A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist US.
Hand to heart, I have absolutely zero regrets about dying my dark brown hair icy platinum. I found change totally exhilarating and, I’ve got to say, the colour suited me extremely well. Having said that, I went back to my natural colour eight months ago, but my texture and moisture levels have not quite yet recovered. Two things have helped move the process along, though: Getting monthly trims, and keeping a bevy of products that deeply nourish, moisturize, and condition my hair in my shower caddy. As my colourist Emaly Baum says: “Half the battle is at home.”
I’ve written before about my obsession with just about everything Christophe Robin: His Prickly Pear Recovery and Baby Blonde Mask are two of the best hair-care products I’ve ever used, end of story. After applying either of these masks, my hair is smoother, silkier, intensely moisturized, and air dries like a dream. But it is a painful kind of love: Christophe Robin hair care is very, extremely, gut-wrenchingly expensive. Because of this, I constantly keep my eyes peeled for masks that are cheaper, but equally — or almost equally, who are we kidding here — effective.
Over the past few months, I noticed that Briogeo’s Don’t Despair Repair Mask was mentioned again and again on various Into The Gloss Top Shelf articles, had become a best-seller on Sephora’s website, and was often praised in our very own Facebook community “The Beauty Group.” It felt like the universe was telling me to try it out, so I listened.
And I’m glad I did, because I fell in love! Over time: Every review I read (and the instructions on the box, for that matter) made it clear that this was a product you had to use multiple times before seeing results, which I found extremely true. I wasn’t mesmerized after the first time I used it (it wasn’t bad, just not game-changing), but after about four uses, I noticed my hair felt smoother and less tangled, and was air drying beautifully, instead of turning from wet into a scary broom.
I was especially delighted because this mask, which is formulated with rosehip and argan oils, algae, and biotin, replicates the thing I love most about the Christophe Robin masks — the ability to moisturize my sad hair without creating any heaviness (which many ultra-moisturizing masks, like Oribe’s Moisture Mask and Gisou’s Honey Mask, do). It has not weighed my bob down in the least, and is a lot more moisturizing than any of the other non–Christophe Robin masks I’ve tried in the past, like Ouai’s Hair Mask.
I’ve been using the Briogeo mask twice a week for about a month now; after shampooing, I run about a teaspoon amount (enough for anyone with a bob) through my hair and let it sit for ten minutes. And my hair has never been so low maintenance — texture sprays, oils, and leave-in conditioners have become basically superfluous. While I know the mask’s £30 price is not cheap, it is a whole lot cheaper than the £54 price tag of the Christophe Robin mask, and it truly is very nearly as good as that more expensive product. So if you’re a bleach victim, or just have perennially, annoyingly dry hair, consider making it your new best friend.
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