Kerastase Chroma Sensitive Cleansing Balm 3-Month Followup: Color-Treated Gals, This One’s a Keeper

Published in: Hair, Product Reviews

If I freak out a little when I realize I’m almost out of a product, it’s usually a pretty good indicator of how I feel about it. Yesterday in the shower when I reached for my hot pink bottle o’ Kerastase Chroma Sensitive Cleansing Balm ($42 for a 6.8-oz. bottle) and noticed how light the bottle felt, I let out a sad little mewl. “Noooo.”


It was almost gone. πŸ™

I started using the stuff, a silicone-free, low-foam and low-friction cleanser for color-treated hair, back in March. Unlike regular shampoos designed for color-treated hair, it adds special deep conditioners to the mix of mild cleansing agents. The blend is 1/4 cleansing agent, 3/4 deep conditioner, and Kerastase claims the brew gently washes hair while preventing pigments from escaping, thereby keeping your color intact.

After three months with it, I’m sold. I’m convinced it’s helped my hair color last longer. I went lighter a couple months ago with caramel highlights, and I think they still look bright, where with other products they probably would have looked a little brassy by now, and my darker base color still looks rich enough for me.

Because a bottle costs $42, I haven’t been using it every day. I alternate between it and conditioner washing with Yes to Carrots Pampering Conditioner. If your hair is shorter and/or less dense than mine, which I compare to a mop, the bottle would probably last you a lot longer than this one lasted me.

One more thing — I’ve heard that coupon sites like Groupon sometimes offer discounts on salons that sell Kerastase. Just something to consider if you’re interested in giving it a try.

Too bad it’s so expensive, but it could be worth it, especially if you’ve already made a big investment in your hair color.


PRICE: $42 for a 6.8-oz. bottle
AVAILABILITY: At select salons and beauty stores
MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: A+ (updated from a B+ in my earlier review)

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. I just found that Keratase is hosting an online private sale offering 20% off any purchase of $100 or more for My Kerastase members. You’ll have to set up a profile to access the sale, but if you’re already a fan of the line, it might be a good way to save a little money and stock up on some basics. Happy shopping. πŸ™‚


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So far, 31 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. I wear my natural hair color, but I must say that you look fierce in this photo, Karen!
    Antonia at Swedish Love Affair recently posted … No- I love you more

  2. Aparnaa says:

    Oooh, I was just thinking about getting this! Do you use this with conditioner when you use it? My hair gets so tangled…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Aparnaa,

      One thing that Chroma Sensitive is great at doing is detangling. Mine gets knotted, too, and this undoes the knots easily.

      Oh, and to answer your question, yes, I do use a conditioner afterward. I’ve been rotating between Yes to Carrots and Bumble & Bumble Coco de Creme Conditioner.

  3. mill says:

    im really really intrigued about this product! i read in allure a couple months back that it was a cleansing BALM and immediately i wanted to try it… as much for its colour keeping qualities as for the fact that most shampoos irritate my scalp, badly. colour shampoos especially… so im definitely going to try this! i already use the kerastate herba- something (??) deep conditioner so this would be great the next time i get my brown lowlights touched up!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mill,

      I have similar scalp issues, and this doesn’t seem to irritate it.

      I’m curious about the deep conditioner you’re using. What does the bottle look like?

      • mill says:

        hi karen,
        its from the Bain de Force series, green packaging, and the whole line smells ABSOLUTELY. AMAZING. like Marc Jacob’s Daisy in a shampoo!

        • Karen says:

          Awesome, thank you! I love Daisy (have you sniffed the new version in the pink bottle? LOVE!) so I’ll have to give it a sniff. πŸ™‚

  4. Ooh Karen, what are you wearing on your lashes?
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  5. sara says:

    keep on keepin’ on, girl! your hair’s been looking FAB these days.

  6. Vijaya says:

    That price is pretty ouch, but I still want to give it a shot!
    Vijaya recently posted … Now I know My ABCs

  7. Nina says:

    awesome news for gals who color treat their hair – like me! πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      It’s pricey but so worth it. What color is your hair these days, Nina?

      • Nina says:

        its a bit of brown and red mixed together. i like to play on my natural hair color most times. πŸ™‚

        though — my stylist has been after me to try some ombre highlights. πŸ˜€ maybe when my hair is a bit longer!

  8. saby says:

    Lucky for me, the Kerastase line doesn’t do me any good , I prefer Paul Mitchell any day ! Karen you are stunning !

  9. Tracy says:

    My daughter dyes her hair bright red, which fades fast. This stuff has helped it not to fade so much. Pricey, yes-but if you dye your hair red it saves you having to go and refresh your colour all the time.
    Your hair looks so shiny! πŸ™‚
    Tracy recently posted … Sephora Hello Kitty Say Hello Palette – Memoirs Of A Kitty

  10. Essy says:

    I’m interested in the product, but more importantly, you are looking FAB in that photo!

  11. Kim says:

    Well, there’s no denying that your hair is looking very sassy! When you get old like me, you’ll be stuck on the 4 week root touch-up schedule. Gray, gray, gray. πŸ™ In the meantime, this balm sounds like a fab option. πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      GURL, I’m probably gonna get there soon. I now have gray hairs in my bangs, which used to never happen. I also get the occasional random gray hair in my brows! I may have to start dying them soon, too, YIKES.

      • Kim says:

        I’m sure I have some stray gray eyebrow hair, too. Luckily they’re pretty light, so they blend! My Dad was totally gray when he was 35 and I started to get some of those stray grays in my 20s. I’ll probably look like I have the mange in 10 more years from all the hair dye! Kidding – hopefully. πŸ™‚

  12. What is conditioner washing?
    productdoctor recently posted … Giorgio Armani Gloss dArmani

  13. Ellen says:

    Your hair looks great and very well conditioned. I will have to give this product a try to use every other day like you. On my off days, I think I will stick with Nexxus Pro Mend. It really does a great job on those split ends! I have very long highlighted blonde hair, and this stuff is a miracle for the ends and tangles, but doen’t do much for the color.

  14. Karen4 says:

    You look fabulous, Karen! Great photo! I have natural red hair that now needs a boost with hair color. I was going to seek out this product, but the price! ouch! I currently use a custom blend by Aveda (no sulfates and very natural products) that helps to keep the copper tones in my hair. I’ve been experimenting with using a dab of this shampoo mixed with a larger amount of conditioner to wash my hair, alternating with a “just conditioner” wash every other day. It seems to help.

  15. Mia says:

    This is so cool. I use cleansing balms for my face (One Love Organics and/or Neal’s Yard) and I swear there’s no better cleansers in the world than cleansing balms, if they don’t contain mineral oil, of course, like Eve Lom’s one. When I heard about cleansing balms for hair, I was absolutely sure I wanted to try it whether they’re natural or not, I can only imagine how gloriously soft they make hair, and surely they don’t cause as much damage as regular shampoos, mostly if it’s sulfate-free, I found that my hair adores sulfate-free shampoos. I have one question for you, which exactly is the surfactant they use if they don’t use sulfates? Does it contains oils and/or butters? And how’s the texture, thick like balms?

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