Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Drugstore Beauty: Kenra Hair Care

Kenra isn't a brand you would expect to find at CVS. A "professional salon brand," Kenra (seen on The View) is supposedly sold only at fine salons. Turns out that savvy beauty managers at CVS can order it from their distributor, along with Kerastase and other top-of-the-line brands. I just hope I'm not "spilling the beans," making it harder for CVS to stock it.

Here's what Kenra has to say about the line.

Kenra products are distinguished by using a blend of pharmaceutical-grade and cosmetic-grade ingredients that provide extraordinary performance. Our products are highly recognized for reliable, consistent performance and have universal appeal and application.

When I first saw the display at CVS, I was impressed with the classy platinum packaging. It screamed, "Try me." Two products drew my eyes, a sulfate-free shampoo for fine|thin hair, and a botanical conditioner for fine|thin hair. So, off I went with both of them among my purchases.

Imagine my surprise when I first used the two products. Out popped light, periwinkle-colored product! My first reaction was, "This isn't one of those brassiness-remover products, is it?" Nope! These products are designed to preserve your hair's color.

The sulfate-free Platinum Shampoo for Fine|Thin Hair ($17 at full price) is rich and luxurious. It lathers fully and leaves my hair with volume. The first two ingredients on the list are not water, but rosemary leaf extract and lavender extract. The botanical nature of the ingredients is evident by the fresh, clean (not "herby") light, ephemeral fragrance. Using the shampoo is a pleasure. The key ingredients, from Kenra, are:
  • Cross-link Polymer - weightlessly surrounds the hair cuticle and contracts as it dries, promoting body and volume;
  • Hydrolyzed Silk Protein - a protein that adds strength to hair; and
  • Color Care Complex Technology - internal and external color protection with microsilk, heliogenol, and benzophenone.
The Platinum Botanical Conditioner for Fine|Thin Hair ($19 at full price) is a keratin-enriched formula that promises and delivers maximum volume and body. It replenishes lost moisture and makes my hair, usually tangled after a shampoo, easy to comb out. The botanical blend includes the rosemary and lavender in the shampoo. The key ingredients? Kenra attributes the effectiveness to:
  • Hydrolyzed Keratin - a protein that provides strength to hair and improves hair texture and shin;
  • Behentrimonium Methosulfate - an extremely mild detangling ingredient made from rapeseed oil;
  • Polyquaternium-11 - a conditioning agent that adds body and shine; and
  • Color Care Complex - multi-level protection with microsilk amodimethicone, C11-15, pareth-7, laureth-9, glycerin, trideceth-12, and the ultraviolet defense duo of heliogenol and benzophenon.
The result after using both? Clean, shiny hair with volume and bounce. Nice!

Now, I want to try the Platinum Detangler Spray for Fine|Thin Hair ($19) and the Root Lifting Spray 13 ($14). These products are fabulous!

The term "unique" doesn't stop with the actual products. The shampoo and conditioner I bought have a unique screw-cap dispensing system, recycled materials are used in the packaging, the products are not tested on animals, and the company offers a 100% guarantee. If you aren't satisfied with what you bought, it can be returned for a full refund. That's an easy guarantee to offer when you make products like these!

Check out the Kenra Web site to identify the best products for your own hair. There is a salon locator at this link. Or, you could ask your CVS Beauty Manager to stock it. DrugstoreBeautyPro was all over this one!

Photo courtesy of Kenra


Anonymous said...

WOW! That is the most comprehensive review of any beauty product I've ever seen!
Charlestongirl, you need to be featured on Oprah or the View to dispense your beauty wisdom to the masses.
I honestly check your blog before I make any beauty purchase to see what you've had to say about it. YOU are the best thing in beauty!

Charlestongirl said...

Mom, was that you?

Seriously, thank you for that nice compliment, Anonymous! Readers keep me going.

Kenra said...

Dear Charlestongirl:

Thank you for the positive review on Kenra® Platinum’s Shampoo and Conditioner! Your endorsement of our products is appreciated, but unfortunately we are not supportive and do not condone Kenra products being sold at CVS. Kenra is a professional salon hair care brand and our products should be sold only in salons, which you eloquently stated in your blog. We felt compelled to reach out and let you know that we are working hard to prevent our products being sold at CVS. It is important for Kenra to let you know that Kenra is not diverting product and that CVS is obtaining our products from a source to whom we do not sell. We have been working diligently to determine the source of the illicit product and believe we are close to shutting down the supplier. We take diversion very seriously because we are truly committed to the salon owner/stylist and to professional beauty. The Kenra brand remains one of the cleanest brands in the industry, and it is our absolute intention to thwart all diversion as quickly as possible. I’ll be happy to share with you more about our commitment to stylists and our anti-diversion policy as well as where you can find a salon that carries Kenra brand products.

Angela Dunning, VP Marketing KENRA

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Angela,

Thank you. Obviously, your company has a right to determine its distributors. No argument there!

However, had it not been for CVS, I would never have found Kenra. My salon doesn't carry it, nor does my beauty supply store.

Love your products! Other people might experience that excitement if the products were more widely available (you can translate that into profits in a down economy). With no opportunity to order from your Web site and only one official source within a 20-minute drive of my home, it's fairly hard to find or buy Kenra.

Because Northern Virginia is an upscale and well-educated market, local CVS stores carry products that appeal to our "affluent" demographics. Most of us don't need stylists to interpret brands for us - we know what we like and need. That's why CVS can be one-stop shopping. It's not the Dollar Store!

Good luck to you! The products I tried are fabulous, and, as you read, I recommend them highly. What I won't be doing is driving 20-30 minutes out of my way in our "worst-in-the-country traffic" to get them.

Thank you for your comment and information.

Unknown said...

many salons in my area carry Kenra products (at least thats what i found through their website search) but I personally dont go to those as i am pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair. I noticed that local Ulta store carries it as well- I am much more comfortable going there to check out Kenra products.
Great review and even better comment response!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anna,

Once I started looking today, I found the line discounted at Amazon, Brighton Beauty Supply, and other online sources. Discounts range from 18-34%, depending on product and site. Now that I know it's so nice (thanks to CVS), I may order online. Better prices than CVS!

I do understand luxury brands that strictly control their retail outlets, but when you are in this price range, it's not luxury - it's mid-range.

Charlestongirl said...

Found yet another source over the weekend. The PureBeauty boutique at Tysons Corner Center carries Kenra. Since they aren't on the company's list, I wonder if they also are "unauthorized."