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Kerastase Age Premium

Is a Solution for:
Oily Hair, Thinning Hair & Shedding, Dry or Brittle Hair
January 14, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 12 Comments
On my desk I have a duo from the new Kerastase Age Premium range designed for aging, thinning hair. Someone went to a lot of trouble to hand deliver the shampoo (Bain Substantif) and conditioner (Masque Substantif) in a pretty package. So I apologize for what is about to come next. I won't be using the new Kerastase Age Premium range and here is why not.

I admit to being a bit picky about my beauty products, even rinse off ones. Still, I've been known (and admonished by some readers for it) to overlook the odd paraben and even phenoxyethanol if the good significantly outweighs the bad. With these Kerastase Age Premium products, I find it difficult to make allowances for a big bunch of chemicals on the basis of what amounts to two rather puny actives.

One of these is what Kerastase (owned by L'Oreal) calls a calcium derivative is calcium pantothenate. This is the salt of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) andis often used as a dietary supplement because, as a salt, it’s more effectively absorbed by the body. The cosmetic industry first began incorporating this ingredient when several studies showed a deficiency of pantothenic acid to cause hair loss and skin irritation. And use it, it does. Some form of B5, usually appearing as panthenol, is in most shampoos going.

The second active is pomegranate. Punica granatum extract is indeed an antioxidant and protects from sun damage, but it appears only in the Masque and towards the very end of the ingredients list. Now Kerastase says there is a third active, vitamin F plus ceramides. I'm not sure that I really know what vitamin F is. Linoleic acid used to be classified as vitamin F until general scientific wisdom reclassified it as a fatty acid. Perhaps the ingredient safflower glucoside is meant to account for this.

Going back to the big bunch of chemicals, to be fair it should be said that most of them are regarded as gentle and non-irritating. A few are borderline. For instance, there are six sulfates in the shampoo. Although these are all gentler than sodium lauryl sulfate, they are still regarded with suspicion by some. In Germany, a product cannot be labeled ‘natural’ if it contains any members of the sulfate family (lauryl, laureth, magnesium or ammonium).

I'm not keen on the inclusion of ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, a sunscreen ingredient. It has been known to produce excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, and lead to cell death. Meanwhile, sodium benzoate has been associated with destroying DNA by a British scientist. Butyphenyl methylpropional is a fragrance additive that is considered an allergan in Europe.

Nor do I like sodium hydroxide, a known irritant with links to cancer. And behentrimonium chloride is one of the ingredients that I try to stay away from as it can damage the eyes at concentrations as low as .1%. Linalool is a bit dodgy as well. Linalool gradually breaks down when in contact with oxygen, forming an oxidized by-product that may cause allergic reactions such as eczema in susceptible individuals. Between 5-7% of patients undergoing patch testing in Sweden were found to be allergic to the oxidized form of linalool.

Still, on the bright side, there are no parabens.

Ingredients in Kerastase Bain Substantif

Water, sodium laureth sulfate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, glycerin, glycol distearate, cocamide MPA, sodium chloride, sodium laureth-8 sulfate, hexylene glycol, sodium benzoate, magnesium laureth-8 sulfate, magnesium laureth sulfate, sodium oleth sulfate, hydroxypropyl guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, polyquaternium-30, calcium pantothenate, salicylic acid, carbomer, PEG-55 propylene glycol oleate, propylene glycol, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, magnesium oleth sulfate, hexyl cinnemal, tocopherol, linalool, isopropanolamine, limonene, hydroxycitronellal, benzyl salicylate, butyphenyl methylpropional, 2-oleamido 1,3 octadecanediol, safflower glucoside, benzyl alcohol, sodium hydroxide, citric acid, fragrance C8808/1

Ingredients in Kerastase Masque Substantif

Water, hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, quaternium-87, stearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, isononyl isononanoate, cetyl esters, caprylyl glycol, mica, candelilla wax, phenoxyethanol, calcium pantothenate, sodium hyaluronate, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, CI 77891/titanium dioxide, hexyl cinnemal, linalool, limonene, hydroxycitronellal, sodium hydroxide, benzyl salicylate, butyphenyl methylpropional, punica granatum fruit extract, 2-oleamido 1-3 octadecanediol, safflower glucoside, benzyl alcohol, fragrance C39914/1
  • February 6, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Vikki, its always best to apply a serum first and then a moisturizer. There's on the order to use cosmetics in this article:

  • February 6, 2013

    by Vikki Roig

    I am wondering how to correctly use the Mad Hippie Vit C Serum which I have ordered. As I have mature(mid-50's) dry skin, would applying prior to moisture cream be more effective? I exfoliate 2x weekly with glycolic acid pads. Thanks...Vikki

  • February 6, 2013

    by Charlotte

    Great article, just wish I had read it before trying the product. I have had a terrible allergic reaction to the masque. Puffy, sore red eyes and swollen eye lids and underneath the eye area. I've also come out in patches of dry skin around my mouth. I didn't realise how wary you need to be of certain ingredients up
    until now. Is there a hair care range you would recommend?

  • May 15, 2012

    by Lynn

    I got a sample of the Kerastase Age Premium shampoo and conditioner in my Birchbox. I tried the shampoo but not the masque (yet).
    I love what it does for your hair (leaves it very soft and manageable) but I don't like the ingredients. My Birchbox subscription profile requested organic type products -- I don't consider this organic at all with the ingredients mentioned in this article (Birchbox does not show the ingredients long enough to read them!)

  • February 9, 2010

    by JLG

    Third paragraph, most likely, you intended to tell us that Kerastase is owned by L'Oreal, but inadvertantly, you seem to have switched it to Kinerase - which is a skin care line owned by Valeant.

  • January 27, 2010

    by marta

    RileyGirl has taken the products and will review them in a few weeks. In the meantime, I can recommend Nutra-Lift and Osmotics FNS for aging hair.

  • January 27, 2010

    by PAULA

    Ingredients aside, did you like how the products worked and their end result? Can you recommend other products for aging hair?


  • January 20, 2010

    by Jaysie

    I really appreciate reviews like this that are specific about certain products and their ingredients. It seems every week I pick up some toiletry or cosmetic and am shocked at the long rambling ingredient list full of chemicals. I just don't get how companies justify this practice in this age of environmental concerns and consumer awareness. It's almost as if beauty companies are thumbing their noses at us! Kudos to you, Marta, for taking a pass and thanks for telling us why!

  • January 15, 2010

    by rileygirl

    Wow, Thanks so much, Marta! Send you my address.

  • January 15, 2010

    by marta


    You got it. Please send us your mailing address - at And do let us know how you like it.

  • January 14, 2010

    by rileygirl

    Well, I'll take it off your hands for you and give it a try!

  • January 14, 2010

    by Junko

    Good for you Marta. Maybe your sender is a Wolf in Sheep's clothing.

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