Product Review: AG Hair Natural Collection

AG Hair Natural Collection sample sizes featuring Balance Shampoo, Boost Conditioner, Remedy Leave On Mist, Rosehip Balm Hair Dry Lotion

While WFH and riding out summer's heat waves sans air conditioning, I've been air-drying my hair whenever possible, and reaching for the AG Hair Natural To Go Kit ($29.95) to keep it from turning into a frizzy mess. Full disclosure: I received this gifted PR sample ages ago—so long ago, in fact, that AG has since changed the mix of products in their Natural To Go Kit. (The newer version includes the same shampoo and conditioner, but different styling products.) This kit may have languished in my beauty stash for eons, but good products speak for themselves no matter when you get around to testing them and these AG haircare products are incredible.

Described as "natural hair care for the modern minimalist," the AG Hair Natural Collection features formulas with up to 98% plant-based and naturally derived ingredients. Hero ingredients include apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, mango seed butter, rosehip oil and hydrolyzed quinoa. The formulas are also vegan-friendly, silicone-free, and scented with essential oils.

So much of this is right up my alley. Natural hair care? Yes. Modern minimalist? Sounds like a more editorial way of saying Lazy Girl Approved. The apple cider vinegar delivers a pH-balancing cleanse that feels gentle yet thorough and clarifying. (In fact, since I started testing AG Hair, I've stopped using a separate scalp scrub.) When used together, these four products accentuate and define the natural waves in my hair. That's on wash day as I let my hair air-dry. The day after washing my hair and sleeping on it, the waviness relaxes and my hair just looks soft, healthy, and shiny. Also, gotta give the stylish plants-on-pink packaging high points.

If I had to pinpoint a downside to this collection, it'd be cost. My hair actually does pretty well with drugstore products, so I'm not used to paying salon hair care prices. (Hairstylists always compliment the health of my hair and then wince when I tell them I use drugstore shampoo and conditioner.) I can understand why AG Hair is pricier though: It was founded in Vancouver and the formulas contain a lot of naturals and very few fillers. Plus, the scents and textures feel luxurious and instantly make an ordinary shower feel more spa-like, and the packaging looks so good in the bathroom. Maybe I'll treat myself to the 1L shampoo and conditioner bottles for my birthday.

Let's look at each product individually, shall we?

AG Balance Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo

AG Balance Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($30 for full size)

If you're used to natural sulfate-free shampoos not producing a satisfying lather, you're in for a pleasant surprise with this one. A quarter-sized dollop creates enough suds to cleanse my roots and scalp and rub through the ends. Apple cider vinegar is touted as the hero ingredient of this formula, but there are plenty of other natural ingredients that work together to cleanse, nourish, and promote scalp and hair health: aloe, argan/sunflower/olive oils, a litany of essential oils and natural extracts. The deep but gentle clean that Balance delivers almost feels like a clarifying shampoo. It does a good job of getting rid of dirt, oil, and sweat at the roots without drying out my scalp or my hair. What's more, it rinses away easily and doesn't leave behind silicone build-up.

AG Boost Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner

AG Boost Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner ($30 for full size)

This conditioner complements its shampoo counterpart perfectly: lightweight, non-greasy, no silicone build-up, detangles and softens, rinses out easily. (You don't have to stand under the shower head forever!) It's full of nourishing, natural, good-for-hair ingredients. I adore the scent too—a blend of rosemary, lemongrass, clary sage and vanilla essential oils that reminds me of tart candy.

AG Remedy Apple Cidar Vinegar Leave On Mist ($26 for full size)

I don't know what sort of witchcraft AG Hair pulled off with Remedy because it's lightweight and silicone-free and smells incredible (an intoxicating blend of something vaguely herbal and coconut-y), but still softening, smoothing, shine-enhancing, and moisturizing. The spray bottle produces a fine all-over mist that dispenses evenly over wide sections. I only need about 8-10 spritzes for my whole head, even with how thick my hair is. The formula doesn't feel heavy or oily at all. With Remedy, my hair air-dries into frizz-free waves with subtle definition. It also purportedly doubles as thermal protection when heat styling.

AG Rosehip Balm Hair Dry Lotion ($28 for full size)

The Rosehip Balm is a heavy hair cream ideal for medium to thick hair. Its star ingredient, cold-pressed rosehip oil, promises to smooth the hair cuticle and eliminate frizz when air-drying. I like spritzing with the Leave On Mist first, and then rubbing a pea-sized dab of this into the ends of hair for better wave definition. I've also tried using just the Leave On Mist or the Rosehip Balm by itself, and while I prefer the Leave On Mist for summer, I can see myself reaching for the Rosehip Balm more often in fall and winter. This is a very emollient and thick product, so a little goes a long way. On occasions where I've used too much (especially on top of the Leave On Mist), I've found myself breaking out, probably from my hair rubbing against my face and pillowcase and causing pore congestion.

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