Product Review: Ichikami Series

I'm pretty sure many of you have heard the phrase, “A girl's hair is her most prized possession.”

This is also the basic premise for Ichikami, whose name originates from the popular Japanese proverb, "いち髪二姿" (Hair first, looks second). This emphasizes the idea that if your hair isn't beautiful, then it's impossible to be entirely beautiful no matter how pretty your face may be, therefore, hair care should come before facial care.

My mother also, since I can remember, constantly reminded me the importance of taking good care of my hair and scalp. So naturally, it's important to choose a good shampoo and conditioner. Not only do you want your hair clean of all that icky build up, but you want it conditioned, manageable and healthy.

Healthy hair is important, especially for those of you who love to model yourself after your favorite celebrities and their hairstyles. Over the years I've put my hair through a lot, I've chemically straightened it a couple of times, constantly coloured it, and heat styling has also left its mark. Due to all of this, my hair has become fairly damaged to the point that my hair had its fair share of split ends, tangles, and it was definitely lacking in lustre.

And then came Ichikami.

A while back my friend gave me the Ichikami shampoo, conditioner and hair mask set when she came back from Japan. I had seen it at my local Asian grocer but had never bothered to try it.

The Ichikami series is from Kracie which was formerly known as Kanebo.

Designed for damaged hair, the product contains black rice essence which helps to boost the hair's moisture and lustre. It also contains 6 other pure Japanese herbal essences (Camelia also know as Tsubaki, Walnut, Belamcanda and Soapberry, Sasanqua and Sakura) all of which serves to repair and also strengthen the hair.

Another selling point of the shampoo is that it does not contain silicon—a chemical used in many shampoos to give the result of smooth silky hair after rinsing. Even though your hair will feel silky, silicone can also cause hair loss with prolonged usage.

The packaging is very feminine. The shampoo bottle is white, and the conditioner is black and pink which is helpful because I've used products where both shampoo and conditioner look similar and sometimes I accidentally pump out conditioner first.

The scent is also very feminine. The scent of wild sakura has a slight fruity tint to it but not to the point that it's overpowering or artificial. The consistency of the shampoo is not too watery or too thick and lathers up quite well. After rinsing, the shampoo leaves my hair feeling clean and not icky like some other shampoos do. However, it does leave my hair feeling a little like straw, so conditioning is absolutely essential.

The conditioner also smells pleasant, but the consistency is a little watery. Once I apply the conditioner to my hair, the straw-like feeling disappears and the hair feels fully conditioned. Within a couple days of usage, my hair has become shiny, tangle free and the ends less dry. On top of that the faint scent of the sakura is a plus for me.

Pros: Silicon free; pleasant smell; nourishing
Cons: Must use conditioner because shampoo dries out hair

The hair mask was highly recommended by my friend. It was ranked as one of the best products of 2009 on a well known Japanese cosmetic site called @Cosme

Prior to this, I was already using a hair mask from Kao's Essential line, so I was relatively familiar with Kao's products.

Ichikami's hair treatment contains black rice extract, soy bean/ black bean extract, and helps to repair and protect damaged hair. The extracts penetrate deep into the core of each hair strand and leaves hair feeling silky and shiny.

My first impression of the product again was how feminine it was with the black and pink colour scheme. However, I don't like the lid because it tends to break easily. A twist-to-open cap works better for me. Given it's 180g content I find the packaging is a little bulky compared to Essential's 200g packaging. Therefore the packaging of the product wasn't as satisfactory as other Kao products.

The scent of the hair mask is similar to the shampoo and conditioner with a consistency that's slightly thicker than the conditioner. I apply an appropriate amount to the ends of my hair, let it absorb the treatment for about 5-10minutes and rinse thoroughly. While rinsing I tend to comb my fingers through my hair to see if it has been conditioned enough to smoothly comb my fingers through.

The hair mask does leave my hair soft and smooth without a greasy feel to it but I personally feel it isn't comparable to Essential's hair treatment. The Essential product I had used left my hair feeling very hydrated, but Ichikami's hair treatment left results that were similar to regular conditioner.

My final verdict for the hair mask is “average”. The results I got were mediocre compared to the description's promises. Honestly, the packaging design really sold me at first, but considering its performance I probably would not make a repurchase. Price wise it's on the moderate side, but most worth your money if you purchased it on sale (at around $9 a bottle).

Here's some more information about Ichikami products:
Price: $7.90 – $16.90 (200ml & 550ml)

Available at:
If you've used Ichikami before, definitely let us know what you think! Or, if you've used something better, then do let us know!!

If you're looking forward to more product reviews, do let us know, and let us know what kind of other things you're curious about in the comments below!

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I really enjoyed this article! I totally approve of having more product reviews, especially for us clueless girls who need help in the realm of beauty products!

I shall give this product a try, thanks!

We're glad that you liked this article! Will definitely try to do more product reviews in the future, so stay tuned!

Last but not least thank you so much for leaving a comment!

Diz article is very useful for my decision-makin'.  I'vbeen reluctant for a while 'bout purchasin this series.  Thx u so much.

Zrri for posin' many times.i jus dun no dat u need to approve ma words first. Forgive me. Anyway, luv ur articles

I've used Ichikami black and white and it's great. It made my hair smooth and very shiny. Got a combo set from 99 Ranch. However, now that winter is here, my scalp and hair started to get dry. I went to Hankook Korean market in Sunnyvale to check out Daeng Gi Mo Ri, supposedly the number one selling shampoo in Korea to prevent hair loss and has a bunch of herbals. They were selling it for $38 each! To my surprise, the first ingredient was sodium laureth sulfate! So I decided to buy the Ichikami moisturizing formula three combo set (orange bottle with apricot). I can tell the difference from the first try from the moment I used it in the shower to after I blow dried my hair. My scalp feels very comfortable. My hair has it's life back. I'll go back to the other formula in the summer. Also a plus, it didn't dig a hole in my wallet.

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