ELABORE Hair BB 10 in 1

As I may have mentioned before, my hair is blonde again, so I’m back on the hunt for the impossible products that will undo all of the damage I’ve done to it. I received this Hair BB as a sample and was impressed with it, so I bought the whole 3oz bottle for $10. Sadly that optimism was short-lived.

This is a heavy white cream leave-in conditioning/mask hair product, although in my experience, I think it’s a bit too heavy to be a leave-in. I had better luck using it as a hair mask that was rinsed off after some time, but even then, it didn’t seem to live up to most of the products claims.

What it was good at: detangling right out of the shower, softening hair if used as a mask. Also, I’m not usually a fan of peach-scented products, but this stuff smells great all day!

What it was bad at: frizz control, anti-breakage, promoting shine, silkiness, or moisture-trapping.

Now bear in mind that my hair is already really damaged anyway — so some of these things, like breakage, were bound to happen no matter what! But all in all after my hair was dried, this cream just felt far too heavy and greasy, and didn’t really seem to do much in the way of keeping it smooth and frizz-free throughout the day. A day after usage, my hair somehow felt… drier, than it had been before I started.

I also wanted to mention keratin and protein sensitivity for people with processed or damaged hair. A lot of leave-ins and damage control type conditioners will boast keratin and/or protein in their ingredient list. And they do work as intended, if used correctly. Unfortunately the proliferation of these ingredients in many drugstore items creates a scenario in which the consumer ends up putting way too much protein and keratin in their hair over the course of just a few days, causing it to become brittle or break off. And because this product contains keratin, it is no exception to the “use sparingly” rule. Also, protein and keratin tend to cause your hair to darken, which can be problematic for bright blondes.

To me it seems strange that it’s advertised as a daily leave-in that will repair your hair and help to style it as you want without causing more damage. But should the average user really be putting a keratin product in their hair more than once or twice a week? (If even that — I’m lookin’ at you, too, It’s a 10!)

Cute packaging, nice smelling and conceptually hair-healthy, but there are better masks, leave-ins and conditioners for your hair. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1.5/5

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 1.5/5

Noughty To The Rescue Conditioner

I’ve been on a hiatus since I’ve been curbing some of my cosmetic shopping over quarantine. I’ve been sticking to my tried-and-true skincare holy grails, and almost completely eschewing makeup since I don’t often leave the house. But I’m back to bring you beauty reviews of the best and worst of my limited number of quarantine purchases!

I grabbed Noughty’s To the Rescue while I was still bleaching my hair earlier this year. While I’m usually exclusive to Sauce’s Intense Repair Conditioner, I had a feeling my super-damaged bleach-blonde hair was picking up the yellow 5 and 6 dyes, making my hair look a little more yellow-brassy than it needed to be. This put me on the hunt for a white/dye-free conditioner, which I found in a pinch while I was out grocery shopping for $8.

To the Rescue has a good ingredient listing involving the usual hair hydrators of coconut oil, olive oil and shea butter, all of which show up close to the top the list. There aren’t any sulfates or drying alcohols in this conditioner. This product is vegan, and Noughty doesn’t test on animals, so those are nice bonuses, as well. The conditioner itself is a standard fare white cream with an equally generic soapy/shea butter scent (which, in my opinion, is a bit overbearing in this product, but it’s not a bad smell, per se…)

But for the contents being so good, this conditioner has terrible performance. I know what you’re thinking: “What do you expect from a $8 shampoo that you get at a grocery store?” — but I’d go as far as to say this conditioner made my hair quality worse. It feels as though the product already mostly absorbed by your skin before you can even make it to your hair! You can’t “pull” the product through your hair because of this aforementioned disappearing act. So your hair never actually feels moisturized during or after application.

When you can get it to “catch” in your hair, it tends to clump up once your hair is dry, even despite any rigorous rinsing attempts. I’ve never been able to describe my hair as both greasy-feeling and dry quite the way I can with this conditioner.

Most conditioners employ silicones that give your hair that “smooth” feeling, which this particular conditioner lacks as in it’s ingredient listing. That’s all well and good, but I suspect that the concentration of shea butter might be too high in relation to everything else, and might have benefited from a greater amount of linalool or seed extracts to make the product less chalky.

Of course, I have testing limitations with only having straight hair, and no product is ever a one-size-fits-all. But I can’t even see this being good for curly hair types, since the cream is too heavy for a “apply and rinse” conditioner. It’s not malleable enough to pull through the entire hair cuticle, which would make your hair texture a mixture of too heavy/greasy and not moisturized at all (frizzy) in other sections.

I can still get behind this company’s stance on natural ingredients and non-animal testing, though. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a product of theirs that works well for me in the future. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1/5

Longevity: 4/5

How much I actually like this product: 1/5

Blonde Boosters to Avoid!

