If L.A. had a signature scent, Kai—a fresh gardenia scent sold at a phenomenally great price—would be it. The cult fave reminds me of a Hawaiian getaway where you get wafts of ridiculously fragile gardenias wherever you laze around. I got so addicted to the smell I once found myself spraying it everywhere—on my pulse points, the linens, even my evening clutches. My latest Kai crush: Kai Shampoo and Conditioner ($34).
The shampoo’s star moisturizers are coconut and argan oils, and they fortify dry, brittle locks and strengthen hair follicles and roots naturally. And, unlike most sulfate-free shampoos, this one actually lathers up like a dream. The creamy, Kai-scented conditioner seems expensive and luxurious as soon as you pour a quarter size glob into the palm of your hand. The vitamin-rich formula is laced with shea butter, plant extracts, and safflower seed oil… and, yes, it has fragrance oomph added for effect. The hydrating treatment doesn’t leave my hair feeling weighed down or dull—after the rinse, it’s noticeably soft and shiny. The first time I used it I skipped the blow-drying and let the natural waves fall freely.
The real surprise of the products’ formulation is glycolic acid, which has been shown to reduce breakage when hair is brushed wet or dry. I get frizz and flyways from trying to comb through my tangled mess after a shower, but after seven days of use the conditioner managed to restore my hair, which is dehydrated from testing so many products every week. Instead, I was left with a decadent-smelling Kai halo. I can only hope Kai gets into the hair fragrance game to amplify the conditioner’s scent next.