Hair care

We Tried It: The Shampoo and Conditioner Combo KPak Addicts Will Love

We tested it on two drastically different hair types. Find out how this combo performed

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Sometimes (or more like each and every single time) my hair washing routine is like a full-blown marathon. There's washing, treating, masking and conditioning, plus the minutes in between to allow each product to set. Then, because it's naturally crazy, kinky-curly, I have to apply leave-in, moisturizing treatments, allow it to air-dry, and straighten it (that is, if I can bear another hour of styling). I also wear clip-in extensions on a regular basis, so take that whole routine I just described and double it.

Working at a beauty website hasn't helped my hair situation much, either. In fact, it's made it even more daunting, as piles of products cover my desk every week. And as much as I love all things related to hair, I have to choose strategically, which is why I'm so excited about Van Thomas Concepts' Christine Shampoo and Conditioner.

Although I've never colored my hair or chemically-treated it, my hair is damaged from heat styling. So anything that makes my natural curls look radiant and bouncy after a wash gets my attention. After using this combo only once, I knew it was my new fave. Van Thomas (who's worked with Joico for years and helped develop it's K-Pak line) developed this sulfate-free line that consists of the brand's one-of-a-kind formula called "The Life Complex" -- three vital ingredients (keratin protein, silk protein and jojoba oil) that make each strand on my head incredibly soft and shiny. Plus, you can instantly tell my hair feels stronger and less brittle as soon as I step foot out my shower.

The packaging is sleek and modern, and although some product promises can come across as cheesy, I actually loved this statement on the bottle: "We also made the shampoo sulfate-free and paraben-free, which just means we love your hair as much as you do." It's so personal, like the line itself, which is named for Thomas' late daughter. Even more inviting is the scent -- something like a luxury spa in a super fancy hotel. At $45 for the set, it's not a budget buy, but for the results, it's worth every cent.

But does it work on different hair types? Our senior editor, Sarah, tried it out. Here's her take:

I have fine, naturally wavy hair that's never been color-treated, and I have issues with any product that weighs my hair down. This duo was surprisingly lightweight. After washing with the shampoo, my hair feels very clean (dare I say squeaky clean?), likely thanks to the "micro-lather" technology that allows the ingredients to penetrate the hair shaft. I only needed a small amount of the conditioner to coat my fine hair. After I rinse, the feeling is amazing. Even wet in the shower I can tell it's sleek and soft and feels stronger. I'm less afraid to comb my hair post-shower because it doesn't feel like it will break.

The conditioner has the highest concentration of "The Life Complex" ingredients, so if you are only going to try one product from the line, make it this one. After drying, my hair is soft and shiny, and although the conditioner is intensely hydrating, my hair isn't flat (and I even apply a teeny amount to my roots!).

If you have damaged hair, are worried about treating damaging hair, or need a great smelling set of products to maintain healthy hair, Sarah and I agree this combo works amazingly and is worth the $45 for the set (a little goes a long way!) The biggest takeaway: You'll actually get excited about washing your hair.
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