I first popped the original Elasticizer (created for Audrey Hepburn - you learn something new every day, hey?) into my basket whilst browsing the newly revamped M&S Beauty Hall last summer - I was desperately searching for something to take the edge off my increasingly dry, brittle and unmanageable hair, and magazine article upon magazine article had conspired to imprint me with a vague but unmistakeable impression that this was one of my best bets, crystallising when I first caught sight of it in real life.
As I told you in one of my first posts, I found it a lifesaver (or at least a mane-saver) - I'd thought my only viable option, if I wasn't prepared to continue to spend over an hour a day detangling, was to lop a foot or two off my hair length, but, instantaneously, my hair became much more manageable, with dramatic decreases in breakages and brushing time. Once I'd squeezed out the last scrap, I decided to try the Extreme version, rationalising that, if the standard version was that good, surely the "extreme" option would be even better... However, as with the John Frieda Full Repair range, I actually found that the standard version worked better for me!
How Do They Work?
Both products are pre-shampoo conditioning treatments and come with identical instructions - work into damp hair, cover with a plastic cap (I also wrap a turby towel around the cap), leave for 10-20 minutes, rinse off, and follow with shampoo and conditioner as usual.
Manageability During Washing and Drying
After using the original Elasticizer, I noticed no difference in my hair whilst still wet, or during blow drying. When using the Elasticizer Extreme, I did find my wet hair much easier to manage, comb and dry, with fewer breakages.
Winner: Elasticizer Extreme
Appearance and Manageability After Drying
I was never unhappy with the appearance of my hair, only its lack of manageability, so, although neither of these products really made a visible difference in terms of shine or anything, that wasn't really my goal anyway. I was pleased that neither weighed my hair down or compromised on volume, although I do feel I slightly prefer the appearance of my hair after using the original Elasticizer vs the Elasticizer Extreme (which I think may just be adding the teeniest bit of frizz).
My hair was significantly easier to manage until my next wash after using the original version - fewer tangles and breakages, and vastly reduced brushing time. With the Extreme version, to be perfectly honest, I noticed little to no improvement over regular shampoo and conditioner in terms of manageability, however much I used!
Winner: Original Elasticizer
Any effects obtained initially last until the next wash - I do think that, as claimed, using the original Elasticizer over a prolonged period of time may have given my hair more long-lasting strength though - a moisturising shampoo and conditioner alone now give almost the same effects as I could originally obtain only with the treatment (I suppose this may go some way to explain why the Extreme version didn't then affect me so dramatically?!). The original version also provides some UV protection and is meant to help retain colour.
Winner: Original Elasticizer
Would I Recommend Them?
I would have no hesitation in recommending the original Elasticizer to anyone suffering from dry, brittle and/or unmanageable hair. If you've tried the Elasticizer Extreme and it hasn't worked for you, don't be put off testing the "standard" version! Having said that, don't necessarily let my experiences put you off trying the Extreme version either - different products have different effects on different hair, and I assume at least some of those beauty editors who spend half their time raving about it must genuinely believe in it!
Where to Buy
You can order directly from the Philip Kingsley website - they stock several sizes of each product, including 20ml samples for £3.70, and offer a reward scheme, useful if you do become an addict - you can also read tons more customer reviews... Or there's always good old M&S!
Have you tried either of these products? Do you swear by any other hair treatment gems?