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When my daughter and I had a weekend away recently we came home with a supply of lovely Molton Brown products, a brand I absolutely adore but rarely get to use these days thanks to their bizarrely high prices and the fact that with six people in the house 'smellies' tend to be used up far too quickly for me to go for premium options too often!
This Molton Brown Lili Pili Conditioner was one of our haul, and the item I couldn't wait to use as I have a highly irritating hair issue which leads me to try just about every conditioner on the market in a bid to find the 'perfect one'. After rubbing a small amount between my fingertips I ascertained that it was certainly creamy enough to be a contender, so the next morning I toddled off to the bathroom armed with this (hopefully) excellent conditioner to give it a trial run.
My 'hair issue' is that it tangles like nobody's business at the merest hint of dampness, it doesn't frizz or anything like that but after washing I have to use a good conditioner or else risk losing half of my hair through the simple act of brushing. This horrible tangle issue is so bad that if rain is forecast (and it usually is...) I have to wear my hair up as if left loose I end up looking like I've been dragged through the proverbial hedge - obviously there's nothing I can do about the rain (a move back to Kenya, it never rains there!) but I do spend an inordinate amount of money on conditioning products to prevent the issue after my daily hair wash.
First things first. This conditioner smells amazing. Not just gorgeous, or lovely - AMAZING. It's rich and creamy with a delicious zesty citrus undertone, there are elements of ginger in there which work absolutely wonderfully with the citrus notes to create a conditioner which if it works half as beautifully as it smells then I'll be one happy hair washer!
It's a really nice conditioner to use with the smoothest of smooth consistencies to ensure I can massage it through my hair quickly and easily, as with any conditioner I leave it in my hair for a few minutes before rinsing and when the rinsing point approached and I touched my hair I could feel that it was silky smooth and the tangle problem didn't seem to be too apparent. Rinsing is a very quick and easy process and I'd guesstimate every trace of conditioner to have gone from my hair within a minute despite the fact that I have long hair which seems to be pretty porous when it comes to keeping hold of hair products in general and not wanting to give them up to the rinsing water. As I rinsed I noticed with a heavy heart that my hair was beginning to knot up, and by the time the conditioner had gone completely it didn't really seem in any better condition tangle-wise than when I use other (less expensive) conditioners.
I gave my hair a quick squeeze in the towel and proceeded with the hated job of brushing, discovering that the tangles which had formed during rinsing did actually seem to come out a little easier than usual even though I was still slightly annoyed that they were there in the first place. I didn't lose too many hairs while getting rid of them all and it didn't take me as long as usual to drag the brush through my hair - the hairs at the nape of my neck were the most tangled (as per usual) and it was this area where I definitely felt I hadn't been helped by this conditioner despite the fact that I'd carefully applied it here knowing that this is where the majority of my problems occur.
Other than the tangle issue I'd say this is a really lovely conditioner. It left my hair soft with a visible shine, I found my hair is manageable in spite of the softness and I'm highly impressed with how sleek and glossy my hair looks. It doesn't weigh my hair down at all over the day and passes the big test of keeping my fringe looking nice for the duration of the day - a big deal for me as it's a feathery fringe which separates and looks downright awful if I use a conditioner which is too heavy, unfortunately I never can tell if it's going to be too heavy until I've actually used it and often with new products end up having to spend a day with a greasy looking messed up fringe until I get time to wash it again. Thankfully this doesn't happen with the Lili Pili conditioner!
Will I buy it again? At £18 a bottle sadly I won't, simply because although it makes my hair look and feel fabulous it just doesn't do the job that I purchase conditioner for - ie. the tangling problems. I'm in the odd position of still recommending it however, it really is a nice conditioner if you have the kind of hair which doesn't need too much help in the conditioning stakes - unfortunately I need more than Lili Pili can offer me so although I adore the smell and conditioning experience it's back to the drawing board for me, although I must say my partner is more than happy that I haven't fallen in love with this very expensive hair product so it's not all bad!
