shampoo review

Beauty Review: Maple Holistics Silk18 Shampoo*

Beauty Review: Maple Holistics Silk18 Shampoo* | Writing Between Pauses

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a review of Maple Holistic’s Tea Tree Shampoo (one of my favorites). You can read that here.

As you all surely know by now, shampoo is one of my bugbears. I have a very sensitive, dry scalp; shampoos will work for a little while to relieve the dryness, then stop. I have reviewed so many shampoos and while they all worked for a while, eventually, my scalp went back to its usual: dry, flaky, itchy, sensitive.

When Maple Holistics reached out to me about reviewing their Silk18 Shampoo*, I was excited… but aware that like most shampoos, my dry scalp will probably acclimate to it. I’ve started to realize that I need to focus more on nourishing my scalp between washes, instead of expecting the shampoo to do all of the world.

My review of this was slightly complicated by the power outage at the end of February. I wasn’t able to shower for the first 4 days, by which time I was on day 7 with no washing. My scalp felt great and I realized I needed to start giving myself more time between washes. I used the Silk18 Shampoo for that first shower and oh my gosh… it felt amazing.

I really like Maple Holistics for a lot of reasons; the first one is that all of their products are cruelty free and ethically sourced. This helps me feel a lot better about the products I use, even if I can’t guarantee it for everything that works me & my hair! I also like that their products contain natural, soothing ingredients that are low on a toxicity scale, which helps keep our waterways clean.

Maple Holistics shampoo

The Silk18 Shampoo from Maple Holistics promises the following:

Achieve stronger, smoother, more luscious hair with silk18 shampoo. Infused with a rejuvenating blend of 18 silk amino acids which help fortify hair follicles and strengthen strands to protect hair from dryness, breakage, damage, split ends, and hair fall. The nourishing formula gently cleanses dandruff, excess sebum, and impurities to leave your hair and scalp feeling fresh but not stripped. Enriched with argan and jojoba oil to add supreme softness and a luminous shine. Our shampoo is sulfate and paraben-free making it great for all hair types, color treated hair, and sensitive skin.

All of those things are definitely true. I have slightly drier-than-average hair (although not bad compared to my scalp) that can get slightly frizzy and ugly after a few days (usually if I wear it in a bun too much). However, this shampoo definitely gave my hair most luster and shine than any other shampoo I’ve used recently, which is a definite plus. I used it in combination with my Formulate conditioner, which was really, really lovely.

Good shampoo for oily scalps

You might be wondering, what about your scalp? Well, it didn’t help my dry scalp as much as I would like—but it didn’t make it worse. When it comes to shampoo, that’s really all I can ask for! Some shampoos definitely make my scalp feel awful and this isn’t one of them.

So what’s my final verdict?

I love this shampoo for my hair. I like it for my scalp. I have found that using it in combination with my blend of half Head & Shoulders and half my Formulate shampoo on my scalp, then this on my ends… I get the absolute best wash I’ve gotten in a while. I’m currently working on washing my hair much, much less often to see if that will help my scalp health overtime. (I’m talking… like washing my hair every 10 days here, which seems like so long!) If you have drier hair, this is a great shampoo to try for a little extra moisture here at the tail end of a very, very cold winter season.

You can try the Maple Holistics Silk 18 Shampoo yourself by purchasing here.

Disclaimer: As always, as asterisk (*) in the title of this post denotes that I received this product in exchange for review. However, all opinions remain my own! Posts like this help me keep the lights on at Writing Between Pauses. To learn more about my disclosure policy, click here.

Beauty Review: OGX Miracle Oil Line

Beauty Review: OGX Miracle Oil Line | Writing Between Pauses

Another day, another shampoo review.

A few months ago, I reviewed the OGX Coconut Oil Shampoo, which I quite liked. It did a lot to help my scalp, which was in pretty poor shape. As I wrote in my post about hair masks, I recently discovered that my scalp problems are mostly hormonal and my goal has become to soothe my scalp as much as I possibly can.

One thing I started noticing in the last 6 months had nothing to do with my scalp: split ends. I hadn’t had a hair cut in 3 years (it’s been 3 years ago this week actually!), when I was pregnant. It was just one of those things that got away from me. But since I don’t use heat styling, I don’t really get split ends as bad as I should. However, I was having a lot of breakage and split ends by the end of July. It just kept getting worse and while I knew the solution was to get a hair cut, I still kept putting it off. (But that’s really another story entirely, isn’t it?)

My hair started getting very dry during the summer. Not just my scalp, which was still flaring up occasionally, but my hair started to feel rather straw like. The problem really got bad when I was sent some shampoo to try and it absolutely destroyed my hair to the point where I had to email the company and cancel the sponsored post. It was bad, bad, bad! Just the absolute worst shampoo I’ve ever used on my hair. It made my hair dry and brittle, the ends seemed to start splitting at an alarming rate, and I was looking really ragged!

So at Target, I decided to treat myself to two pieces of the OGX Coconut Miracle Oil line because my hair needed it. I got the Coconut Miracle Oil shampoo and the Coconut Miracle Penetrating Oil. Here’s what the shampoo promises:

Create an island girl escape in your shower with this ultra-moisturizing formula for thick to coarse hair. Help repair, soften and revive damaged strands and discover silky, soft island-inspired hair.

And here’s what the Penetrating Oil promises:

This Penetrating Oil is the key to your island escape, to help revive your senses and your strands. This rich oil helps to calm frizz and tame flyaways, leaving hair silky soft and shiny.

