Final Fantasy VII Remake has been the game on everyone’s hit list recently, and for good reason. Everyone in it looks really fucking hot. Literally everyone. I don’t know what they did to Rufus Shinra, but talk about an utterly worrying glo-up. People say it’s been harder to find reasons to look one’s best with lockdown in full force, but the more time I spent in Midgar, the more I was motivated to commit to something wild like a really elaborate haircare routine.
Enter: Sephiroth. When I first played Final Fantasy VII at a pivotal time in my life (i.e. an impressionable age), I thought he was the tits. Just great. As I got a little bit older and did my yearly replay of the game — a tradition I still keep up today — my feelings about one of the best Final Fantasy villains evolved. No longer did I want to bone Sephiroth; I wanted to be Sephiroth. Please don’t tell my therapist…
Anyway, I know I’m never going to have the lightning-fast reflexes of a SOLDIER, nor do I have the upper-body strength to wield the longest longsword ever created. However, maybe some of that homicidal greatness will rub off on me if I can nail even one key part of Sephiroth’s aesthetic: his amazing hair.
I’m no stranger to color-treated hair. Mine was a nice pink before COVID kicked in, though it’s now fading to flaxen. I’ve been particular about taking care of my hair ever since I started to dye it again, and if there was any villain in the series who looked like they had an encyclopedic knowledge of haircare then, honestly, no one does it quite like Sephiroth. The only logical step was to figure out exactly how Shinra’s premier hottie looked after his mane. So that’s what I did.
Maybe He Was Born With It, Maybe It’s Materia
Before I embarked on a product purchasing spree (carried out responsibly thanks to local grocery stores and pharmacies), I had to first narrow down what Sephiroth’s haircare routine actually was. Turns out people have a whole bunch of opinions about it online, like the rest of Final Fantasy VII. I decided to go with the classic from Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII — which states that the secret to looking fly while you’re massacring people for the Jenova agenda is… rose and vanilla-scented shampoo and conditioner.
Couple of things: my hair is probably just a little longer than shoulder-length, unlike Sephiroth’s impressive set. I just don’t have enough hair to go through a whole bottle of shampoo and conditioner every day, so I decided to adjust the formula a little here, rather than be wasteful. Not to mention the ratio would be off anyway. Compromising too much on the rose and vanilla formula, however, would be absolutely unacceptable. As was finding shampoo with thirteen kinds of perfumes in one, especially during isolation with stores selling a limited selection.
With that in mind, I settled on the brand Love, Beauty and Planet for both my shampoo and conditioner. Both the shampoo and the conditioner made Allure’s Best of Beauty 2018, so I figured that they were good enough for a Shinra snob. Plus the whole “planet” thing fits the core message of FF7.
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Love, Beauty and Planet’s range for colored hair contains rose, murumuru butter (kinda like shea butter, another soft fragrance used often with or in place of vanilla), and a bunch of other natural fragrances which I figured would be a nice compromise. Plus, the brand is vegan and eco-friendly. We all know how Sephiroth feels about the Cetra and environmentalism. I reckon Sephiroth would be all for something that doesn’t fuck the planet, so this was a no-brainer when it comes to a pick. I also had a perfume to add to the vanilla fantasy: Black Jade by LUBIN, which had notes of not only vanilla but also rose (doubling down couldn’t hurt).
Then I decided to use these products every day. Since… well, Sephiroth gave his hair the royal treatment with that frequency. I buckled in for a fortnight of trying to turn my locks from lackluster into “lust for the blood of the townspeople of Nibelheim.”
My Mad Hair Diary
Right off the bat, I have to say that the products themselves felt as luxurious as washing with mako. At first application, the shampoo had the handfeel (mouthfeel is a thing, so I’m making handfeel a thing) of the sort of lotion that you get in fancy restaurant bathrooms. You know what I’m talking about — where there’s unnecessarily dim recessed lighting and an inoffensive fragrance that smells how being in the marble foyer at the Westin feels. As if taking a shit is something that needs to be done via the glow of a Himalayan salt lamp? AVALANCHE wouldn’t stand for this excess.
