A few months ago, my mom texted me in a panic. "I'm going bald," her message read. "Have you heard of Kérastase?? My stylist is insisting I use this stuff—my hair is breaking off," with a photo of the French hair-care brand's Elixir Ultime L'Huile Original Hair Oil ($26) and a smattering of other shampoos and conditioners.
Two things immediately came to mind. The first—my mother was under no circumstances going bald. She's had a luscious head of thick, curly, wild hair for as long as I can remember. Was her hair breaking? Probably. She has a tendency to pull it back in a tight ponytail away from her face when she gets annoyed with the frizz and fluff. When she styles it (about once a week), she'll part it in the same place and blow it out with the same, strong blow-dryer brush. After inquiring more, sure enough, her stylist said her hair was breaking in the very two spots I suspected: at the crown (from pulling it back) and in her front "swoop" where she was blowing it out most.
My second thought—this would be an excellent time to put Kérastase's fan-favorite products to the test. "Yes, I know Kérastase very well. I got you," I replied. "But stop blowing out your hair and wear it natural and curly." After that, I tapped my friends at Kérastase (the perks of being a commerce editor) and had the elixir, a hair oil, and the brand's Force Architect Damaged Hair Set ($101) (which includes a bottle of the damage-repair shampoo, conditioner, and a blow-dry primer) sent to her door.
Six weeks later, I followed up with my mother, the fabulous, sometimes overdramatic Geri Krempa, to see how her hair was holding up. Unfortunately, she didn't see a massive change from the shampoo and conditioner, something she blames largely on the hard water she showers with at her home in western New Jersey. But her review of the L'Huile Original Hair Oil was glowing:
"Oh, this stuff is the bomb," she says. What makes it the "the bomb"? Let's dive in.
It's dripping with hydration heroes that my mom's hair happily slurps up
"I love that there's argan oil in here," my mom explains over the phone. "My hair is so dry and coarse that it always needs extra moisture. The argan oil smells so good!"
Can confirm that argan oil is an excellent hydrator—the Moroccan oil is loaded with essential fatty acids and vitamin E that quench hair from the inside out. But Kerastase Elixir Ultime L'Huile Original Hair Oil also contains a blend of marula oil and camelia hair oil, which are doubly good for parched strands. Both of these fatty oils absorb into hair to give it that burst of moisture it craves. And even though my mom's hair is some of the thickest, coarsest I've ever seen, she doesn't need a lot to zhouz it up: "I just use a few drops and it goes along way. It really feels so much silkier, Frank." Good to know, Mom!
It protects her hair from breaking further
Hydration aside, all of those oils coat the hair to protect it from further damage which was my mom's goal all along. "I mostly just apply it to the ends of my strands where my split ends are like my stylist told me to do. It makes them sleeker and less unruly looking."
The blend of oils keep hair supple as opposed to stiff and brittle, which is when it tends to break. All those antioxidants—particularly the vitamin E—heal hair and make it stronger, boosting its elasticity so it doesn't just snap off after wear-and-tear. Now that she's not using heat on her hair or pulling it back (which I triple checked to make sure she's not doing!) her hair can finally relax and restore itself.
It adds shine without making her feel like an oil slick
Even though my mom's hair is thick, it can still get greasy and weighed down with the wrong product, especially when it's not blown out. "I only wash my hair once or twice a week," she says. "I mean, I don't use a ton of the oil, but it definitely doesn't weigh my curls down or overdo it."
On the flip side, she says it makes her hair "so shiny and smooth" compared the dull, lackluster locks she was complaining about weeks earlier. "I also got the Nutritive 8H Magic Night Serum ($59) that I put on at night and sleep in, which helps make my hair shinier in the morning," she says. "It really looks healthier with these two products."
Geri's stylist was right: she really did need Kérastase's Elixir Ultime L'Huile Original Hair Oil in her routine. (And to give it some rest from all the ponytails and heat damage.) While she's definitely wasn't going bald, she was absolutely breaking her hair and putting it through the ringer—thankfully, this silky serum came to the rescue.
Finally, I asked my mom the million-dollar commerce-editor question: "Would you recommend this to our readers?"
Her answer was a resounding, "Oh, 100 percent. And the Magic Night serum!" There you have it, folks. Glad it's working out for ya, Mom! (We both hope it'll work out for you, dear reader, too.)
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