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I've struggled with my scalp for a good 8 years now, and I have a pretty good routine in place, but it's not exactly cheap! So, I was very much up for trying the new brand Straand that's more scalp care than it is hair care, but did their products work for me...?

I started with rotating in their Crown Cleanse Concentrated Anti-Dandruff Prebiotic Shampoo* | £20. This is a really good price for a big old bottle and a brand that looks to treat scalp care as seriously as we do skincare. This is your standard, fairly high-foam clear shampoo formula and I honestly tested it out blind before looking into the ingredients, but I'll flip things in the opposite order for you. In terms of ingredients, this product contains prebiotics, which can help to boost healthy bacteria on the skin, but more work is needed to understand which prebiotics are going to be beneficial for who, and also what quantities are going to provide a noticeable benefit. There's panthenol in here too - AKA Vitamin B5 - which helps retain moisture in the skin and I do really enjoy this ingredient in my facial skincare routine. It's also formulated with a patented ingredient called Defenscalp, which is a complex of Glycerin, Water and Epilobium Angustifolium Flower, Leaf or Stem Extract. Then there are one or two functional ingredients to make this work as a shampoo, so it's a very simple formula. I honestly didn't enjoy using this product; even when using a small amount, it was very foamy and actually left my scalp feeling quite stripped. Within a day of washing, I noticed the flakes I work so hard to keep at bay were already reappearing, and (for context) I usually only wash my hair around twice a week. This was a definitely miss for me - after 2 weeks of persevering with this, I was so glad to get back to my usual shampoo, and the flakiness disappeared again once I did.

I hoped to have better luck with the Crown Boost Anti-Dandruff Prebiotic Conditioning Treatment* | £18 | but I have to admit; I was pretty confused by this product. My current anti-dandruff conditioner can also be used on the scalp for an added boost of moisture. This product instructs you to only apply it to the lengths and ends; I'm not sure - therefore - what could be considered anti-dandruff about this formula. It kind of just feels like as a haircare brand, you have to offer a conditioner, so this is Straand's. This product is rich and creamy in texture and formulated with fatty alcohols and also a cocktail of different plant-based and essential oils. A lot of these oils are honestly primarily known as fragrancing ingredients, so again; I'm confused. Many of them are going to be irritating to the scalp, though I guess that doesn't matter if you're not supposed to apply it there, but it again begs the question of why this product belongs in this range... It's an ok conditioner; it's nothing special and honestly I've tried better conditions from the drugstore at half the price. Sorry!

They also have the Miracle Worker Scalp Scrub* | £20. This is a scrub with its particles suspended in a kind of creamy base that melts away as you massage it into your scalp. It's formulated with salt, argan oil, coconut oil and a bunch of fragrant essential oils. If you have a very sensitive scalp, I wouldn't recommend putting fragrancing oils on your scalp, because they don't really have any benefit but can cause inflammation. For my scalp, it worked ok, but honestly; I struggled to spread this out evenly for a proper exfoliation, and honestly, I was a little disappointed that a product for £20 used such a basic ingredient as salt for exfoliation. I also felt like I was using so much product with this to actually feel like I was getting the scalp coverage I needed. Honestly, I far prefer my £14 chemical scalp exfoliant; it works better, offrs a more even exfoliation and is easier to apply all over my scalp. 

Finally for actual formulas, I did also test out their Crown Fix Soothing and Protecting Serum* | £20. I actually do really like the tube and precision applicator of this, so you can apply it exactly where you want to. This contains glycerin, panthenol and lactic acid, so you're getting some natural moisturising factors, as well as potentially some mild exfoliation. I applied this after washing and didn't really notice any difference during my 'testing period' for this product. I then decided to apply it in-between washes; it was Day 3 and my scalp was starting to get a little irritated, but I wasn't going to have time to wash my hair until work. So, as I've done with other scalp serums, I was wanting to use this for some added soothing benefit, just spot-applying where I needed it. But, honestly, unlike a milky scalp serum; this was just straight-up wet! It completely ruined my hair and I had to use my hairdryer on it so I could still go to work... This is more expensive and far less effective than the scalp serum I currently use, so it'll be no surprise to you that I don't recommend it!

Then we have a couple of accessories, which honestly ended up being the highlight of this launch for me! I actually really enjoyed using their Exfoliating Scalp Brush* | £14 | because it's gentle but gives you that satisfying gentle bit of friction when you kind of want to itch. Their Detangler Comb* | £12 | is really good to to gently detangle your hair in the shower, and it also works if you're applying conditioner and just want to make sure it's evenly distributed throughout the hair. To round things off, I am also using the Woven Microfibre Towel* | £24 | every time I wash my hair. It absorbs water for faster drying and minimises hair damage if you're patting your hair dry before blow-drying or allowing it to air-dry.

The reasons for having an irritate scalp can really vary, so I'm not saying these products won't work for anyone, but if you have similar scalp issues to me and my previous recommendations have worked for you; this collection probably isn't going to be effective for you either. It's a shame, because I really did want to save some money and find an alternative to my current go-to shampoo and conditioner. I would still try something like their scalp oil or cooling scalp mask, but honestly, overall these formulas didn't address the issues I have with my scalp. I feel bad that not a single one of these products worked for me, but I guess that's the nature of this product category; it's either formulated for the issue you're addressing, or it's not!

You can check out my current scalp routine here to see what does work for me.

Have you tried Straand? Do you have a scalp care routine?

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Read more posts from this series here!


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