Evo Hair // Keeping the hair and beauty industry honest.
This is the third in a series of overly honest product reviews following the positive feedback from both my safety razor review and my period pants & mooncup review (you can read about my grazed labia here!)
Background: I recently partnered with the Australian haircare brand Evo to post a series of photos on Instagram for their ‘don’t buy it – beauty is abundant, not in a bottle’ global brand campaign. Evo continues to shake up the status quo in the hair industry and as part of the deal I somehow got them to agree to me posting a completely honest, unedited review of their products. Evo claim to be “an innovative, professional hair product manufacturer with individuality and integrity; a manufacturer that speaks the truth” so I figured they couldn’t really refuse. I'm not paid to say any of the following and it is not #spon or #ad – these are my actual opinions ...
Evo are a cruelty-free professional haircare brand, and not hurting anything fluffy gets a big thumbs up from me. They say they make “honest products that respect people and the planet”. This is true: they aren’t tested on animals and they contain no nasty chemicals (they are sulphate, paraben, dea, tea and propylene glycol free). They also make your hair look badass, give all their damaged stock to homeless shelters and use recycled paper for all their marketing materials. YAY! However, I’m just going to cut to the chase here: the bottles are all made from plastic, which, if you have seen your local beach in the last five years, doesn’t seem very respectful to our old pal the ocean. BOO!
Now in fairness, all Evo packaging is 100% recyclable, but as I like to annoyingly point out, a whopping 91% of plastic isn't recycled and either way all plastic eventually ends up as landfill – each time it’s recycled its quality depreciates until it ends up as something un-recyclable. I normally try not to advocate products that come in an abundance of ‘virgin’ plastic – which means the plastic is brand new and does not contain recycled materials. But I also have to be honest and say I’m not ‘zero-waste’ and although I often use a shampoo bar and natural conditioner, they do tend to leave my fine blonde hair looking like a bird’s nest. Evo is a product I genuinely use, and that’s why we are here. So that’s the end of my plastic rant.
Evo are also into being honest and not selling bullshit lies about their products being miracle cures, which I’m into. The whole marketing campaign aims to spark an important and honest conversation, asking consumers to question, think and talk about society’s seemingly impossible pressures and unrealistic standards of beauty: the hype, the stereotype, the photoshop dream. They know that brands, media and society are creating false ideals: you need to wear make-up to look good; you need money to be happy; you need lots of friends to be successful ... the list goes on. Evo acknowledge that buying their products won’t give you the perfect life. They might make your hair look good though.
2) To organic, or not to organic, that is the question?
Evo products are not organic. I met the founder, Garth Gauvin, and asked him pretty directly why not? And he gave me a pretty direct answer. At the moment, he says, organic hair products don’t have salon quality results – and I agree, they don’t. I’ve tried all the Neal’s Yard and Jason shampoos in the world and it would seem nature doesn’t want me to have salon perfect hair, it wants me to have dry, limp, straight, straw-like, boring hair. Thankfully a bit of salt spray product from Evo and a quick tong and my hair is photoshoot-ready. I’m wondering if this isn’t very feminist of me and if I should embrace my authentic hair, but I’m a feminist and I want fabulous hair, so there. It’s also worth noting that Gauvin started of his career with a successful organic kids’ range, Eco.Kid, so it’s fair to say he’s the man in the know with organics and haircare. Where possible, Evo use natural ingredients and will continue to reformulate their products to substitute synthetics with naturals when an equivalent is available.
3) Do the products actually work?
Reviewing the actual products – it’s an important part of the product review, right?! My short answer: yes. My long answer: here are my favourite products that are normally in my handbag or lying on my bedroom floor.
