The Secret To Keeping Color-Treated Hair Soft and Shiny? Oat Milk.

Collage by Maridelis Morales Rosado for W Magazine.

I’ve been bleaching and dyeing my hair various colors for over 10 years, so I’ve tested a lot of shampoos, conditioners and home remedies to try and keep my locks lustrous and protected. From drugstore brands like Dove to high end investments like Oribe, apple cider vinegar rinses to coconut oil treatments—you name it, I’ve probably put it on my head at one point or another. Most recently, my saving grace came in the form of a conditioner packed with your coffee shop's trendiest alt creamer: oat milk.

I’ve known about the French brand Klorane for a while—I used their highlight-enhancing chamomile shampoo for a bit when I had blonde hair—but it came back on my radar recently during a visit to my local drugstore, where I picked up a tube of their ultra-gentle oat milk conditioner on a whim.

Oat milk’s less buzzy cousin, colloidal oatmeal, is a DIY remedy dermatologists have recommended for decades to soothe occasional eczema or irritated skin. It’s great in baths and lotions because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. On top of that, French beauty products are known for being super nourishing—and W’s visuals editor, Michael Beckert, has been talking non-stop about his favorite ultra rich moisturizer from Avène. If French skincare is so good for dry skin, I figured some oat-infused French hair care might be just the thing for a parched scalp and brittle strands.

At first glance, the Klorane conditioner seems like a pretty basic, kid-safe (the packaging prominently states that it’s safe for ages 3 and up) product, but it works better on color-treated hair than most bougie salon products I’ve tried. Better yet, it smells nothing like your morning latte—it has a delicate floral scent that leaves your hair smelling très magnifique. And during my first Zoom meeting after using it for a week, I got not one, but two compliments from my coworkers asking if I’d gotten my hair cut or colored, despite not seeing the inside of a salon for months. And while my long-lasting color is definitely a testament to the skills of the staff at Kinloch Salon in Brooklyn, my hair is brighter, healthier and shinier than it’s been all pandemic. Which has me wondering: is the carton of Oatly in my fridge a secret beauty weapon? If the local pharmacy ever runs out of my new favorite baume, I might just have to give it a try.