Like most Black girls, any time I book a flight, I book the braid appointment to match. The freedom of having my natural hair tucked away means I can basically get up and go—without having to think about styling, or needing to pack a full arsenal of products with me. The only essentials I’ll have to carry along are a good cleanser for protective styles, an oil, and, of course, some edge control. But believe it or not, while I had most of these packed in my luggage, I ended up discovering one of the best products for washing braids while visiting the South of France—and it was micellar shampoo.
When I first arrived at The Couvent des Minimes Hotel & L’Occitane Spa in Provence this past June, I was, of course, eager to slather on every single face and body product in my room. But when it came to hair care, I was hesitant and slightly skeptical, to say the least. As a Black woman, I’ve experienced my fair share of mishaps when it came to my curls—from using shampoos that would leave my strands feeling like hay, to applying styling products that didn’t even attempt to keep my hair in place. But here was my dilemma: after a long day of travel, I was sweaty, gross, and needed to wash my hair. However, while traveling, Air France misplaced my luggage.
Already frazzled, and with no French pharmacies near, I had no choice but to take a look through the product selection in the room. Then I saw it: L’Occcitane’s Aromachologie Gentle & Balance Micellar Shampoo. The elixir claimed to work for all hair types; and while that phrase typically makes me raise an eyebrow and perhaps even roll my eyes, I figured I could at least trust the formula’s lavender essential oil to work as aromatherapy—calming my lost bag anxiety.
I hopped into the shower, eager to wash the day away, and gave my scalp a good scrub. Once I was done, I stood under the rain showerhead for a few minutes to ensure everything was properly rinsed out, then wrapped my hair in a towel to help it dry. I came out of the bathroom not only feeling refreshed, but also left pleasantly surprised with how effective the shampoo was. Simply put, it was easily one of the best products for washing braids I had ever used.
Once I let my hair out, my scalp wasn’t left feeling itchy or dry, which is a common problem for me any time I have in a protective style. On top of that, my hair was soft, and there was no white residue or flakes left behind—the product washed out completely clean. I was floored, in the best way possible.