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Last updated on August 20th, 2000 by Karen Shelton

Introduction

Kiehl's is a tony hair and beauty manufacturer that is based upon a famous old fashioned apothecary shop that has been around since 1851. Major celebrities, super models and hair fanatics have long known about the fabulous hair and beauty products that were very preciously and wonderfully created by this New York magical beauty place.

Recently Kiehl's was sold to a major cosmetics corporation for a handsome sum. Will success, money and corporate America spoil Kiehls? Hard to say. All I can report on is my current frame of reference about Kiehls.

History

Even though I grew up in small town St. Louis, Missouri (no I never go back to visit) I am a big city junkie. I adore living in the hustle and bustle of Dallas, Texas. In fact, I would move to New York "The City" in a heartbeat if I had a good excuse. No one has ever been able to figure it out but since the first moment I set foot in Manhattan back in 1971 I have been addicted to the City That Never Sleeps. In the late 70s I worked for a small (at the time) software start-up company which was located at 655 Madison Avenue. My business trips to "The City" were memorable. I had a chance to see The City through the eyes of the natives. It was incredible.

Even back in 1977 when I was learning about sorting software and tape management systems I heard about Kiehls from a fellow employee. I never made it to their shop but I managed to snag some lip balm and loved it. I knew they had a hair care line but never had a chance to really experience it until 1997 when I made a "hair pilgrimage" to the City. While hanging out near Irving Place I walked my tootsies off to the famous City hair meccas.

My first stop was at Kiehls. I was amazed at how much like an old fashioned apothecary shop it was really like. The Kiehl consultants all wore lab coats and asked permission before they touched my hair. After an extended period of intense hair discussion I left with a wide range of products nestled in a box ready to fly back to Dallas. One of the products I purchased was the Kiehl Hair Thickening Spray.

Did I really need it for my naturally thick hair? Not really but it was famous and the Kiehl consultant suggested that I try it for the moisturizing properties. The consultant felt that my naturally dry hair would love the softness and shine that the spray would provide. What the heck, sounded like a good idea to me.

Usage

Whenever possible I like to try a new product over an extended period of time in a variety of circumstances to try and gauge whether the product is not working or the timing may be off.

I like a lot of the Kiehl products. I am a big fan of the Lecithin & Coconut Hair Masque. It is great for dry hair like mine. I also like their lip balms and many of their other products.

Even though I bought the original Kiehl's Hair Thickening Spray in 1997, I used the product off and on through 1999. The product did not seem to work for me during the 1997 -1999 testing cycle. Recently I bought another bottle (Summer 2000) to again try the product.

Sometimes I discover that if a product doesn't work initially that if I put it aside and try again at some later date the product will be better suited to my hair.

You can apply as much or as little of the Hair Thickening as you like to dry or almost dry hair. It is important to keep the spray away from your eyes (which is noted on the bottle). I accidentally sprayed a little that accidentally hit the corner of my eye and it did sting. A little cool water relieved the sting immediately but it is best to avoid getting it into your eyes in the first place.

Packaging

The Kiehl's Hair Thickening Spray is a non-aerosol spray that comes in a clear 4 ounce spray bottle. The clear plastic bottle has a white label with blue lettering. The product generally costs $19.00 - $22.00 (USD) not including appropriate taxes and/or shipping. A little goes a long way so this is a good buy, even if it seems expensive. All the Keihl products are designed to last a long time.

Fragrance

The fragrance smells just like hairspray to me. I don't know if it is because the product contains SD Alcohol 40 or Isopropyl Alcohol but the product really has a strong aroma. I did not personally enjoy the aroma. It actually reminded me of a cross between old fashioned hair spray and fingernail polish remover.

How I Tested Thickening Spray

The product is touted for adding volume and body to the hair without leaving it stiff or sticky. The product is also advertised as suitable for all hair types. My hair is naturally coarse and thick with lots of natural waves. Dryness is an ongoing problem for my highlighted hair.

The instructions for the Hair Thickening Spray tells you to spray the product sparingly "as needed" to dry or almost dry hair. I followed the instructions by spraying the product directly on my bone dry hair. It felt sticky which is what it is not supposed to feel.

I decided that maybe I would have better luck if I sprayed the product into the palms of my hands and then smoothed over my dry hair. I have to admit that I liked this method better.

I tried the product several different times. The first time I applied it right after I dried my hair before I went to work. Although the product did appear to add some shine I did not notice any additional thickening or fattening of my hair. I did feel that my hair felt dry and a little tacky.

I also tried the product on dry hair after a full day at work. I decided to try and plump up my hair for a night out without first washing my hair. Again I noticed an added shine. However I did not experience any thickening effect and my hair definitely felt dry and crunchy to me.

When I recently bought another bottle I experienced very similar results. I tried the spray before and after work on bone dry hair. I also tried it on hair that I had just dried with a blow dryer but was a tiny bit damp. While I consistently noticed shine, I also experienced no obvious thickening and an added dryness.

While I think the product could probably help thin or fine hair by plumping it up, it did not help my thick, naturally coarse, wavy hair.

Ingredients

Water, SD Alcohol 40, Isopropyl Alcohol, PVP/VA Copolymer, Polyquaternium 11, Fragrance, Hydrolyzed Whole Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Polysorbate-80, Quaternium-60, Propylene Glycol, PEG-75, Lanolin.

Conclusion

The Kiehl's Thickening Spray did not work for my hair. Yes it made it shiny but I felt that it actually dried my hair out which the opposite of what I was trying to achieve.

Maybe I was just paranoid about what the product did to my hair because of all the alcohol and other ingredients that were listed on the bottle. Or maybe it really did dry out my hair and the product is just not right for me.

Part of my problem with the product is that it smelled like, looked like and felt very much like traditional hair spray. I have never been a big fan of any kind of hair sprays. Maybe because of some unfortunate past life experiences with hairspray where I was transformed instantly into a major helmet head.

Do I recommend this product? Not for my hair but it may be great for some hair types. I really believe that not all products work for all people. I do believe that this product would be good for people that like soft spray hair styling products.

I give Kiehl credit for producing a non-aerosol product that is never tested on animals. The Hair Thickening Spray is also concentrated so a little goes a long way. I found this to be true with most of the Kiehl products. While they may seem a little pricey, they tend to be very concentrated and last a long time. This provides good value for your money.

Also, while Kiehls is now sold in major upscale boutiques, department stores and at some of the high priced cosmetic e-stores, it is best to still call the 800 line directly to Kiehls. (1-800-Kiehls-1 or 1-800-KIEHLS-2). Why? Kiehls is famous for providing free product samples along with a full product catalog that allows you to try their products before you make a major commitment to buy them.

Kiehls has a staff of customer service reps and hair and beauty experts that can answer your specific hair product related questions and help you select products that are best for your hair type. If you are not sure of the appropriate Kiehls products for your hair type it is best to ask for suggestions and advice. It is best to get product suggestions to spare you from spending money on Kiehl products that are not suited well to your hair type.

Kiehls is located at 109 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10003, USA. 1-212-505-1023

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