We Tried Beyoncé’s New Hair-Care Line, Cécred, on 3 Different Hair Types — Review

Must read

All products are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

In 2024, news about a celebrity beauty brand tends to be met with an audible sigh and an eye roll at Allure HQ. Since the 2021 and 2022 boom, there are more than 30, 40, 50? — by this point, we’ve lost count — celebrity-backed beauty ventures on the market, and we’re tired. We’ve seen them all. We’ve tried them all. Sure, a handful of these brands are impressive and deserve all the accolades and praise they get (here’s looking at you, Selena and Hailey), but the majority often feel like an easy cash grab for celebs.

What can be said of Beyoncé’s highly anticipated hair-care line, Cécred? The name is a nod to Beyoncé (similar to the recent perfume launch, Cé Noir), and after a year of speculation and social teasing, the eight-piece collection of cleansers, leave-ins, and deep treatments has hit the market. The BeyHive is abuzz with excitement. Honestly, even Allure editors have been pretty excited about this line because, as elusive as Bey is, Cécred feels like the first chance in a while for fans (and beauty editors) to get to know the singer more personally — and join her very in-depth, hours-long, hair-care ritual.

Beyoncé’s mom, Tina Knowles, has played a big part in the development of Cécred. She spent six years with the singer bringing the brand — fully funded by Beyoncé — to life. Knowles brought her in-salon experience and expertise to Cécred, and her knowledge of Bey’s hair evolution (and how to care for it) throughout the star’s decades-long career.

Now that the products are officially on the market, we have to know: Is Cécred worth the hype? Do the products actually work on all hair types and textures? Three Allure editors with three different hair types, textures, and colors put every Cécred product to the test. Below, you’ll hear from editor in chief Jessica Cruel, who has 4B hair, senior beauty editor Paige Stables, who has fine, wavy, highlighted hair, and Talia Gutierrez, associate manager of special projects, who has thick, wavy, zig-zag curls.

These are their honest reviews.

In this story:

The Collection: Product Breakdown

Courtesy of Cécred

Clarifying Shampoo & Scalp Scrub, $38

What It Is: Not quite a shampoo, but not exactly a scrub, this slightly gritty multiuse cleanser lathers well and is jam-packed with exfoliating ingredients — including willow bark, tea tree oil, and micro cellulose (teeny-tiny plant-based fibers) — to gently (very gently) slough away dead skin cells and sop up excess oil on the scalp.

Niacinamide also makes an appearance here, which, according to Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Connecticut, could benefit overall scalp health. “The scalp is like soil, ideally providing an optimal environment for hair growth,” she explains. “Scalp skin is like other skin. After all, the scalp is just a few millimeters back from the forehead. It follows that the beneficial effects of niacinamide that we enjoy in our facial-skin routine would also benefit the scalp.”

Those benefits include potentially decreasing inflammation, preserving keratin, and acting as an antioxidant. A 2021 study found that niacinamide could also play a role in hair growth. It does this by “preventing oxidative stress-induced cell senescence and premature catagen entry of hair follicles,” says Dr. Gohara. Does that mean using this scrub-shampoo hybrid will aid in hair growth? No, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have niacinamide present in the formula.

As for its scent, of all the products in the line, this is the only one that smells different from the sensual oud experience of the other products. Our testers describe the exfoliant’s aroma as “fresh yet zesty”: If a lemon had a baby with a York Peppermint Pattie, it would smell just like this stuff. Yum?

Courtesy of brand

Jessica Cruel, editor in chief: I tested the majority of the Cécred line in the salon at a launch event where my 4B hair was transformed with a silk press. After a microscopic-level review of my scalp and strands, Kari Williams, PhD, a hairstylist and Head of Education for the line, recommended that my assigned stylist apply the scrub before heading to the shampoo bowl due to a buildup of greasy flakes (I typically use a medicated shampoo to manage my seborrheic dermatitis).

As the stylist parted my hair and applied the product, the formula felt silky and had a slight cooling effect. This scalp scrub isn’t scrubby; the cellulose beads bounce more than they slough, and it won’t give you the same scalp-scratching sensation you experienced as a kid sitting between mom’s knees (a Black-hair tradition that is very bad for your scalp, by the way). I prefer a scalp scrub with a bit more grit.

