I’m a huge product junkie, and I regret nothing. That said, there are a few products that come along once in a blue moon in every junkie’s life that bring them to their knees, and I am no exception. In my case, I’m holding the ENTIRE Joico K-Pak line on the highest pedestal humanly possible, and I’m going to prove to you exactly why you need it and make you wonder why you’ve been living without it up until this point.
Joico is one of those very rare brands that actually delivers on virtually all of the claims they make for their products, which is a hard thing to do in an industry that relies on buzz words and power phrases to make you feel like you need a product, even though you know you don’t. Anyways, my experience with Joico started out a little differently from my standard practice of introducing new brands into my haircare routine. Usually I start with the shampoo and conditioner of a new line, and then move on to treatments like masks and oils and such. With Joico I did the exact opposite. I first started using the K-Pak line treatments (which I’ll talk about extensively in a minute) and then moved onto the shampoo and conditioner because I was so impressed with the results. My journey with K-Pak began in late July during one of Ulta’s B2G1 sales, which they have literally every week in some form or another for all lines in the Joico brand. At that point I was on the tail end of my damaged hair nightmare, so I was looking for something to give me that final push into the realm of healthy hair, and boy, did I luck out.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what exactly “K-Pak” even represents. K-Pak’s multi-action formulas feature megadoses of Bio-Advanced Peptide and Quadramine complexes – the most powerful reconstructive technologies known to hair – to repair and strengthen hair precisely where it needs it, when it needs it. Basically that means it’s one heck of a protein/moisture provider, and a godsend to both damaged hair and hair that needs a little extra oomph. I’m not going to lie, this line is HUGE; it encompasses both care, treatment, and styling products, but all of them have all the awesome benefits mentioned above.
I have personally tried every single product in this very extensive range for an equally extensive amount of time, so I think it’s pretty safe to say I can finally put my two cents in. Let’s break it down:
- Revitaluxe ($27): This is a restorative treatment that corrects years of damage while protecting against future damage, and it also includes the Keratin Peptide Complex which delivers over 2x more resistance to breakage while protecting against color fade by 94%. As someone who had unbelievably damaged hair in the past, and who has kinda dry hair in the present, my tresses are perpetually fragile. The consistency of this stuff is pretty thick, and it smells quite strongly of roses, but a little goes a very long way. Within 1-2 washes with this product my hair felt physically more moisturised and stronger. The longer I have used it, the more “healthy” my hair has become. It has become a MUST HAVE staple of my hair regime. This treatment keeps my color in and the tangled, split ends at bay that are so common during the dry months.
- Shampoo ($14): This is a very gentle, rich, cleansing shampoo that restores weak and depleted hair to its optimal strength and condition. It also replenishes amino acids and fills in damaged areas of the cuticle while hydrating and protecting with aloe and antioxidant Vitamin E. I do have to warn you guys that this is NOT sulphate-free, but quite frankly I couldn’t care less; it’s that good. It’s super runny, but like all the K-Pak products you only need like a nickel-sized amount for long hair and it’ll last you a while. Also, if you have curly hair like me, your curl pattern will become awesomely defined after using this, which is something I have yet to figure out the cause of, but I’m not complaining.
- Conditioner ($18): This daily conditioner delivers the precise amount of daily conditioning that damaged, chemically treated hair needs. It reconstructs and smooths hair with K-PAK’s Bio-Advanced Peptide and Keratin Silicone complexes. Like the shampoo, this is really runny but man is it concentrated, you seriously only need a dime-sized amount and your hair will be frizz and static free until your next wash. This is also great for co-washing for those of you who avoid using shampoo too often.
- Intense Hydrator ($19): This is a 3- to 5-minute treatment (formulated to follow any Joico shampoo) that replenishes moisture and lipids to overly dry, damaged hair. The hydrating formula has a pH of 3.5 to seal the cuticle, creating a polished surface. It also contains Shea Butter for increased elasticity and body. This is one of the greatest deep conditioners to ever grace the hair industry, seriously. I use a nickel-sized amount and leave it on for 5 minutes or more depending on how much time I have, and my hair comes out feeling like veritable silk with no frizz or static.
- Deep Penetrating Reconstructor ($21): This is truly the mother of all protein treatments, and is probably one of the most well-known and respected products in the industry. A powerful five-minute reconstructor that rebuilds and strengthens stressed, physically and/or chemically treated hair, this reconstructor insures that lost or depleted amino acids are replenished with a high concentration of Quadramine Complex for maximum reconstruction and protection from the cuticle to the cortex. Be warned that the texture of this stuff is like a combination of oatmeal kernels and mashed bananas mixed together, so no, your bottle isn’t expired, it’s supposed to be that way. Unless your hair is beyond damaged, only use this once a week, because it’s so strong that using it any more than that can have reverse impact. You only need a very small amount to see results, and like Revitaluxe, you can see the health of your hair improving over time, and sometimes even after the first one or two uses.
