Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kao Essential Hair Products

I am super thrilled that I finally used up my bottles of Shiseido White Tsubaki shampoo and conditioner, so that now I can use my Kao Essential shampoo, conditioner and hair treatment! (From now on, I will never buy big bottles again. Even though they're better values and you get more for your money, they last way too long for a girl like me who sooner or later wants to try something new!)

I really enjoy using Japanese hair products since their formulas are different and targeted for Asian hair. I'd already used the Lux Super Damage Repair set I'd received from Mona, but I believe that exact set has since been discontinued. I first saw these from Eki's review and was very excited since I know Eki has dyed her hair often like I have (used to, not anymore since July), so I figured if she likes it, I might like it too.

Information taken from the English website:

Essential Damage Care provides care for damaged hair, even the last 15cm (5.9 inches). The last 15cm is most prone to damage caused by chemical treatments, styling and blow-drying, resulting in dry, frizzy hair with tangles and split ends. With Essential Damage Care, hair becomes healthy, damage-free and shines all the way to the ends!

In addition to the natural ingredients - high purity honey & milk protein*1 Essential is also formulated with Ultra Shine Essence*2 to give hair a healthy shine.
Essential deeply repairs and strengthens hair damaged by colouring, perming, rebonding, styling and blow-drying.

Hair becomes so healthy, it shines all the way to the ends!
  1. *1 Protection ingredients: honey and whey (milk)
  2. *2 Repair ingredient: lanolin fatty acid
As you can see, these products are for damaged hair, but there are two finishes (hence the different colored bottles).

Nuance Airy (pink packaging)
"Hair shines to the ends with a light & bouncy feel"

Wild Rose Essence leaves a protective layer to keep hair soft and moisturized.
Gives limp and flat hair a light and bouncy feel.
Recommended for soft and airy hairstyles.

Ideal when you...
♥ want to style your limp and flat hair
♥ want to try soft and airy hairstyles with a light and bouncy feel

Rich Premier (orange packaging)
"Hair shines to the ends with a smooth & manageable feel"

Sunflower Oil Essence leaves a protective layer to keep hair soft and moisturized.
Gives untamable hair a smooth and manageable feel.
Recommended for sleek and elegant hairstyles.

Ideal when you...
♥ want to tame your unmanageable hair
♥ want to try elegant hairstyles with a smooth and manageable feel

I ordered from Sasa because it's so affordable, although you can also find Essential at Japanese markets like Mitsuwa and Marukai. However, Sasa is still cheaper at $4.30 per shampoo/conditioner (small bottles) and $6.20 per treatment, especially if you get free shipping (otherwise shipping is $6 for orders under $75) and of course, you don't pay taxes if you're in the U.S.

Here is the Nuance Airy set I'm currently using.

I've only been using it for a week, but I already feel the effects! It really does make my long and thick hair feel feathery light and soft (but not too soft so that I have a hard time styling it). It's an amazing feeling because I have a lot of hair which can make me feel weighed down (it has in the past when it'd gotten too long, but now I have lots of layers). It also doesn't leave any sticky residue like some Japanese drugstore hair products do and it does not dry out my hair or scalp or make it greasy so that I have to wash it right away again. Lastly, it smells fruity and sweet...like a Hi-Chew! I noticed that the shampoo smells sweetest and the treatment smells more like honey and milk, definitely not fruity or floral.

I ordered the Rich Premier set from Sasa also. I don't know if I'm just going to wait a month or so before trying them out just to compare, or wait until I finish the Nuance Airy set, although that might not happen for quite some time.

I'm also using the Essential Damage Care Treatment, which is "enriched with 2x more High Purity Honey and Milk Protein to repair and strengthen damaged hair." I swap between using this and the conditioner once a week. It makes my hair feel uber silky and soft.

Nuance Airy

Rich Premier

Essential now also has hair masks, and of course, I want! But they're not available on Sasa...I shall keep a diligent watch and if I try them, I shall report back! =)

I don't know too much about hair but I try my best to take care of mine, even though I put it through a lot of abuse like frequently dying or highlighting, as well as flat ironing, curling, and sometimes blow drying it. That's why I like Essential so much (so far) — I feel it's a really good product for its cheap price, plus of course I like the "sassy kawaii" look. What shampoo and conditioner are you currently using? What do you like your hair products to do for you?