A couple of months ago I had a bit of a blow-out in the Molton Brown outlet shop in Cheshire Oaks Outlet Centre in Ellesmere Port. My husband has long been inclined to spoil me with things from Molton Brown and had bought me a couple of their shower gels for Christmas. Since he has to guess and since I don't always tell him if he gets it wrong, he wanted me to take him into the store and tell him which things I really liked so he'd have a better idea next time. We managed to visit on a day when the store manager was clearly feeling generous and we picked up a lot of great bargains. One of our best buys was two sets of miniatures - 24 bottles in each set - for £10 each. This brought each of the 'hotel bathroom' sized bottles to less than 50 pence. Each set contained half a dozen each of a shower gel, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner. Hence when I got home I had a dozen 30ml bottles of Radiant Lili Pili shampoo and a dozen bottles of the same conditioner to play with.
I always use conditioner and have done so for many years. I have long hair and it's in (according to my hairdresser) outstanding condition. I can't claim this is due to spending a fortune on products as I don't do that at all but I do use a lot of conditioner and - more importantly - I never use a hair dryer, tongs or straighteners. The secret to good hair is (in my opinion) to treat it kindly. I tend to use whatever conditioner my husband sticks in the bathroom cupboard and I'm not the slightest big loyal to any brand. However, knowing that Molton Brown started life as a hairdressing salon, I was optimistic that their hair products ought to be very good.
I decided not to keep my little bottles 'for best' but to start using them straight away. I travel every week so I'm always happy to have a good supply of small bottles as they help me in my quest to stick to hand luggage as much as possible. However the downside is that 30 ml of conditioner is a bit on the mean side for me. The greater annoyance is trying to get the damned stuff out of the bottle.
Firstly I should say that I love the Radiant Lili Pili shampoo and a small 30 ml bottle will last me 3-4 shampoos. It's great stuff. I'm not so crazy though about the conditioner. It's a very thick white, slightly pearlescent 'goop' and whilst it has the same delicious and enigmatic scent as the shampoo, I find that it's just too thick for my needs. Keeping in mind that my chief need is to get it out of the bottle whilst standing in a shower or lying in the bath, I find it rather frustrating to be thwacking it against my hand with a rising sense of annoyance. I do find that once I've got the first blob out, if I add some water to the bottle and give it a good shake, it comes out more easily and gives better coverage on my hair. 30ml on its own is struggling to get through all my hair, but watered down it does the job.
Now back to one of the most important things about Molton Brown products and that's the smell. I do find that what distinguishes Molton Brown from cheaper brands is the quality of the fragrances that they use and their excellent staying power. When I use the Lili Pili shampoo and conditioner, I do get a light residue of the fragrance. Not so much that it would interfere with my perfume, but definitely something that lingers lightly. The first time I used it my main thought was "What the heck is that supposed to be?" and I had to go off and google 'lili pili' to find out. I could identify it as broadly fruity with a strange note that catches me at the back of the throat. Lili Pili or Syzygium luehmannii to give it its botanical name, is a fruit that's native to Australia, growing mostly on the eastern coast between Sydney and Cairns. It's apparently good in jam and sweets or even eaten straight off the tree. Allegedly the Lili Pili conditioner also contains green lime, mandarin and ginger and I can convince myself I'm picking up the lime but the ginger doesn't come through for me. My bottles have Japanese writing on the back which means you'll be spared the ingredient list but it also suggests to me that this product was probably made for the Far Eastern market. Searching online I can't find any UK stores still selling this and I suspect that it may only be available in the Far East or may in fact have just been withdrawn. If that's the case, it wouldn't surprise me too much - it's just not a fragrance that's sufficiently familiar for the average European user to feel entirely comfortable with it.
As a conditioner, the Radiant Lili Pili it's no more spectacular than my £1 a bottle specials from Alberto or L'Oreal. In fact I tend to feel it's not as good as I have to use less than normal and my hair really likes LOTS of conditioner. If I paid full price for a big bottle of this - I can't find it listed on Amazon or on the Molton Brown site as I suspect it's been delisted but their other conditioners cost £18 for 300 ml - I would feel I had to be very mean with it too. It's supposedly designed for 'regular use' which makes me think it's for regular use by people with more money than sense. The magic ingredients are supposed to include the lili pili extracts and rice peptides. I have no idea about the science but all I can say is it's a rather ordinary but very pleasant smelling conditioner.