HAIR | The L’Oreal ‘Extraordinary Clay’ saga

L'Oreal Extraordinary Clay hair range

I’ve had a real problem with products over-promising lately. And by over-promising I mean completely misrepresenting everything they are, from ingredients to what they claim to do.

The L’Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Clay range made its way to me thanks to Beauty Review (if you live in New Zealand and aren’t a member, definitely go join) and I reluctantly stopped using the L’Oreal Botanicals Coriander range (which I do rate highly) to try it out. It turned into an absolute catastrophe and I am as resentful as a person can feel towards a range of hair products.

I know the photo’s average, but I hate the entire range and frankly gave it a better photo than it deserves. I should have photographed it in the bin (but I can’t bring myself to throw away it away because everything’s practically full so maybe I will offload it onto someone unsuspecting who doesn’t read my blog, in the guise of a generous gift).

The saga

It started on Thursday morning when I got up to get ready for work. When I went into the bathroom and turned on the light, the switch flashed and popped and the light was no more. I showered in the dark and drove to work through the worst storm we’ve had this year. The wind was shaking my car so much it felt like I was in an earthquake.

So, you know, I have a regular day at work, aside from the fact it’s fucking cold and I’m wearing a blanket thinly disguised as a poncho all day. I get home and decide maybe I’ll treat myself with the hair mask I’m meant to be reviewing followed by a nice hot shower.

The light’s out in the bathroom. That’s ok, I showered in the dark once today, I can do it again. I pick up the tub of L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay Detox Hair Mask and it appears not to have any instructions for how to use it. (They’re under the label on the lid, which is a fucking stupid place to put instructions, can I just say.)

You’re meant to put the mask on the roots of your dry hair and then leave it for five minutes before rinsing out and washing as normal. The three types of ~precious clay~ in the mask will absorb all the excess oil and make your hair less greasy. At this point I am thinking to myself that regular shampoo does quite a good job of removing excess oil and you don’t have to leave it on your hair for five minutes, but this range is EXTRAORDINARY and uses ~precious clays~ and it’s going to change my hair life.

The mask is thick and greenish and very, very cold, but that’s due to the weather and no fault of L’Oreal’s. It’s pretty hard to get it on the roots of my hair without it getting on the rest of my hair, but we do it in the end, standing naked in the dark (naked because I didn’t want to get mask on my clothes and a towel wouldn’t stay up with my arms in the air—idk in hindsight I should have worn something that needed a wash anyway).

Oh wait—about halfway through loading the mask into my hair, Murphy decides now’s the time to take a stinky shit in his tray in the bathroom. I’m missing two of my senses as now I’m trying not to breathe through my nose. And this is just the beginning of the saga.

The little shit in question—uh, I mean metaphorical little shit, not the actual shit.

Shower cap over my clay-y roots (thanks Kmart) I decide to get in the shower and shave my legs for the first time since about February, for something to do while I wait for the mask to transform my hair. Shave one leg, rinse out the mask, shampoo my hair.

The L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay shampoo is entirely unremarkable, and the least offensive product of the bunch. It’s a shampoo—it lathers, there’s not much more to say.

Time for the L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay detox conditioner. How does a conditioner “detox” when it’s designed to deposit superficial smoothness on your hair? Great question. I can confidently say: it doesn’t. It’s also thin and much runnier than regular conditioner. It goes on my hair anyway, and I sit back down on the shower floor to shave the other leg.

Halfway through shaving Leg Two and we hit the biggest and worst snag of the evening (the decider comes next day when my freshly clean and detoxified hair looks like I’ve straightened it and then not washed it for a week). While rinsing my razor I realise my shower has gone ice cold.

I probably swore—well, I definitely swore, but I don’t know if it was the classic “motherfucker” or the more creative “shitfuck”. I instantly abandon shaving (there’s a very impressive boundary halfway up my right leg, it’s like a desert meeting a forest) and attempt to rinse my hair of conditioner without letting a drop of icy water hit my body.

Cold water is meant to be good for your hair anyway, right? Like, it closes the cuticle or something? Makes it shiny and smooth?

In an attempt to warm up, I blowdry my hair. My hair also looks much better when I blowdry it, so I’m giving the hair products a head start here.

The story peters out here for the evening, but the next day the results are pretty indisputable. My hair is limp and lank and it looks flat and sad—like I’ve straightened greasy third- or fourth-day hair, and definitely not how I’d expect it to look after a wash and blowdry the night before.

It’s also, somehow, feeling dry and coarse. How hair can be simultaneously lank and dry I don’t quite understand, so perhaps this range does deserve its label of ~extraordinary~. People at work noticed too, so it’s not just irrational feelings about having a shit evening projected onto my hair.

