I test out Kate hair products from Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s favorite line- Kérastase- on my curly, frizzy and unruly hair. How did the expensive products stack up?
It recently dawned on me that not only is Kate’s hair already infinitely more glossy, shiny and perfect than mere mortals, but she’s about to enter into the hair glory days otherwise known as second/third trimester of pregnancy. That wonderful time in your life that while everything else is going down the proverbial tubes, your hair will try, succeed and make up for it. There could be no better time for me to test out Kate’s favorite hair product line, Kérastase.
I decided that if I had any chance of getting my hair to even be remotely resembling Kate’s, I had a narrow window before the gap was just too much to overcome. Ladies, it was time to amp up my hair regime. The huge vats of shampoo that you can buy at Costco were probably not going to make my hair look like Kate’s, no matter how many celebrities in ads tried to tell me otherwise. I went over to my local hair salon who pleasantly informed me that they’d be delighted to sell me a teensy tiny bottle of shampoo… For $61! I quickly pinched the baby and feigned screaming as an excuse to have to quickly leave the store without purchasing the little bottle of shampoo. Seriously, $61/bottle? You’d better believe that you’d have to have Kate’s beauty budget to buy it. Luckily, I went over to my local drugstore (Canada is lucky that we have one major chain of drugstores, Shoppers Drug Mart, where you can collect points on purchases to exchange for dollars off later. To demonstrate how frequently I shop there, I had the equivalent of $300 in points) and cashed in my free dollars to purchase it at a slightly “more reasonable” $43/bottle for the shampoo and $51/bottle for the conditioner.
Before I tell you the magic or un-magic of my new $100 hair care routine, I should probably slow down and tell you about my hair first. I was born with platinum blonde pin-straight fine as anything hair. Hair which was tragically cut into the “mushroom cut” by my mom until I was about 9.
By age 9 I was, like most other little girls, very heavily into dance and my mom often found herself having to curl my hair for hours before a recital- only to have the curls fall out very shortly thereafter. I wanted to have curly hair so badly that I begged, pleaded and whined for a perm. The hours and hours of curling a fidgeting kid’s hair (and my expert whining, no doubt) must have finally gotten to her because when I was about 12 she agreed to let me get a perm. Finally! I was going to have luscious curls… And I did, for about 2 days, after which the perm completely fell out. For some reason, about 3-4 months later my mom consented to let me try again and the old saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again” definitely worked. The perm took and held… for good. If we fast forward to present day, you’ll see my hair has stayed as curly as it was the day after that perm. The blonde has faded to a dark blonde over the years but the curls have remained- as ringleted and curly as ever.
So my hair is now something looking at pictures of young me you would have never guessed- it’s thick, curly and just generally unruly. Much like Kate, I do try and straighten my hair out most of the time when I have professional responsibilities like work but there are inevitably humid days which throw wrenches in the best laid plans. Case in point? I worked in Hong Kong in 2011 and spent the better part of 3 hours blowdrying my hair before going to work on the first day- only to show up in the office 20 minutes and one subway ride later with hair so fuzzy you’d think I had just gotten an electric shock with the excessive amounts of frizz. This happens to Kate as well, as one of her “off” days from a frizzy hair perspective was in the hot and humid Solomon Islands on the 2012 Diamond Jubilee tour.
You can probably then guess why I was so excited to try Kate’s favorite haircare line- we seem to have very similar hair- curly, frizzy at the first signs of humidity and thick. The bottle I decided to try Kérastase Nutritive Bain Satin 2, a complete nutrition shampoo for dry, sensitized hair. The thing that hit me first was the fact that the shampoo smelled, well, like shampoo. Not sure what I was expecting, but it smelled very soapy with a very faint hint of citrus. The conditioner was much the same, and combined they left my hair with a rather unnoticeable smell, which might be exactly what you are looking for. I prefer to have at least a slight pleasant smell remaining after I wash my $5-6 dollars worth of shampoo down the drain, so was a little disappointed.
The real genius of this product though isn’t in the smell it leaves after you get out of the shower, it’s in how your hair reacts to the onslaught of product and styling tools coming at it. I decided a great test for me would be to blowout my hair as I can tell very easily with product which ones make a big difference in my hair.
Now the results might look misleading, but my ridiculously frizzy hair is actually about 50% less frizzy than normal. Remember, this is with zero product in my hair. When I put product in my hair, I decided that there was no better time to try out a sample of Kérastase’s Lumiere Liquide– it was like silk. Expensive, expensive silk.
So my final verdict? The stuff is amazing. Unfortunately spending $100 on small bottles of shampoo and conditioner is a pretty steep price for something you rinse down the drain so I don’t think I could keep this up on a daily basis. I mentioned this to a friend of a friend over coffees one recent afternoon and she had the best advice I’d ever heard. Kérastase is the luxury haircare line of L’Oréal. She told me she loved Kérastase but couldn’t justify spending the money on something you rinsed down the drain so she went online and did some research, only to find out that L’Oréal has a “non-professional” line and a product called Eversleek which is essentially the same thing- and available for a fraction of the price. I tried the Eversleek and it’s TRUE! It works just as well as the Kérastase does and after checking with a friend of a friend who is a hairdresser it’s got a few differences, but overall is the premium product in a generic tube.
I decided to keep the Kérastase for “special” days- days where I know I’m going to have to blowdry my hair for a night out or big meeting. Days when I just want to add a little Kate to my step. The Eversleek will definitely be making the daily appearances, and I am pretty confident Kate, ever the bargain shopper we know her to be, would approve of my budget-friendly choice.