This Cleansing Cream in a Bag Made My Thin, Frizzy Hair Look Thick & Glossy

No suds but more bounce

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hairstory-new-wash-review: collage of bag of hair cleanser and washed hair
Dasha Burobina
  • Value: 15/20
  • Eco Benefits: 19/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 18/20
  • Aesthetics: 15/20
  • Results: 19/20
  • TOTAL: 86/100

Recently, I was in my group chat debating whether my thin hair had reached that stage of flatness where I’d need to start using Bump It Up inserts (or take out a home equity loan to afford extensions), when my girlfriend suggested I check out Hairstory New Wash ($44; $42). “There’s a shampoo in a bag you should try," she said, which intrigued me. Shampoo in a bag? Sure, it sounded a little gimmicky, but after reading up on the brand, I was curious enough to want to try it out for myself.

Meet the Expert

Prakash Purohit is founder and president of Naturich Labs in Texas. He has a Masters of Science in Organic Chemistry, an MBA in Marketing from DePaul University, an Advanced Management Program certificate from Harvard Business School and over 30 years of experience in formulating naturally derived personal care products and aromas.

What Is New Wash?

To start, I'd recommend throwing away any expectations you have of shampoos when using New Wash. New Wash comes in a bag, which is more eco-conscious than conventional bottles. (If you subscribe to receive New Wash every six weeks, you get an aluminum pump-top bottle to decant your bag into). Another difference is the product itself. The creamy formula uses botanical ingredients instead of sulfates to cleanse and moisturize hair without requiring a separate conditioner—which is why New Wash isn't technically a shampoo. Rather, it's a “cleansing cream" that doesn’t suds up, since it contains no sulfates (the chemicals responsible for creating lather but can sometimes strip hair of moisture). My first thought when I started using the product was “is this stuff even working?” since there was no foam, followed immediately by, “how much should I even use?” (Hairstylist Jayne Matthews has helpful advice on how much New Wash you should use depending on your hair length.)

What Does New Wash Do for Your hair?

I’m going to be honest: I may have gotten a D in high school chemistry. So, I asked a chemist Prakash Purohit to explain the science behind this cleansing cream in a bag. “New Wash's formula has been created to clean and lightly condition the hair by using emollients that do both,” he said. “Most conventional shampoos use certain cleansing detergents or surfactants, whose main function is to remove the dirt and other deposits on the hair upon rinsing. The use of emollients, instead of detergents, helps keep the scalp healthy and clean, therefore preventing the dryness that can be caused by traditional detergent-based shampoos.” That explains why my locks seem to have doubled in volume since I started using New Wash. (I haven’t seen such a hair glow-up since I started taking hair vitamins.) My hair is no longer weighed down by the conditioners I used to rely on to detangle my shoulder-length hair, yet I’m not experiencing any frizz either.

Hairstory's site explains that their cleansing cream washes and conditions hair without stripping it of its natural moisture. Since I’m not removing any natural moisture via detergents, I don’t need separate conditioners or treatments to replenish it. And because I’m not stripping away natural oils, my scalp isn’t overcompensating by producing more oils. The effect is that I can go longer between washes and my perpetually irritated and sometimes flaky scalp is way calmer.

What Ingredients Are in New Wash?

In the original New Wash formula, which is the one I use, there is aloe leaf juice, clove oil, peppermint oil, sunflower seed oil, evening primrose oil and jojoba seed oil to cleanse and condition your hair. “Many efficacious botanicals in the formula also help maintain the moisture and the health of the scalp, thereby preventing flakiness,” Purohit says. After rinsing, I detected a faint herbal scent, which I appreciated because I dislike using a shampoo that smells too strong or artificial. I was initially worried about the alcohol in the ingredient list, but as Purhoit explained, “The alcohols you see in the formulas are not the traditional volatile alcohol (ethanol), but rather fatty alcohols that act as emulsifiers/emollients." These alcohols “help maintain the stability of the product while also providing emollients, keeping the hair and scalp moisturized and healthy.”

Final Verdict

Overall, I’m one happy New Wash user. My hair is way bouncier, and I only have to wash it once a week now unless I'm working out every day—and even then, I only wash it twice a week. I look forward to trying some of the brand's styling products next, like the Hairstory Powder ($37; $35) for lift at the crown and the Undressed spray ($37; $35) for when I want to rock beachy waves. And while the luxury price tag is daunting, I’m saving money by not buying conditioner. Yes, I miss the lather, but it’s a small concession to make for healthier hair. One last note on the bag: It can get a little flimsy and topple over in the shower—especially as you make your way through the bag, which is why I'm going to subscribe and get that reusable bottle. Better hair, better for the environment and less clutter in my bathroom? I'm in.

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...

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