Many of you have been asking for me to share a review of LUS Brands haircare products for curly hair and how it has worked for my fine yet curly hair. I have been using LUS since mid-June when the brand reached out and offered me a free bottle of their shampoo, conditioner, and styling product. Now that I have gotten to where I purchased replacement bottles as I know I’ll run out within a month, I feel I am at a point where I can provide a detailed and accurate review of LUS Brands haircare. While LUS Brands did offer me free product, I am not under contract with the brand, there were not deliverables expected in exchange for the product, and I used my own money to buy it a second time. LUS Brands is also not aware of this post being written, it is all my words, and if you have any questions you can ask them in the comments and I will answer completely honestly.
My Fine but Curly Hair Journey Summarized
I have written about my curly hair journey before, but to summarize for those who don’t want to go through the archives… I was born with curly hair. As I got older, my hair got longer and the curl was brushed and weighed out. I just thought my hair was a bit frizzy but manageable hair with a slight wave. Once I hit middle school I began coloring my hair and using a lot of products and hot tools on it. I tried to go curly in high school, but thanks to bleaching and dying and the wrong products, it took a lot of gel and heat to get crunchy limp waves. That was the last time I tried to be curly.
Fast-forward to spring 2019 where I was complaining to my hairstylist about my over-40 thinning hair and how to hide my scalp and create the effect of more volume. He suggested I try embracing my natural texture; he gave me a cut to encourage curls and suggested I leave a bit of conditioner in my hair and let it air dry to help the curls emerge. I was shocked to find ringlets, but they were fine and tiny ringlets close to my head that still made my hair look thin. Encouraged by the curly texture, I began researching curly hair products and techniques. I loved how having curly hair I didn’t have to work so hard to have it look good and that it still looked good if I got sweaty or was active. I loved the idea of low-maintenance hair, especially as I was getting older.
I tried several brands over the past year, and several products and methods. I bought multiple diffusers, microfiber towels, and wide-tooth combs. I got an in-shower scalp massager, a bonnet hairdryer, a tiny-barrel curling iron, a new silk pillowcase, a silk scrunchie. I had leave-in conditioners, deep conditioners, protein conditioners, clarifying shampoos, gels, lotions, reviving sprays, dry oils, shine serums, dry shampoos… I easily spent several hundred on stuff in an attempt to get fabulous curls. I was happiest with Ouidad anti-frizz products, but as I've mentioned in my curly hair archives, I'd often have to switch things up because my hair would get too used to products and get limp and greasy. I went curly to simplify my hair but here I was, having my hair be like a part-time job and costing enough to require a side gig.
And then at the beginning of June when I was knee-deep into pandemic hair with roots, split ends, and my bangs parting in weird places, LUS Brands DMed me on Instagram and offered to send me their three-step system to try out, no strings attached. I had been curious about LUS Brands, and liked how their concept was to simplify the curly hair routine. I was beyond ready for simplicity. I also liked that LUS Brands is a woman of color-owned business, based in and made in Canada. LUS Brands creates products for three types of curls – wavy, curly, and kinky-coily. I shared with their social media contact how my hair is not wavy but truly curly but it is also fine and can easily be weighed down; they suggested the Wavy version of their Three-Step System.
How I Wear My Fine Yet Curly Hair
My hair is fine, but for most of my life I had a lot of it. Then I turned 40 and it started thinning where you could see major patches of scalp. I've played with diet, had my hormones checked, tried the supplements and products for thinning hair and nothing worked so I decided to embrace my natural texture to hide the fact that my hair is thinning. I like a bit of a messy/natural curl. Think beachy instead of perfectly defined ringlets. I often rub ringlets between my fingers to break them up to get the look I desire. I don't like having a defined part, and have bangs, and like it to look a bit rumpled. Everyone's curly hair goals are different so I wanted to make that clear before I share a bunch of photos of my hair.
LUS Brands Review for Fine Curly Hair
The LUS Brands Three Step System is the same Step 1 (shampoo) and Step 2 (conditioner) for all hair types. The difference is in Step 3, their All-In-One styling lotion. They have three formulas: Wavy, Curly, and Kinky-Coily. I used the Wavy formula for my hair and for this review.
The LUS Brands product steps are super simple. Shampoo as you’ve always known how to do, then put in the conditioner and let it sit in your hair for a few minutes as you wash and do the rest of your shower. LUS Brands suggests just before rinsing out the conditioner to add some water to it and either lather up or use a wide-tooth comb to comb through the conditioner. Then rinse out. Final step, while hair is still sopping wet, add a few pumps of the styling product to the hair.
Since I wanted simple, when I got the kit, I decided to do it as simply as possible. No additional tools or combs, no fancy methods, or adding any other products.
- I shampooed with a tiny amount (we’re talking maybe a dime-sized blob) focusing on the roots. The shampoo is clear, lightly-scented, and lightweight. It did a good job of cleaning my hair, removing all the products from it being Day 3 of my curls.
