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Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue Is a 3-In-1 Treatment That Cut Down on My Curly Hair Routine

This hair oil from Shu Uemura was a savior for one writer in more ways than one. She shares what Essence Absolue did for her curls and hair care routine.

Finding an oil for hair can be a tricky business. If you’re not careful, you can wind up with something that weighs down, overly greases, or, depending on the oil, dries out your hair. As a curly-haired lady living in a humid city, I’m always on the hunt for the best hair oil for managing frizz and dryness without weighing down my curls or giving a greasy feel to my hair. 

To add to my hair oil requirements, I need something that comes with accessible packaging because I only have one arm! So I had some strict [and peculiar] standards upon testing Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil. Below, take a look at my Shu Uemera review to see if it checked the many boxes promised in its name as well as my own requirements. 

Shu Uemura

Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil

A moisturizing hair oil that adds shine and softness.

One size only for Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil
5.1 fl oz

What Does Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil Do?

This Essence Absolue is a 4-in-1 oil meant to increase shine, combat dryness, manage frizz, and provide heat protection. Its secret ingredient is Japanese-sourced camellia oil which is key to intense hydration and healthy shine. Versus just sitting on top of your hair like a layer of GoreTex, this oil quickly absorbs deep into the hair fiber to promote supple strands. 

This makes it a great oil for dry hair as the rapid absorption rebalances the hair’s moisture from mid-length to ends. Additionally, Shu Uemura Essence Absolue is safe to use with heat as it also acts as a heat protectant, shielding your locks from some of the damage caused by UV rays.

Editor's review of Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil

Who Can Benefit From Using the Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil?

Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue is recommended for a broad range of hair types spanning from straight to wavy to curly. Likewise, it's an oil recommended for all textures (fine, medium, or thick). Additionally, it is safe to use on color-treated hair. 

How Do You Use Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil?

Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue is unique in that you can use it either as a pre-wash moisturiser, a post-wash styler, or a conditioning full treatment for your hair. To use it as a pre-wash hydrator, simply apply three to four pumps and comb (or in cases of hard-to-comb hair like mine, brush) it through dry hair before shampooing. 

If using it as a styler, one pump goes a long way—apply from mid-length down. If you want a more intense conditioning treatment, part your hair into four and comb one pump through each section, making sure to massage it into your scalp. Leave it on overnight and wash or style your hair as you usually would in the AM. 

Editor's review of Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil

My Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil Review

When it comes to products I’m using, accessibility is a must above all else. Even the best hair oil in the world wouldn’t be useful to me if I struggled to get to the product using one hand. This is where Shu Uemura pleasantly surprised me. Whereas many hair oils come in a smaller bottle with a smallish pump that requires you to dispense the product into a separate hand (problematic when you don’t have two!), Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue is housed in a much larger, taller bottle with a pump that comes out further, similar to that of a hand soap. With this, I can dispense it directly into my one hand and apply it straight to my hair. It’s an easy two-step process, making my routine much easier.

The multi-use component of this oil was a major selling point for me. Because some things take me longer or require more effort to do with one arm, getting ready can become frustrating if my routine turns into too many steps. I usually leave whatever I use out on the right side of my sink (because I have my right arm), which always includes some kind of leave-in conditioner and frizz eliminator. Shu Uemura’s oil checked both boxes for me so that turned into one less step!

As far as the oil itself, I was thrilled with the results. I started using it with the pre-wash method. Since I often run on my treadmill prior to showering I’d run the oil through my hair pre-run so it could have a bit longer to absorb into my hair before shampooing. The result was super soft post-wash hair and greater ease detangling in the shower. I didn’t even need to double shampoo to prevent greasy residue. One shampoo was perfect and then a conditioner.

Many hair oils have left my curls hanging limp and shiny in all the wrong ways, so I was initially cautious when using it as a styling aid. The oil feels heavy-bodied and a bit less viscous than some, so I started with a half pump before working my way up to a full pump, but it was surprisingly light and quick-absorbing as advertised. I gave it a shot on both wet and dry hair, and it absorbed and softened either way beautifully. The perfect technique for me was a half pump on wet hair before letting my hair air dry. Once dry, I tamed any frizz with another half pump, starting with the ends and lightly scrunching my hair to lightly catch any strays.

For a pricier hair oil, it’s worth it. It’s a solid multi-use product, and a little really does go a long way—it feels like I’ve barely made a dent in mine, and I’ve been using it almost every day for about three weeks! Its accessible pump makes it a great hair oil choice for those who might also have upper extremity limb differences or dexterity issues, and the efficacy of this hair oil definitely lived up to my standards.

Looking to freshen up your hair care routine with more products from Shu Uemura Art of Hair? Shop to see the brand’s complete range.

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