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I Tried It: L' Oreal's X-Tenso Hair Smoothing Treatment
I Tried It: L

One of the great perks about working with BH's beauty editor Rhonda Rovan, is that I get some excellent advice. This was the case months ago when I told her how much I wanted to get the Brazilian blow out to help tame my thick, wavy hair, I'd even made an appointment at my salon. She filled me on the treatment and the fact that it contained formaldehyde and that Health Canada had put out an advisory on the treatment because the levels it contained were unacceptable.  (Rhonda wrote about it in our Jan/Feb 2011 issue). I quickly cancelled my appointment.

Then a few weeks ago, Rhonda got an invite to an event by L'Oréal Professionnel to come and try out their X-Tenso Moisturist Smoothing Treatment. Lucky for me, she couldn't make it and offered it to me knowing I was desperate for smooth, moisturized, shiny locks!

I have to be honest, I was skeptical that this treatment would be all that effective on my hair. This may sound weird, but without what I perceived as the power-packed punch that harmful chemicals could deliver, I didn't think a more subtle treatment would do much to really change the look and feel of my hair. X-Tenso contains softening waxes and their Nutri-Cationic Technology, which is meant to boost the hair's condition and allow the active treatment to be delivered to where your hair needs it.

X-Tenso takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. It took a lot longer than that for me—3 hours—because I needed to have a product applied to strengthen my hair after a bit of my colour started to disappear during the first application. Make sure you check with your stylist before doing this and let them know what type of colour you have and how recently you had it done). The treatment involves covering dry hair in a pre-treatment that gets it ready to accept the X-Tenso into the hair shaft. Then it's rinsed out and the X-Tenso is applied to the hair in sections. It sits on your hair for about 15 minutes and then is washed out. Your hair is blow-dried to about 80 percent dry and then flat ironed. Another application is applied and then rinsed out and hair is completey dried and styled.

Afterwards, my hair looked shiny and smooth and felt soft. But I knew the true test would be two days later when I washed and dried it myself (you aren't supposed to wash your hair for two days after the treatment). So on Friday morning I did my own hair—it was awesome! Usually getting a comb through my hair after I wash it is a painful challenge, I have to lather on thick conditioner in the shower and a pre-treatment before combing it out to make it even manageable. Now I could comb my hair out without adding product beforehand. For me, that alone is worth the 3 hours the treatment took!

Then came blow drying it straight. Usually I blow dry my hair (which takes FOREVER) and use a paddle brush and a round brush, then it's on to the flat iron. Even after all of this I still end up with lumps and bumps and a bit of a "triangle" look to the shape of my hair. Today I didn't even need my flat iron and it looks and feels lighter and less bulky. There are no lumps in my hair (except where I have a cowlick at the crown, but hey, you can't have miracles I guess). And with the heat and humidity of summer already started, finding this treatment couldn't have come at a better time for me. I am a total convert.

Here is more info about X-Tenso from the product info sheet:
How long does it last? 8 weeks
Can you colour afterwards? Yes, right away if you want
Where can you get it? At L'Oréal Professional salons
How much does it cost? $200
How often do you need to repeat it? Every 3 months (you need regrowth of 4 cm before you repeat the treatment)
Will it wreck my colour? If you have highlights your hairdresser will have to assess if it is okay for you to get the treatment. Usually 30 percent of evenly distributed highlights are still okay for treatment.

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