i) Salty Dog Salt Spray / ‘a sea-esque mist designed to give your hair salty, beach-based texture and a matte finish’ / supposed benefits: salty texture and fullness with matte finish, fresh from the beach malleability
Whenever you see a photo of my tousled mane, you may have been led to believe this is how the ocean makes my hair look. In reality the ocean gives me seaweed filled dreadlocks and I always get straight out the sea and into the shower before spritzing it with salt spray. Yep, salt spray has been my hair’s saviour for most of my life, especially when I’m away from the ocean, or near it in fact, turning its lifeless hang into a playful tousle. I’ve sworn by Bumble and Bumble’s surf spray for the best part of ten years – it’s expensive but worth it – and in trying to avoid credit card debt I’ve also used just about every other cheaper brand out there: Toni & Guy, Aussie, John Frieda, L:a Bruket … you name it, I’ve probably opened a bottle of it, decided it was crap and then left it in the bathroom cupboard for four years. Earlier this year, the hair stylist on a shoot for Tommy Hilfiger used Evo’s Salty Dog Salt Spray and made my hair look amazing (see photo evidence below). I was pretty much an instant convert and have been using Evo’s now for about nine months. I’m still finishing off some of those old, cheap bottles from my bathroom cupboard on days where I’m not seeing anyone but you can guarantee if I’m going anywhere nice or having my photo taken I’ll use Evo Salty Dog.
ii) Builder’s Paradise Hair Spray / ‘a workable, fast drying, medium hold hairspray – for building styles and adding texture – that brushes out easily and rinses out completely with water’ / supposed benefits: fast drying, water soluble, brushes out without flaky residue. benefits of a hairspray but attributes of a styling product. reactivates with heat for restyling
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with hairspray. It makes me think of that smelly Elnett your nan probably used and made everyone’s hair rock hard and crunchy. But I also know the right hairspray locks in my waves for the whole day and lets them move when I shake my head. Builder’s Paradise is the right one for me. I give my hair a light dusting after making some waves with my straighteners, then gently brush it out (which I normally wouldn’t do as my hair would brush straight and still be crunchy) but Builder’s Paradise actually does what it says on the can.
iii) Water Killer Dry Shampoo / ‘a two-in-one dry shampoo and styling spray that make hair feel and smell fresh again’ / supposed benefits: helps prevent damage to hair through washing and blow drying. saves time. saves water. can be used anytime, anywhere. can also be used as a texturising styling spray
I’ve tried a few natural dry shampoos and those who are better humans than me make their own, but I’m a bit lazy and I buy mine. This one does the job, adds volume, gets rid of greasy day-two roots and smells good. It lives in my bag for reviving hat hair and morning-after hair.
iv) Day of Grace Pre Style Primer / ‘a lightweight leave-in conditioner to prepare hair before styling’ / supposed benefits: repairs, smoothes and detangles without weighing hair down
I’ve never used a ‘pre style primer’ and the last ‘leave-in’ conditioner I used was Aussie’s which I grew out of about five years ago. I thought this was a pointless product but I started using it on my towel-dried hair before blow-drying and I’m kinda hooked. It detangles, leaves no trace and seems to make any style hold a bit better. I’ll be ordering another bottle when this one runs out, for sure.
v) Macgyver Multi-Use Mousse / ‘a multi-purpose styling mousse that can be used with, or without heat to create volume, separation and texture’ / supposed benefits: product is versatile and can be used with or without heat to style and/or finish. it adds volume, texture and style control with lasting hold for improved styling
I think mousse is having a comeback. And if it’s not then it should be. I used to slather my hair in it for school and scrunch it under the dryer to make a wavy mess (we didn’t know about curling tongs back then). Anyway, the scrunch look isn’t what I’m going for anymore but mousse sure does add some volume and bounce. I generally use it after Day of Grace Pre Style Primer and before the Salt Spray. I don’t know if this is the correct order because I’m not a hair stylist but it seems to do the trick. It’s not in my everyday routine but if it’s a Saturday night and I want to go big then Macgyver makes an appearance (who am I kidding, Saturday night normally means being in bed at 9pm with a book).
Salon quality haircare without any of the bullshit. You won't find unnecessary, over-marketed ingredients; no imaginary technology, no myths, no gimmicks. Their products come with salon price tags but the result is always good hair. The brand are honest, trying to do good and striving to be better. They aren’t selling themselves to be an ‘eco’ brand so if you’re looking for organic, plastic-free haircare, this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for high quality products that aren’t tested on animals, contain no nasty chemicals and have some decent morals – ones that make your hair look rad – Evo’s the answer.