I received a set of L'Oreal's new Ultimate Straight hair care supplies to experiment with as a free trial from Influenster. I was pretty excited, as my supplies showed up just as I was about to run out of my regular shampoo, so, hooray, no trip to CVS for me!
I received the full set of the new 4-step line:
Step 1: Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight – Straightening shampooStep 2: Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight – Straight Boosting Pre-conditionerStep 3: Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight – Straightening conditionerStep 4: Smooth Intense Ultimate Straight – Straight Perfecting Balm
I also received the headache of secret steps 5 and 6, blow drying and straightening.
The thing I was the most excited by about this line is that it's paraben free. It's getting easier to hunt down paraben free supplies from the drug store, but it's still not exactly easy. Having a box of them delivered to my front door was pretty swell.
The thing I was LEAST excited about was a 4-step system. I'm pretty low maintenance, and on the best of days, I can manage to shampoo and condition my hair before passing out with my wet hair scrunched up on top of a towel. If I'm REALLY lucky, I'll dry and slap some argan oil on there to keep the frizzies down.
It turns out that the 4 step system isn't so bad. There's one extra step in the shower, the pre-conditioner.It doesn't need to be rinsed out, so it really only adds a minute or two to your usual routine, which is nice. The perfecting balm is used after you towel dry your hair, which is exactly how I use my argan oil, so no real time difference there, either.
What isn't clear about this system is that purported results come as a result of not only use of the 4 products, but also of blow drying your hair, as well as straightening it, if needed, after you blow dry it. These are steps that I almost NEVER take, and was not excited to find out needed to be a part of the Ultimate Straight regiment. (Though, I understand how stick straight hair works, so I can't say I was surprised.)
I tried this system 3 times, once using the whole system less the secret steps, once only using steps 1 and 3, and once using the whole system with the secret steps. My thoughts:
No Secret Steps:
Hair is definitely softer, thought not necessarily straighter. The routine isn't so arduous that I wouldn't keep doing it, though I'm not sure if the results are any better than what I usually do with my three step routine.
1 & 3:
Hair is still pretty soft, but definitely not straighter. If anything, I have MORE flyaways than usual - possibly a result of not using a post-shower moisturizer? Using steps 1 & 3 as an independent straightening system is probably useless, but I might use them in conjunction with my argan oil. Will have to try this.
I feel like if you have to use styling tools to achieve perfect, optimum results, the products aren't really delivering 100% on their promises. Of COURSE your hair will be straight if you straighten it with a blowdryer and an iron. You don't really need a straightening product regiment for that. But I was resolve to try this, so I did. Result? The same, if not marginally worse, than my usual hair straightening routine. My hair is still super soft, which is great, but I have plenty of rogue frizzies, and it still doesn't lie as flat as I'd like it to
As a simple hair care regimen, this seems fine, though it leaves my hair feeling pretty light, which I'm sure contributes to my frizzy/flyaway look. I'm a natural brunette who is actively going grey, so I need a lot more weight to keep the greys down than what this system seems able to offer me. That said, I'm ok with keeping up with the 4 step system til I run out of product, but I'm not sure if I'd purchase steps 2 & 4 independently. I'm not convinced that step 2 actually does anything, but I would purchase it again, if I can get a good deal on it. Step 4 I will probably just trade out for my usual argan oil, which seems to be more moisturizing for my hair. I don't think I'd endorse it as a revolutionary new straightening regiment, but it is adequate.
#Ultimatestraight was provided for me for free as part of a 2015 Influenster VoxBox. Thanks for the products, Influenster!