My family owns two poodles that are cousins by birth. Cannelle, the alpha dog, has a spunky, self-confident, and extremely social personality. She could tell you herself that she's part-human. The other, Cosette, is an eccentric shell of her cousin, so meek that she cowers when you reach to pet her and so withdrawn that she's prone to hide in a single unidentified spot in the house for an entire day. Nonetheless, we love them both and their distinctive quirks. The case of Cannelle and Cosette shows that two apples can fall in two very different directions from the tree, and the same is true of Moroccanoil's latest addition to the family: the Hydrating Styling Cream.

The original Moroccanoil Hair Oil is an inimitable emulsion that coats the hair with weightless silk  and leaves an earthy, exotic aroma. The Hydrating Styling Cream does not resemble its distant cousin in look, smell, texture, or performance. My first impression was that my hair follicles didn't drink it up as easily as they do with the oil. I needed two to three pumps of the cream to cover my entire head, whereas with the original, a little goes a very long way. Nonetheless, it did manage to tame my color-treated mane, imparting moisture and shine. I tested with a pea-sized amount just on the tips of my hair and found that it didn't freak out in the humidity as much as it does when venturing outside naked.

While the original oil woos you with its intoxicating fragrance, the second generation cream forces you to sniff deeply to detect traces of a very different smell- not unpleasant but also not something you'd want to bottle up as a perfume. The styling cream seems to play a vastly separate role from the oil, primarily zapping frizz and providing soft hold. The original, on the other hand, specializes in silky shine and quick drying in the short-term, strengthened locks and enhanced color in the long-term. It appears that the cream is meant as more of a versatile prep product before styling hair.

The same sorts of silicones crop up in both formulas, though they are present in the oil at much higher concentrations. Rather than silicone, the cream is water-based, which explains why so much more product is needed for complete coverage. It also explains why parabens were thrown in the cream to prolong its shelf-life, since H2O-based environments are breeding grounds for microorganisms. Although some natural-leaning hair professionals might instruct you to avoid all "cones" because they can build up and block moiasture out of your hair, this problem can be solved by a simple clarifying rinse (make your own out of beer and vinegar).

After water, the styling cream's formula is led by cetyl alcohol, a noteworthy hair conditioner that helps the lotion disperse throughout the hair. I can't for the life of me make out what kind of component Deykuart A is or what function it serves. A quick internet search pulls up results only in relation to the Hydrating Styling Cream, which suggests that it is a patented ingredient Morrocanoil decided to use exclusively in this product. Very peculiar.

Ultimately, the proof that the two products are kindred is buried deep in the pudding, in the form of argan oil. Found only in Southwest Morocco, argan oil is a powerful antioxidant, UV protector, and free radical neutralizer. Rich in vitamin E, it also strengthens the hair and increases its elasticity. Moroccanoil's argan oil is harvested under a free trade program that provides substantial socio-economic support to families in Southwest Morocco and helps improve their working conditions.

Though pure argan oil can make your hair greasy, the surrounding ingredients in Moroccanoil's two formulas dilute its oily residue while facilitating its hair-nourishing benefits. The original oil and the styling cream may sit on vastly different branches of the Moroccanoil family tree, but they share the same hair values.

Ingredients in Hydrating Styling Cream:

Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Deykuart A, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Argania Spinoza Kernel Oil (Aragan Oil), Citric Acid, Fragrance (Supplement), D&C Yellow 11, D&C Red 17

Ingredients in Moroccanoil Hair Oil Treatment:

Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Butylphenyl, MethylPropional, Argania Spinoza Kernal Oil (Argan Oil), Linseed (Linum Usitatissimum) Extract, Fragrance Supplement, D&C Yellow-11, D&C Red-17, Coumarin, Benzyl Benzoate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone