Joico Zero Heat Air Dry Styling Creme is a smart name. "Oooh, something for air-drying my hair," I thought with some excitement when I received the PR samples. And then I remembered that the leave-in spray and curl-enhancing mousse I regularly use don't say "air dry" on the packaging, but I air-dry my hair 99% of the time anyway because you can with those kinds of products.
Well done, Joico! Zero Heat Air Dry ($19.98 CAD at select salons and $19.99 USD at ulta.com) is the best and coolest name for a frizz-minimizing, curl-enhancing styling cream ever. Made me near desperate to try the stuff, even after I'd returned to my marketing-can't-fool-me senses.
Before I launch into the rest of this Zero Heat narrative, a little about my hair: When I use a leave-in followed by curl-enhancing mousse, some of my hair air-dries into soft spiral curls, some in stretched-out waves, and some in frizz if I haven't distributed the product properly throughout. If I air-dry without product at all, my hair looks like Hagrid's. That's 100% accurate. Just ask niece Lauren.
the first date
The first day I used Zero Heat, I got compliments on my hair. My natural waves and curls were frizz-free, soft and glossy and nicely defined with an I-didn't-have-to-do-much-to-make-it-look-this-way finish.
"Thank you," I said to the lovelies who told me my hair looked great. "But you know when you go on a first date with someone who is attractive and engaging but quickly reveals a deal-breaking quirk that disqualifies him (or her, if that's your vibe) as a potential partner for you? And it just makes you miss things you liked best about a previous partner? That."
For me, Joico Zero Heat for Thick Hair was a winner in all the ways but one: fragrance. Why couldn't it be like the zesty Garnier Fructis I love instead of that generic sweet-ish salon-product scent? "I like the results so much, but just can't get past how it smells," I whinged to the ladies who'd said the nice things.
However, in the days following, I kept thinking about the results I'd liked so much. My usual styling routine of leave-in conditioner then curl-enhancing mousse is fine when I manage to distribute everything properly, but Joico's Zero Heat had noticeably amped up shine and softness and reduced frizz to a level my regulars don't quite reach. And it did so without weighing my hair down in the least. But the SCENT! Aaaargh!
the second date
Yes. The memory of my soft, shiny waves and curls, along with a little background check on Zero Heat, led to a second date despite the fragrance.
Okay, the "background check" consisted of reading the fact sheet that had come with the samples. Expected ingredients include dimethicone and lightweight polymers, reliable smoothing agents, but the formula also contains rose hip and castor oils, for added suppleness and shine. My usual routine does not include oil, although hairstylist Anna Barseghian, who cuts my hair, told me once that it should. (Fun fact: Anna used to work with Meghan Markle when the actress lived in Toronto as part of the "Suits" cast.)
Zero Heat benefits also apparently include reduced dry time (didn't notice that) and 24-hour humidity control (possible; will see when there's more humidity in the air).*
"The scent will dissipate once your hair is dry," I told myself. "Or, fingers very tightly crossed, you'll get used to it enough that you won't smell it anymore."
And it's mostly true. I only notice the not-for-me fragrance when I'm applying Zero Heat, and for a bit while my hair dries. Now, as I type this, I can't smell it at all, and my hair is soft, glossy, and my waves and curls maintain a pleasing definition better throughout the day than before.
In fact, Joico Zero Heat for Thick Hair and I have been on several dates since our first, and I've even put in a little more effort à la the model in this video.
I twisted sections of hair and secured them with the same kind of clips ($1.69 CAD for 12 at amazon.ca and $10.15 USD at walmart.com). Unlike the model, I sectioned and twisted all my hair, just to see if it would make much of a difference, and left the clips in for about an hour. My hair was still quite damp when I removed them, but I left the twists in to dry further before gently shaking them out.
Hours later, although my hair didn't look like the model's in the opening photo (her hair is naturally curlier than mine, and was most likely enhanced a bit with a curling wand too), I liked the effect. In addition, partly thanks to Zero Heat and partly thanks to the twists, my curls and waves withstood pillow-time much better – usually, they flatten out to almost straight unless I sweep my hair up and over my pillow before going to sleep. They actually held their shape far better for several days, and freshening up took minimal effort.
*And UPDATE: On a recent rainy hair-day-two, I was out without an umbrella more than once, enough to get my hair somewhat wet on top, although not soaked. And my hair did not frizz!
I might as well admit it now in case it isn't already obvious: Joico Zero Heat Air Dry Styling Cream is my new boyfriend.
over to you
Zero Heat has been out for a bit. Has any of you tried it?
If you air-dry your hair, what's your go-to styling product?
JOICO ZERO HEAT FOR FINE/MEDIUM HAIR ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Myristyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Peg-8 Distearate, Ppg-2 Myristyl Ether Propionate, Phenoxyethanol, Arginine Hcl, Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Keratin, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyquaternium-37, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Polyquaternium-68, Disodium Edta, Polyimide-1, Peg-4 Laurate, Lauryl Glucoside, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Ppg-26-Buteth-26, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Citric Acid, Phosphatidylcholine, Aminomethyl Propanol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Hydroxycitronellal, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene, Coumarin, Fragrance/Parfum.
JOICO ZERO HEAT FOR THICK HAIR ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Behenyl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Steareth-21, Peg-8 Distearate, Ppg-2 Myristyl Ether Propionate, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Arginine Hcl, Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Keratin, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Steareth-2, Behentrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-11, Polyimide-1, Disodium Edta, Peg-4 Laurate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Ppg-26-Buteth-26, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Citric Acid, Isopropyl Alcohol, Phosphatidylcholine, Aminomethyl Propanol, Polyquaternium-37, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Lauryl Glucoside, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Hydroxycitronellal, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene, Coumarin, Fragrance/Parfum.
*joico.ca and joico.com are non-affiliate links