Paige Stables, senior beauty editor: Using the pointed nozzle, I aimed this exfoliating treatment directly onto my scalp. I squeezed the gritty gel into sections, then gave myself a head massage to evenly distribute the formula. Within a half-second of my working it in, the texture dissolved. It lived up to the first half of its name (my scalp did feel refreshed) much more than the second because the feeling of a “scrub” is so short-lived.

Talia Gutierrez, associate manager of special projects: I began scrubbing my damp hair and was pleasantly surprised by how well the beads dissolved and rinsed out. There’s nothing worse than thinking your washday is over, then having to jump back in the shower to rinse leftover sludge — or in this case, undissolved cellulose. The scrub’s scent is minty and sweet, but it didn’t linger long. After completely rinsing out the scrub, which took a few tries, my scalp felt clean as a whistle. It’s one of those products that could be used solo, without another shampoo to follow.

Cécred

Cécred Clarifying Shampoo & Salt Scrub

Cécred

Cécred Hydrating Shampoo

What It Is: It seems like everyone loves hyaluronic acid, including Beyoncé, which is why it’s one of the call-out ingredients in this hydrating cleanser. Other notable mentions include moisture-locking glycerin (another humectant) and nourishing rice protein, which, according to cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski, who is not affiliated with Cécred, “may have some film-forming ability and moisturizing effect”; but “in truth, it is mostly washed down the drain during rinsing since it is water-soluble.”

If suds are your thing, you’ll still get a nice lather out of this product, even without the sulfates, an ingredient you won’t find in any of the Cécred formulas, in addition to artificial dyes, BPA, BHA, BHT, DEA, formaldehyde, microbeads, mineral oil, phthalates, PEGs, and silicones.

Cruel: The hydrating shampoo really lathers. While I was at the shampoo bowl in the salon, Ms. Tina Knowles and hairstylist Neal Farinah mentioned that Beyoncé loves slip in her products — she wants fingers to glide easily through the hair — and you get a lot of slip with this one, though it’s technically a cleansing step. There definitely wasn’t a squeaky clean feeling, which is a good thing.

Stables: There’s something to be said for an impressive lather, and this shampoo delivers with a very lush foam (as in commercial-worthy, from the way it felt). As it started to suds up, I appreciated the subtle smell of sandalwood and oud that caught my nose’s attention without becoming overwhelming. My fine, wavy hair felt clean but not at all stripped.

Gutierrez: In truth, there’s nothing more annoying than discovering scrub debris on your scalp long after you’ve sloughed. Fortunately, this exfoliator rinsed out easily before I fully cleansed with this shampoo. The shampoo lathered easily (a feat when working with my thick head of hair), leaving behind a subtle, warm floral scent (sandalwood and jasmine). My hair can easily get knotted after most shampoo sessions, but not so much this time.

Cécred

Cécred Moisturizing Deep Conditioner

Cécred

Cécred Reconstructing Treatment Mask

Reconstructing Treatment Mask, $42

What It Is: While it may look like a deep conditioner, this “mask” is not in the business of hydrating. Instead, it has been designed to “reduce damage, increase visible strength, and improve shine after one use,” with the brand’s proprietary, patent-pending “bioactive keratin ferment.” This ingredient blend combines bioactive keratin from natural wool protein, lactobacillus ferment, and honey, and it is said to “replace depleted proteins in hair and has a molecular weight small enough to penetrate the cortex to visibly strengthen weak, damaged, or highly manipulated hair.” According to clinical lab data provided by Cécred, this bioactive keratin ferment reduces breakage twice as much.

But does it? Yes and no. According to Romanowski, “If you removed the bioactive keratin ferment from the formula, it is my professional opinion that there would be no performance difference noticed by consumers.” He says it’s the other conditioning ingredients, such as cetrimonium chloride and stearalkonium chloride, in the formula that play a big part in product performance — the bioactive keratin ferment is almost an afterthought on the ingredient label; hair will be strengthened with or without it included.

Texturewise, our editors say it’s a lot like Elmer’s Glue without the stickiness, very fibrous and stringy. Because of this, it doesn’t blend seamlessly into hair. After it’s applied, it feels hard and smells a bit… plasticky.

