British gem Umberto Giannini offer sleek, salon standard luxury and vegan haircare with a variety of ranges to cover all hair types - whether you have straight, curly, long, short, frizzy or flat barnets. Their entire range is vegan friendly and most are also certified by PETA.
I’m ever yearning for voluminous hair so I was instantly sold on their ‘Thick-tastic’ range which promises just that. On first impressions I was won over by the unusual, slightly sweet scent of warm peach & vetiver (a fragrant grass native to India), it felt like going to the hairdressers for a treat. Both the vegan shampoo and conditioner themselves are a fun lilac colour and the (I’m gonna say it!) phallic bottles are modern and stylish. However, I was shocked to learn that they are NOT recyclable. This seems like an unacceptable option for me, especially now that there are so many alternatives available. I appreciate that there are no additional unnecessary parts in the packaging such as a pump (it’s just a bottle with a lid), but surely this can be made recyclable. I have recently learnt that plastics which are highly coloured are far more difficult to recycle, so perhaps this is the reason – surely we would all happily purchase something a little less fabulous if it can have another life?
Thick-tastic Thickening Shampoo £7.00/250ml and
Thick-tastic Strengthening Conditioner £7.00/250ml
When I first started using the Thick-tastic shampoo and conditioner my hair felt squeaky clean and smooth. In the words of Umberto Giannini themselves, the Thick-tastic range ‘actually builds the density of your hair’ thanks to the special formula including amino acid arginine; an ingredient apparently proven to reduce hair loss, improve volume and thickness of hair. Such claims are not always upheld but I definitely noticed a change in my hair. Witness the thickness.
The problem was, I already have quite thick hair… Once my hair had dried it looked and felt pretty chunky through the length and ends, which was not where I ideally needed the volume! I’m not a huge user of straighteners either so I was sometimes left with what I can only describe as a triangle head, certainly not the glamorous coiffeur I was hoping to achieve. In hind sight, I realise that the Thick-tastic range is designed for those with thin hair, something I should have taken into consideration when buying the products.
The professional quality of both products is evident and it was an enjoyable experience every time. The shampoo lathered well and was easy to use, the conditioner was thick and smooth to apply. I only used the conditioner on the length and ends of my hair and this was enough to help it comb through tangle free.
Despite all this, I do still have some qualms with the Thick-tastic products. My clean, shiny hair didn’t last as long as I’d hoped, and by day three I’d be scratching my scalp regularly. I like to leave my hair 3-4 days before washing but I was aware that it looked visibly greasy far sooner than this which was frustrating. I was having to wash my hair more often than normal which seemed counter-productive but both products still lasted me over 3 months in total which is pretty good going. The other issue was that UG state how the conditioner is designed to reduce hair breakage and increase flexibility (in your hair only, unfortunately), but I found I was still shedding a lot of hair after washing, but this has always been an issue for me so it wasn’t out of the ordinary.
Since learning a bit more about ingredients in beauty products I was a little concerned about why I was having issues with an itchy scalp. Looking at the ingredients label on both of these products is like reading another language, but sure enough, the shampoo contains SLS or Sodium Laureth Sulphate which, although deemed safe in small quantities it is a known skin irritant and clearly didn’t agree with me.
Blow Dry In A Bottle £7.00/200ml
I also replaced my empty heat protection spray with one of UG’s products, the ‘Blow Dry in a Bottle’. Although I rarely use heat on my hair (I only occasionally blow dry my hair), I do want to look after my locks when I do. And while I’m at it, it contains castor oil for moisturisation and it is designed to aid ‘the perfect blow dry’ to add lift, volume and shine to hair – so I thought I was on to a winner.
On the occasions that I do blow dry my hair, my hair does feel smooth and sleek, but I couldn’t confidently say that this is because of the product and not just a good brush and technique! More often than not, I would spritz it on, comb through and then leave my hair to dry naturally, but even then I can’t really say I see a huge amount of difference in how it dries, except maybe a more glossy finish. My hair still felt quite thick and chunky at the ends and I’ve always had fairly straight hair anyway. So I’m just going to have to hope that at least the heat protection is working!
It’s a very strongly perfumed, floral, synthetic fragrance which I found quite overwhelming, but it does settle down once hair is dry and leaves it smelling good for the rest of the day. The bottle itself is made from recyclable PET plastic, but I doubt the cap, pump and parts are. Humph.
Although in general I enjoyed using these vegan Umberto Giannini products and I can’t deny they’re high quality and effective, I clearly chose the wrong products from the off. Since learning more about ingredients and recycling after purchasing these products, I feel that UG could do more to up their game, and therefore I would not buy from them again until they do so. I feel we need to step up and vote with our cash and as we all know, time is of the essence.
You can find out more about Umberto Giannini on our Vegan Beauty Brands Directory.
Disclaimer: This review is 100% honest and reflects my experience. Product and brand information is correct at the time of publishing but please check the product website before purchasing.