If it looks luxe, feels luxe and needs a luxe wallet, it must also be super-effective, right? Well! As most of us have learnt along the way, the fact that a beauty product comes with a hefty price tag and an enchanted feel-good experience is no guarantee that it will make a dramatic difference to your hair or skin. Which brings us to the Kérastase Chronologiste – billed as “The finest haircare treatment ever created by Kérastase”. Really? Time to put it to the test, which I did yesterday.
First, let’s talk about the technology of this lush product that is centred around caviar. Except that the treatment doesn’t really have caviar – it’s “mimetic caviar”, which is a lab-derived equivalent (honestly, I don’t mind since who wants their hair to smell like fish eggs?). Anyway, this mimetic caviar comes in the form of pearls that are immersed in enriched Pacific sea-water and are crushed just before use to release active ingredients like lipids, vitamins A and E, and marine nutrients. These are mixed into the Creme Chronologiste, which is loaded with hair-nourishing goodies like gluco-lipids, ceramides, anti-oxidants and silicone. The result is a velvety paste that is applied liberally on your strands, right from roots to ends.
In the salon ritual (which uses more concentrated versions of the products and clocks in at Rs. 2,500 [US$75, ] for a 60-minute ritual), my hair therapist followed up the application with the most intense, reinvigorating and heavenly head and shoulder massage that loosened and refreshed every tiny millimetre of my scalp and was more decadent than all the products put together – I would go back just for this! Then she popped my head under one of those hooded steamers that make you look like a space traveller – 8 minutes of hot steam and 2 minutes of cold air (to close the hair cuticles) later, my hair was washed, dried and softly serum-ed into a glossy version of it’s normal straw-like texture. Ta da!
Now for the ultimate question – was it worth it?
My hair – which had been feeling dry, dull and totally lifeless after endless rounds of colour and flat-irons – did come out looking shinier, bouncier and smoother. It also felt lighter and not-so-weighed down, which meant that my fine strands looked more voluminous and had good movement. My scalp, which was so dry that it was flaking, seemed less tight and the flakes seemed to vanish. However, just a few hours later, the ends started frizzing and by the next morning, some of the shine had already disappeared, leaving me to wonder whether the initial smoothness and glossiness was due to an external layer of silicones rather than true deep conditioning. Frankly, I would say the long-term results were just a notch above the more generic L’Oreal Professionel in-salon treatments, which cost about half the money.
Which is one of the reasons why I won’t be buying the take-home box (Rs. 6,650 [US$145] for 10 treatments) anytime soon. Actually, I am sure that 10 concentrated doses would make an improvement but this treatment should ideally be carried out either by a professional or an extremely patient person who can meticulously coat each strand, from root to tip, for best effects. And I fall into neither of these categories. Think of it as the difference between do-at-home face masks and a dermatological facial – technique matters!
Would I try the in-salon treatment again? When I have cash to burn then yes – if only for the decadent, feel-good factor and the aforementioned head massage. Otherwise, I would rather stick to the more affordable and equally effective L’Oreal Professionel or Wella salon samplers. What would you do?