With hair salons closed, putting regular visits on hold, chances are you’re experiencing the odd split end.
It’s been something of a rollercoaster ride for beauty services during the past 12 months: hairdressers closed for the first time in March 2020, before opening back up in July, shutting during the November lockdown, opening once more in December and closing again in January. And there’s no news yet as to when they might be able to reopen this time.
If you didn’t manage to get a hair appointment recently and don’t fancy the idea of a home trim, it may be the best part of a year since you’ve said goodbye to those stressed tresses.
Buying patterns show that many of us have been trying to remedy the damage at home. The MBS Group revealed in its Covid-19 and the beauty industry report that, in the American market during the first wave of the pandemic, “sales of shampoo and conditioner went up – perhaps reflecting the trend towards pampering and self-care”.
One conditioner that hit heady heights was L’Oréal’s dream lengths wonder water. It launched ahead of the pandemic in January 2020 and went on to become America’s number one hair treatment, with a bottle selling every minute.
Now the brand has launched its popular conditioner in the UK. It describes the product as “a game changing new hair treatment that visibly transforms lengths in just eight seconds. Hair is 10 times smoother, with glassy shine and a silky touch.”
It sounds like a tempting prospect for anyone feeling the woes of lockdown locks – so we tested it to see if it lives up to the hype. If you want to try it for yourself, we’ve got some good news because Amazon has slashed the price of this bestseller by 50 per cent in its unmissable spring sale. We’d urge you to run, not walk.
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L’Oréal Elvive dream lengths wonder water: Was £9.99, now £4.99, Amazon.co.uk
The formula of this conditioner has, as you’d expect, a watery consistency, which is nothing like any conditioner we’ve used before.
It’s runny, not sticky, but also a little oily, and has been designed for and tested on all hair types.
Central to the wonder water is its “lamellar technology”. According to L’Oréal, it “coats hair fibres with caring agents which instantly heal any damaged areas of hair fibres without using any silicones and reflects maximum light to reveal shinier-looking hair, silky to the touch”.
The smell of this product is strong – tropical and fruity – while you’re using it, and even hours later once your hair is dried and styled, though it does wear off eventually. Such a powerful scent isn’t to everyone’s taste, so do be warned before you buy, if that’s something you’d rather avoid.
The bottle has a nozzle, designed to let you apply “doses”, and the suggestion is to use one dose for fine hair and two to three for thick or curly hair, plus an extra dose if your hair is super long. You should use it on the lengths only – not the scalp.
The brand suggests moving the nozzle in a “Z action”, and then massaging it in for eight seconds before rinsing.
It wasn’t possible to “measure” doses so I squeezed once and felt enough formula had come out to cover my fine ends. As my hair is neither very long nor thick, I stopped there.
L’Oréal suggests using this product up to three times per week and says you can use it in addition to regular conditioner (though due to our hair type – fine with a mix of virgin hair and overbleached strands – we used this as a standalone treatment).
L’Oréal suggests to “follow with a blow dry, for an extra silky effect”, which we did.
It was pleasing to note that our hair did feel smoother than it had done prior to treatment, and the ends fell straight down, rather than curling up, which can occur when fine hair gets too soft – common with some conditioners and softening shampoos.
Best of all the hair felt light, not weighed down by product in the slightest, and very manageable. Combing it through was easy and the hair did not get tangled in comb teeth, which is a regular occurrence for us.
There was no noticeable shine, but there is no doubt this is more to do with the overbleached condition of this tester’s hair, rather than the wonder water not doing its job.
L’Oréal’s claim that its wonder water works on all types of hair is a bold one, that we can’t currently verify. But without a doubt, it’s proved to be a great addition to our haircare routine, taking away tangles and smoothing without leaving our fine hair lank.
With this in mind, we would certainly recommend it to anyone with similar hair, who shies away from anything that will weigh wispy locks down.
If you have thicker hair and enjoy the occasional mask for deeper conditioning, or find your hair benefits from more heavy-duty conditioners, you might want to use this in conjunction with those treatments, rather than on its own.
For more hair and make-up reviews, check out our dedicated beauty section
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