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With the vast majority of hair care products aimed at the fairer sex, it can leave us men wondering if our own hair is really getting the TLC it both needs and deserves.
What’s more, so much of what’s out there seems to do more damage than good, stripping our manes of their natural coating and replacing it with something synthesized and unnecessary.
But Modern Mammals, a relatively new, male-focused haircare brand on the scene tells us to fret not, for they are bringing what’s referred to as a “shampoo alternative” to the market.
If the hype is to be believed, Modern Mammals cleans your hair without stripping it, providing a fresh just-washed feeling without disturbing the natural processes of your scalp.
Do these claims ring true? Well, that’s precisely what we wanted to find out, so we picked up some of this shampoo alternative and hopped in the shower. Here’s what we discovered.
Don’t sweat it if you don’t have time to check out our full review, as you can catch the gist from these pros and cons.
There are only three Modern Mammal products on the market, which doesn’t sound like a lot compared to the shelves upon shelves inhabited by other brands’ products, but we see this as positive.
The refreshingly spare lineup from Modern Mammal does away with those listless minutes in the hair care aisle staring into a colorful abyss of countless same-but-different bottles, deciding if you’d rather smell of coconut or watermelon and guava.
Two of three available Modern Mammal products are exactly the same but for the fact that one is a liquid formula in an 8 oz bottle, while the other arrives as a bar of soap, so you can stick to whichever style you’ve become accustomed to over the years.
The third and final product is simply a larger carton of the liquid formula so you can refill your bottle rather than buying one after the other, a nice eco-friendly touch that we appreciated here at TheXbest.
Modern Mammals offers a subscription service, keeping your 8 oz bottles topped up by mailing you a refill pouch every 60, 90, or 180 days — You decide the frequency based on how much product you get through.
While many will find this unnecessary, we appreciate the convenience of such an offer, as it’s all too easy to forget to pick up more shampoo, sorry… shampoo alternative, when supplies are running low.
The ingredient lists on the packaging of Modern Mammals shampoo alternative is as follows:
Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax NF, Activated Charcoal, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Rosemary Extract, DL Panthenol, Natural Slippery Elm Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Peppermint Essential Oil, and d’Alpha Vitamin E Oil.
We know that a lot of that might as well have been written in Latin, so let's break it down in plain English.
Modern Mammals is indeed vegan, so all our cruelty-free homies out there can get in on the natural cleansing action — Hooray!
With a slogan like “Get closer to natural”, you’d be forgiven for thinking Modern Mammals use all-natural ingredients in their product, but as you can see from the overtly clinical names, some of the ingredients are synthesized.
However, that’s not to say that they’re bad.
Each one is completely harmless and has proven benefits when applied to hair and skin, so while Modern Mammals’ motto may be a little misleading, the company has certainly done its homework on what really can help the hair.
Modern Mammals contains zero sulfates, parabens, or silicones, all of which are the really nasty things commonly found in traditional shampoos and conditioners. It’s pH-balanced and detergent free, ensuring a safe cleansing experience.
As an aloe-based formula, Modern Mammals shampoo alternative is allegedly capable of rinsing the unwanted gunk from our mighty manes without completely removing all the natural oils that hydrate and protect our scalp and hair.
In theory, this is indeed possible, at least to a certain extent, as it’s typically very specific ingredients in traditional shampoos that do the damage — We’re looking at you lathering and shining agents!
Now, being that Modern Mammals isn’t trying to froth up into a veritable bubble bonanza or make our hair unnaturally glossy, it doesn’t include any problem ingredients.
But just because something seems theoretically possible, doesn’t mean it is in practice, so let’s take a look at Modern Mammals in action.
The first thing to mention here is that Modern Mammals is an all-in-one product that simplifies shower or bath time and reduces clutter in the area, helping to keep both your hair and your bathroom looking neat and tidy.
Much like sudden dietary changes can leave your digestive system feeling out of whack, so can changing your hair care routine be jarring for your scalp and hair, especially if you’re going from traditional products to a less aggressive one like this.
We’d recommend holding judgment on the product until you’ve used it consistently for about two weeks.
Modern Mammals is a “low lather” product, meaning you won’t get a full-blown bubble bath going on your bonce, which ultimately, is a good thing, but if you’ve got long locks, you may have to use more to get full coverage than you would with a traditional shampoo.
We found the best approach is to rub the solution in your hands first as you would a moisturizer before application. This warms and loosens it up a bit, helping it to go further on luxuriously long hair.
Short to medium-length hair, on the other hand, poses no such problem, but we’d still suggest warming Modern Mammals in your hands first to make even application a little easier.
In our opinion, one of the best things about Modern Mammals is that, without any significant lathering action, you don’t have to spend a decade under the showerhead trying to rinse every last bubble loose.
If you’re currently struggling with a low-pressure showerhead, you’ll absolutely love this aspect of the formula.
Prepare yourself, because we’re about to drop a bombshell. Modern Mammals doesn’t really have a lingering scent.
You can kind of smell a little bit of that peppermint extract, but nothing that really pops out, and certainly nothing that lingers on the hair after a wash.
Whether this is a good or bad thing comes down to personal preference, but we liked it for a number of reasons…
Firstly, you don’t have to consider conflicting smells when selecting your deodorant or aftershave. Secondly, if you’ve got short hair, no one’s really smelling it anyway.
And thirdly, no scent means fewer ingredients, which in turn reduces the chances of irritation.
Things were touch and go for a few days, but after a week or so of using Modern Mammals, we noticed that our hair wasn’t anywhere near as “poofy” as it was after using traditional shampoos, which meant we didn’t have to spend as much time or money on styling after the fact.
Even though peppermint extract isn’t usually good for dry scalps or hair, as there are so many moisture-giving and moisture-retaining elements in the recipe, we didn’t have any issues with dandruff or itchiness.
Our hair felt significantly denser after using this product if that makes any sense, as if each strand of hair weighed fractionally more, giving our mops genuine volume and body, rather than just making them more airy and light.
All in all, it was a very positive experience, and we’d recommend Modern Mammals to anyone looking to simplify their shower routine and prioritize the health of their hair.
But, as fantastic as Modern Mammals turned out to be, there are a couple of drawbacks to consider, the lack of lather being the main one.
Those with long hair might not feel satisfied with the product in action, and will likely burn through the bottle much faster than men with short hair.
The lack of a scent could be considered a con too, but the only other real drawback for us is the fact that it doesn’t ship internationally at the minute, so if you live outside the US, we’re afraid that you’ll have to remain a traditional mammal.
You might also be interested in: The 5 Best Dry Shampoo For Oily Hair Options [That Actually Work]