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On My Shelf: Leonor Greyl Huile Secret de Beauté

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If there’s one thing I’m horrible at, it’s reading directions. Maybe it’s that I’ve grown disenchanted by instances in which I HAVE actually made an effort to do so …only to fail epically at the task at hand. (IKEA furniture comes to mind, but honestly, should we even call those things directions?) Maybe I’m making excuses for myself. Anyway.

I came across a question from a DermStore shopper the other day regarding retinol usage. Said shopper had purchased one of our top-rated retinol products, and mistakenly discarded the directions … before proceeding to use the retinol product on a nightly basis for a week or so. (I shudder to wonder, did she also skip sunscreen during the day? Ouch.) If you’re familiar with retinol products even a little bit, then you know: daily use of a particularly strong formulation is not advisable for beginners … or ever, if you’ve got sensitive skin like mine. (I’ve found that every other night is as much as I can take.) To the shock of no one in the beauty industry, this woman wound up with seriously irritated skin. The moral of the story? Directions serve a purpose even when it comes to beauty products—a category of goods whose usage/execution is, collectively speaking, pretty self-explanatory.

But is it really that easy?

Apparently, it’s not. Not even for yours truly! Not a full day after I wrote that woman back to explain the proper beginning use of any kind of retinoid, I received a new product I’d been dying to try. Being that it’s an oil from one of the most amazing luxury hair care brands we carry, I never even stopped to think that maybe I should check out the recommended usage. I mean, hair oil is hair oil, right? You massage a dollop on the ends of your wet hair, then you blow it dry, right? Well, sort of. but not exactly.

To make a long story slightly less long, Leonor Greyl Huile Secret de Beauté is unlike other hair oils I’ve used—for many reasons other than the fact that applying it to my wet ends made blowing my hair dry a farce—but I’ll get into those shortly. I’m happy I refused to give up on this product even after washing/blowing my hair out on a Saturday morning (a rare occurrence) only to wind up at brunch donning my weekday topknot and a sour look on my face. Before meeting a girlfriend for dinner later on that evening, I decided to give it another go.

It was then that I realized this stuff is NOT meant to be used as a styling aid … at least, not in the heavy-handed way I’d used it earlier. The directions do indicate that it can be used on damp hair before styling; I overdid it. That said, I really feel that, for hair, it works best as a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment. But to use it only for that purpose would be wasteful! This oil is to beauty what the buffalo was to the American Indians. (Okay, maybe it’s not exactly that. But it does serve a variety of purposes.)

This magical potion—in addition to providing a kick-ass conditioning boost before you shampoo—works as a body oil, too. Its texture is pure luxury, and its scent is tropical and alluring, yet subtle—I think it’s faint enough to wear in conjunction with whatever perfume products you normally do. But that’s not all.

Used on dry/styled hair when you’re planning on being outside, it provides protection from the sun. Am I saying you should use it in lieu of sunscreen and lay out? NO! But if your hair is color-treated, you should be doing SOMETHING to protect it from fading when you’re outdoors this time of year … and this is that something.

Finally, the natural oils that make up the product work to enhance a tan. Or, in cases like mine where no semblance of a tan is typically present, to foster a healthy glow.

Did I mention the awesome scent? It’s SERIOUSLY opulent without being in-your-face, and that’s a tough balance to strike.

Leonor Greyl Huile Secret de Beauté seems splurge-y at $66, I know. But a little of it goes a very long way. And really, I went from hating this stuff to loving it in a 12-hour period. I will buy this product again and again, but I’m guessing I’ll only need to do so once or twice a year at most.

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