Friday, 10 May 2013

Review: Joico K-Pak Smoothing Balm vs. Organics Thermal Radiance Heatguard with Cutiseal Thermal Styling Protectant

So this is a pretty random...and pretty accidental comparison. Basically I was flat ironing my hair to smooth out my new growth. My hair was pretty balanced but I noticed after flat ironing with the Joico for a little bit, my hair seemed a little dry. I decided to then finish the other half of my hair with a sample of the Organics Thermal Radiance Heatguard I had sitting around.

Both products are creamy heat protectants that are designed to also smooth the hair. Usually I would use the Aphogee Keratin & Green Tea Reconstructurizer. This time I chose creamy (water-based) protectants to reduce my need for additional creamy moisturizers post wash. BUT because I did a protein treatment during my wash, my hair was prone to that "hard feeling". As a precaution, I prepped my hair with the a protein-free creamy leave-in (Darcy's Transistioning Cream) before applying either protectant. I also finished with a few dabs of wheat germ+camellia oil after flat ironing. Wheat germ is rich in ceramides, while camellia is a great light oil that adds silkiness and some shine to hair.

Introducing Joico K-Pak and Organics

Joico is a salon brand that generally has a good rep. I bought this at Walmart for about $18. The product decription is as follows:

Smoothing Balm is a heat-activated straightening balm, featuring K-PAK's Keratin Silicone Complex. It straightens, conditions and eliminates frizz. K-PAK Smoothing Balm also protects your hair against thermal and environmental damage. It leaves your hair silky smooth and humidity proof in result! 
Directions: Apply on damp / towel dried hair. Comb through hair for even distribution, whilst paying attention to the damaged areas of your hair. Use a paddle brush and a blow dryer to blow dry your hair. Use tension to smooth your hair whilst drying.

Since I decided to airdry my hair, I ended up applying this on dry hair instead of damp hair.

Organics, by Africa's Best Organics is your typical beauty supply store brand.  I haven't tried much from them but I sometimes use their Hair Mayonaise leave-in which is pretty good for adding a bit of slip. This thermal radiance product seems to run about $7, but since I have a sample I couldn't say for sure.

Instructions say to apply on dry hair and use a very small amount on each section. This is great because this means this product could last a long time.


There are a million things that matter when straightening the hair. So here's that I came up with.

Ingredient List

Joico's K-Pak line is designed for strengthening so it is protein based. It's major ingredient is hydrolisized keratin, but it includes some token natural additives such as evening primrose oil and alore vera juice to name a few. This is NOT a natural product in the slightest, and it does contain mineral oil, silicones and parabens. Cones are a benefit when heat styling so no quams there for me. >>Full ingredient list

Organics on the other hand has NO ingredient list that I can find. To me that's a huge red flag. Also, with a name like "Organics" many would assume it is all-natural. I think it's fair to assume it isn't. Worser still, I have no idea of this product is protein-based or whether it contains mineral oil which can cause build-up.


Organics wins hands down. It has a great fruity/floral scent that easily masks that "burnt hair smell". Joico on the other hand...stinks a little? It's hard to describe! Though not a truly offensive odour, it just doesn't really smell like anything to write home about. If you can't stand strong fragrances this might actually be a good thing though.

Application: Heaviness/Greasiness/Flakiness

Product consistency comparison

The Joico is extremely heavy and greasy feeling, a problem I attribute to the mineral oil in this product. Organics actually lived up to its promise, and went on pretty light. Then again, I only used small amounts of it. I tried not to be heavy-handed with the Joico either but it just ended up feeling gross in my hands and hair and when it dried it did leave some flakes behind. Maybe things would have been different if I applied it to damp hair and blow-dried. I have my doubts though.


This is a toss-up for me. After the initial application, the Organics side of my hair felt pretty good and the Joico side felt dry. After a few hours, the Joico side felt better. I would say--in spite of the protein content-- overall the Joico made my hair feel softer but not significantly so. I should reiterate though--I used a moisturizing leave-in first.

I don't have faith in either product moisturizing my hair on its own.

After a week, the Joico side had retained moisture better.


Because the Organics was a much lighter product I think it definitely went on smoother and that side of my hair straightened a little better. As a 4a/b natural, the Joico did do an excellent job of straightening my hair. I think they both aid with straightening.


I use a tourmaline ceramic flat iron, so my hair will shine no matter what I use. The Joico definitely gave my hair noticeable shine. Minerals in this product help produce a glittery effect which you can actually see in the balm before applying it to the hair. The downside? Because the Joico flaked it kind of ruins things. The Organics gives some shine too but then again--nothing your standard hair polisher couldn't do.


So how did they hold up? After a week in low/moderate humidity, the Joico side had less frizz. It's hard to say though because I used a fairly low temperature when styling so my hair wasn't that straight to start with.

What about Heat-Protection?

The most important question i suppose is whether they've protected my hair. The truth is, I have no idea. I don't flat iron my hair often enough to assess heat damage. I didn't have more splits on either side over the other. I can only assume based on the frizziness and moisture content whether it is benefiting my hair in any way. The Joico side felt softer.



This was a tough review. I feel like both products were just okay. They helped provide smoothness and a little shine. Moisture-ability is negligible, but the Joico definitely outperformed the Organics. Still, neither product really impressed me much. I would say the Joico is a greater disappointment because it's so expensive. There is no excuse for the lame scent and greasiness. On the flip side, the Joico is probably good for thick, kinky hair that requires a very heavy product to tame it. I did like the extra sparkle Joico gave my hair. I think the Organics is a great "bargain buy". It does smell really nice and it goes on very well. I think I will probably have to try it a few more times to make up my mind on it.

On a positive note: now that I've straightened my hair it looks like I am getting even closer--3 inches maybe---to waist length!!
Recommend?: They're worth a try but you can probably find better.

Both products are average.

1 comment:

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