As a member of the group Bzzagent I regularly get invited to brand campaigns to promote and create social buzz about products. One of the recent campaigns was for the hair care brand Toni and Guy (their London Salon Established in 1963) and this Curl Defining Oil was included in the freebies I got to test. This is the perfect product for me to try as I have naturally wavy to curly hair and often wear it curly rather than straight. Keeping those curls in a well defined shape is pretty hard to do though and I always have to use some kind of product to help me do that. Although I've used Toni and Guy products before I had never used this Curl Defining Oil.
The product is in the Toni and Guy 'Prep' range which I believe means it's a product you use during the styling process rather than afterwards. It comes in a white-grey coloured bottle which is fitted with a big pump button on the top. This top can be twisted around to allow open and closed positions. The bottle size is 150ml or 5.07 US Fl. Oz.
There is plenty of information printed on the bottle for your benefit including full ingredients, advice about what the product does and information about how to use it and what other products to use to achieve a professional finish. Contact information for the Unilever manufacturers is also printed on the bottle.
Toni and Guy claim they have invented the best hair care products as a result of working at the London Fashion Week events. They state that they've allowed hair to become a "fashion accessory" and state that they've invented four styling collections called "Casual, Classic, Glamour and Creative" to help you pinpoint a particular style. See their website (address at bottom of review) for more information about this. You can also scan the QR code on the bottle.
Since this product is called 'oil' I was expecting the consistency to be like baby oil or at least like serum. Infact it's more of a runny, sticky gel. It's totally transparent and has a sharp, sweet fragrance which leans towards being feminine. The pump dispenses the gel in little bursts so you have to press it a few times to get your desired amount. Although the gel feels sticky it transfers easily to hair without being difficult to work through nor does it make the hair stick to your fingers or hands.
You have to use this product on damp hair, working it into your strands of hair, combing it through for even distribution and then drying hair either with a hairdryer or naturally. I usually dry mine naturally as heat makes my hair frizz and go bouffant and this product is not heat protective.
I found that the curl defining oil works rather like a serum in that it decreases frizz and creates more or a defined shape. The difference between this and a serum though is that this feels quite heavy and thicker on the hair shaft. It also doesn't create as much shine as a serum. I do like how this creates and defines my curls - it's similar to what a mousse would do but without the dryness and residue.
I do notice with this product that I need to wash my hair more often than usual. This is because the product, although Toni and Guy describe it as awarding "lightweight conditiong", feels rather heavy and makes my hair feel thicker and harder to manage. I mean, in one sense the volume is great for how the curls fall but then the curls do start to lose their shape after a day or so and you are left with heavy straighter hair that feels difficult to re-style without starting from scratch. After a day or two it almost feels like a build up of product has occured in your hair and this occurs no matter how much or how little of the product you actually apply.
I will definitely keep using this product but perhaps sporadically or for special occasions rather than for everytime I wash my hair. I just feel like it is a product that is rather short lasting and I don't want to keep washing my hair as often due to the pre-existing condition of dryness to my hair. Since you can't reapply to dry hair you can't use it between washes. The product is effective though in creating defined curls although the immediate effect isn't all that long lasting at least on my hair. I would also love to see the product give a little more shine or gloss to the hair. I will probably use this if I have a special night out and need a product like this to create well defined curls easily and without fuss knowing the hair style will last the night.
I am signed up with Bzz agent which is a site which gets people to test products and then share their opinions on the products they have used. A recent campaign they have been running has been in conjunction with Toni and Guy, and I was sent 5 full sized products to trial. This was a bit like Christmas day for me, opening a parcel with so many branded products all for me.
Having naturally curly hair, the first product I was inspired to try was a curl defining oil. I got a 150ml bottle of this which retails at Boots for £6.39. This makes it about the same price per volume as John Frieda prodcucts, like Frizz Ease Serum which is what this product most reminds me of. The container is opaque so you can't see the product inside, and has a press down dispenser on the lid which can be twisted to lock the bottle. This is a pretty essential feature in my house to a) stop me using too much in one go, and b) discourage the kids from fiddling with it and wasting expensive product.
This is designed to be used after washing your hair. You apply to damp hair by combing it through. I put some on my hands, I rub my hands together to evenly coat it on my hands, then comb my fingers through my hair to spread it throughout the lengthes of my hair. My hair is about shoulder length and very thick at the moment, and I found it took at least 4 squirts for me to get enough product to feel like I had enough on my hair. I did put a little more close to my hairline as I find most frizz occurs for me round the temple where the hairs are a little shorter. I found my hands were a tiny bit tacky after applying it and that I needed to wash them.
The serum is dense and clear in colour. It has a beautiful fruity scent, which is not that strong, but you can smell it when you get close to your hair. If I put a small bit on my hand it just sits there, and this is why it needs to go through wet hair in my opinion to stick to the hair along the strand rather than in one place.
I find that this makes my hair look toussled rather than full blown curls like if I used mousse as my hair is so heavy. I will use this mainly under mousse to get better curl definition in future, but wanted to give this a trial on its own without anything else affecting my opinion on it. I'd compare this to what my hair looks like when damp, like perhaps if I had been swimming or on the beach. I really liked the look, as I felt it was quite casual.
My hair still had the same look after sleeping on it, and although it initially had been quite soft to the touch, I felt it was a bit harder to the touch on day two in my hair. This softened after I ran my fingers through my hair again. Frizz was unapparent on day two or three, but by day 4, I was beginning to get the tell tale flyaway bits, and by day 5 I felt my hair looked rather dull and as though it needed washing. My hair type is one that only needs washing once a week usually as I never get greasey hair, it just looks a bit dull. So this product made it look like my hair needed washing a couple of days earlier than normal.
My overall opinion of this product is that it is on par with other branded hair serums to prevent frizz. It is a medium priced product for the volume you get and how long the product should last using it sensibly. I liked the plain style of the packaging which was very fuctional and no nonsense. My hair was curlier using this product than it normally is, and the curls stayed in my longer layers till it was washed again. The top of my hair gets tied back, so this lost the curl, but that happens regardless of product and is due to the way I personally style my hair.
I would happily go out and purchase this product again as I felt it does a good job, and is not heavy on my hair, and it feels quite soft and conditioned even if it has dulled a bit quicker than normal.