When I’m sitting in the chair of an esteemed hair stylist or makeup artist, I always ask them what their favourite product is. I make a point of telling them their answer is off the record (in other words, they don’t have to give me a ‘professional’ answer, I want their honest thoughts).
In this instance, Daren Borthwick, Creative Director for Shu Uemura was styling my locks into a textured pony for Christopher Esber’s runway at MBFWA. I asked him my usual question, and his (no bullsh*t) answer was Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue Universal Balm.
What Is It?
Luckily, when Daren mentioned this product, I’d already had the pleasure of rubbing it into my (notoriously dry) cuticles at my desk a week earlier, so I was familiar with its beautiful fragrance – but I was yet to try it on my hair. So, what is it?
– It’s a moisturising, protective & lightweight balm for hair & skin
– Combines hydrating and detangling ingredients for intense nourishment
– Provides much-needed nutrition to the hair with a non-sticky & lightweight formula
– It delivers noticeably softer & smoother hair
– Can be used as a pre or post-styling aid on wet & dry hair
– Moisturises and conditions dry areas like cuticles & elbows
What’s In It?
The hero ingredient of this product is Camellia Seed Oil. Traditionally, this ingredient has been used to promote shine and nourish the hair while maintaining the lipid barrier on the skin longer, which promotes skin health and hydration.
Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue Universal Balm is also packed with other oils and plant extracts including Coconut Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Chamomile Extract and Linseed Flower Extract. The formula also contains Vitamin E to protect the hair and skin from environmental damage.
The rich (yet not overpowering) fragrance features notes of mango, blackberry, nectarine, freesia, woods and spices, which softly lingers in the hair after application.
I’m not one to spend too much on hair care (I allocate the rest of my salary to skincare), so usually this product would exceed my budget for a styling cream.
But considering I can also use it as a hand cream and dry skin fix, plus it leaves my hair shinier and feeling stronger and softer, I can justify it in this case. That, and the fact that this tube lasts forever (and it’s travel-friendly too).
I apply the Universal Balm to damp hair before I blow dry it (it offers heat protection amongst all the other benefits), and I’ve noticed it helps to reduce the heat-related frizz and leaves my hair feeling super silky.