26 July 2011

Review of Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil

So enough with the soppy stuff and the reviews of men’s products and back to what I like best; talking about women’s cosmetics. And today, I want to show you my new favourite thing, the product I don’t want to live without, that’s put a spring in my step – and in my hair, an’ all…

…Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil.
I’ve been planning to invest in a hair oil for a while but this was still a bit of a random splurge. My friend Joanne has been using the Kiehl’s Superbly Restorative Argan Oil which has made a noticeable difference to her hair. It’s pricey but I was planning to invest (it’s on my wish list here) when, being the fickle creature I am, I let my new hairdresser talk me into the even pricier Shu Uemura one, instead.
 I’ll give you the bad news first: this cost me €53 for 150 ml. I told you it was pricey. I blame a combination of sun-and-chlorine damaged locks, a charming hairdresser and the buzz you get after a really good haircut (Kazumi on Molesworth Street, if you’re wondering – a tip from makeup artist Sarah Lanagan. Thanks Sarah!).
I’ve been using this for nearly three weeks now. Before, my hair was frazzled, dull and prone to breakage. Now, it’s shiny and soft without looking fluffy or feeling weighed down. It feels nourished and looks much, much healthier. But is it?

After reading
this post on beaut.ie about silicones in hair oils, I googled the ingredients list for Essence Absolue and yup, the first two listed are indeed those controversial 'cones, which coat the hair to make it look shiny and smooth. If you’re not sure where you stand on the subject of silicones, you might find it useful to read this post on The Beauty Brains, a really useful site run by a group of cosmetic scientists who understand and explain what the chemicals used in beauty products actually do.
The third ingredient is camellia oil – used for centuries by Japanese geishas to smooth and condition their hair. The brand credits this ingredient with protecting the hair fibre against dryness, frizz and UV damage. But how much of the difference is down to the cosmetic effect of the silicones, and how much to the conditioning effect of the camellia oil, is hard to say.

In my own case, I’m just happy there’s a difference at all. I love how my hair looks and feels when I use this and that’s good enough for me. This is the first Shu Uemura product I’ve tried and I’m impressed: I like the packaging, especially the handy pump applicator, and it smells delicious (the camellia again). You can use this before shampooing or as a leave-in product and so far I’ve only tried the latter, using about 2-3 pumps (a little more than the recommended 1-2) on my collar-bone length hair.

I’ve already said it’s expensive. So would I repurchase? Absolutely. If you have dry, damaged hair that you want to bring back to life, then for the results delivered, I consider this a most worthwhile investment.
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