I purchased a gift set from Gilt that contained all three products from the Amber Imperial line. I'd heard a lot about it, primarily how expensive it is. As the name suggests, all three products smell strongly of amber. It actually reminds me a lot of the body spray from Victoria's Secret called "Amber Romance".
Philip B. Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo (full size is $140 from BeautyBar): Somewhat of a cult classic, this definitely seems to get the most attention. It's supposed to be suitable for all hair types but especially those with color-treated/damaged hair. It appears almost identical to honey, except that this suds up (very little) and loses it's stickiness when wet. It's taken a bit of experimentation to get to the point where I enjoy using this. I found I could get through the roots of my hair with about a tablespoon of product, one pea-sized amount at a time. I lather it up in my hands (as much as possible) before working it into my hair. The directions on the bottle recommended leaving it in for 3-5 minutes for "best results". I found that it did leave my hair feeling a little cleaner when I did. Basically, if you use too little product you won't get through your hair (Captain Obvious, here). But if you use to much your hair doesn't ever really feel clean. In fact, it felt weighed down and like it had too much leftover product. The amber scent in this is really strong and lasts all day on my hair (especially when I follow with the rest of the line). The shampoo promises to:
I haven't noticed any visible changes in my hair but this is a good shampoo that cleansed without stripping my hair. Dare I say, it actually was kind of hydrating. I found that I still needed to use a clarifying shampoo once a week but this definitely grew on me. Paraben and phthalates free.
- Reconstructing shampoo formula
- Repairs hair on a cellular level
- Moisturizes for weightless hydration
- Increases hair elasticity and strength
Philip B. Russian Amber Imperial Conditioning Creme (full size is $150 from BeautyBar): My least favorite item in the kit. It's not nearly hydrating enough for my dry, thick, coarse (somewhat horse-like) hair. No matter how long I left it in (the label recommends up to 5 minutes)... it just did little-to-nothing. It's not as strongly scented as the shampoo/dry shampoo but still, there's no mistaking the fact that you're using an amber-scented conditioner.
Russian Amber Imperial Dry Shampoo (full size is $40 from Philip B): Not the best dry shampoo, but not the worst either. It did freshen my hair but it really only gave me one to two extra days of wear, unlike my favorite dry shampoo, Blow Pro Faux Dry, which can get me through 4+ days (Don't worry Mom, I still bathe between hair washes). It's similar in formula to other aerosol dry shampoos. It's a white powder that leaves a slight cast on darker hair (not as badly as some though). I appreciate that this doesn't leave my hair feeling "gritty" like Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo or some of the other volumizing powders.
Cleansing Conditioner with Oud Essence: I think this has since been discontinued and replaced with this. This was also purchased from Gilt (still available) for almost 50% off of the 7.4 fl oz size. This caught my attention because it's basically a more expensive version of a shampoo/conditioner hybrid. It's advertised as a "6-in-1 formula [that] acts as a shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner/masque, detangler, leave-in conditioner and shine spray". This also is supposed to be suitable for all hair types. I found that it was a much better shampoo than conditioner. It's easy to use and suds up about as much as newer sulfate-free shampoos. It didn't strip my hair but I didn't notice it making it look better either. It smells like a mix of a Glade plug-in (I can't place which one) and a very mature perfume. As unflattering as that description sounds, I actually liked this... just not as much as my Pureology Hydrate Shampoo. Free of sulfates, phthalates, paragons, formaldehyde (aren't all shampoos free of this), propylene glycol, and sodium chloride.
I would definitely recommend trying the sampler pack from Gilt if possible. Not only because of how expensive these products are, but also because the formula is unique and won't appeal to everyone. Ultimately, I prefer my current haircare products from Pureology's Hydrate line and don't plan on repurchasing any of the Philip B products I reviewed.
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