I haven’t even mentioned the L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay dry shampoo yet because it did next to nothing and was completely forgettable. I considered keeping it in my drawer at work for ’emergencies’ before I remembered that I have dry shampoo that works that could go in my drawer instead.

I also got curious about the three allegedly ‘precious clays’ that are found in each product in the range. They’re kaolin, montmorillonite (also known as bentonite) and argilane (listed as argilla). Kaolin and bentonite are pretty pedestrian—they’re in every clay beauty product and are certainly not expensive or precious. Argilane is the one I hadn’t heard of before, but it’s also known as ‘French clay’ or ‘green clay’ and isn’t particularly special either.

I mean, I don’t know how L’Oreal are defining ‘precious’ here. I get the sense that clay is a hard sell and ‘precious’ is a meaningless enough word that they can make the product sound fancy without committing to anything.

The verdict

The L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay haircare range is a big old waste of time, the mask in particular. I’ll use the shampoo up because it’s pretty harmless, but the rest of the products I can forget about.

I shouldn’t have to couch that with the caveat that this is my experience and if you like this range then that’s great. If you think I’m exaggerating, then maybe I am, welcome to my blog, it’s for dramatic effect. If you think I’m being too negative… welcome to my blog. And you might want to think twice about siding with L’Oreal—they’ll survive just fine. (Plus, I’m switching back to a different L’Oreal shampoo and conditioner that I do like, so they’re still getting my money and my vote.)

Have you tried the L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay range? What do you think about it?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrEmail this to someone
  • Gosh what an ordeal!!!! I got this range as PR and have been pretty happy with it. Im of course dismissive about the magical powers of clay and detoxing but I like the way my hair looks after using it. The mask was a bit of novelty but by using it I didn’t need to wash twice. Normally I have to do one wash to remove dry shampoo and one to cleanse it properly but this I just did the mask. I still think I like some other ranges better but this one wasn’t bad.

    • That’s true – if there’s one good thing I can say about the mask, it’s that I only needed to shampoo once after it. Although I’d rather shampoo twice than use it again, so it’s not that helpful haha

  • Oh dear, that experience doesn’t sound fun at all. It’s a shame the products couldn’t have made up for it by being decent. I think I will avoid this range! xx

    Indie// In Search of the Holy Grail

  • Sophie ♥

    I felt like this shampoo got on with my hair at first but over time it just had the adverse effect. Never been one for masks either. Idk they seem like a waste of time to me!

    • Definitely a waste of time unless someone has seriously damaged hair that needs some restoration, I think!

  • Lisa

    Your saga had me in stitches! Great blog! I have very fine hair so clay anything for my hair is never going to work. Clay hair care just seems like such a strange concept to me.

    • Hah, thanks Lisa! I’d definitely steer away from this range if you have fine hair. It sounds like another commenter with thick hair didn’t mind it, so maybe it’s better suited to hair at that end of the spectrum.

  • anjaok

    I was quite excited to try this dry shampoo and, like you, found that it did absolutely nothing at all. Such a waste of money!
    Side question: Where in Wellington have you seen the Colab dry shampoos being sold? I’m reaching the bottom of my fave (but $$) dry shampoo and need something new that isn’t going to cost quite so much.

    • Lisa

      Great question! I’d be interested in the answer to that one too! I can tell you where I haven’t found it. It is not in Farmers Lambton Quay, or the Unichem next door, or the big pharmacy on Willis Street – at least not when I looked a month or so back. I did find the brand in the pharmacy in Miramar pharmacy but unfortunately not the Extreme Volume that Morgan recommended (how rude!). Perhaps we should start an “asking” campaign and see if we get it distributed more widely in Wellington.

    • Which one’s your favourite?
      I’ve seen Colab at the Victoria University pharmacy but I’ll ask their distributor where else it’s available in Wellington, and get back to you!

      • anjaok

        I love the Morrocan Oil one for blonde hair – it’s slightly purple tinted, smells amazing and does a great job! But at like $40 a can, I can’t afford it long term!

  • Krystle Field

    Ha, might just be my frizzy/thick hair type but this range worked really well for me – calms it down!

    • Ah that’s interesting – useful information for people with hair at that end of the spectrum!

  • Kate

    Ah what a shame this didn’t work for you! I’ve not tried it myself but suspect I might have a similar experience, if only because my hair is quite fine and difficult to work with at the best of times! X

    Kate Louise Blogs

    • Thanks for your comment, Kate! I’d definitely suggest giving this range a miss if you have finer hair.