As someone who has breathed all things beauty for the last 15 years as a writer and esthetician, it's safe to say I've tried my fair share of products. Unfortunately, many have not lived up to their marketing hype — including leave-in creams that promised to quench my curls after one use and serums and scalp treatments that assured shiny, dandruff-free strands. But one product that I recently came across restored my faith in hair care by delivering a less time-consuming wash day for my 3B/3C curls without triggering my scalp dermatitis: the Shaz & Kiks Balancing Clay Hair Cleanser.
I first discovered the Shaz & Kiks brand by scrolling through Instagram at an ungodly hour of the night. My insomnia took the driver's seat and I went down a steep hole when I came across their page and saw that they created hair care products rooted in Ayurveda. As someone who was raised on a holistic lifestyle and has implemented Ayurvedic ingredients (like reparative saffron and acne-healing neem oil) into my skin care practice, I was instantly intrigued.
Since I was already in the market for a new shampoo for my medium fine-high density hair, the connection came at the perfect time. Read on for how the Shaz & Kiks Clay Hair Cleanser transformed my curls.
We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
BDG product reviews and recommendations are written and conducted by writers and editors with expertise in their fields. Testers often have specific experience with the situation or product at hand, and/or their review or recommendation is provided in consultation with experts. You can learn more about our standards here.
- Price: $42
- Best for: All hair types
- Your rating: 5/5
- Vegan, cruelty-free
- What we like: It’s gentle and effective
- What we don't like: Requires a shower clean-up after using
The Shaz & Kiks Unearth Yourself Balancing Clay Hair Cleanser
Shaz & Kiks considers itself a “hair wellness” brand that’s inspired by ancient Indian rituals to deliver a wide range of plant-based ingredients to your routine, many of which are popular in Ayurvedic practices. The Unearth Yourself Balancing Clay Hair Cleanser relies on multi-beneficial botanicals like hibiscus and moringa (to name just a couple of examples) to nourish the scalp.
This is a completely waterless shampoo, so your hair and your scalp get the full, potent dose of nutrients within its formula. It’s creamy in texture, and, once mixed with water, it gently lathers so you can easily massage it throughout your strands. The formula is meant to work on all hair types, from thin and fine to coarse and curly.
My hair is considered very fine, but I have a lot of strands — and although it’s curly, I can’t use most curly hair products as they tend to be quite heavy and loaded with sulfates or chemicals that have a history of triggering my scalp dermatitis (a form of eczema that can manifest in redness and itchy dry patches). I needed a triple threat: one that could handle cleansing without stripping the scalp, balance the oils, and provide hydration, since curly hair is super dry in nature. Well, the Shaz & Kiks Clay cleanser did just that.
As a beauty expert, I geek out over clean ingredients, which this cleanser is packed with. What makes this shampoo truly stand out is that it replaces traditional cleansing agents such as sodium lauryl sulfate — an ingredient that's notorious for being extremely drying — with natural cleansing agents such as sodium cocoyl-isethionate which is derived from coconuts.
The kaolin clay, glycerin, and moringa oil in the formula are some of the ingredients that caught my eye as I’ve used them in my facial practice. Kaolin is a gentle clay with cleansing properties that absorbs excess oils, dirt, buildup, and external impurities, but because it’s loaded with nutrients, it won’t strip — rather, it moisturizes the scalp. Experts second that. As for the moringa? “Moringa oil is high in oleic acid and zinc, which is vital for maintaining healthy hair as it helps enhance keratin production to strengthen hair, prevent breakage, and seal in the much-needed moisture curly strands naturally lack,” says Renée Gadar, master hairstylist and educator in New York City.
On top of that, glycerin provides even more hydration. “The glycerin acts as a humectant, which pulls moisture from the environment around it and helps it penetrate deeper into the hair shaft, working as a light deep conditioner,” Gadar explains. Together, all of these ingredients work as the perfect recipe for promoting a healthier scalp and hydrated strands.
When I open the jar, I notice it’s waterless, whipped, and very appealing to the eye. The color is a gorgeous deep mauve courtesy of the hibiscus. I instantly noticed a little goes a long way as it melts into my hands like butter. The experience heightened from there as the shampoo began to give a subtle froth and a gentle lather with the ever-so-light fusion of moringa, vetiver, and eucalyptus scents left lingering within my shower steam.
After I shampoo I typically have to double down on the conditioner and begrudgingly work on detangling my hair for 10 minutes — but not this time. As I rinsed the Unearth Yourself shampoo, I found that my scalp felt refreshed, not irritated, and my strands felt nice and hydrated instead of stripped and dry.
I followed the shampoo with the brand’s Unearth Yourself Nourishing Naram Conditioner, which contains its own slew of nutrient-dense ingredients: kokum butter, a non-comedogenic butter native to India that’s rich in fatty acids to help nourish strands; aloe to hydrate; amla to strengthen the hair and protect the scalp; and tulsi to stimulate blood circulation for better absorption of nutrients.
When I stepped out of the shower, my shampoo plus conditioner combo resulted in a four-minute detangling session, which cut down more than half of my usual time. Plus, my hair felt (and looked!) so nourished, and the cleanser gave me the perfect amount of slip to add my leave-in curl cream without having to reapply water to get it through my entire head.
Now, my curls are stronger, my scalp is healthier, and I haven’t had a major dermatitis flare-up since my first use five weeks ago.
Sitting a bit pricey at $42, is the clay cleanser worth the hype? In my opinion and experience, yes, it’s worth every penny — so much so that it’s gained a permanent spot in my shower caddy.
This product was actually an impulsive Instagram buy that was greatly justified. It’s softened my curls, cut down on my wash day routine, and balanced my scalp, all without irritation, so it’s a 10/10 from me.
Harding, C. (2014). A high glycerol-containing leave-on scalp care treatment to improve dandruff. Skinmed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25134312/
Nadeem, M. (2016). Promising features of Moringa oleifera oil: recent updates and perspectives. Lipids Health Dis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5146848/
Williams, L. (2010). Evaluation of the medicinal use of clay minerals as antibacterial agents. Int Geol Rev. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2904249/