  1. I'm loving the Essentials line as well! Tsubaki was my first love but Essentials works just as good and much more cost friendly!

    I'm waiting for Sasa to have another FS promo so I can stock up.

  2. I'm using tsubaki right now..& I love it on my hair so much...it makes it shine & manageable...but it does gives me blemishes on my hairline so I'm planning to try essential next..

  3. this line is really promising. I saw it at Kanebo counter...

  4. I totally agree! The Essential haircare line rocks! I got all the available products on Sasa, too! I used the 3 Nuance Airy products and currently using the 3 Rich Premier ones! It´s the best value for money when it comes to Japanese haircare in my opinion!
    I like the Rich Premier stuff even better than Nuance Airy as my hair needs some weighing down =)

  5. Ahh, the pink bottles are so cute, and they sound really nice! I am rather married to my shampoo (I have dandruff if I don't use it =/) but I love switching up my conditioner. I'll have to check this out once I'm done with my Aveda one (not that impressed, also wayyy pricier). Thanks for sharing!

  6. You make me want to try this hair product too! I really need a good hair product to deal with my unmanagable hair..

  7. I use John Freida Brilliant Brunette, which is also manufactured by Kao!

    Thanks for the review!

  8. I remember using them 2-3 yrs ago.. thinking it was pretty nice -the mask at least.. then they repackaged it and re-marketed it.. and i bought their mask again.. tho i dont use it often cos i have shorter hair these days.. i have say i prefer the tsubaki whiter version for the moisturizing conditioner.. their shampoo makes me itchy!! Well im glad it works for you!

  9. Hi Diana,

    I bought the Nuance Airy set from Sasa a few weeks ago. I liked it but I didn't think it was that great. I only used it twice, I'm wondering if I should use it for a week a two like you did to see the full effects. HAha you're making me give my Nuance Airy a second chance, great review!

    Thanks Hun!

  10. I have given up on ordering Japanese shampoo from across the waters. Instead I am making do with Frizz Ease which works really well for now. This said, I still want more TSUBAKI!!

  11. Am I weird for liking it just b/c the packaging's cute? Hehe. ;) I'm using Nexxus right now. I'm always on the lookout for stuff that adds shine and detangles well!

  12. It looks so cute and your review is really convincing! Right now I'm using DHC Light and Smooth shampoo and conditioner and I think I've been using it for like 2 years now (just bought a refill package from Japan) and I really love it! But I still like to try new shampoos.
    Thanks for reviewing, might check out this shampoo next.

  13. Sooo my "hair" is Malaysian should I switch to Asian shampoo???

  14. Sounds like a great product! I have super long hair and have to diligently take care of it or else dry split ends, yikes!

  15. great review! it sounds like a great shampoo :) i start getting antsy to try new products too after using a product for a long time so bigger bottles are not necessarily a good thing for me either haha! xx

  16. I used Essential for a little while, then switched to Lux, and then Tsubaki White...which will last forever since I got the big pump bottles, but only use it once in a while since it can irritate my scalp & give me dandruff if I use it too often =T I loved pairing Kiehl's dandruff shampoo with the Tsubaki conditioner on my ends, but now I'm using Cibu shampoo/conditioner to help maintain my dyed hair for a while :)

  17. U make me wan to try on this product also! Haha. Are u ordered from sasa, malaysia? cuz i cant found at sasa. whr do u buy? can u tel me please? thks! :)

  18. I bought the Airy Damage Essence off eBay by accident and i must say that it made my hair softer and tab=gle-free, however, it toally KILLED my curly locks! Meaning - My hair became flat and straight!
    This would be good news for girls who have their hair re-bonded or like straight looks, but i like my curls and was disappointed at the after-results.

  19. ooo, i wanna try this brand! so many raves <3 maybe i'll pick it up when i go to chinatown again!


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