Is Hairstory Worth It? Unsponsored New Wash Review

Is Hairstory worth it? Image shows Hairstory New Wash container with purple scalp brush sitting on gray towel on wood dresser

Is Hairstory Worth It?

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In case you haven’t noticed, the Covid era has ushered in a new hair trend. Popularized by hairstylist Jayne Matthews and made accessible through her at-home hair cutting courses, everyone these days seems to crave a razor-cut hairstyle.

From shags to pixies to mullets, the look is textured, tousled, and purposely imperfect. And the key to the look for many stylists and clients is a “no-poo” shampoo product called New Wash, from the brand Hairstory Studio.

I have been following stylist accounts that promote Hairstory for at least a year. But I wasn’t convinced to try Hairstory products until a longtime Instagram friend personally recommended them.

About Hairstory New Wash

Hairstory’s line of shampoo-type washes is called New Wash. They currently offer New Wash in rich, original, and deep for different hair types. Jane Matthews recommends original for almost all hair types.

Unlike a typical shampoo, New Wash doesn’t lather. It has the consistency of conditioner and is intended to replace shampoo and conditioner in your hair routine. The site recommends that you use their scalp brush to get a proper clean in the shower.

New Wash is made with a blend of essential oils for a light fragrance and purported soothing properties. But keep this in mind, as essential oils can also cause allergic reactions.

I tried New Wash Original for two weeks before sharing this review…

Is Hairstory Worth It? Image shows a woman with short, textured red hair standing in front of a brick wall
Day 3

Hairstory New Wash Review

Day 1: On the first day of washing with New Wash Original, I use an old Conair plastic brush to massage the product into my scalp and hair.

My hair feels light and has more natural bounce than normal. I add texture with their Undressed Texture Spray (see above photo).

Day 3: On this day, my scalp is very itchy, especially in the back of my head. I buy a scalp brush (not theirs) to see if it will help with application.

Day 6: My scalp is still itchy, and I begin to worry that I am having an allergic reaction. My hands and wrists are also itchy.

I look up information in their FAQ, where they note that many people experience dryness, flakiness, and itching “during transition.” This seems very unscientific and, honestly, a bit gas-lighting.

Day 9: I decide not to wash my hair today, since some users report they can wash their hair less frequently. I still use some dry shampoo at my roots. My hair seems less oily overall, but it feels uncomfortably dry.

Day 10: My scalp still itches, and now my hair is feeling dry and brittle. When I rub my hand over it, it almost makes a squeaking sound. Even though my hair is color-treated, it is typically soft to the touch, so this concerns me.

The FAQ indicates that this could be because I’m not using *enough* product, but I’m sure I’m using enough, because it fully coats my hair. I am beginning to feel like I’ve been swindled by new age, anti-science quacks.

Day 13: My hair feels terrible and I’m worried that it will start breaking. My scalp is itchy and I’ve developed acne at my hairline.

I’m calling it quits!

Is Hairstory worth it? Image shows Hairstory New Wash container with purple scalp brush sitting on gray towel on wood dresser

Why I Quit Hairstory New Wash

Despite their insistence that this is all par for the course, I’m not willing to risk my hair and scalp health to continue in the experiment.

My face itches, I have acne in weird places, my scalp feels like it’s covered in red ants, and my hair is so dry that it feels like it’s been bleached.

If Hairstory had provided scientific information regarding how and why these reactions are healthy, maybe I could have endured a bit longer. But I am not convinced that the no-poo method is inherently better in any way. In fact, there is no scientific basis for the no-poo method.

While overall I had more texture and body with New Wash (which my fine hair rarely has), the cons outweighed the pros.

Would I recommend New Wash?

No, at least not for fine hair and a sensitive scalp. And especially not if you are allergy-prone.

If you’re already using products that work for you, just keep using them. I’m going back to my trusty shampoo bar and The Body Shop banana conditioner.

Would I recommend Hairstory Studio?

The Undressed Texture Spray is a nice product. It’s essentially a lightweight hairspray. Even though it’s pricey, it comes in a big bottle, so I would say it’s worth it.

What I Learned

Even if the hype is real for some people, I need to trust my gut. Buying an expensive product that makes questionable health claims isn’t worth it for me, especially when I already have products that work.

In the case of today’s trending hairstyles, I think I’m going to go to the salon to get the look I want instead of relying on a specific set of trendy products.

