I really wanted to like the Scalp Rescue Styling Gel ($12.99) by Max Green Alchemy, especially having read the wonderful reviews of the other products in the Scalp Rescue product line, including the shampoo and conditioner (both $15). The shampoo was voted one of TIA’s Five Best shampoos of 2012 and the conditioner was winner of the 2012 Green Stars Award. Unlike the shampoo and conditioner, which actually benefit the scalp, the same cannot be said of the styling gel; thus, I wouldn’t have put it into the same product family.

The styling gel uses an organic formula designed to provide flexible hold while calming flyaways and frizz. The gel can be applied to damp or dry hair and surprisingly, I found that it worked well on both. However, it claims to be a non-slimy (it’s slimy), flake-free formulation designed for “restylable” use throughout the day. That’s a tall order even for a synthetic formulation, and I have yet to come across a styling product that has accomplished that – the product would literally have to evaporate off one’s hair before restyling to prevent too much buildup. Depending on how much gel is initially applied, I would agree that the formula is likely lightweight enough to restyle with water up to twice in one day. While I was able to restyle on dry hair I wouldn’t say it was a successful attempt as the first styling endeavor had left my hair in a bit of a tangle. The gel provides a light hold at best and while it didn’t leave my hair crunchy, I wasn’t able to run my fingers through my hair without hitting a few knots. Not exactly the soft flexible hold I would have expected for my shoulder length hair. My other complaint is that my hair lacked shine after styling with the gel, whether I used it on damp or dry hair. It always left my hair looking a bit dried out; thus, I reluctantly had to use a shine spray.

As far as the actual formulation, I’m afraid I ran into a knot there as well. Max Green Alchemy claims the gel is an organic formula free of parabens, alcohol, PVP, petrochemicals and waxes. However, the product does contain sodium benzoate, a salt of benzoic acid.

Ingredients: Herbal Infusion [Purified Water (Aqua), (Glycyrrhiza Glabra* (licorice) Root, Tussilago Farfara+ (coltsfoot) Leaf, Achillea Millefolium* (yarrow), Salix Alba+ (willow), Tabebuia Impetiginosa+ (pau díarco), Arctium Lappa* (burdock) Root, Berberis Aquifolium (mahonia), Calendula Officinalis* (calendula), Equisetum Arvense* (horsetail), Urtica Dioica* (nettle)], dehydroxanthan gum (plant derived styling agent), Hydrolysed Soy Protein, Aloe Barbadensis* (aloe vera) Leaf, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Anisate, Panthenol (pro vitamin B5), Leptospermum Petersonii (lemon tea tree), Melaleuca Alternifolia* (tea tree), Lavandula Angustifolia* (lavender), Pelargonium Graveolens* (geranium), Rosemarinus officinalis* (rosemary)

*Organic; +Wildcrafted