Cruel: I skipped this product because Ms. Tina mentioned that it is best for damaged hair. I’m not against a protein treatment, but my hair is not severely damaged; I don’t color it, do get my trims regularly, and use low heat only once every two weeks. So I opted for the less extreme protein option. Based on the effects, this reminds me of Aphogee. The natural hair ladies from the 2010s will recall the professional-grade protein treatment that left hair feeling like a helmet before you rinsed and conditioned.

Courtesy of subject

Stables: When I scooped out a handful of this treatment, I was surprised by the unique, glue-like feel, though it wasn’t sticky. After slathering it on from roots to ends, I reached for my wide-tooth comb to distribute it all over, but I found it difficult to rake the product through my ends. There was a sort of hardening effect. The instructions say, “Leave on for no longer than 20 minutes,” but they don’t specify the minimum amount of time needed to see the transformation of “improved strength and shine after one use.” I did a thorough rinse after about 15 minutes, mainly because I had to move on with my morning. I appreciate the ritual of washday (especially on a day off), but my time is also sacred, and I still had a deep conditioner to test and a blowout ahead of me, because, at this point, my hair felt dry.

Gutierrez: I didn’t try this product.

Moisturizing Deep Conditioner, $38

What It Is: Dry, damaged hair will love this treatment. Actually, if you’re an Allure editor with hair, you’ll love this treatment. All three testers named this their favorite product from the line for its ability to easily, efficiently detangle hair as it conditions, thanks to a nourishing blend of shea butter and argan, murumuru seed, and moringa oils.

Cruel: The deep conditioner is the product I’m recommending to all my friends who want to test Cécred. It is thick! My stylist in the salon generously applied it and used it to detangle my coils (which took less than five minutes) before putting me under the hood dryer. I reached back to touch my hair after the rinse, and it felt pillowy soft. I love that there isn’t a light conditioner in the line. For my coily hair, it’s a mask or nothing. I’m always disappointed by watery conditioners — this hair-care line has none of that.

Stables: Just by dipping my fingers into this rich cream, I could tell it was luxurious. There is a heaviness to the buttery formula that makes it feel fancier than most conditioners I’ve used. Because I have such fine hair, I wouldn’t normally use a deep treatment so liberally, but what Beyoncé says goes. I rinsed it out after 20 minutes, and my hair felt noticeably silkier than before.

Gutierrez: I can’t say I noticed an immediate difference in the feel of my hair after the prescribed five minutes of wear, but I did notice that my strands began to soften…. and then crave more moisture, but that’s typical for my hair after any scrub and shampoo use.

By a landslide, this is my favorite of the products I’ve tried from the line. The conditioner’s thick, creamy formula did wonders for my hair, and it is so rich that I didn’t need more than a knuckle-scoop of product. I paid specific attention to my ends and raked the product with my hands, then with a brush. Right after this step, my hair started to feel silky smooth. Thankfully, it was the last step…. in the shower.

Fermented Rice & Rose Protein Ritual, $52 for a four-pack

What It Is: This two-part treatment, which requires a vessel or a standard-size Hydro Flask-like bottle (the brand’s Ritual Shaking Vessel costs a cool $20 and is sold separately) for mixing, was designed to be used every four to six weeks to “strengthen” and add moisture to heat-damaged, color-treated hair.

“Rice contains a small amount of amino acids cysteine, which is a form of hair protein, so it helps to replenish,” cosmetic chemist Ginger King previously told Allure of rice [water]’s benefits for the hair. “This helps to nourish the hair and provide nutrients to the scalp.”

Here’s how step one, the Fermented Rice & Rose Protein Powder, works when used on wet hair: First, add the rice protein powder to your bottle, along with 24 ounces of warm water. Shake it well, until the powder is completely dissolved, then pour the contents all over your hair. Let it sit for five minutes.

“Start with rice powder and expose it to microorganisms that chemically break down the rice to other protein/amino acid compounds,” explains Romanski. “The result is pretty much something that works the same as any other hydrolyzed protein,” which creates a “moisturizing effect” on hair.

Rinse it out and coat the hair in step two, the Silk Rinse. Be sure to thoroughly coat every strand, and let sit for another five minutes. When time is up, rinse out the treatment. Your hair should feel more hydrated and softer than before the two-part ritual, but it’s not going to feel deep conditioner-level soft. You’d need a, well, deep conditioner to help with that.

