After going from natural brunette hair, to highlights, to bleach blonde, to a strawberry blond, to auburn; I knew I needed some serious recovery times and treatments both before, during, and after. I have tried everything over the years from apple cider masks, to olive oil masks, to argan oil, to mayo (seriously not recommended), and of course, a bevy of expensive hair treatments, masks and washes all touting zero harm pre and post processing.
The only color safe (and enhancing) products I have found thus far to live up to initial claims of benefits are Oribe’s color treatment line and R&Co’s Gemstone Shampoo and Conditioner, the latter being less expensive but in my opinion with superior results.
Bear in mind I also tend to be quite dry, and the find the conditioner extremely hydrating. R&Co is a line that started popping up in different chain accounts like BlueMercury and Ulta, and has since expanded into spaces like Barney’s New York. Their marketing and aesthetic design genius coupled with products that actually work seems to be the cause for the fast success. Compared to the luxury market, and certainly spaces like Barney’s New York, price points tend to be much less expensive. So this appeals to a younger audience who may like the packaging and the price. According to the company founder and CEO, ” R+Co is about an experience.
The packaging and fragrances were designed to enhance that experience and evoke a feeling, place, style or attitude. You’ll know just by looking at a bottle or tube what a product is meant to do, and the subtle yet sophisticated fragrances-meant for both men and women-are as individual as the members of our collective.” Indeed, it is an emulsive experience visually and a sensorial one when put to use.
The vegan company is cruelty-free and focuses on earth-friendly practices, as well as providing multiple hair lines geared towards very specific concerns. Some of the marketing involves women on motorcycles, images of lips with writing, and a plethora of all things unique and disturbing. But it’s uniquely fitting.
The first time I went to the salon and paid a pretty penny to transform a bleached disaster into a stunning strawberry blonde (and yes, tipped heavily), I opted for the Oribe color collection. I had heard so many rave reviews on the product and was not interested in being picky over price in comparison to hair preservation. As an aside, the longer you wait after dying the longer the color will hold. So if you decide that can be a period of weeks and you have that comfortability, you’re doing yourself quite the long term favor.
While the results with Oribe were fairly solid, I still felt a lingering dryness. I opted to try R&Co’s Gemstone Shampoo and Conditioner and the two have since become a couple of my favorite products in the entire industry. While some would still consider this a pricey expense for the category, in comparison to the prices we spend on the salon in general, it only stands to reason maintenance should not be neglected.
This review will cover some main overview on the products and reviews for each, some positives and negatives to bear in mind prior to purchase, and a final verdict to help you make a more informed decision prior to the point of sale.
The Main Features
Both the Gemstone Color Shampoo and Conditioner are 8.5 sizes and completely devoid of any parabens, sulfates, or irritating chemicals that can break down the hair particles and ruin the effects of color.
Ideally, you apply both products to the middle of your hair and then work down towards your roots. While the products are ideal for color treated hair types, they are also suitable for anyone with normal to dry hair, and I often purchase the conditioner even without colored hair simply for hydration benefits. They are designed to preserve the colors hue, including undertones, and do an amazing job of that.
They are formulated with Hibiscus Extract, to protect the hair while hydrating and conditioning, Pea Extract sourced from India, to helps to preserve hair’s color and protect against discoloration, and Rice Extract to smooth the hair and retains moisture, adding high shine. Golden Root Extract also provides antioxidant protection to combat any future damage and create a protective barrier on the hair.
Both products are gluten-free and vegan, and suitable for any hair type (i.e. straight, coily). The smell is intoxicating and lingers throughout the day, it is extremely fresh but devoid of any harsh perfume or chemical odors. Using both products really seems to help repair damage, and leaves hair soft and silky.
The color preservation is excellent, and although no product is perfect in this area, it is the closest I have come to finding perfect color holds for weeks-months. I do recommend avoiding roots at much as possible, as they are the most prone to damage and quick changes.
Out of all other products in the category I have tried, I definitely experienced the longest and most vibrant color hold and best results overall after using the R & Co Gemstone products.
R&Co Gemstone Shampoo
When you have color treated hair, perhaps the most important choice to make in terms of preservation is the shampoo you select. Many can be stripping or contain sulfates that will eat away at a formerly beautiful head of hair. I can’t say enough great things about this product. After dying my hair all different shades of red (perhaps the most difficult color to hold), the color lasted months and I even received compliments from strangers on the street. I was incredibly impressed by the benefits, use of the product, scent, and texture- which never feels sticky or greasy. It not only extends the duration, it extends the vibrancy, and it’s beautiful to watch the colors shift and shine over time. It also works in repairing any damage and feels extremely soothing and nourishing on the hair and scalp. Does not leave any build up, easy to travel with or toss in a gym bag, there is simply not much more you could ask for in a shampoo. I
would give this product a 10/10 and find the benefits simply incredible. Fresh, clean, vibrant and perfect.
