Are They Dupes?: Kerastase Reflection Masque Chromatique Thick Hair VS L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm

by Gio
a dupe for kerastase reflection masque chromatique thick hair

Did you know L’Oreal owns Kerastase?

It matters. Here’s why: big companies like to save money. Why invest the resources to create two completely different products when you can sell the same thing twice under different brands?

Case in point: L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm. The top 4 ingredients (ie those that do ALL the work) are identical to those of Kerastase Reflection Masque Chromatique Thick Hair.

Yes, they’re DUPES.

L’Oreal creates the formula once and then tweaks it a little so it can sell it under different brand names. A different packaging, a slightly more floral scent and voilá: that fancy mask looks a world apart from its cheap drugstore counterpart (even though they have more in common than they dare to admit).

Let’s compare the two, shall we?

What Key Ingredients Do These Hair Masks Have In Common?


Cetearyl Alcohol is a fatty alcohol, ie a good type of alcohol with hydrating properties. Yes, some types of alcohol are good for hair.

This one is often used in shampoos and conditioners, especially those designed for damaged hair. Why?

It’s a multitasker. It lubricates hair, making it soft. Plus, it gives the masks their creamy and rich consistencies.

Related: What Does Alcohol-Free In Skincare Mean?


Behentrimonium Chloride (BC) is a cationic surfactant often in deep conditioning treatments.

Let me say that again in plain English. BC coats hair, creating a protective barrier that makes it smooth, manageable, and less prone to breakage.

Cationic surfactants like BC do this better than silicones. Why?

I’m going to get a little scientific on you now. Hair is negatively charged while cationic surfactants are positively charged. Opposites attract. In this case, it means that BC adheres better to hair than silicones.


Amodimethicone is a smart conditioning agent: it provides selective conditioning to the areas most in need of it through electrostatic attraction.

Basically, “highly damaged areas of the hair cuticle possess higher negative charge density, which enhances the affinity of the cationic polymer to that specific area.” In other words, amodimethicone knows when it’s needed the most.

Plus, it gives hair shine and protects it from heat damage.

What Else Is In These Hair Masks?

The main difference between Kerastase Reflection Masque Chromatique Thick Hair and L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm?

Kerastase contains a couple of natural oils that coat your hair, helping it to stay soft and supple. But they’re present in small amounts.

Translation: they help a little, but it’s the synthetic conditioning agents mentioned above (those you’ll find in the L’Oreal mask, too) that do the bulk of the moisturising work.

What’s The Texture Like?

Both Kerastase Reflection Masque Chromatique Thick Hair and L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm have rich, thick texture.

But Kerastase has a bit more slip. It makes for a better application, but the end results are the same. It’s up to if you want to pay more for it.

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What’s the Packaging Like?

Both Kerastase Reflection Masque Chromatique Thick Hair and L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm come in big jars.

Kerastase is a bright pink. You can’t miss it on the shelf! L’Oreal is a more subdued yellow. It doesn’t stand out as much, but it’ll last you a long time.

How To Use Them

Massage the masks to shampooed and towel-dried hair, all the way to the tips. Leave on for 3-5 minutes. Rinse off well.

Which Of The Two Should You Go For?

I’m team L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm all the way. It does the same thing for a fraction of the cost.

I’d go for Kerastase only if you don’t mind to pay a little extra for a better sensory experience.


Kerastase Reflection Masque Chromatique Thick Hair (£32.99): Available at Feel Unique and Look Fantastic

L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm ($6.99): Available at Ulta and Walmart

Is L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm a dupe for Dupe For Kerastase Reflection Masque Chromatique Thick Hair?

Yes, L’Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm is a dupe for Kerastase Reflection Masque Chromatique Thick Hair. The scent and texture may be slightly different, but they deliver the same results.

Which of these two hair masks is your fave? Share your pick in the comments below.

Kerastase Reflection Masque Chromatique Thick Hair Ingredients

Aqua / Water – Cetearyl Alcohol – Behentrimonium Chloride – Amodimethicone – Cetyl Esters – Isopropyl Alcohol – Phenoxyethanol – Trideceth-6 – Candelilla Cera / Candelilla Wax – Oryza Sativa Bran Oil / Rice Bran Oil – Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate – Glycine Soja Oil / Soybean Oil – Tocopherol -Limonene – Chlorhexidine Digluconate – Linalool – Cetrimonium Chloride – Hexyl Cinnamal – Citronellol – Butylene Glycol – Benzyl Alcohol – Geraniol – Zinc Gluconate – Sodium Citrate – Bht –  Litchi Chinensis Pericarp Extract – Citrus Junos Fruit Extract – Parfum / Fragrance

L’Oreal Elvive Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm Ingredients

Aqua, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Amodimethicone, Candellila Wax, Cetyl Esters, Glycerin, Isopropyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Trideceth-6, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Arginine, Glutamic Acid, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Cetrimonium Chloride, Serine, Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride, Benzyl Salicylate, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Amyl Cinnamal, Citronellol, 2-Oleamido-1,3-Octadecanediol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, CI 19140 / Yellow 5, CI 15985 / Yellow 6



Chic Readings August 29, 2014 - 8:28 pm

I’ve never tried these and for a hair mask I will either make my own or choose more affordable option:)

Gio August 30, 2014 - 8:42 am

Helena, I don’t like to pay a lot for hair masks either. The L’Oreal isn’t a bad deal at all, and contains quite a lot of product. 🙂

Janessa September 3, 2014 - 12:07 am

I’ve been so curious about both! I am going to try the L’Oreal one when I run out (or not) of my current hair mask. Thank you, I’ve been wanting to try Kerastase products but I can’t justify that much $ on my hair when I can use it for makeup.

Gio September 3, 2014 - 2:35 pm

Janessa, I don’t like to pay much for hair care products too. Makeup is more fine. Kerastase makes some great products, but the price, ouch! Isn’t it great that there are dupes for them around?

Janessa September 3, 2014 - 9:17 pm

Yes, thank goodness for dupes! Sometimes, the original just can’t be beat. That’s when we splurge. 😀

Gio September 5, 2014 - 8:03 pm

Janessa, that’s true. It’s great to have options. 🙂

Jen August 18, 2017 - 7:46 pm

The big difference is Keratase doesn’t have protein in it like the other does, which is important for those with protein sensitive hair.

Gio August 19, 2017 - 9:44 pm

Jen, thanks for pointing this out.

Michelle December 14, 2017 - 2:26 pm

The L’Oreal version also contains isopropyl alcohol pretty high on the ingredient list, whereas the Keratase formula does not contain it . I would be cautious about using the L”oreal version as isopropyl alcohol is a drying agent.

Gio December 16, 2017 - 10:26 pm

Michelle, thanks for pointing that out.

Comments are closed.