- I then used a good-sized blob of conditioner (cherry tomato-sized). The conditioner is milky, normal consistency of a lightweight conditioner. When applied to wet hair it sort of lathers up which is unexpected but I liked how it made it easier to disperse through my hair. I left it in as I washed and shaved and all that stuff, rinsed it out under the same temp of water.
- Right out of the shower while my hair was still dripping wet, I added four pumps of the styling lotion. The lotion is also milky, and thin enough that it comes out of a pump easily and is easy to spread through hair. I did a bit of raking, some scrunching, and then threw it up in a microfiber towel while I got ready and let it air dry while I worked on my computer. When it was fully dry I did a bit more scrunching and fluffing.
Dang, doing the bare minimum left me with hair that was almost as good as my high-maintenance previous routine! I couldn’t believe it. There was no cast at all; some places where I didn't properly distribute the styling lotion felt a bit “product-y” but in general my hair felt nice, had defined curls, and all without a gel “cast.”
The true test was Day 2. My hair isn’t long enough to “pineapple” up with a scrunchie while I sleep and while I love the benefits of a silk pillowcase I can find it too hot in the summer. I took my curls to the test by leaving them as-is and sleeping on a standard cotton pillowcase. The next morning… while not ready to get up and go my hair was in far better condition than previous curl products. As I’ve mentioned before, my hair can look greasy and limp on the second day. My hair did not look greasy and it wasn’t limp; it felt a bit coarse and was full of volume and just looked like curly bedhead. I used a spray bottle to wet down my hair, added two more pumps of LUS Brand Wavy styling lotion, and let it air dry and it looked just as good as the day prior.
I continued to use LUS Brands and only LUS Brands for the next few weeks. I’d wash and condition my hair every 2-4 days, the days in between would sometimes be pandemic IDGAF of a messy ponytail with a few clips or a headband, and other days I’d rewet my hair in the shower or with a spray bottle and add a couple of pumps of styling product to revive my hair. But I wanted to see if I could make the results even better.
Using a Denman Brush and Shampoo Comb for my Curly Hair
I kept reading in curly hair Facebook groups and on message boards about the supposed miracle benefits of using a Denman brush on curly hair. It seemed that using the brush on wet curly hair would help form clumps (AKA bigger curls instead of the little Kenny G-eque ringlets my hair is prone to forming). While Amazon carries Denman brushes, reviews made me wary that counterfeit versions were sometimes sent in place of the real thing. I headed to the Denman site where I knew I’d get the real deal plus there was. An amazing selection of sizes and colors. I went with the Honolulu Yellow 7 Row, and while I was there I also got their Shampoo Rake (a wide-tooth comb). I had to pay $5.52 for shipping but it was totally worth it to know I got the real deal.
Once I had the brush, I used it after applying the LUS styling lotion. I applied the lotion, raked it through with my fingers, and then brushed with the Denman brush. Even with my hair sopping wet I could see how the brush helped the wet strands clump together and I ended up with smoother and bigger curls with just as much hold.
Since I got the Shampoo Rake, I began using it after conditioning. I’d let the LUS Brands conditioner sit in my hair as I washed up, then I’d add a bit of water, later it with my fingers, and then comb my hair upside down, then rinse. Unlike the Denman brush which showed a big difference, I didn’t see much of a difference using the Shampoo Rake. And honestly, the comb wasn’t any more special than the cheap plastic one you could get at CVS or likely have in a drawer somewhere in your home right now. I think a comb makes a bigger impact if you have coarse, thick, or easily tangled hair.
LUS Brands All-in-One Styler
While I know LUS Brands says their all-in-one styling lotion works best on sopping wet hair, but I only had one bottle, and my shower is in a different bathroom from the one where I wet and revive my hair on Days 2-4. I tried putting my hair up in a microfiber towel or t-shirt turban, drying off, and then heading to the other bathroom to apply the styling lotion… and I found out that was too late. LUS Brands works great on sopping wet hair… on wet to damp hair, it can make hair feel heavy, gummy, and product-y. I learned to keep the bottle of styling lotion in the shower so I could apply it before I even got out, making sure my hair was sopping wet.
That being said, LUS Brands' styling lotion works way better than any other product I've used with leaving it up in a t-shirt or “plopping.” With my last gel, I'd “plop” and after a half-hour end up with this weird wet yet dry, crimped looking oddness I'd have to reshape. I was better off letting my curls drip down my neck and shoulders so there was good airflow so the curls could do their thing. However, with LUS I can add product, pile up my hair in a t-shirt and leave it like that for up to an hour no problem.