Courtesy of Cécred

Cruel: This is the only product I tried at home, because I was curious about a protein powder rinse as a format. Would it all just pour down the drain? Would it make my hair hard? Talia was using the shaker bottle, so I tried a reusable water bottle I had at the house, which worked just fine (no need to spend the extra $20 for the shaker).

Rice water rinses have a reputation for hair growth — and a horrible stench. I have never done one, although they are very popular in the natural hair community. This powder smells fruity with a hint of rose (please don’t let anyone drink this before you can take it in the shower). There are also some dried rose petals floating in the formula. (Note: If you have short hair, you still need to use the whole pack; you can’t store powder for future use, according to the Cécred team.) After using a medicated shampoo, I poured the product onto my hair in three sections. I felt like it saturated my hair, and I made sure to scrunch it in, then put on a shower cap. I lathered up my body while I waited. My hair felt softer than after my clarifying step, but still needed something else.

After the five-minute window, I rinsed and applied the Silk Rinse. At the salon event, Ms. Tina emphasized that you have to balance protein with moisture. I was happy to find that the amount of product given was enough to coat my whole head. The silk rinse isn’t thick, but it was slippery enough to detangle my hair with a wide-tooth comb.

After that five-minute window, I rinsed it out, but I could still feel remnants of the powder step in my hair. At the event, Ms. Tina recommended using the deep conditioner after this treatment, but I felt that my hair was soft enough. One treatment was plenty.

Overall, this added only five extra minutes to my washday routine. I will say, though, that as my natural coils were air-drying, my hair didn’t feel as moisturized as it does after my usual deep conditioner, but a little leave-in solved that.

There weren’t any real instant results; however, the thought is that if you use it consistently every six weeks (it’s not an every week thing), it will help with breakage and length retention. On the Renaissance Tour, this was used to prep hair weeks before bleaching, so, allegedly, it’s more of a long-term commitment to hair health. I did feel like less hair ended up in the drain after my detangling step, but I can’t be sure that should be accredited to Cécred. This is one product I will be trying again to see if I notice a long-term effect.

Stables: I didn’t try this product.

Courtesy of subject

Gutierrez: Before my shower, I measured 24 ounces of warm water and mixed it with a packet of the Fermented Rice and Rose Protein Ritual (step one) in the Ritual Shaking Vessel. The packets are pre-measured for one-time use, but I thought it was odd that the Ritual Shaking Vessel didn’t have a line inside to indicate the amount of warm water to add (at an extra $20, it’s the little things!). The additional pointed nozzle, which I swapped out for the shaker cap, was a nice thought, but the hole was just too big, and I didn’t have much control dispensing the liquid onto my hair in the shower — it spilled out uncontrollably.

I can’t say I noticed an immediate change in my hair’s post-shampoo texture (neither stiff nor smooth), but I was relieved the mix didn’t have a strong odor, as do many in-shower treatments I’ve tried. Basically, this is scentless. After another five minutes of waiting, I rinsed, then moved on to step two of the treatment: the Silk Rinse.

By this time my hair was feeling a tad tangled from all the scrubbing and rinsing, so I was pleased to see a white, conditioner-like cream dispense from the single-use packet. Not only was the texture of the Silk Rinse satisfying, so was the amount I was directed to use; with all of my hair (I’ll say it again, there’s a lot), it’s hard to find pre-measured products that meet the amount I need. After another five minutes, I raked my hair with a hairbrush and rinsed the product out of my hair until the water ran clear, which took two or three cycles.

I can’t say I noticed an immediate difference in my hair’s texture after those five minutes, but I did notice that my hair was softening while still craving additional moisture. But again, that’s typically the case after I use any scalp scrub and shampoo.

Cécred

Cécred Fermented Rice & Rose Protein Ritual

Moisture Sealing Lotion, $38

What It Is: Leave-in lovers, this one’s for you. This unexpectedly thick treatment can be used on dry or damp hair, but we found the most success when used on wet hair (it was a bit hard to spread on freshly dried strands). Like the deep conditioner, this is made with moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin, shea butter, and olive oil to “fight frizz” and “enhance curls.” Romanski calls it a “standard conditioner with a different name,” which, yes, seals in moisture.

Cruel: In the salon, the team used a bit of this leave-in on my wet hair before blow-drying my hair. But it is not a heat protectant. I do think it was this product that created the high-shine finish on my silk press, and I’d be interested to see how it performs in my natural hair routine. However, my top two leave-ins are currently priced under $15, so $38 is a kind of a splurge.

