair Shampoo. A great dupe!

I absolutely adore this mask. Not only does it smell like a dream, but the ingredient list is jam-packed with yummy ingredients like antioxidant-rich prickly pear (which protects your hair from free-radical damage), argan oil (for deep conditioning), and bamboo stem cells (which strengthens your hair and promotes growth). I slap this all over my hair after shampooing, leave it on for five to ten minutes while I scrub and shave, then wash it out. I do tone my hair every three weeks using Christophe Robin’s Copper conditioner (redheads: if any of you have any good dupes for that, please let me know!), but I use this when I’m focusing less on color, more on maintaining hair health!

This oil has quickly become one of my all-time favorite hair products. You know how hair oil tends to be super thick and overly fragrant? You get none of that with this one. It’s light, a little goes a long way, and it makes my hair feel amazing. It also has a super cool ingredient list: quinoa (for hydration), yuzu ceramide (for detangling), and argan stem cells (for promoting growth and renewal on a cellular level).

In the winter, if I don’t blow-dry my hair after showering, it’s possible it will literally freeze on my head. But blow-drying isn’t ideal for bleached, damaged hair. Which is where this comes in! I run it through damp, towel-dried hair before I go in with the blow-dryer. Packed with ingredients similar to those in the hair oil, this product always ensures that my hair is given the proper moisture and nourishment to face the heat. When I use this, my hair doesn’t get that dry, spiky texture I often get after I blow-dry my hair without protection.

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NatureLab Tokyo Makes a Perfect Dupe for My Fancy Shampoo