I found LUS Brands to be less finicky when it came to diffusing. With gels, I found if I moved my diffuser too often, if it was too hot or not hot enough, if I wasn't angled just this right way, I'd end up with some wackadoodle asymmetrical curly mess. It made me dread when I didn't have time to airdry before an event (hence buying the bonnet hairdryer which was used once and I positively despised and found it incredibly ineffective and possibly causing me to go deaf and ended up being Freecycled).
How Much LUS Brands Styling Lotion to Use for Fine Curly Hair?
When I started, I used four pumps and it seemed about right. But after two washes, I decided to use more thinking it may offer more hold or volume or more of the goodness I was experiencing. Seven pumps was a bad idea; my hair was gummy and looked dull. I kept playing around with how much product I’d use for my hair that when curly is just above my shoulders. I found four is good for most days, five if I know it’s going to be a super humid day and I’ll be outside, any more is way too much. This will vary on the type of hair you have and how long it is. But if your hair feels heavy or gummy, you may want to try less and be sure your hair is super duper wet.
After Two Months of using Just LUS Brands…
Since falling in love with LUS Brands for my curly hair I, of COURSE, had to mess with it. I went back to Ouidad, I used Hair Biology’s moisturizing collection, I used a protein deep conditioner, I used Hair Biology’s hydration mask, I used Ouidad’s leave-in conditioner. The thing I noticed was that unlike with other products where if I strayed it was like I had to start at Square One and repair the damage I did, my hair went back to before with LUS Brands without issue.
I also find I can mix and match products, and not be so obsessed with CGM-approved ingredients. I use LUS Brands with styling products from Ouidad, Oribe, Hair Biology, and Saints & Sinners no problem.
I color treat my hair. Before the pandemic, I went to a salon, during most of the pandemic I used semi-permanent and temporary color to cover grays. I didn’t get LUS until June and did find it to wash out the temporary color, but honestly, just plain water can rinse out such products. July 29th, my hairstylist came to my house for a cut and color. Armed with face masks out on my back deck, he performed the same coloring process he always did before in the salon It took five weeks before I started really noticing that the haircolor was fading which is on par with how it was with previous products pre-covid.
How LUS Brands is Different
I think the biggest difference I found using LUS Brands for my curly hair is there is no “cast.” For curly hair folk, you know the cast is when the gel and products dry to create a crust or cast around each ringlet. Once hair is dry you scrunch the curls to break the cast and get soft curls. There is no cast with LUS Brands, your hair is soft from the get-go.
Also, I haven’t experienced the need to clarify or detox or add protein or chelate or any of the other things that curly hair enthusiasts have to perform every so often to keep their curls happy. When I was using Ouidad, every few weeks my hair would feel not clean and I’d clarify by using some sulfate-laden travel-sized shampoo I snagged from a hotel room on my last trip. I have not needed to do that with LUS Brands.
My hair is less finicky. Rain, humidity, heat, cold, PMS, too long since a proper haircut… my hair still acts the same. It may not lay as perfectly if I slept on it weird and it may look a bit fuzzy on the ends when I’m way past due for a trim, but in general, the curls form the same no matter what else is going on in the world.
Am I a LUS Brands Convert?
During the pandemic, I've really analyzed the time and money I put into my appearance. Not really going anywhere I don’t have to do much of my beauty routine. I embraced it for a while – I let my brows grow out so I could reshape them, let my roots grow out (but then colored again), I stopped painting my nails (and stuck with it), and most days go without makeup. I started questioning the benefit of keeping my hair curly considering it required so much time and so many expensive products and tools. LUS Brands reached out at the perfect time, with the perfect pricepoint ($50 for all three products though they often have sales) and perfect process (wash, condition, style, and dry). So for now, yes I am a convert. These products make curly hair way simpler but also the results are more consistent. It's not Holy Grail curly hair, but it's pretty fantastic for this current existence and my hair only seems to like the line more, not less, over time.
About LUS Brands
LUS is an acronym for “Love Ur Self.” LUS Brands products are vegan, cruelty-free, and free of sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, DEA, mineral oil, paraffin, gluten, and synthetic dyes. The products are dermatologist tested and approved, and the products are formulated and manufactured in a GMP-compliant and FDA-registered laboratory in Canada. Each individual product is also registered with Health Canada. LUS Brands is extremely transparent with its ingredients and process; its website has it all and the brand is happy to answer questions.
Sahar Saidi was born in Iran and her family moved to Toronto in the late 1980's where she started 2nd grade. She went to the University of St.Gallen and got her MBA at the University of Toronto. Saidi launched LUS Brands because as a woman with curly hair, she struggled to find the right products and knew she was not alone. She wanted a method that simplified curly hair for herself and others. She was not a scientist or inventor, but still with an idea and drive created a multi-million dollar business. LUS Brands began selling their three-step method in 2017; in the first month they sold only 126 units of the 25,000 units produced. Nine months in, LUS sold out of its initial inventory and was no longer in the red and the rest is history. LUS is not sold in stores, it is purely a direct to consumer product available at their website.