Tsubaki Head Spa Extra Cleansing with Essential Oil (Gold) Review

The YS Beauty Lab

I’m a wash-and-wear kind of girl and my daily shampooing, twice to thrice a week conditioning and anti-frizz serum application usually does it for my hair. However, when the temperatures and humidity started to dip recently, I looked at my stash of shampoos and conditioners and decided it was time to mix it up a bit.

My hair is somewhat dry with a natural, subtle curl to it. Most days, I’m lucky to not end up with a lion’s mane; occasionally, I have to bring in reinforcements like serums, masks and liquid gel just to keep my locks in line. Product build-up and environmental stressors really weigh down my hair, so I make sure to use a clarifying shampoo at least once a week.

That’s where my new favorite shampoo — Tsubaki Head Spa Extra Cleansing with Essential Oil (Gold) (whew!) — comes in.

Great Roots
The Tsubaki line of haircare products has its roots (literally) in cosmetic company Shiseido. Based in Japan, Shiseido is the fourth-largest and one of the oldest cosmetic companies in the world. Tsubaki is the Japanese name for the camellia plant, whose seeds are the main ingredient in the haircare collection.

The Tsubaki Head Spa Cleansing (as I will call it from now on) is primarily intended as a clarifying shampoo to get rid of all the product build-up, oil and whatever gunk that remains on the scalp and weighs down hair. So if you’re fond of putting hair serum, gel, wax or clay on your hair regularly, once-a-week usage of this shampoo will give your scalp and hair a much needed break.

Priced at US$20 for 280 ml, the Tsubaki Head Spa Cleansing goes a long way (unless you’re Rapunzel). To fully appreciate its benefits, the other products in the Gold series such as the mask and the conditioner are worth a try, too.

No Suds, No Glory? Not Really
I’ve been using the Tsubaki Head Spa Cleansing for more than two months now, as my previous clarifying shampoo from another brand proved too harsh for my hair. Used to having my shampoos all sudsy and frothy, I was surprised to find that the Tsubaki Head Spa wasn’t foamy at all. In fact, I ended up with almost a palm-full because I thought I hadn’t used enough.

I realized that this minimal sudsiness was in fact one of the benefits of using this shampoo. After all, super-foaming shampoos may also mean more chemicals, as they induce all those bubbles that we usually associate with a good shampoo. For me, the lack of suds made for a better result.

After that first palm-full, I’ve become more prudent with the amount of shampoo I use — just enough to massage into my scalp and the tips of my hair (where my frizz serum usually goes) for a few minutes. The coin-sized amount I use is adequate and I don’t feel that my hair is shortchanged.

Fit to a T(ea), Down to the Tips
In addition to the lack of suds, another thing that I love about the Tsubaki Head Spa Cleansing is its very light tea scent. Not surprising really, since the leaves of the camellia plant are also used to make tea. I love the light, refreshing scent that lingers until my hair dries. It’s neither overpowering nor does it clash with other scents. I also detect hints of rosemary, honey, tangerine and sandalwood, among others. With all those wonderful aromas, using the shampoo really is like going to the spa (except you have to do it yourself).

I use the shampoo on very humid days and it certainly relieves my locks of that heavy, limp feeling (ugh). Now that it’s wintery and less humid here in Hong Kong, I also notice that it relieves my scalp of that itchy feeling without causing too much dryness. I use it once a week followed by a little conditioner or argan oil at the tips.

At the end of the day, my hair remains nice-smelling and with the natural oils generated by my scalp, there’s a certain sheen to it. Maybe not worthy of a shampoo TV commercial but (deep breath) the Tsubaki Head Spa Extra Cleansing with Essential Oil (Gold) definitely works for me. And since mine is almost used up, time to buy a new bottle!

The YesStyle Beauty Lab Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★