Stables: After towel-drying my hair, I applied a dime-size amount of this leave-in (the bottle warned that a little goes a long way), then layered on a heat protectant before fully drying my hair. After three Cécred steps and a whole lot of time dedicated to nourishing my hair, I was pleased to see how sleek my strands looked as they unwound from my round brush.

Gutierrez: I was surprised at how thick this product is. The directions say to use on dry and wet hair, but I’ll do the latter next time. When I used it, my hair was already mostly dry, which made it difficult to spread the rich cream evenly. To help better distribute the product through my waves, I quickly grabbed a spray bottle to wet my hair with water.

Cécred

Cécred Moisture Sealing Lotion

Cécred

Cécred Nourishing Hair Oil

What It Is: Whether your goal is to fight flyaways or add a touch of shine, this is the stuff to get it done…. as long as you don’t mind paying $44 for sunflower seed oil. Okay, yes, this smoothing elixir is also made with 12 other nourishing oils (including coconut, almond, castor), but given that sunflower is the first ingredient on the label, we think it’s important to note its heavy presence in the formula.

Cruel: So many “oils” on the market list silicone as the first ingredient. I was happy to see this is not one of those. Ms. Tina finished off my silk press in the salon by putting a dime-size amount in her hands, rubbing, and applying to my scalp as if she was giving me a head massage. Whatever was left, she smoothed on top. You only need a bit, and it’s very lightweight.

Stables: I use hair oil daily as the final step in my styling routine, and I will be adding this shine-boosting formula to my rotation of favorites. I rubbed a few drops in my hands before taming flyaways and softening my ends. It’s exactly what I want in an oil: nourishing but not at all greasy (and the bottle is display-worthy too).

Gutierrez: Last but not least, I called it a day with this product. I’m not a huge hair oil fan, unless my hair is damp, so this seemed like the perfect chance to try it. In terms of first impressions, the beautiful bottle immediately caught my attention, and then the silky formula further impressed me. I applied four drops into my palm and ran the oil through my ends and front money pieces. Over the next 24 hours, my hair dried into soft, bouncy curls that I continued to refresh with a few dabs of oil and my always-on-hand spray bottle of water.

Courtesy of Cécred

There’s a lot of talk of healing and repairing hair with Cécred, but let’s be real: Hair is already dead. You cannot heal something that is not living, says Romanski. But you can certainly try to strengthen what hair you have by nourishing it with lengthy conditioning treatments, which is what Cécred aims to achieve.

Bey and her team want consumers to experience the line as if it is a ritual: It may be lengthy and tedious, but it’s also beautiful and ceremonial. You’ll need a lot of time to dedicate to the practice, like, at least two or three hours of free time — ideally on a weekend afternoon, because, dear God, do not try to do this before heading into the office — to reap total benefits (wash, condition, hydrate). Full disclosure: While a couple of hours are the norm for natural hair washdays, the time commitment involved here was a bit of a shock for our non-natural hair testers.

That being said, all three editors agree, there are a few products they plan on adding to their permanent regimen (Moisturizing Deep Conditioner and the Nourishing Hair Oil), but these additions would be piecemeal and not as a routine. The Cécred routine took far too long to do alone at home, but if ever offered in the salon (we’ll happily go to Bey’s in-office lab), it would be a nice treatment to indulge in every couple of months.

The bottom line: Based on our weeks-long experience using this line, we cannot claim to have healed hair, but we do have clean, soft, tangle-free strands — a big win in our book. We can also say we’ve tried Beyoncé’s line before the general public, which is what really matters, right?

The full Cécred collection, which fits into the masstige range in the market, retails for $20 to $52 and is available on cecred.com. It’s clear that Cécred is attempting to bring a bit of luxury to the natural hair market (although the line isn’t only for natural hair, it does center the Black folks who make up the majority of the Beyoncé fanbase). There are definitely comparable products on the market for less, but we’d argue that Bey is giving us range. Now, we have more options when it comes to brands that can be used on all hair types. The reign of Queen Bey on the beauty industry has only just begun.


Read more about styling and caring for textured hair:


Watch Keke Palmer try nine things she’s never done before:

Follow Allure on Instagram and TikTok, or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on all things beauty.

More articles

Latest article