Saturday, May 15, 2010

PRODUCT REVIEW: Loreal Serie Expert Vitamino Color Shampoo vs. Kerastase Bain Miroir

I started using the Kerastase Bain Miroir (hot pink bottle, not see through) in September of 2006ish, after seeing it on a shelf in a pretty swanky salon in Santa Monica, California.  I didn't buy it then because it would have been a pain to travel with, especially considering all the crap I already bought out there.  I used it for the most part all of the last 3 and a half years, only occasionally skipping it for either WEN or something cheaper and saving it for the first week or so after I did my roots and touchups.  I always told myself it was just Color Vive with a way steep pricetag, and while it is REALLY expensive for Shampoo, it might be worth it.  All $34 a bottle of it.   Now there is one that is even more ridiculously priced that I am dying to try since Jean Godfrey-June reviewed it in Lucky a couple months ago, (even the sample travel size is like $50!) but I haven't quite given into that. I came very close a few weeks ago to doing it but I rushed myself away from the site in favor of Perez Hilton.

Anyway...the Kerastase did a great job at retaining fresh color, moreso than others I had tried in the past, and it smells fabulous.  I bought both this shampoo and the corresponding conditioner at the same time, which I rarely do, mostly because one or the other usually sucks and then I am stuck with one of the two that I end up just pitching, or shoving further into the rapidly-filling bathroom closet.  The one where my husband has about 4 square inches to house his 4 products and his deodorant is rapidly running out of real estate. The only time I have bought both from the same collection successfully was the Bumble Creme de Coco. I like that stuff a lot for how my hair feels after but I didn't feel the color stuck around very long with that, and I needed to boost it with color depositing conditioners far too frequently.  But damn does it smell nice. Like a PiƱa Colada. *flashes back to honeymoon on the beach in Waikiki*

In November of 09 I had run out of my current bottle of the Kerastase and ordered from the website (which is the only genuine Kerastase seller online--found that out the hard way). It was taking an unusually long time, and I had used all of my stockpile of travel sized ones that they stuck in my web orders. So since I couldn't get up to one of the local outlets, I started looking for Loreal Serie Experte Vitamino Color because I figured it was probably cheaper and similar. Or hoped anyway... I tracked it down at a much more reasonably located salon near my house.  At the time they were out of the matching conditioner, and I had more than enough in the shower anyway, so I just grabbed the shampoo.   I'll admit I didn't expect much out of it, I have no idea why I believed this, but for some reason I really believed the Kerastase hype, because I could tell a difference in my color retention from using it. So I figured this was one of those times where you really get what you pay for. Notice how my tune changed there?

The difference with this experiment is that when I started the Kerastase I also was using the corresponding conditioner. I did not do that this time with the Loreal, but after my trip to Dewey's today, I went and bought the conditioner that went with it, because I figured I hadn't really fairly compared the two lines since I wasn't using both.

Back to the Vitamino Color shampoo...I needed to wash my hair at this point because I had already skipped 2 nights because the color was fresh.  I couldn't get deal with the rotten death smell that was going on for even another minute--that's something awful about skipping a day...your head and hair look and smell like a zombie.  But it's a necessary evil, especially with red hair.  

I rushed home after buying it, and the first thing I noticed besides the nice packaging/dispensing, was that it was a nice smell, and the texture was a really unusually light gellish cream. I liked the package because it had a pump and it was easier to get product out than by fiddling with an oblong cap like the Kerastase bottle has. It takes less than I feel I need for as much hair as I have and lathers very well, and I feel like it leaves my hair feeling less tangly and a little softer. That might be my wishful thinking, because I develop quite a nest at the base of my skull by the end of a day with it rubbing against a shirt.

The price is much MUCH better than the Kerastase. I can get a bottle of the Loreal for around $28, and the quantity is about as much as 3 bottles of the Kerastase in one $28 bottle.  

But the real test was in color retention:
I have been observing the level of brightness since the first wash.  I feel like there's less loss of brightness during the first few washes but over the long term I don't know that it holds it well enough beyond those first couple washes, and the ability to prevent color loss seems to go down fast. So at first it seemed great, but eventually not enough to abandon the Kerastase. I feel like I got a little more "loss" from the Kerastase on the first washing but then not as much beyond that. So I am currently alternating them.  I start with the Loreal for the first wash, then switch to the Kerastase for the next few, and then back to the Loreal since I am closing in on a touchup anyway. I tried going a whole 4 weeks without any sort of touching up and it was really scary. If my hair doesn't look fresh I don't feel like bothering to look presentable. And part of why I dye it so dang much is because I cannot handle roots.

So since I bought the conditioner today, I am going to test both out, though I have a week til my hair is fresh again, so I won't go too overboard so I don't waste the product.

ONE FYI for the self-made redheads: Pantene Conditioner for Red Hair is killer. The shampoo is ok, though I like to dilute it a lot with water and a little color depositing shampoo. I would use that sometimes to eek out a few more days before I did my roots.

UPDATE 2011:  Kerastase changed the formulation of the Bain Miroir, and it no longer works anywhere near as well as it used to.  I have since switched to the Vitamino Color as my number 1 and I am pretty happy with it. 

1 comment:

  1. Woman that was like a book....


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