Basically, both these products are intended to moisturize and help repair hair. Technically, they are both for hair types that are not mine (thick, wavy hair seems to be what they are advertised for), but since my hair was in such need of heavy repair… I knew I had to try something.

The shampoo especially is lovely. After one use, my hair was much less dry and brittle (from that awful shampoo!) and within a week or two, it was looking back to normal again.

The oil has become something I use daily: I apply it in the morning to help take impressions out of my hair (as my hair is so fine it often stays in a ponytail wave for a long time) and to help calm down visible breakage. It is also great for getting rid of static and frizziness when I do blow dry my hair. I have also noticed the oil helps my scalp when it is flaring up, feeling sore and flaky; I try not to apply it directly, but by moisturizing my hair, it does lend moisture to my scalp.

I have found both did a lot to help repair my hair from the damage I put it through, both from not getting a hair cut for my son’s entire life and from using a shampoo that really did a number on me. They are also both really affordable products, so if you’re hair needs a little TLC, they are absolutely a great option.

This line also include a dry shampoo, which I am very, very interested in trying. I rarely use dry shampoo, as I have found that it either leaves white marks in my dark hair or makes my scalp burn a bit (thanks sensitive scalp). However, I am really curious as this line is so moisturizing and lovely, I’m sure the dry shampoo is great too.

3 Things You Need to Know about Sulfate-Free Shampoo

3 Things You Need to Know about Sulfate-Free Shampoo | Writing Between Pauses

I'll be totally honest: I've always been really disinterested in hair products. As someone who can buy 45 different versions of the same lipstick color (and argue with my husband to the death that they are actually very different colors, thank you very much), hair products are just beauty products that I feel I don't have space in my brain for. 

I've been pretty lucky to be blessed with hair that just kind of works. I have straight, really manageable hair. I could honestly wash it with dish soap and it would behave the exact same way. (And yes, I may have done this once or twice in college.) I don't heat treat my hair and I only dye my hair its natural shade to cover grays, so I don't experience a ton of damage to it. 

My hair, by nature, is very fine (though I have a lot of it, so my hair is also quite thick in terms of amount) and I've always been able to get away with washing it every 2-3 days before it looks bad. Unlike my face, I seemed to have a natural amount of oil on my scalp and it never bothered me. But about 4 months ago, I started really struggling with a dry scalp. 

I tried every tea tree oil shampoo I could find, convinced I wanted to go natural. When those did nothing, I switched to Head & Shoulders, angry that I had to go with an option that wasn't cruelty-free. And while Head & Shoulders made it marginally better, I still would get a dry, flaky, itchy scalp within a day of washing. I went to the dermatologist and was told I didn't have dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis; my scalp was just dry, so when my hair got even a little oily, the skin would lift. The dermatologist told me to just wash my hair every day. 

Which I did and it didn't really help. And my hair started getting quite limp from all the washing. 

While listening to a podcast recently, a guest mentioned that people with dry, flaky scalps should try going sulfate-free. I had tried a few sulfate-free shampoos and I wasn't totally impressed with them--but I was willing to give it a shot. Anything that allowed me to go more than 24 hours between washes without a flaky, itchy scalp! 

I started doing a lot of research on sulfate-free shampoos and came to conclusion that trying it would be absolutely worth it. I knew it might require me to stick with it for a while--not something I'm great at--but I really wanted to give it a try. 

All my research gave me the idea that I needed to share what I've learned about sulfate-free shampoos. 

1. Sulfates are what make shampoo sudsy--and they do not cause cancer. 

For the last few years, I've been seeing this scary meme floating around Facebook (especially in my mom groups) that sulfates in shampoo cause cancer. That's categorically false.

Sulfates are simply an ingredient in shampoo that makes it sudsy; they also are a type of surfacant, which means they attract oil and water to themselves. This allows oil and debris to be removed from your scalp--but it can also strip natural oils from your hair too, making it dry and brittle. If you struggle with a dry scalp or dry hair, you may be particularly sensitive to sulfates--and so switching to sulfate-free shampoo would be a good things to try. 

2. Sulfate-free shampoo makes hair color last longer. 

If you dye your hair, and notice that your color is fading quite quickly, switching to sulfate-free shampoo can make a major difference. I primarily used eSalon's shampoo for a long time--but as I started struggling with my dry scalp, I had to switch to harsher shampoos that I felt stripped my color. Since I've switched to the Kristen Ess sulfate-free shampoo, I've definitely noticed that my color is not fading nearly as fast. 

3. Going sulfate-free is most beneficial for certain hair types. 

There are some who will benefit from going sulfate-free and some who won't. If you have relatively easy hair, and a scalp that never gets itchy or too oily, then sulfates are the easiest way to clean your hair. Going sulfate-free means you spend a little bit more time manually cleaning your scalp. 

Those with dry and/or frizzy hair can benefit from sulfate-free shampoos, especially those that use coconut extracts instead of sulfates. As well, anyone who struggles with eczema or other skin conditions might benefit from going sulfate-free too, as it can help alleviate dry skin and itchiness. 


I'm two weeks into using Kristen Ess's The One Signature Shampoo; I'll update this blog post when I know exactly how it has helped my scalp. I've definitely seen a reduction in flakiness and I've been much less itchy since I started using it, but I want to give myself a little bit more time! 

Do you use sulfate-free shampoo? What's your favorite kind? Have you seen it help your scalp or hair?