Summer’s coming, and, despite all the craziness that COVID-19 has caused, a few of us may be thinking that this is still the season to upgrade or maintain their blonde color. In your quest to achieving this, I wanted to namedrop a few dishonorable mentions to the purple-toning list.

Headwear Blondastic Leave-In: What is this leave-in conditioner even doing? Sure, you can’t expect miracles in brass-cancellation with just a leave-in, but this just… does… nothing. Find your brassiest section of hair, spray it on, and watch as the color stays exactly the same!

Not to mention this “conditioner” does anything but add moisture to hair. Of course, there will be some product limitations when the intent is to tone hair, which is naturally drying by itself. It’s not a guarantee that conditioner is going to cancel all of that damage out. But this just seems to add to the problem instead of keeping it, at minimum, the same.

There’s not a ton of product in here, although it is only $10, so I suppose that makes sense. Also, it smells nice. But that’s about the nicest thing I can say about it.

Redken Color Extend Blondage – Conditioner: Speaking of conditioners that don’t condition, here’s another one! Amazingly, this conditioner damages my hair more than a shampoo, or even toner itself. I don’t get it.

It is extremely concentrated with purple dye, which you would think helps lend to a more even spread. But the formulation is very slow-moving and seems to absorb very rapidly during application. This can cause some sections of hair to become bright-white, and other sections the same brass you had before. Not a great look. It’s an even worse look when you realize your hair is breaking at twice the rate it was than before you used it! (full disclosure: my hair is already fried. But still! This was bad.) For $20 — skip this one.

(Redken is notorious for having imitator products that sneak into the market — I picked this up at Ulta, so here’s to hoping this was the real deal).

That’s enough complaining from me — I’ll tell you what I think actually works! If your hair is strong and ready to withstand a little toughness of a super-concentrated formula, try One N Only’s conditioner. The formula is runny, which helps to give a more consistent color. And despite having a lukewarm start with Pravana’s purple conditioner, I’ve been loving it, these days. Subtle color boost without the extreme damage? I’ll take it! ~A

Pravana The Perfect Blonde Conditioner

For the next couple days I will be running a mini-series on products for blondes! I’ve gone through a smorgasbord of shampoos, conditioners, toners and leave-ins to figure out what will get my level 10’ish hair to silver or white, and I’d like to be able to share some of newfound blonde knowledge (or maybe lack thereof…) with my readers.

Before I jump into this review, I wanted to note that this conditioner will only really “work” if your hair is already at level 9 or 10. Even darker pigments of yellow won’t get cancelled out by this toning shampoo, which, given the strength of this conditioner, is sort of disappointing. If your hair is more a golden or orange tone than light yellow, I’d recommend a blue conditioner instead (which Pravana also carries).

I also had to learn the hard way that just because it’s a purple conditioner, doesn’t imply your hair is going to come out softer or more hydrated! Purple conditioners, while not as stripping and concentrated with dye as the shampoos, can still cause damage, just to a lesser degree than a flat-out toner would do. I would definitely follow up the use of a purple conditioner with another non-toning conditioner, and possibly a hair mask the next day.

Onto the review of the product itself! It’s about $12 for a somewhat smaller-than-usual bottle of shampoo. Although this conditioner is a bit thicker than other toning conditioners I’ve tried, the product still gets absorbed by the hair pretty quickly, so I feel as though I keep needing to go back to the bottle to get more. Fortunately, since you should only really use this conditioner once or twice a week max, the bottle will last a long time.

This conditioner gives better results if your hair is wet to begin with (also it’s SO freakin’ hard to saturate your hair with this conditioner when it’s dry!), so I’ll rinse my hair first, and then apply the conditioner. I’ll wait two minutes before rinsing again to remove the product.

The color payout of this conditioner is, as expected, a little less dramatic than using a purple shampoo. The lightest pieces of blonde will have less of a yellow tint, and reflect a bit more white/bright than before — but I don’t think this product completely masters the art of cancelling out yellow. I’d recommend avoiding this around your root area, or anywhere where you have level 7-8 bits of hair, because it will turn those areas a somewhat putrid yellow-potato color.

Again, you don’t completely avoid damage by using this conditioner. It’s very rough on the roots of your hair, or anywhere where you have fine pieces of hair. I have experienced breakage from using this around those areas, or areas that were already weak to begin with (keeping in mind that I bleached the daylights out of my hair — if you have stronger hair than mine, you might not experience this issue to the same degree).

I think this conditioner is really great anyone with brunette hair, and bayalage (level 9+) highlights around the base, since this doesn’t seem to play well with the different colors around the root level. I was impressed by how “bright” the lightest pieces became, so I know it does work, but this conditioner is way too temperamental around the slightest shade of gold. The longevity is ok for a conditioner — up to four days of “bright” blonde — but I’m not really sure it’s worth the damage to my hair. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 2.5/5

Longevity: 3.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 3/5