- Liquid Reconstructor ($20): This is pretty much the DPR in liquid, leave-in form, and would be great for those of you who need a little extra help when your hair is being prepped for styling. It is a liquid reconstructive protein spray applied to primarily fine hair before styling products, and replenishes lost amino acids in weak, depleted hair by filling in damaged areas of the cuticle. Your fine, fragile and lifeless hair experiencing breakage, premature color loss, and a lack of styling responsiveness (due to chemical, thermal and environmental damage), has restored vitality, strength, shine and elasticity. It’s really easy to overdo it with this spray, so I would say 3 or 4 sprays MAXIMUM even if you think your hair is super damaged.
- Leave-In Protectant ($18): Supposedly this is a weightless, foaming leave-in protectant that finalizes the reconstruction process. It claims to seal the cuticle, rebuild the hair, and protect it from styling damage, breakage, and splitting. This is my least favorite product in the K-Pak line, mostly because it’s foam and I didn’t realize that upon buying it, so promises to detangle your hair and add shine while protecting it from thermal and environmental damage may not ring true if you have difficulty with foam products like I do. On the plus side, it enhanced curl pattern and natural wave.
- Clarifying Shampoo ($8): I’m pretty much dedicated to my clarifying shampoos by Bumble and Bumble and Redken, but every once in a while I’ll switch it up and use the K-Pak one, which is especially good for people who have super hard water. This creamy, conditioning clarifier leaves hair clean, moisturized, and radiant while providing a smooth slip for wet hair combing after deep cleansing. This particular clarifying shampoo is ideal for those who live in areas with hard water, swimmers, styling product users, and for anyone who will soon receive chemical services, and is quite effective at removing styling product buildup, mineral deposits, and chlorine, which can alter hair color or inhibit chemical services.
- Split-End Mender ($15): I’m a sucker for serums, and this one in particular is one of my favorites. This featherweight serum mends split ends caused by chemical or styling damage and heat, and creates an ultra-durable bond to seal and protect hair. Over time, you should notice that this serum polishes and strengthens your hair to seal split ends while helping to prevent new ones from forming, which is awesome if you heat style regularly without a protectant or use styling tools at high temperatures.
- Thermal Design Foam ($17): This is your standard mousse under a fancier name, and is my least favorite styling product in the K-Pak line, probably because it’s foam, my nemesis. For those of you who don’t struggle with foam, you’ll probably see this as a weightless, medium hold, alcohol-free styling foam. It can be used to style and define curls while diffusing, but can be utilized alongside round brushes, blow-dryers, or any styling tool for the ultimate in body, bounce and volume. Most of the time, your hair will become shinier and healthier looking with exceptionally flexible hold, body, and volume (without hardness, crispiness or flakes).
- Protective Hairspray ($17): This is actually my favorite hairspray for use when pinning back my hair into a bun or for a sleek ponytail. From my experience, I can tell you this is a protective hairspray that delivers flexible styling and body that lasts all day. It is most definitely medium hold. My favorite thing about it, though, is that it holds and protects against thermal damage while taming static and fly-aways. I’ve used it both with flat irons and up-do’s, plus it provides ultimate protection and control that lasts all day.
- Smoothing Balm ($15): The most ineffective product in the K-Pak line, I’m sad to say. It may just be because my hair is super curly, but this did nothing for me. That said, if you have straight to slightly wavy hair, this heat-activated blow-dry styling tool should condition, smooth, and straighten erratic hair. It contains a heat-activated Keratin Silicone Complex which seals the cuticle and creates intense shine, plus leaves hair protected against thermal and environmental damage, all while fighting erratic textures, leaving your hair stronger, smoother, and silkier with frizz-free style that holds up in humidity.
- Protect & Shine Serum ($16): I love serums, and this is the best one to use after curling or straightening your hair. It protects, polishes and seals the cuticle while helping to prevent split ends and frizz. Also, the ingredients are awesome; Macadamia Seed Oil provides lightweight moisture and antioxidant protection, while Evening Primrose Oil regulates moisture. This stuff made even my “bleh” looking hair look fab, so dry, dull, damaged or coarse hair becomes glossy with more color vibrancy and shine. It also provides your curly hair with definition and separation, and replenishes long hair with naturally lost oils.
Now obviously Joico doesn’t expect you to buy the whole line and use all the products every day (and neither do I of course), but the thing that’s great about the K-Pak line is its versatility; you can mix and match the products that work best for you and your hair needs. Personally speaking, I could honestly live with just the shampoo, conditioner, DPR, and IH. Those four are the items I have in my current rotation, and that have lasted me since the end of August and I’m only about halfway through all of them. Also, Joico sells travel sizes of pretty much everything at Ulta except for the styling products, so if price is an issue you can snag some smaller sizes for around $3-5 a piece, and even those will last you a couple applications because the products are so concentrated.
My final thoughts on K-Pak as a line? Holy. Grail. ‘Nuff said.