I Say This is the Best Ouai

I was wandering around Macy’s and Sephora recently, looking for inspiration for a post and coming up empty-handed.  Then I realized that through some huge oversight on my part, I’d never written about a scent I love and reach for regularly, it’s easy to find, and it’s cheap!

What’s the catch?  Well, technically, it’s from a line of hair-care products called Ouai, although clearly I’m not the only person who loves the scent, because they recently added an actual EdP to their lineup.  I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced “way” judging by how they deploy it in their ad copy.

There are several different Ouai scents; here is a link to which products in their line have which scent.  The ones I’ve smelled are all nice and meant to coordinate reasonably well (e.g., the shampoo and conditioner you choose might have different scents), but the particular scent I’m obsessed with is North Bondi, which I first tried in a $14 wave spray:

“A nuanced blend of rich florals and sheer white musk, inspired by the meeting of the city and the sea at Sydney’s Bondi Beach.” It has notes of Italian Lemon, Rose De Mai, Magnolia, Lily, Blackberry, Violet, Cedar-wood, Amber, Patchouli, Sandalwood, and White Musk.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Apple Blossom, Raspberry, and Italian Lemon.

Middle Notes: Rose de Mai, Jasmine, and Violet.

Base Notes: Patchouli, Sandalwood, and White Musk.


I’ve never been to Oz and I have no idea if there’s anything based in reality about calling this Bondi and not, I dunno, Big Sur, or Ipanema – I wonder if Portia’s tried it?  Also, this scent has significant sillage and lasting power – by default it’s the SOTD when I’m wearing it, I’m not trying to wear it with something else.  I’m generally not big on strongly-scented hair product for that reason, I don’t want anything competing with my fragrance choice, but this is big enough it is the fragrance choice.  Hours later, the smell is going pretty much as it was when I first applied it.

THAT’S JUST DANDY MARCH BUT WHAT THE HECK DOES IT SMELL LIKE?  I’m struggling with that bit…. sort of, equal parts amber, woods, musk and floral?  It’s got a wonderful sort of ….. golden warmth and roundness to it.  I can’t think of any fragrance it reminds me of, either.  It’s just unapologetically itself and (in my opinion) unmistakeable. I honestly think I’d recognize it in a heartbeat on someone else.

If your curiosity’s piqued, it’s cheap to try and pretty accessible, at least in the U.S. – they sell various product minis including the Wave Spray at Sephora, Ulta (I think), and I just saw it at Urban Outfitters as well.

Has anyone tried this?  And are there any hair or body products that you use (or don’t use!) because of the scent?

  • Ariel says:

    I love the Maple Holistic’s Silk18 conditioner for it’s subtle warm vanilla smell (and that it works great for my hair). The conditioner plus Berdoues’ Oud Wa Vanillia makes me smell Delicious.

  • Kathleen says:

    I love the scents in most hair products, I don’t mind if they are strong. I don’t find they compete with my perfume choice, hair products rarely retain their fragrance all day. I have Quai hair mask, and I love the scent. My favorite hair products for scent is Aveda.

    • March says:

      A hair mask, yummmmm, I bet that’s great. And I used Aveda’s blue shampoo for years and loved the smell.

  • Suzy Q says:

    Hi March. My hair stylist uses Morrocanoil hairspray on me. I always think to myself “Serge Lutens Lite.” So good.

    At the last Whole Foods beauty sale I bought Renpure Rose Water Shampoo. It smells great, but only while you’re using it. In other words, it doesn’t last. That’s OK because… perfume collection!

    Next time you post about makeup I’ll have have some things to report ?

  • Undina says:

    I loved the scent of Moroccanoil (one word) hair treatment so much that I wanted them to have perfume with that scent! But I had to settle for the dry body oil. Still, I enjoy it very much.

  • matty1649 says:

    I don’t actually buy scented hair products. I’ve used dry shampoo from time to time but it’s very light scented. I sometimes spray a little perfume over the top of my head so that it goes over my hair.

    • March says:

      I’m the freak in CVS or Ulta, surreptitiously unscrewing caps and sniffing the shampoo and whatnot, because I just won’t use something too strongly scented, or that I dislike the smell of.

  • MMKinPA says:

    The only Ouai product I have tried is their volume spray – have a mini size but it was out of stock everywhere for about a year and just came back, I wonder if it was reformulated. The Ouai blog doesn’t have it on the list for scents but I’m guessing it’s the same as the Wave Spray. It is indeed quite strong – in fact many of the Sephora reviews docked stars for the scent! I like it but will stick to my Aveda – which also smells good but doesn’t stick with you all day IMO; a good thing since I don’t really want my hair product to be my SOTD!

