Are you still following the oud trend in Western perfumery? Can we really even dismiss it as a trend anymore? I'm not sure how we should describe the appearance of oud (or oudh) as a note in perfumes in every category and at every price point. Now our favorite fungus-fighting resin has made its way into the marketing of luxury hair products: this week I tested Philip B Oud Royal Mega-Curl Enhancer, a styling product for wavy and curly hair that not only "leaves curly hair super soft, glossy and beautifully defined — and easier to control than ever," but is "laced with Pure Oud Essence for a light, unisex, sweet-woody scent."
First, the good news: this product is one of the best curly-wavy styling products I've tried (and I try many!) in a long time. It's a non-sticky cream that applies smoothly and dries without any crunch or greasiness, and it really does define curls without weighing hair down in the process. Even though this isn't a haircare blog, I want to give this testimonial: Oud Royal Mega-Curl Enhancer delivers beautifully on its functional promises.
Second, the news that could be good or bad, depending on your personal taste: Oud Royal Mega-Curl Enhancer does not smell like oud. (For me, this is good news. I'm not an oud fan.) Its ingredients list includes "styrax benzoin resin oil" and vanillin, as well as "fragrance (parfum)," but I can't spot any mention of oud (or any of its aliases, such agarwood or aloeswood). The "sweet-woody" part of the official description is accurate: this product's scent suggests benzoin and tonka bean and synthetic sandalwood and a little bit of cedar, but it lacks oud's dirty, animalic nature. This blend is a gourmand with a light resinous undertone, not a raw woody scent. The fragrance is also remarkably long-lasting: it endures through a work-day, an evening, and a full night's sleep, until I can smell it again in the steamy air of my morning shower.
Last of all, the bad news: Philip B's products are unnervingly over-priced, and Oud Royal Mega-Curl Enhancer is no exception. I suppose the word "Royal" serves as a warning to commoners like myself. (On the other hand, it looks affordable in comparison to Philip B Russian Amber Imperial Conditioning Cream, which rings in at $150 for 6 ounces.) But if you're looking for an excellent styling cream for your curls, and you love woody-vanillic scents in your haircare products, you may wish to pick up the smaller-size version, at least.
Philip B Oud Royal Mega-Curl Enhancer is available in 2 ounce ($18) and 6-ounce ($50) tubes. The Oud Royal line also includes shampoo, conditioner, and other styling products. For more information, visit the Philip B website.