That’s what the shampoo felt like, though. It was positively royal. I used it on my scalp — please don’t shampoo your ends, people — and let it rinse out. My hair felt a little softer after first pass, and that was before I went back in with the conditioner. Both products have murumuru butter and, as mentioned, it has a shea butter-like, moisturizing quality that I definitely felt after leaving it to work on my ends. Meanwhile, I took care of the rest of my less bougie shower routine.
How did I feel when I stepped out of the shower? Can’t say I felt any more capable of executing a lethal sword maneuver on a beautiful woman who’s done absolutely nothing to me but hey, baby steps! My hair was definitely softer to the touch, and I felt comfortable enough skipping my usual application of argan oil while I was combing it out. It also seemed to dry quicker, too. Though that may have just been social isolation warping my perception of time. Next was to see if the results held up over time…
Final Fantasy VII (Times Two Days of Doing This To Myself) Remake
One week isn’t nearly long enough to form a habit, honesty, so if I wanted to really figure out if Sephiroth’s Shinra-level haircare routine was going to do anything meaningful, I thought I’d try it for two.
Honestly, after the way that my hair felt on Day One of treating it way more luxuriously than I’ve ever done so in my life, extra time spent doing so was never going to feel like a chore. The first few days were fairly regular. I found that as someone who only ever used shampoo on my hair on every second day, my scalp was getting a bit oily by Day Four of this special treatment.
Undeterred, I pushed on. Surely my hair would adjust, and well, if it didn’t then I’d have something to complain about. To be honest, the rose and vanilla scent that started to float around me wherever I went was definitely distinct after repeated applications of the products. That was pleasant on its own. The scent wasn’t changing daily like Sephiroth’s, but I assume that since I wasn’t working with a rotating roster of 13 fragrances, I was never going to leave the same olfactory impression on a room.
By the end of the first week, the novelty of having my hair be as soft as it was felt like it might wear off before too long. Sure, my locks were soft and I could toss my hair and look like a complete tool, but my hair was also getting tangled way more easily. My evenings began to look like an endless stream of staring at the Final Fantasy VII Remake product splash page and combing out knots that had cropped up during the day. I’ve never played a JRPG mini-game where I tend to the mane of a homicidal, silver-haired twink, so I didn’t have any transferable skills but hey! I was learning.
Fast-forward a few more days into the second week of this process. My hair had taken on the quality of something like tensile steel. I cut myself on my own hair a couple of times, which was alarming and extremely gratifying. The first time I wrote off as a paper cut that I’d somehow forgotten about. The second time, when I distinctly felt my skin give way as if sliced by a razor-thin garrote on my head, was nothing short of miraculous.
I could basically hear “One Winged Angel” playing in my head; my hair had become a literal weapon. Forget trying to acquire the Masamune. I had become the Masamune. Sure, I was clearly still trying to figure out how to use it. I’d require four-star Healing Materia to make sure I didn’t totally puree myself, but the results of using Sephiroth’s haircare routine were clearly paying dividends. It made me powerful.
Was the shampoo and conditioner set overpriced? Definitely. Would I have paid 10 times more initially if I’d known I would actually transmogrify into an iconic Final Fantasy weapon? Definitely. I mean, I’m already deep in debt. What’s a little bit more if it gives me the ability to one day harness my powers for dominion over the earth? So what if I had the sudden urge to get with a kind-hearted brunette while a blonde twink looked on in horror? Everyone makes sacrifices for power.
I can’t speak for whether or not the results will be identical for everyone who takes on this task. That’s specially true thanks to my immunodeficiency — which means my own skin is sometimes thin as paper. However, the one thing I can confirm is that I feel a hell of a lot more badass after two weeks of treating my hair like Shinra’s best. If you need something to do during quarantine, why not give this a shot? You’ve got so much all-natural power to gain, and slaughtering any innocents is absolutely optional.