Although I'd planned to get lots of work done yesterday evening, after spending the 20 minute train ride back from the Liz Earle haircare preview sniffing the products, I ran home and jumped straight into the shower to test the Botanical Shine Shampoo and Conditioner. What can I say? After a comprehensive, informative and engaging explanation of the product evolution and a bit of show and tell with the ingredients (including smelling the delicious essential oils used in the range, which explains my sniffing on the train!), I expected to love these products. And in shock move, I absolutely did. Could it be any other way when the shampoo is described as 'Cleanse & Polish for hair'?
The range consists of one shampoo for all hair types. That's right, one. See, I told you it was the C&P for hair! The only choice you need to make is for the conditioner, and whether you are normal, oily or dry and damaged. After we all selected the dry and damaged conditioner to take home last night, I predict that one will be a best seller!
Everything is SLS and SLES free, so the challenge was to create products that lathered without stripping essential moisture and colour from the hair (most of us associate a good foam as a sign that we're clean, although the ingredients that make a product lather are not what strips the dirt away - weird, non?) The top tip of the evening was to use a 10p sized amount of product, and, if it doesn't foam, more water should be added. In the past, I have always heaped on more product, so my new mantra for this range will be 'less is more' for the shampoo and 'more is more' when it comes to water! Hair should be completely saturated before you apply the shampoo and although you don't get the kind of lather that enables you to shape your hair into a point on top of your head (no, I've not done this for years either, but it was fun when I was small!) it's a nice foam that you can feel is really working. After I rinsed, I had squeaky clean hair - don't you love it when your hair actually squeaks with cleanliness? - and, delighted, I moved onto conditioning.
How to describe the dry and damaged conditioner? Think of your richest, most luxurious face cream, and that's the texture you've got. I was surprised and delighted at how thick it was, especially as it comes in a tube (textures like that always seem to come in pots that promise miracles!) and the scents are heavenly. Liz and Kim worked to create the beautiful fragrances that have base, middle and top notes, so actually feel like a full-on, indulgent fragrance experience (after 12 hours, my hair still smells incredible, and it got 10 points from the boy who described it as 'very sophisticated and understated. It smells expensive'.) The conditioner is rich in West African shea butter, an ingredient that smoothes the cuticle as it hydrates, leaving us frizz-prone girls with silky, manageable locks. I blow dried after I washed, and using only a heat protectant spray and no styling product or straightening balm, I was able to straighten my hair much more easily than normal. As for the other conditioners, the key ingredient in the oily hair conditioner is black cohosh, which provides finely balanced conditioning that addresses an oily scalp while still nourishing the lengths and ends. The normal hair conditioner contains the very pretty sounding meadowfoam oil which conditions without excessive heaviness. We compared the textures of the dry and damaged with the oily hair conditioners and the difference was marked: the latter was much finer and lighter, which is exactly what you'd expect from such a carefully developed ranged. It was interesting to hear that Liz Earle herself has actually managed to go from using the dry and damaged conditioner to using the normal conditioner, suggesting that they have a cumulative conditioning effect on hair, which is something I'm really hoping for!
Now onto what you really want to know: how did it rate? Well, after I washed it out, my hair was squeaky clean and beautifully soft. As covered in earlier posts, I have dry, damaged, coarse, thick hair, and had moments in my teenage years where it looked as though I was wearing a tumbleweed on my head: ah, the glamour. This morning, I have soft, silky hair that is swishy and shining. And the best part? The shampoo and conditioner are £7.50 a bottle. £7.50! I have paid three times this for a shampoo and even more for a conditioner that have delivered similar or poorer results, but were invariably not 100% natural and contained SLS and SLES. Each bottle contains 29 applications, and in a non-consumerist moment, Liz even challenged us to 'see how little product we can use each time: happily!
The range will be released online and in the Cowes (Isle of Wight) and Duke of York (Chelsea) stores on 2nd September and in John Lewis stores on 6th September. There will be a 'know your hair' page on the site that will recommend the best conditioner for your specific needs, completely removing the mystery from your selection. So, where will I be on 2nd September? In the queue outside the Duke of York store, of course!
Finally, thanks to Andrea, Laura, Louise and the entire Liz Earle team for inviting me to this lovely event and introducing me to yet more amazing products!
Are you excited about this launch and planning to invest, or is this the first you've heard of their hair range?
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