    • March says:

      Not surprised that the Ouai products get dinged for the scent. Unless you love it, and you WANT that scent lingering indefinitely, it would be hugely annoying.

  • Bee says:

    Living Proof have a great dry shampoo called Full: Dry Volume Blast which keeps your hair great – for days if needed but the smell while not bad is ‘distinctive’ and very, very strong. Enough for strangers to comment on it as in ‘What is that smell? Did you just have something dry cleaned ?”. And it definitely interferes with perfume wearing. So sadly I keep it for emergencies only.

    • Musette says:

      “Did you just have something dry cleaned?”. DYYYYING over here! xoxoxo

      • Musette says:

        that’s like when my bfffe’s husband came out of the garage, wearing work gloves – and bfffe said ‘omg! what kind of solvent did you get on those gloves??’ – and it turned out it was my perfume! LOL!

    • March says:

      I’ve bought several Living Proof minis on sale, and discovered that (as a line) they are pretty strongly scented! At least I like the scent, and it fades. Dry shampoo and hairspray seem particularly problematic as far as fragranced products go.

    • maggiecat says:

      I don’t care for Living Proof products for that very reason – I don’t care for their scent, although the products themselves are quite effective.

  • Cinnamon says:

    I currently have a Tisserand sleep spray (supposed to spray on pillow — ‘soothing lavender, warm sandalwood and calming jasmine’ — since when is jasmine calming?) which I’m seriously considering using in my hair.

    • Bee says:

      I was surprised to find Jasmine actually recommended by some therapists for people suffering panic attacks. It worked for my husband though I’m not sure how – possibly just a psychological quirk of his? I gave him Guerlain Jasminora which is a monster frag and he loves it.

      • March says:

        JASMINORA LOL. I’d say the Godzilla of jasmines, but that would be the Montale one, and jasmine is Godzilla on its own, I adore it.

      • Cinnamon says:

        Does he wear it in his hair 🙂 Ironically, years ago I had a period of anxiety and tried Rescue Remedy, which just made me more anxious. So, I would guess different fragrances must affect each of us differently. I really enjoy the Tisserand stuff, but I secretly wonder if a big part of that is the night-time ritual of spraying it on the pillows right before I get into bed.

        • Musette says:

          Rescue Remedy drove me right up the wall – but worked like a charm on my then-DH. So, yeah. Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks, I guess! xoxox

        • March says:

          I do think part of it is the ritual. I have some other calming pillow-spray thingy and I really look forward to that light scent when I hop in bed.

    • March says:

      WHOA I bet that smells amaaaaaazing. I would totally wear that. I find jasmine calming myself! But you’re right, I feel like “calming” is one of those words they’d stick in front of any scent.

  • Carolyn K says:

    Could it be that it smells like a beach full of “suntan-lotioned” bodies? And is possibly made in Australia?

    • March says:

      I think they’re US, the brand is from a makeup artist who clearly likes to travel. You’re right though, it would work at the beach!

  • Gina T. says:

    I love Black Phoenix’s hair glosses, especially the incense bomb that fills a room: Implacable Beautiful Tyrant. But, not since it went from $20 (steep) to $30/bottle. It’s just scented water. It doesn’t make my hair shiny but it smells so damned good. Clear a room good.

  • Patty says:

    Why don’t I have a picture!?

  • Patty says:

    Where can I find this in Topeka, Kansas? I love hair smells. Does it give you touseled beachy hair too or just the smellies?

  • Portia says:

    Hey March,
    Nope, I’ve never heard of this crew.
    North Bondi though is REALLY famous here.
    Mostly the houses are owned by Australian and international rock musicians, actors and sportspeople, interspersed with a motley medley of old timers who’ve known about it’s glorious views and slightly out of the way peninsula life for decades. The single stretch of beach itself is divided into South Bondi, Central Bondi and North Bondi. North Bondi has been claimed by the LGBTQI community and is a mecca for the beautiful and powerful from around the globe. Who knows what happens on the other 2/3s.
    This sounds so good that i’m going to look for it around here. Thanks,
    Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    I rarely use scented hair stuff for the same reason as you… Except for Carnal Flower Hair Mist. Because Molesting Patty on the Subway (you do NOT want to know what the tablet changed ‘molesting ‘ to 😉