R&Co Gemstone Conditioner
I have struggled over the years to find any conditioner that is suitable for my very dry hair, let alone one that is designed for color treating or promoting color vibrancy. Hence, this conditioner has become one of my favorite cosmetics products on the market, and I would recommend it without hesitation to anyone looking for damage repair, a great color treatment conditioner, and a product that adds vibrancy while fully repairing hydration.
In general, I would recommend trying to avoid hairsprays and products that cause a lot of buildup, as it will lead to more frequent and vigorous washing afterwards. However, other products can be enjoyed with color treated hair. If you enjoy the Gemstone products, you may also enjoy the following R&Co products:
- R&Co Tinsel Oil, which can be applied to wet or dry hair and further nourishes and conditions without any color damage
- Travel sized Gem Stone shampoos and conditioners, which are perfect for travel or the gym
- “Skyline”- a spray that dramatically reduces the appearance of any oil (i.e. post gym) and may help prolong washing
- “Spiritualized”- a gentle dry shampoo that can be applied to roots or mid strands
- “Palm Springs”- designed for color treated and damaged hair, this product is applied prior to shampoo, it acts as a restorative treatment mask to promote vibrancy and restore hair that requires repair, but is very soothing and gentle
Positives and Negatives
The vast majority of using the shampoo and conditioner were quite positive, and other than price it is extremely difficult to find any drawbacks, but bear in mind this is of course a very personal preference. Here is a look at some key pros and cons to bear in mind prior to purchase:
- Company is vegan, cruelty-free, never tests on any animals and no animal product is used in the manufacturing process or in any formulations of product
- Color hold is amazing, particularly if you wait a bit prior to washing for the first time, you should expect to see several weeks-several months of color (this is largely variable of course, as certain colors, such as red, are very hard to hold, my red held for two months using these products)
- Scent is lovely and lingers without any harsh chemical odor or perfume dye
- No sulfates, parabens, or other harsh ingredients are included in any of the formulations of the products
- None of the products created any redness, irritation, or itching around the scalp or skin area
- Longevity: only a quarter sized amount (dependent on length) is required, so these products should last for quite some time even with continual use, though daily is discouraged for obvious reasons
- The products really compliment one another and work in tandem with each other, resulting in silky and soft hair that is very radiant
- After dying my hair, I have never experienced such silky finish after washing and drying or even knew this to be a possibility
- The aesthetic design of the packaging is fun to keep, have around the house, and appreciate from varying marketing strand-points
- The only con I can think of for this product is the price point, but as mentioned earlier, if we are investing in fancy salon treatments and spending hundreds in coloring, I would be more than happy to pay for results that can further the colors longevity, and it seems to truly pail in comparison
The manufacturer, R & Co, has a strong return and exchange policy that honors full refunds upon dissatisfaction or allergy, and this policy favors the consumer, both new and returning, upon any issues, dislikes, or reaction. If you are dissatisfied with the use of the hair products, or if they do not work for your hair to provide suitable hydrating or color preservation/enhancing benefits, or you experience any product allergy or reaction to the formulation, you may elect to return it at any time. If you find you don’t experience improvements or benefits to the hair at all, you may also elect to return any of the products. In this case, you will receive a full refund equal to the entire purchase price of the item. If the item was received as a gift (without receipt), the policy applies for an even exchange, and this policy is applicable to online purchase, as individual store policy may vary depending on location and distributer.
I was happy to discover that the formulation was gentle enough to use even with very sensitive skin on the scalp and was a pleasure to use and helped maintain color quite well, but due to price barriers or sensitivity concerns this policy may help assuage fears.
The Final Verdict
Ultimately, if you are a man or a woman seeking to preserve color after recent dying, the struggle can certainly be real, and too often we experience shelling out far too much money only to have the color fade within under a month, wondering what we can do to extend the duration of the treatment and the results of such.
So what can we do to circumvent that? Investing in high quality hair products and treatments whilst following other simple guidelines that will maintain the same aesthetic we paid for. R&Co’s Gemstone Shampoo and Conditioner are solid products, with natural ingredients (free of any harsh chemical additives) that offer a high degree of efficacy when used as directed. You can maintain that beautiful style and accompany it with a shine, radiance and sense of polish.
If you’re looking for the best hair color preservation products in the market, I would recommend R&Co without any reservations! 10/10 and definitely hype!