Remember the first time you went to a real hair salon? Not the chain storefront in the mall or the family barber (no disrespect), but the salon. The kind that smells like a warm, impossible French perfume, filled with the whirring sounds of hairdryers, and lined with chair after chair of chic people sipping espresso as equally chic hairdressers work their magic. The salon is not just about the hair (though, of course, the hair is lighter and bouncier than it's ever been)—it’s about the experience. And once you go once, it feels like nothing less will do.
That salon experience is something Kérastase aims to bottle. You may have even spotted its products in your actual salon—after all, professional haircare is kind of the brand's baguette and butter. That’s because these products are diagnostic—full lines that would simulate the experience of going to your trusted stylist at your trusted salon and saying, “My hair feels lifeless,” then walking out with healthy hair that couldn’t have more life if you hit it with a defibrillator.
Founded: By François Dalle, in 1964.
Based in: Paris, France
Best known for: Luxury, salon-quality hair care with full product ranges for every hair need.
Bestsellers: Elixir Ultime Original Oil, Bain Densité Shampoo, 8hr Magic Night Serum
Fun fact: For all you non-French speakers out there, the brand name is pronounced care-uh-stahs.
Other brands you'll love: Oribe, Christophe Robin, David Mallett
Guillaume Duez, SVP of brand at Kérastase, says that’s all in the heritage. The brand's ethos is rooted in 1960s Paris, where the pioneers of effortless French-girl style—women like Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Jane Birkin, and Anna Karina—reigned supreme. ”It was the swinging '60s. Women were going to the hairdresser to change their look more often than they do now,” says Duez. “'60s hairdressers were really the original influencers.”
Times may have changed, but that hairdresser relationship remains the same, and Kérastase exemplifies that. “At the core of everything we do is this privileged relationship between a woman and her hairstylist,” he says. “When she goes to the salon, a stylist can help her study the hair and figure out how to achieve the look she wants in the best possible way.”
The brand's products have evolved over the years, too. While we may not trek to the salon to change our hairstyles with the seasons, we still often express our individuality through hair. It could be a slicked-back ballerina bun or a hot pink bob—Kérastase wants to help you realize your dream hair in a professional way, wherever you are. That’s why the brand has put an emphasis on hair care powered by science, in partnership with the best network of hairdressers from around the world: This way, any woman can achieve her hair goals—even at home.
“That’s what it’s about,” says Duez. “We put our customers at the core of everything we do.”
If you’re ready to bring the salon experience into your bathroom, here are nine great Kérastase products for anything your hair could possibly need.
Elixir Ultime Original Oil
Kérastase’s cult-favorite hair oil is recognizable by the golden, light-refracting bottle alone, and you’ve likely encountered this product as the finishing touch after a salon blow-dry. The formula has seen a few updates over the years, but the results have always been lightweight polish and shine. Today’s version packs an extra punch of nutrition from the antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins found in marula oil, as well as the elasticity and shine derived from the oleic and linoleic acid in camellia oil. For us, the only struggle was stopping ourselves from touching our velvety hair every 60 seconds throughout the day.
Nutritive 8hr Magic Night Serum
They call it beauty sleep for a reason: because all of our masks, treatments, and serums are hard at work keeping us fresh and radiant (and definitely not because sleep itself is a basic, restorative human necessity we all need more of). This popular hair serum is great for dry hair that needs a full eight hours of nourishing vitamin B to recuperate from environmental stressors. It absorbs quickly (no issues with staining our pillow case) and—dare we say that the scent itself lulled us to sleep? But our favorite feature is that there’s no need to rinse in the morning, so you can maybe squeeze in a ninth hour of actual rest if you put your mind to it.
Résistance Ciment Thermitique Blow Dry Primer
No visit to the salon is complete without a blowout. But, quel dommage, heat can be très aggressive and weaken hair fibers over time if you’re not careful. That’s why this silky, lightweight primer is a staple for anyone whose morning ritual includes a hair dryer, straightener, curler, or any other hot tool. The blend of protein and amino acids works to coat each strand and seal it from any damage, while still serving up a sleek and polished look.
Chroma Absolu Soin Acide Chroma Gloss
For those who will never truly know if they already have gray hairs because they color-treat their hair so often (not me, just… people in general)—damaged hair is par for the course. This acidic, resurfacing treatment is a favorite of Kérastase devotees for being a kind of elevated vinegar rinse. Not only does it smell far better—more like neroli and orange blossoms than household vinegar—but it has a lovely, creamy texture that makes application a joy.
Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet Shampoo
Blonde is notorious for being one of the hardest colors to maintain. Over time, bright, clear blonde can turn yellow and brassy. This purple shampoo is a staple in the Kérastase's Blond Absolu line, neutralizing orange tones while nourishing color-treated hair with hydrating hyaluronic acid and edelweiss flower.
Genesis Fondant Renforçateur Conditioner
While English speakers may know fondant as a thick type of icing used on cakes, in French, it's also a way to describe the softening, smoothing powers of conditioner. Hair damage can happen for plenty of reasons—dye, UV rays, overstyling—but this rinse-out conditioner works no matter why you have damage. The lightweight formula fortifies hair fibers, which reduces any further breakage from brushing or friction. We tested this on hair fried from years of blonde color treatments and felt like it finally got some life back.
Chronologiste Masque Intense Régénerant
Duez calls Chronologiste the brand’s most luxurious line, and it definitely looks, smells, and feels the part. One dollop of this thick, creamy formula coats each strand with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. After just one use, we ended up with softer hair that somehow felt lighter and bouncier even without any styling afterwards. Someone even complemented the result by saying it "smelled like spring."
Curl Manifesto Refresh Absolu Restyling Spray
Kérastase definitely has the smooth, sleek, and polished market cornered. But for curly, coily, and/or frizzy hair, the Curl Manifesto line offers salon-quality products to anyone looking to emphasize bounce and definition. This refreshing spray is great to revitalize second day curls with a blend of manuka honey, coconut oil, and ceramides.
Fusio-Dose In-Salon Treatment
While the above products should be enough to get those coveted “Did you just get your hair done?” comments without stepping foot into a salon, sometimes you just want a professional touch. Kérastase’s personalized, in-salon Fusio-Dose hair treatments are meant to be formulated specifically for you, based on a collaboration between you and your hairdresser. The custom blends are two-fold: The first part is an intensive concentrate chosen by your hairdresser based on their initial diagnosis of your hair health, and the second part is a “booster” that you get to pick based on whatever your hair goals are—anything from shine to nutrition.