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Diamonds — And Healthy Hair — Can Be Forever With New Redken Diamond Oil Collection

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Last time I had my hair blown out, the stylist couldn’t stop complimenting me on how healthy my hair looked, remarking that most women with heavily color-treated hair grapple with split ends and overly porous, dehydrated strands. I was flattered, of course, but my primary reaction was befuddlement. Since I went from dark brown hair to near-platinum strands about four years ago, I’ve rarely been told me hair looked healthy — at least not when examined close-up by a professional. If anything, hair stylists will say that the color suits me and gently point out that I need to wash my hair less often or that I need to be vigilant about deep conditioning treatments. So, when this stylist doled out the compliments without slipping in any caveats or stern warnings, I had to think that maybe, just maybe, my hair did, in fact, appear to be strong and nourished. Definitely a new one for me. Needless to say, I started racking my brain to determine what could’ve contributed to this welcome turn of events. The answer was apparent: for months, the only products I had been using belonged to the new Redken Diamond Oil collection, a line that’s specifically formulated to fortify strands and boost shine.

All of the products in the Diamond Oil collection incorporate a mixture of silicone-free hair oils  dubbed Redken’s Shine Strong Complex— chief among them coriander oil, which is extracted from cilantro (yes, that herb commonly used in pico de gallo) and which features antiseptic properties and helps to promote hair growth; camelina oil, which is rife with omega-3 fatty acids (they account for nearly 45% of its constitution) that work to stimulate hair growth, penetrating the peripheral layer right under the cuticle and filling in any gaps therein, and strengthening the hair’s lipid layer to prevent moisture loss; and apricot oil, which contains oleic and linoleic acids, as well as vitamins A and E, and which penetrates the cuticle and cortex to condition hair from the inside out. These botanical oils all help to boost shine since, by binding together the scales that comprise the hair cuticle, they create a smooth and even surface that not only makes hair feel softer but also helps to reflect oncoming light, thereby making strands appear lustrous.

At the core of the collection are two hair oils: the Redken Diamond Oil Shatterproof Shine ($40; visit Redken.com for salon locations), which is packaged in a clear bottle with a faceted surface that resembles that of a polished diamond, and the Redken Diamond Oil Shatterproof Shine Intense ($40; visit Redken.com for salon locations)a more concentrated version of the latter that’s packaged in a black glass bottle. Both versions of this oil feature a sleek, gunmetal-toned cap with a built-in dropper and a push-down button along the top of the cap, so that you can press down on it and fill in the dropper with one simply motion. The built-in dropper is incredibly handy since, when dealing with hair oils, most women tend to have difficulty discerning what amount is sufficient. The dropper, then, allows you to dispense the perfect amount: two to three drops. Like most hair oils, these can be used on wet or dry hair, but the oil will be more readily absorbed by damp strands so I always recommend using these immediately after showering.

I’ve been using the Redken Diamond Oil Shatterproof Shine for quite a while, and I love how it makes my strands look and feel. You can apply it as a deep conditioning treatment before shampooing, smooth onto damp hair to condition and strengthen strands (my favorite), or work into dry strands to add a bit of shine and tame unruly split ends. Now, as with any oil, if you apply too much, you will end up having hair feel a bit too greasy and weighed down — after all, hair can only absorb but so much  of any substance. It’s important, then, that you apply no more than the requisite amount and that you apply the oil to strands starting  along the mid-lengths. If you follow the instructions properly, then, you should enjoy the benefits of healthier, stronger, shinier hair.

To complement these oils, the collection incorporates some other top-notch products like the Redken Diamond Oil Shampoo ($18; visit Redken.com for salon locations) and the Redken Diamond Oil Conditioner ($19; visit Redken.com for salon locations). I tend to find a lot of shampoos to be overly drying, but this one isn’t at all. It cleanses the hair efficiently yet does so in the gentlest of ways. The shampoo’s formula incorporates coriander seed oil, camelina oil, and apricot kernel oil, along with sunflower seed oil, which softens hair, protects hair color from fading and losing its luster, and safeguards strands against free radicals. It also contains hydrolyzed soy proteins and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins that are meant to fortify strands (hair is, after all, mainly composed of protein).  The conditioner, meanwhile, almost immediately detangles strands and moisturizes them without weighing hair down. In addition to the coriander oil, camelina oil, and apricot oil found in all Diamond Oil products, the conditioner features sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, hydrolyzed soy proteins and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins. Part of what makes this conditioner so sublime is the presence of coconut oil, which has the ability to penetrate strands, working its way into the cortex to repair strands from the inside out.  Coconut oil boasts a 90% concentration of saturated fatty acids — primarily lauric acid (which accounts for about 50% of the unsaturated fatty acid amount) and capric acid. Because the fatty acids found in coconut have a low molecular structure, they can easily work their way into the hair cortex, thereby providing a deeper conditioning. Also, the lauric acid, capric acid, and vitamin E found in coconut oil work together to  promote protein regrowth, thereby repairing damaged strands.

After using the shampoo and conditioner, your hair will feel incredibly soft and will look shiny but not greasy (big difference!). I also love how these products’ smell — it’s a very earthy and almost nutty aroma, with just a hint of nectar-like sweetness.

Once a week or every other week, meanwhile, you’ll want to treat your hair to a deep-conditioning treatment, and that’s where the Redken Diamond Oil Deep Facets Hair Mask ($20; visit Redken.com for salon locations) comes in. This delicious mask contains many of the same ingredients found in the conditioner, but in a richer, heavier, creamier formulation. To use, you’ll want to apply to damp hair, evenly distributing the product, then wait 5-15 minutes before rinsing it out. When hair is particularly distraught, you can apply heat to the mask (sit under a dryer, for instance, or even use a blow dryer to dispense heat) and this will help it better penetrate strands.

Overall, this collection has proved pretty life-changing for me. Redken never disappoints, but this is hands-down its best release since All Soft.

Talk about shining bright like a diamond!

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