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The Best Shampoo and Conditioner for Damaged Hair

This unconventional duo from Kérastase’s Soin Premier Thérapiste line does wonders for parched, brittle strands.

by Claire Carusillo

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If I were being generous about the current state of affairs, I’d say that things are upside down. Breakfast is for dinner, and it lasts all day. Mornings are fine, but nights are terrifying; there is alcohol, but there are no parties. Winter is now Spring, and yet I’m still wearing the same outfit. But most importantly in this brave, backwards new world, conditioner comes before shampoo.

I used to have flouncy hair privilege and as a result, spent all my discretionary income on NASA-backed skincare and silly eyebrow mascaras. I’d denounced sulfates and stopped washing my hair more than once a week. Last summer, though, in the depths of Covid isolation, I tried to balayage my own virgin hair by painting it with a Sun-In-adjacent product while hiking very close to the sun in Utah. The tips turned white for a few weeks, then they started breaking off, but I was still too scared to get a haircut to prune off the two inches of dead hair on my head. Then, one fateful afternoon, I found Kérastase’s Soin Premier Thérapiste two-step system in my mother’s shower.

After one wash, I felt the protein- and peptide-laden formula fortify my brittle spray bottle bleach job—I know split ends can’t be repaired, only glossed over, but this duo did one hell of a job. I was using these products incorrectly for about two weeks, conventionally minded as I am, because I didn’t read the label on what looked and felt like a conditioner (it is, in fact, “pre shampoo”) that said “use before shampooing.” It wasn’t a catastrophic mistake, but once I reversed the order, I had the added pleasures of lush length and a totally dandruff-free scalp.

My plan is to come out of this in a few months vaccinated, princess-haired, and brand new. Even as things turn right side up again, this part of my retrograde quarantine routine will remain a post-vax staple.

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