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You can buy a lot of things with $145: a pair of Zara heels (or two, if they’re on sale), 10 overpriced cold-pressed juices, a plane ticket to Vegas (well, from the West Coast)… The list goes on. And now, thanks to this magical (albeit pricey) French hair mask, Leonor Greyl Masque Quintessence, perfect hair can, too, be one of those things.
So, what is it about this hair mask that makes it so wallet-lightening? Does it possess magical powers that will transform my hair into Selena Gomez–worthy strands?
Pros + Cons
- Hydrates hair
- Some ingredients are certified organic
- Includes nourishing oils
- Not Byrdie Clean
- Very pricey
The Bottom Line: Not legendary, but close
Leonor Greyl's Masque Quintessence makes hair silkier and more manageable—it even made my hair soften more throughout the day after a single use. It's extremely expensive, but contains quality oils that saturate parched hair in hydration.
Leonor Greyl Masque Quintessence
Best for: Dry, damaged hair
Star Rating: 4/5
Potential allergens: Yes—methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, fragrance, linalol, limonene, geraniol
Active ingredients: Cupuaçu and manketti oils
Clean?: No—contains methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, urea
About the brand: A cult French hair-care brand beloved by Hollywood hairstylists and the It crowd, with a loyal following of the likes of Emma Stone and Madonna. The products prioritize natural, botanical ingredients, and deliver a no-fuss approach to haircare with a focus on hair health first.
About My Hair
I just got my brunette strands lightened with pale blonde streaks, which looks beautiful from afar but feels a bit like hay that's been chewed up and spit out by a gleaming mare named Lucky. So clearly I was in the market for a deep conditioning treatment.
How to Apply
Before you take this stuff into the shower with you and glop it on, read the instructions, because there's a surprising twist. You actually use this on dry hair. Leonor Greyl says to apply to dry hair before shampooing and wait 20 minutes before rinsing as an intense weekly treatment. Or, you can apply to towel-dried hair after shampooing, leave on for up to five minutes, and rinse as usual.
The Feel: Tacky
Unlike most deep conditioners, which feel slick and sometimes slimy, this one felt almost sticky like glue when applied. It doesn't feel overly soft while it's left in hair, but it feels smooth and creamy when washed out.
Ingredient Quality: Chock full of exotic oils
So, what doth a $145 hair mask make? As with every beauty product that comes my way, I always look first to the ingredient list. This particular one wasn't the shortest I’ve seen, but at least contained ingredients I recognized. The first one in the long-ish list is water, the second is coconut oil, and the rest is an assortment of things I can’t pronounce, nestled in between things like cactus flower extract and cupaucu oil. All in all: no alarming red flags (i.e. alcohol), which is always a plus.
I emailed Caroline Greyl herself for her to explain the price tag, to which she explained this: "To develop its highly compensating formula, my husband David Brooks (Leonor Greyl's R&D Director) has selected two rare natural oils coming from distant regions: Cupuaçu oil, a plant butter extracted from the Cupuaçu fruit of Amazonia, which has an extraordinary hydrating power on the hair fiber, and Mongongo oil, derived from the fruit of the protected tree of Manketti from Northern Namibia, which is rich in linoleic fatty acid and promotes hair regeneration."
Along with these two exotic oils, she explains how the mask is also filled with silkening natural extracts like acacia collagen and amino-acids from the hibiscus flower, as well as sodium hyaluronate, which prevents water loss from the hair follicle.
Many of the ingredients, including the coconut alcohol and cetyl alcohol, are certified organic.
The Scent: A pungent floral burst
It’s strong and heady, and it hits you like a punch in the face.
Next, onto the smell. It’s strong and heady, and it hits you like a punch in the face. Luckily it's a very appealing floral punch in the face—like if someone thrust a bouquet of peonies in front of your nose. (Caroline Greyl calls it a "subtle exotic scent with notes of Mock Orange"). It’s a jarring experience but not entirely unpleasant, and all you can do is smile and accept it. Most shampoos and conditioners smell amazing in the bottle but leave little trace behind when my hair is dry—not so is the case with this mask. I caught whiffs of my fragrant-smelling strands throughout the day, and even once gathered a fistful of my hair and inhaled deeply, much to the concern and confusion of my coworkers seated beside me.
The Weight: Surprisingly light
One would think such a heavy dose of oils would weigh down hair. Except it doesn't. Somehow my hair stayed bouncy yet deeply conditioned, a testament to the nicely balanced formula.
The Results: Softened strands
So, is it worth it? I must say that my dry, ravaged strands were noticeably softer and shinier after just one use. I couldn’t stop running my fingers through my hair as it slowly air-dried throughout the day, and though the quality wasn’t quite spun silk, it was certainly less straw-like than before. This is a huge feat, considering I have color treated hair.
In fact, the mask seemed to have the magical quality of allowing my hair to get considerably softer as the day went on. What was this sorcery?! I'll never know.
The Value: Worth it for overprocessed hair
Without as much alcohol or other drying ingredients commonly found in conditioners, this masque is an ideal treatment for excessively dry, brittle hair types or color-treated hair that needs reviving. But like we said, the cost is comparable to a short-haul flight, so if your hair doesn't really need a heavy dose of hydration, you might want to skip this one.
You get seven ounces of product, so if you have long hair, you might use up the jar in a few uses.
Leonor Greyl Masque Quintessence vs. Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Masque
With vitamin-rich fruit extracts and a collagen complex, Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Masque softens and adds moisture—though like Leonor Greyl, it doesn't feel like silky-smooth magic in your hair in the shower. It's significantly cheaper at $66 for five ounces.
However, Leonor Greyl edges it out ever so slightly in that it makes hair just a bit softer and more manageable. Oribe Gold Lust is better for hair that is in need of strengthening proteins—like color-treated hair—and Leonor Greyl is better for overall smoothing and hydration.
Our Verdict: Softer hair for a pretty penny
I will keep using this glorious, extravagant mask a few times a week, inhaling deeply each time and scooping out only the tiniest amount so as to make it last forever.