June 19, 2012

REVIEW: Use Me! Products

“To look good, feel good, and do good—for yourself and the planet" - Alanna York, Creator, Use Me! Products

Use Me! is a line of haircare that I discovered this year at America's Beauty Show. The company was featured in the show's "Texture Pavilion" which included brands targeting wavy, kinky and curly hair. I'd never heard of the brand but the booth caught my eye with its design (recycled cardboard) and all the activity (numerous hair demos). Vanessa (Vanewpc on YouTube) and I stopped over and spoke with Nate from Use Me! about the brand and the products. Plus, they were nice enough to send us home with a few to try.

So, first thing's first let me tell you a little about the brand:

  • Alanna considers her line of gentle cleansers and moisturizers “skincare for your hair”.
  • Use Me! is based on a Refill, Reuse, and Repeat concept. Participating salons offer filling stations (which are made from reclaimed wood and steel) where clients can refill their products at a discounted rate.
  • There are 8 products currently available with 22 more to come. The entire line is sulfate and paraben free and is packaged in BPA free bottles. In addition, many of the ingredients are organic and vegan. ** The line is vegan aside from the lanolin used in some products, which is provided by a sustainable sheep farm where the sheep are treated humanely and not farmed for their meat.**
  • BPA free packaging. Sulfate & Paraben free.  
  • The products contain natual essential oils, such as lavender, jasmine, Spanish moss, and lemongrass.
  • $24.00 per bottle for styling aids and $29.00 for cleansers and moisturizers.
  • The products and packaging are both Made in the USA.

I love the company's commitment to the health of their customers and the environment. The BPA free packaging, the use of mostly vegan and/or organic ingredients, especially the use of so many essential oils,  weighs heavily in their favor. The concept of taking an empty bottle of product you've purchased and refilling  at a local salon from a station created with recycled and re-purposed materials is unique and shows their commitment to being eco-conscious that much more. And, personally, I think it's refreshing to see a product made in the USA. It's become so rare to see companies which design and manufacture products in this country. Regarding the design, the packaging is simple but well done and the metallic finish on the printing is a nice touch.

So, having said all that let's get to what I thought about the products themselves. I tried four products - Cleanser for Fine Hair, Moisturizer for Fine Hair, Get it Straight Gelee, and the Curl Up & Shine Creme.  Initially, I used the products, exclusively, for two weeks to give them a chance to work. Then over the course of the last couple of months I've gone back and tried them in a variety of ways. I'll just go product by product and give you a breakdown of my thoughts.

Cleanser for Fine Hair
Moisturizer for Fine Hair

Get it Straight Gelee

Cleanser for Fine Hair
The directions state that the cleanser should be focused on the roots, gently massaged and rinsed. I did this and found that the cleanser lathers well, even though it's sulfate free. It cleansed my hair without stripping it. It smells fantastic and I felt curl definition as soon as I massaged the product into my hair. It rinsed clean and my hair felt soft afterward.

Moisturizer for Fine Hair
The directions state that the moisturizer should be used in the opposite way. Focus the product on the ends and work up the hair shaft staying away from the roots. Again, and I smelled great and I felt great curl definition. The conditioner cuts through tangles and curls like a hot knife through butter. I felt great curl definition. I left it on about 10 minutes and then rinsed. My hair felt soft and I felt and saw curl definition after I rinsed. However I noticed that several hours later my hair felt dry.

Get it Straight Gelee
The Gelee claims to contain a humidity shield and I think it worked a little but not nearly as well as I had hoped. I will admit that I used too much product initially so that may have effected the performance. However, overusing the product was the result of the confusing instructions. 1/4 teaspoon is the recommended amount but how do you measure a 1/4 teaspoon from a pump bottle?? I couldn't eyeball that. I felt like I needed to go to the kitchen and get a measuring spoon. Suggesting a "pea size" or "dime size" amount or even "half a pump" or something similar would make a lot more sense. But, honestly I don't think that using too much was the real problem. I think the product just didn't deliver. It's water based but the second ingredient is silicone and I felt that artificial slip that silicones give the  hair. But, my hair felt dry and didn't get straight when I blow it out. In addition, I tried this when wearing my hair curly to stretch the curl/reduce shrinkage but my curls didn't stretch. This product was the biggest disappointment for me. 

Curl Up & Shine Creme
LOVED this product. This was actually a product that Vanessa got and I asked her for a sample. I applied this after cleansing and moisturizing my hair. The smell is amazing - it's what drew me to the product and the performance is what blew me away. My curls were defined, soft, and moisturized. I'd  reactivate the product with water everyday for 2-3 days and noticed that it held for several days this way. Of all the products, this was definitely the stand out and the one I would purchase. 


Overall, I think that I chose the wrong formula for my hair. Since my hair is fine I opted for the formula for fine hair. Unfortunately, I felt that the combination of the cleanser and moisturizer dried out my hair. Initially my hair felt great and I was excited but I think ultimately they don't perform well on curly hair, no matter your how loose or tight your curls happen to be. Curly/wavy hair naturally requires more moisture and these products don't provide that. In fact, my hair started to tangle at the ends badly after a few days and I have never had that issue with my natural hair. So, I think that this would work well for someone with straight, oily hair who likes volume. I think it would cleanse without drying out the hair and provide just enough  moisture not to weigh hair the down. I want to note that I also tried the cleanser with a richer, more moisturizing conditioner and still found my hair to be dry after a day or two. I just got samples of the formula for dry & coarse hair from Vanessa, who really loved them, so I'm going to try those and update you guys on how those work out.

Once I discovered that the products didn't work as I initially intended I started to look for alternate uses. First, I used the cleanser to wash my makeup brushes. I found that it cleaned well, removing the makeup and rinsing clean. But, the first thing that I noticed was how dry my hands were when I was done. This made me very nervous about the condition in which it would leave my brushes. As it turned out, I did feel that mt brushes felt scratchy and drier than normal. I used the cleanser AND moisturizer on another batch and that made a huge difference. The brushes were much softer. I decided to try something different all together and use the moisturizer as a shaving cream. That worked very well. I got a close shave and my legs felt soft and very smooth. I will definitely use it for that again.

I was disappointed that most of the products didn't work for me but I was able to find alternate uses for some. As I said, I'm going to try the other formula for comparison and hopefully I'll have better results.

Use Me! products are available at participating salons and on http://www.usemeproducts.com/

UPDATE: I have also reviewed the formula for coarse/dry hair on my YouTube channel.


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