Every woman should use hair oils every now and then. They have so many benefits and are very versatile. They condition hair, combat frizz, seal split ends, provide shine and can be used both on just-washed hair and before, as a pre-shampoo treatment.
But this little luxury doesn’t have to be expensive. If you don’t feel like splurging on the much raved about Kérastase Elixir Ultime, you can try its dupe L’Oréal Oleo Therapy Perfecting Oil-Essence. That’s my favourite, actually. Here’s why:
Although the marketing departments prefer to focus on the natural benefits the oils in these hair treatments provide, a couple of silicones almost always manages to sneak its slippery way into them. And they do a lot of the heavy work.
Both Kerastase Elixir Ultime and L’Oréal Oleo Therapy Perfecting Oil-Essence contain the same combination of silicones: cyclopentasiloxane and dimethiconol. Cyclopentasiloxane is a volatile silicone and quickly evaporates once applied on the hair. So why is it there in the first place? Two reasons. One: it helps the product glide more easily and spread more evenly.
Two: it helps deliver heavier silicones also contained in a product. In this case, dimethiconol. Heavier than cyclopentasiloxane but less than dimethicone, it provides the same lubricating properties as the latter but without weighting hair down.
Dimethiconol is able to condition hair, make it feel soft and silky smooth to the touch, provide shine, create a water-repellent protective barrier that helps prevent frizz, and seal up slip ends thus temporarily “repairing” them (nothing can, unfortunately, repair them permanently).
Argania Spinosa Oil
Argania spinosa oil, or argan oil, is derived from the kernels of the argan tree fruit, which grows only in a few regions (Morocco is the most famous). It’s this scarcity that makes argan oil very coveted, and very expensive.
Argan oil is high in fatty acids. In fact, oleic and linolic acid make up over 70% of its composition! These fatty acids give argan oil its emollient properties, allowing it to condition hair, making it soft and shiny.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any specific study about argan oil use on hair. We do know, however, that because of its composition, it can’t penetrate hair as well as other oils, such as coconut oil. Instead, it works by sealing moisture in, preventing dryness and helping to fight frizz.
Zea Mays (Corn) Oil vs Coconut Oil
Kérastase Elixir Ultime also contains zea mays (corn) germ oil. That’s another sealing oil. It has conditioning properties, so it too can make hair soft, help with frizz and split ends, and give hair shine. But it is more stable when it is crude, rather than refined, and quickly becomes rancid when exposed to hair.
L’Oréal has made a much better choice: coconut oil. It’s actually my favourite oil for hair because it can penetrate it very well. This allows it to strengthen and condition hair from within, not just from without, like most other oils do.
Further considerations on the formulas
Kérastase Elixir Ultime contains a higher number of oils, all of which have conditioning properties, but can’t really penetrate hair that well. L’Oréal Oleo Therapy Perfecting Oil-Essence, instead, contains fewer, but more effective, oils, and a bunch of natural extracts that are, however, unlikely to do anything for your hair.
Kérastase Elixir Ultime Ingredients
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Zea Mays / Corn Germ Oil, Argania Spinosa Oil / Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Camellia Kissi / Camellia Kissi Seed Oil, Pentaclethra Macroloba Oil / Pentaclethra Macroloba Seed Oil, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene, Coumarine, Benzyl Alcohol, Parfum / Fragrance
L’Oréal Oleo Therapy Perfecting Oil-Essence Ingredients
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Parfum/Fragrance, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Argania Spinosa Oil/Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Cocos Nucifera Oil/Coconut Oil, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Chamomilla Recutita Extract/Matricaria Flower Extract, Isoeugenol, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Rosa Canina Flower Extract, Linalool, Nelumbium Speciosum Extract/Nelumbium Speciosum Flower Extract, Linum Usitatissimum Flower Extract, Carrot Oil/Beta-carotene
Kerastase Elixir Ultime, which comes in a 125ml bottle, retails at $56.00! But you can get it for $38.39 at Amazon. L’Oreal Oleo Therapy Perfecting Oil-Essence contains”only” 100 ml of product, but costs a lot less, $12.99. You can buy it at Ulta.
The Bottom Line
Although Kérastase Elixir Ultime contains more natural oils, it’s L’Oreal Oleo Therapy Perfecting Oil-Essence that features the only one who can penetrate hair well. So, that’s my pick.
Which oil treatment is your favourite?