Is the Kérastase Elixir Ultime the Emperor of Hair Oils?
Finding the right hair oil can feel like a Goldilocks-worthy endeavor (well, minus the trespassing, loitering, and property damage that wretched child wrought upon the three bears) —some are too rich, weighing hair down and leaving behind a greasy residue; some are too light, failing to properly moisturize and smooth your tresses; and some are, well, just right. The four scented oils in the Kérastase Elixir Ultime collection definitely fit into the latter category, exceeding expectations and establishing new standards of excellence in hair care.
After the worldwide success of the original Kérastase Elixir Ultime, the brand has introduced three new hair treatments, each incorporating natural oils catering that address a specific concern and boasting a unique scent. The new oils in the Kérastase Elixir Ultime collection, then, are: the Elixir Ultime Rose Millenaire, a softening and shine-boosting oil for fine hair; the Elixir Ultime Moringa Immortel, a nourishing and smoothing oil for damaged tresses; and the Elixir Ultime The Imperial, formulated for color-treated hair so as to safeguard color, boost shine, and nourish tresses.
All four hair elixirs are fortified with Kérastase’s signature Oleo-Complexe technology, which itself incorporates: softening maize oil extracted from corn harvested in Central America; Moroccan argan oil, which replenishes and hydrates hair thanks to its high concentration of Omega 9 fatty acids, while also boosting shine and protecting tresses from free radical damage thanks to its extraordinary vitamin A, D, and E content; shine-boosting and cuticle-smoothing camellia oil harvested in Asia, which contains Vitamin F, Omega 3 fatty acids that work to strengthen hair, stimulate hair growth, and increase luster, and Omega 9 fatty acids that the body needs for hair to grow and remain healthy; and, lastly, conditioning, smoothing, and hydrating pracaxi oil, extracted from the seeds of pracaxi trees native to the Amazon region.
Over the past two months, I’ve been testing out the Kérastase Elixir Ultime The Imperial ($54 for 125ml at Kerastase-USA.com), which is packaged inside a transparent blush pink bottle and a matching rose-toned box. Since I’ve been dying my hair for so many years that I no longer remember my natural hair color (not an exaggeration) and, for over five years now, I’ve been sporting a near-platinum shade, I instantly gravitated toward the oil that was demarcated as being formulated for color-treated hair. Unlike the other oils in the collection, this one is enhanced via the addition of Imperial Tea, an ultra-rare tea hailing from China, which is rife in flavonoids that protect strands from pollutants like cigarette smoke, smog , and UV rays, and which is enhanced with white tea extract, which is known to condition strands and strengthen dry and brittle hair.
The Kérastase Elixir Ultime The Imperial can be used in multiple ways. You can apply it to dry hair, leave it in for a few minutes, then shampoo your mane in the shower, which makes the hair cleansing ritual less abrasive to those with extremely dehydrated, fragile strands and therefore working as a pre-cleansing treatment. You can apply it to damp strands before heat styling so you can benefit from its protective qualities and achieve a smoother, sleeker, more lustrous look within a shorter period of time. Or, you can smooth it onto dry and styled hair to tame fly-aways, boost shine, and increase manageability. Personally, I tend to apply it to damp hair and either blow dry my strands or let them air dry, depending on whether I want my hair straight or curly. But I do also use it for touch-ups during the day since it diminishes the appearance of frizz and tames unruly ends.
The oil is extremely concentrated, so you never want to be heavy-handed with it — in fact, in most cases, 2-3 drops should suffice. Simply use the pump dispenser to obtain the desired amount, rub the oil in between palms until it’s nice and warm, and then softly apply it to hair, starting along the back of the head, rather than along the front, and gently grazing strands rather than applying so much pressure that the oil will be concentrated in this one single area. When your hair dries, you should notice it feels petal soft and your color looks more vibrant and radiant.
As an added plus, the Elixir Ultime The Imperial features a delicate floral scent that will make people want to lean in a bit closer, just so they can get a whiff of that enchanting fragrance.