When it comes to products designed specifically for redheads, I tend to find that the US is a little better served than the UK is. All too often, I find myself getting excited about some fabulous-sounding product I’ve discovered… only to find that it can’t be shipped to me. (I like to imagine the brand in question sticking their middle fingers up at me when this happens…)
Normally I just try to forget about these products. I know I could find some of them on eBay or whatever, but most of them are shampoos and conditioners, and while I don’t always object to paying international shipping rates (and then waiting weeks to get my item) for something that’s a one-time purchase, say, I don’t much fancy having to trawl eBay and bid on auctions every week for products I use on a daily basis and frequently need to replace (or buying in bulk and feeling like I’d made a major investment). I typically get through a small bottle of conditioner a week, and the shipping (not to mention the time spent trawling…) would add up pretty quickly, so rather than getting attached to something that’s always going to be a hassle to buy, I generally just focus on the ones that ARE available here instead. I also whine a lot. But you knew that.
All of which is my typically long-winded way of building up to the fact that, hey you guys, I totally bought a fancy-pants conditioner from abroad! Because OF COURSE I DID.
This is Quantum ‘Riveting Reds’ Color Refreshing Conditioner, and, as you will have deduced from the US spelling, it’s an American product. I’ve known about this for a while now, but had never seen it on any UK websites, until last month, when it suddenly popped up on Amazon UK.
I was still a little reluctant: it was £11 including delivery, and I’m pretty cheap with stuff like this (In my defence, my beloved Superdrug Colour Effects is only £1.99 per bottle, so I don’t have much need to pay more than that…), but I don’t know, the Spring air must have gone to my head or something, because the next thing I knew, I was adding it to my basket and pressing “confirm”. I instantly regretted this move when I got a shipping confirmation a couple of days later letting me know I could expect my delivery on May 3rd, but luckily that turned out to be a filthy rotten lie, and it turned up about two days after that, in roughly the same timescale as most of the other websites I shop from. So that was a relief.
As you can see from the photo, this claims to “refresh and brighten all shades of red hair”. The main thing to note about it is that it’s NOT a dye: it’s a colour-depositing conditioner, designed to make hair that’s already red (whether naturally or chemically so) a little more vibrant, and to prevent colour-fade if your hair is dyed. If you don’t already have red hair, then this won’t miraculously turn you ginger, although if your hair is very light you might notice a reddish tinge to it. I also very much doubt that it would cover grey: the main “reddening” ingredient is henna, but there are no warnings against using it on chemically treated hair (In fact, one of the main selling points is that it will help prevent the notoriously difficult to maintain red chemical dyes from fading), so I’m assuming the amounts used are pretty small. With that said, it IS colour depositing, and that means it will deposit colour on everything it touches, so my advice is to treat it as if it WAS a permanent colour, and not allow it to touch anything you don’t want to turn red. It will dye your hands. It will dye your towels. It will dye the grout in your bathroom tiles. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
As this is a conditioner, you’ll no doubt be totally unsurprised to learn that you use it in exactly the same way you’d use any other conditioner. The directions tell you simply to “massage through hair evenly and rinse”. I use it in the shower, and normally leave it for 2-3 minutes to sink in, but you can obviously leave it for longer than that if you’re looking for a more intense colour.
The product comes out of the bottle roughly the colour of ketchup, which is why I tell you to keep it away from white towels etc. It’s a fairly thick consistency, which isn’t as easy to distribute as regular conditioners, but on the plus-side, because it’s thick, you don’t get much in the way of splash-back either, unless you tend to whip your head around a lot in the shower. I do that.
One word of warning: like Superdrug Colour Effects, this sucks as a conditioner, so if you’re hoping it will detangle and smooth your hair as well as refreshing the colour, well, I wouldn’t bank on it. After the first couple of applications, I decided to use it purely as a colour treatment: I use another conditioner afterwards, or I can’t get a comb through my hair without a struggle.
As a colour-treatment, however, it’s much better. I noticed a difference after my first application: my hair was brighter, redder and just a slightly more intense version of its natural colour. What I would say about this, though – and actually ALL products in this genre that I’ve tried – is that the difference is subtle enough that you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re the only one who notices. I’ve never had anyone ask if if changed my hair colour after using something like this for instance, because I just don’t think that one shade of red looks much different to another to the casual observer. People would obviously notice if I went from red to blonde or black, say, but a more intense version of my usual colour? Nah: it might look different to ME, but to anyone else, it’s no biggie.
It’s also a colour change that’s almost impossible to photograph. I figured this review really needed a before and after shot for comparison, but I’ll be totally honest: I completely forgot to take the “before” one, and when I looked back at some older photos for a comparison, I honestly couldn’t see a difference, even although I DO see one in real life. My hair, as I’ve mentioned before, can look COMPLETELY different depending on when and how it’s photographed, and a subtle change in colour just isn’t something that’s going to stand out in a photo. This is unfortunate for this review, but not so unfortunate in real life, because this is exactly what I’m looking for from this type of product. I don’t want to change my hair colour drastically, just to “boost” its natural shade, and I’d say this does that nicely. Just for reference, though, the photo at the top of the page was taken after three applications (the last of which was on the day the photo was taken) with a few washes in between where I didn’t use the conditioner. I didn’t notice any fading on the days I didn’t use it, so I’d say you could probably get away with using it two or three times per week if you want to save some money.
So, will I buy it again?
Probably not, to be honest. It’s not that I don’t like the product: I really do. It’s purely a matter of availability. This costs £11 per bottle when you factor in the shipping, and the 300ml bottle doesn’t go very far on my long hair, even if used sparingly, so I’ll be sticking with Superdrug for now, although if I can find it, I would definitely consider ordering some of the matching shampoo, which would last longer. If you’re in the US, thought, and have red hair, I’d recommend giving it a shot: you can find it at Sallys and Amazon.