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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  1. Hmmm! I’ve been using for about 3 months and I thought I would give it a try because I felt like I was having more hair loss than usual after using a dry shampoo and conditioner bar for many years. I love it! I haven’t had any reaction at all and I feel like my hair can go forever without washing now – sometimes I go ten days and even then I don’t actually feel like it looks greasy or anything. I just use my hands not a silicone brush or anything. I’m not a sensitive skin person at all but it’s interesting to hear that so many have had a bad reaction.

    1. Do you feel like your hair or scalp are unusually dry or that your hair is less soft than before? I’m just curious, because that’s what was happening with me. I could technically go longer between washes, but it seemed like my overall scalp and hair health had declined.

  2. I just used this stuff for the first–and last–time. I used the New Wash Deep, not the original, but it was still problematic. I’m itching ALL OVER, with red and blotchy patches. It’s partly my fault…a friend raved about it, and I ordered it without doing my usual due diligence! Must have been the girls’ night wine. Heh.

    Doing my due diligence too late, I have put the problem together:
    First, the level of fragrance this product put out was UNREAL. I realized only after it was on my head and giving me a headache. The marketing, I now have seen, says that part of its cleansing action comes from essential oils. They evidently meant that they put a batcrap amount in there. I’m a botanist and dabble in essential oils *responsibly.* For real; my New Age-y friends think I’m no fun. You can absolutely harm yourself with essential oils…we’re talking about concentrated plant chemicals here. Natural doesn’t mean harmless!  I have a hard time believing that this was a safe dilution level.

    Second, the scent was also a pretty nasty, unbalanced blend…I’m not a master perfumer or anything, but this was weird. When I saw the perfume ingredients list (d’oh), I understood why.  It’s a rancid combination of things probably in poor proportions: sandalwood, jasmine, rose, patchouli, clove, amyris, ylang-ylang, balsam of Peru, rosewood, lavender, almond, and isolated components found in cinnamon, geranium, and others. WOOF. I smell like an old lady and a hippie had a fight with the Old Spice guy and everybody lost. I’ll have to shampoo my hair twice to get this out!

    Third, of all the essential oils to overdose on, whyyyyy did they have to choose clove and balsam of Peru? And throw in who knows how much amyl cinnamol, geraniol, and linalool for good measure? These are all well-known allergens/sensitizers. Balsam of Peru is super nope. I only ever see it used in traditional perfumery, the kind that makes your eyes water…probably because of the balsam of Peru.

    FOURTH, Santalum album (sandalwood) and Aniba roseadora (rosewood) are endangered species. You have to be careful about how you source these or use similar species that are more secure. The company doesn’t state where these come from…are they wild-harvested? Plantation grown? But their site *is* full of articles about their commitment to sustainability, how to spot greenwashing (lololol), etc. C’mon, man. I wonder how much of the price of the product is in these expensive oils? 

    I’ve emailed them asking for a refund. Let’s see how this goes.

    Sorry, I don’t usually drop red-hot rando rants in the comments on peoples’ blogs, but yours came up when I was sitting here scratching myself all over. Guess I’m saying that it’s not just you, and it’s indeed BS on their part!

    1. Oh my gosh! Thanks for this detailed information about the ingredient list. I tried to convince a hairstylist on Instagram that New Wash is actually *not* good for people with sensitivities, but she insisted that no one she knew agreed with my assessment and that it’s a good product because it’s “chemical free.” I think Hair Story must be offering giant incentives to popular hair stylist influencers, because I am not convinced any real users find this to be a miracle product. Even before I started breaking out, my hair felt terrible. Yes, it had good grip and body, but that’s because it was so dry!

  3. Julia Louis-Dreyfus personally promoted this on her new podcast but I decided to look for some reviews that weren’t also ads. Glad I did—I’ll give it a pass. Good podcast, questionable product.

    1. they seem to have recently invested a ton of money into marketing; they’re suddenly everywhere!

  4. I’ve been having the same reaction! There’s ingrown – very sensitive- little bumps/pimples all over my scalp. Far too $$ to experience this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’m honestly very annoyed that so many of-the-moment hair stylists promote this product given its questionable claims and the high likelihood of allergic reaction.

  5. I started using this recently and I already know I won’t be buying it again since it’s a small pouch and it’s also the most expensive shampoo I have ever purchased, it’s just not practical to keep purchasing something so expensive

    1. yeah, I was frustrated by that, too. Especially because they insist you should be using more product than your typical shampoo.

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