(Forgive me for missing a few months of updates! We owe you the 2017 Over-the-Top Christmas Competition photo, which you can see below after you read this Surface vs. Monat review!)
If you haven’t already seen a friend, relative or acquaintance selling Monat hair care, just give it time. A new shampoo is on the market, but it’s making its rounds via independent distributors (think… Pampered Chef-style).
When a guest graciously asked me to try it and relay my thoughts, she generously left me an entire bag of products to choose from. Being that I utterly adore our Surface hair care (and the way their new Rose Shampoo and Conditioner are making my highlights pink… SEE?!), it took me about a week before I could cheat on Surface with Monat.
After reading over their clinical studies and contemplating which of their products would temporarily replace my own regime, I took the plunge one morning.
The first product that I used was Monat’s Renew Shampoo. The packaging instructed me to shampoo twice, leaving it on 1-2 minutes each time, getting a better lather the second time. Upon the second rinse, I got nervous when I heard a squeak. I don’t like my hair to be “squeaky” clean and stripped of my natural oils. (Though I do like squeaky clean in the kitchen and bathroom!) The noise surprised me and my hair felt rough as I rinsed it. To compare, when I shampoo twice with Surface’s hydrating Bassu Shampoo, the second shampoo actually rinses out as smooth as conditioner.
Because I’m spoiled, I never use conditioner; only masques. Monat’s Replenish Masque felt absolutely dreamy. I utterly loved it and my fingers glided through my hair during the rinse out. Surface’s Bassu Masque costs roughly $33 for 6 oz. For Monat’s 5 oz. masque, the distributor wholesale cost is $35, the VIP client is $43 and the general retail client will pay $50.
Outside of the shower, I was interested in trying Monat’s Rejuvabeads Split End Mender (2.4oz. @ $34/$42/$49 depending on your status). This, too, felt nice. It seemed like there was decent potential there!
To substitute my beloved Trinity Protein Cream by Surface (my leave-in treatment and strengthener), I massaged in a little bit of Monat’s Restore leave-in Conditioner. It wasn’t quite as magical as Trinity Protein Cream ($28.96/4oz). For Monet’s leave-in 4.5 oz. conditioner, the cost breakdown is $23 (for the distributor), $28 (VIP) or $33 (retail).
At this point, I liked the feel of three out of four products. It was hard to justify the larger price tag when I know that Surface manages the same quality for less (see last paragraph). That, and the cost to our salon never fluctuates; neither do our price tags adjust for our guests depending on their “status” or “loyalty.”
I had read a lot about Monat’s Rejuvenique Oil Intensive. It contains 13 rare oils that are supposed to mimic the body’s own natural oils to replenish “both hair and skin.” (Makes sense being that the shampoo utterly stripped my own oils! Of course I needed it replenished!) Other literature I had read mentioned how great this oil was for the scalp.
Can we pause here, friends? For many of you, I’ve put a tiny drip of Bassu Oil on the back of your hand and allowed you a chance to rub it in. Within seconds, it’s noticeable that because of Bassu Oil’s teeny molecular size, it has a very dry finish. Because of this, I can apply it directly to the scalp with zero risk of oily appearance. (In fact, I’ve used it on my face in place of moisturizer! Even with makeup applied immediately on top of Bassu Oil, there was no oily or clogged feeling.) Prior to using Monat’s oil, I tested it on the back of one hand and Bassu Oil on the back of the other. I noticed that Monat’s created a feeling I can only describe as “grippy.” While rubbing it in, my hand didn’t smoothly move without interrupting friction.
And that’s exactly what happened to my hair. Everywhere. Up until that point, things felt pretty silky and I could comb with only my fingers. But the second I applied their most expensive product, the Rejuvenique oil ($69-99 for 1 oz.), my fingers immediately stopped slipping through my hair with ease; I had to switch to a brush to work through it and my scalp got very, very, VERY oily. Every client who saw it that day was shocked. I’m sure that someone will criticize nny application technique, but I can tell you that I applied it the same way that I apply Bassu Oil ($29.70 for 2 oz.), which also claims to be great for the scalp.
While I prefer to wash my hair once or twice a week, I obviously needed a redo the next morning. (According to our stylist, Lindsay, my hair already looked worse than the end of my typical week.) This time I switched to their volumizing Revive shampoo and conditioner. Unfortunately, I still got the same squeak as I rinsed out my hair. (To compare, in the past I’ve suggested a bottle of .99 Suave shampoo to a guest who, for instance, wants to strip out somebody else’s poor color job. I know they’ll get that same squeaky, stripped hair.) The conditioner didn’t make nearly the impact that the masque had the day before, though the scent was pleasant and reminded me of Biolage.
I followed up with the same two leave-in products, but noticed that without the masque, they weren’t as silky and my hair overall felt a bit rougher than that to which I am used. As I skipped the Rejuvenique oil, my scalp certainly wasn’t so greasy in appearance and didn’t bear the same weight as the day before. (By the end of the first day, my hot roller set had all but completely drooped to nothing.)
Overall, I still think my hair feels noticeably better with Surface’s products and slightly rougher with Monat’s. My suspicion is that Surface cleanses the hair more gently and doesn’t rough up the cuticle so much in the shampoo process. Given Surface’s commitment to personal health, the earth, the integrity of the manufacturing process (organically sourced and sustainable botanicals, safe & responsible breakdown of products via cold-pressing, distilling, fermenting, to avoid trace amounts of residual petroleum that comes from cheaper and faster processing), and given the fact that it’s sulfate-free, paraben-free, free of plastics, vegan, gluten-free, not tested on animals, not to mention the price point, the education opportunities, their charity (they donate to breast cancer research, support tree-planting via the Arbor Day Foundation and donate 10% of their profits to World Vision to support children, families and clean water projects) and given the fact that I like that our small business can support another family-owned business, while I can respect Monat’s place on the market, I do not have an interest in sharing their product with my guests and don’t trust their product to support my services.
Phew! Talk about a run-on sentence! But it’s true. And while it’s been years since I’ve used drug store shampoo (the old Aussie, Pantene, Herbal Essence, etc.), I’m sure that if you’re coming from that entry point, Monat might feel lovely. But when you’re already spoiled by the best, Monat isn’t the upgrade I might have expected judging from it’s cost.
PS: Emma won… again. Third year undefeated. Yay, snowman! And if you can’t tell, Lindsay is “Grandma who got run over by a reindeer!” We have too much fun! Happy New Year!
PS again: I’d like to remind our guests that not a single person in our salon makes ANY commission off of products purchased here. I repeat, we do not pay ourselves extra if you purchase your hair care here. We consider this part of our “education fund” which, scarily enough, is not required in the state of Virginia to maintain our cosmetology licenses. We learn anyway.