I like my protective styles to be truly protective. For me, that means two big things—finding a braider who doesn't pull too tight (shout out to Theola Carbon in Brooklyn!!!) and making sure my hair is as nourished as possible before I lock it away for weeks on end. So my pre-braid wash day is pretty intensive. I use everything I can think of—BHA scalp exfoliation, mild clarifying shampoo, hydrating shampoo, protein treatment, deep conditioning treatment, and leave-in spray.
My roster just grew thanks to the launch of the Squigs Gooseberry Delight Hair Oil ($34). It's a super-nourishing, pre-shampoo treatment designed to be applied to dry hair the night before you shower, allowing your strands to soak up all the goodness while you snooze. It was created by Nikita Charuza, a former beauty editor who wanted to bottle an elevated version of the hair oil her great-grandmother taught her how to make as a child.
"The hair oil that we make at home, because it has all these awesome ingredients in it that are great for hair growth, scalp health, things like that, it gets very sticky," says Charuza. "It would get all over my pillowcases and my clothes, and I would have to sit there like shampooing out my hair 15 times and putting a towel down before I go to sleep to make sure it doesn't go anywhere. "
The Squigs version of this hair oil—which took Charuza three years to formulate—is lightweight and easy to wash out, while still including the nourishing goodness of the OG recipe.
"It's an amla-based [Indian gooseberry] hair oil, which is why it's called Gooseberry Delight," says Charuza. "It also has coconut oil, kalonji oil, and castor oil. Plus, it has no synthetic fragrances or dyes in it, which are often a very big trigger for my scalp."
Charuza grew up sharing this special hair oil with her friends. "I moved a lot—I was born in Jersey but I moved to Dubai, I moved to Bombay, I moved to Philly, so I was a perpetual new girl," she says. "How I made friends was by saying 'Oh hey you wanna come over and watch Gossip Girl?' And then I was like 'Do you know what hair oiling is? Here I can show you how we can make it.'"
Creating the Squigs hair oil allows Charuza to share this experience with everyone. "Hair oiling is a part of my ritual that I wanna share with the world and just have everyone use," she says. "You don't have to be South Asian to use an Ayurvedic product," she says.
My experience using the Squigs Gooseberry Delight Hair Oil
You know that feeling when you don't even realize you're thirsty but then gulp down a glass of water in seconds? That's what it felt like putting the Squgs hair oil on my strands. The night before the Big Wash Day, I separated my hair into sections and applied the Squigs hair oil, and though the formula is quite viscous, my hair soaked it up. I wasn't worried about it running down onto my face or ruining my pillow.
I left it on for most of the next day as I puttered around the house, washing dishes and packing for a trip. Every so often I'd touch my hair to appreciate how soft it felt. Once I finally shampooed, about 24 hours after putting on the oil, it washed out beautifully. I didn't feel like I was washing something additional out of my hair—it just felt like a normal shampoo. Granted, I have naturally dry, coarse, 4C hair and have never in my life described my scalp as oily. I imagine someone with a finer texture would notice the feeling of the oil more, but I doubt that it would feel uncomfortable or gunky—the formula is just so good.
Once I went through the rest of my routine and blew out my hair, it still felt so incredibly soft. Even my braider remarked that my hair felt super soft and healthy. Whether you too have wash days with sport-level intensity, or want something to bring your strands to life with little effort, the Squigs Gooseberry Delight Hair Oil should be in your cart
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