Prev Next

Does a New Zip Code Mean New Hair Products?

By Amalah

Hello! Here goes my confused question.
I have issues with my hair. (Great opener, right?) I grew up in the northeast, and had the flattest hair imaginable. It’s as if while everyone else who came here got frizzhead from the humidity, my hair grew straight like sticks…and never did anything. No curl, no nothing. Then I moved to the glorious west. The place where my skin was clear and my hair had body. It was still very straight, but it would style a little bit. I’ve never been big into products, but it was out west that I discovered Victoria’s Secret Shine Serum. It smelled great, felt great, and I only needed a tiny dab to get the job done. Life was bliss.
And then I had a baby and half my hair fell out.
And then I moved back east.
Phew. So now I have thin super straight hair that doesn’t respond to my favorite product anymore.
So I guess my question(s) is/are the following:
How does VS weigh in against brands created by companies that only do hair products? Is it a fluke that I liked this stuff?
Why doesn’t it work as well out east, and what can I get that does what I need it to do? (i.e. create soft, full hair that does the “naturally messy” look I love so much)
Thanks for your advice,

Firstly, yes, sometimes a change in location/geography DOES mean you’ll need to change your products — hair, face, body, sometimes all three. You’re using different water, exposed to different air, temperatures, pollution and humidity levels and it ALL makes a difference.
Secondly, Victoria’s Secret hair products. Yeeeeah. I’ve never tried them. I’ve tried a lot of their Body products (lotions and body washes and such) and don’t like them — too much focus on pretty colors and (artificial) scents and not enough focus on products that actually DO anything besides look pretty and make you smell like you overdid your perfume. A lot like Bath & Body Works and other places you go to buy gifts for people you don’t know that well. “Here! I once heard you say you like raspberries. Now you can smell like one.” (It’s telling, when I did some Googling to find more info on the VS line, that pretty much every positive user review raves about the smell with no real mention of how well the product actually works.) I’m sure it’s the perfect product for someone out there, though, and for awhile that was you. A fluke? Eh, maybe, but there’s no need to quibble over it. What works, works.
But it doesn’t work for you anymore, and that’s not too surprising. The same can happen with any product after a big move. Speaking of which…have you bought a new bottle since you’ve been back on the East Coast? While the change in location is PROBABLY the culprit, it is possible that your serum simply went bad during the move. Stored at too high or low of a temperature, maybe? Damaged nozzle letting too much air in? Shaken to the point of no return?
Possible, but probably a longshot, since you said you suffered from flat, stringy hair before. So it’s probably time to check out some new products. If you’re not using a volumizing shampoo and conditioner already, it’s time to start. Victoria’s Secret even makes one! I like Pureology (sooo expensive though, and yet I’ve never found anything that works so well garrrrsmash) and Wella, but you could totally just start out with Pantene or something while you’re experimenting with new products. (Although I do justify my occasional Pureology purchase these days with the fact that I can use that and be done with the volumizing products for the day — it works that well for my hair.)
Shine serums and smoothing creams are great for taming fly-aways, moderate frizz and for adding a touch of texture — they do NOT add body or volume. I’ve had problems with a lot of them making my hair kind of greasy looking — perhaps my own bit of East Coast woe? — so I go with Bed Head’s Headrush instead when I just need a little finishing *something.* The spray is easier (for me) to avoid overdoing it or isolated patches of Too Much Product, and I’ve always sworn that it makes my hair just a touch fuller, even though that’s not the primary point of the product. If and when you find the perfect kickass volumizing shampoo, switching to a spray shine might be all you need for a little tousled style without weighing your hair down.
But if your hair remains stubbornly thin and flat, another option that might work well is BedHead Small Talk. I keep trying and trying all kinds of volumizing products and then coming back to this one, and then wondering why the hell I felt the need to try anything else. It’s a thick, goopy, creamy paste-like product, requires just the tiniest dab on your hand, rub your fingers lightly together and then smooth it through your ends. I won’t use it on my roots (I let my shampoo and hair dryer do all the work there these days, since I just don’t have the time or energy to deal with root lifters/mousses anymore), but it makes my hair seem thick and full and it’s VERY good at the natural/messy/tousled-wave look, since a quick scrunching after you apply it will make your hair nice and bendy. My only complaint: it will leave a bit of product-y feel to your hair if you apply too much or use it on dry hair without combing it through (which is when the scrunching style works best). Perhaps following up with the remains of your shine serum on your ends will give you back the softness you want, if that happens.
Oh, and it smells like grape bubble gum. Heh.


Published April 24, 2009. Last updated April 24, 2009.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon
chat bubble icon