Choosing products for my hair is somewhat of an art form—one wrong move and I’ll end up with a frizzy mess. Combine that equation with my last-minute packing habit and I’m pretty much set up for a disaster.

Case in point: Right before a trip to Miami this past summer, I found myself caught without a TSA-approved size of my go-to hair gel, with not even an empty travel-size bottle to fill nearby. It was past midnight, and there was no way I would make it to the drugstore before my flight the next morning. Feeling risky, I grabbed a random sample of Oribe Supershine Light Moisturizing Cream (which is available at Nordstrom, Amazon, and Dermstore) from my beauty stash and hoped for the best the next day as I boarded the plane, preparing myself for bad hair days ahead.

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I have a lot of hair due to length—but it’s also thin and dry, which means I can go three to four days between washes without signs of grease. After a beach day that was interrupted by a tropical downpour (followed by more beach time because, Florida), my hair was basically begging to be washed. I applied a few dollops of the leave-in conditioner to my shampooed and conditioned hair while still wet, and headed outside to let it dry in the Miami heat. (And if you’re shocked I left the hotel with wet hair, don’t worry—I had emergency oil and hair clips in my purse. I never leave the house without MoroccanOil Hair Treatment and I wasn’t about to make an exception.)

When I checked my hair during dinner with friends later that night, I was in total shock: Not only was my hair frizz-free, its usual all-over-waves were straighter than usual, with more tame curls towards the bottom. It felt so soft to touch that I could have sworn I had just walked out of a top-notch salon, not an overcrowded hotel room sharing a shower and small bathroom with four other girls.

But what really got me hooked on this product was how smooth my hair stayed for the rest of the trip—it lasted through a sweaty visit to see the Wynwood Walls and a sticky pool day. Confession: My hair felt so good that I decided not to wash it until returning to New York. (Who wouldn’t want to avoid a shared shower?) But when my flight was delayed for hours and I didn’t land until the middle of the night, I ended up at my office the next day rocking my Miami waves. I may have been exhausted, but I like to think no noticed that I was on fourth day hair.

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Impressed, I even captured my good hair day in the bathroom mirror:

 

Since I didn’t expect to love this product so much, I carelessly tossed the free sample before flying home, which left me stuck with coarse hair and no idea what “the one that got away” was actually called. Determined to track it down, I tested a few similar Oribe products before it became clear that Supershine Light Moisturizing Cream was the perfect fit for my thin hair. If you have thicker strands, you should definitely give the slightly heavier Supershine Moisturizing Cream a try. Otherwise, it might not be the best fit—for me, it weighted my hair down and made it seem flatter. These products are both silicone-based formulas, but chemist Ginger King tells Health that their main difference is the percentage of ingredients used, which are pretty similar but differ in placement.

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I’ll be the first to admit that this leave-in cream is a bit pricey, especially if you usually find your gels at the local drugstore. But I’ve been using it for almost four months now and I’m nowhere near done with the 5 fl oz. bottle. It also leaves your hair so smooth, you’ll be more likely to resist getting a blowout. And if you’re still not ready to shell out $52 for a product you’ve never used before, the Supershine Moisturizing Cream is available in 1.7 oz version for $19.50 at Nordstrom.

Once I nailed down my new favorite product, I realized there was still one thing missing: Applying the cream to my hair is enough for blowout-level softness, but I couldn’t achieve the exact same results back home in New York that I had in Miami, most likely due to differences in humidity. I experimented with a few product combinations before finding the perfect partner for the Oribe Supershine Light Moisturizing Cream: Now, after applying it all over my strands, I rub a few dollops of Virtue’s 6-in-1 Styler between my hands. Next, I run my product-covered fingers through the lower third of my hair and scrunch it for curls. Once air-dried, my hair is silky smooth with natural beachy waves. I may not be in Miami anymore, but I sure do have vacation hair every single day.