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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tandem Review: Rusk vs. One 'n Only (smoothing treatments)

If you missed the previous tandem reviews I've done with Anthony over at the The ART and SCIENCE of [beauty], let me explain. Last year Anthony came up with the great idea of reviewing salon-brand hair care products vs. less expensive knock-off versions. It's been a lot of fun (and hopefully helpful to you) to do this because you really get to see both sides of the coin and determine whether or not you'd like to invest in the real thing or the "imposter" version. If you missed our previous tandem reviews, click here to see our take on Joico K-PAK and the GVP version, and here to see our take on Sebastian Potion 9 and the GVP version.

So for today's tandem review, we're tackling Rusk Pro Elements Keratin Smoothing Treatment (retail: around $16, 5.3 oz--click here for Anthony's review) and One 'n Only Brazilian Tech Keratin Smoothing Treatment (retail: $8.99 at Sally Beauty, $8.49 with Sally Club Card). Anthony is reviewing the Rusk product, while I take on the One 'n Only version, which I purchased at Sally Beauty.

The first thing you're going to notice is the insane similarity of the packaging (just wait and see Anthony's pic and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about):

One 'n Only Brazilian Tech Keratin Smoothing Treatment (retail: $8.99 at Sally Beauty, 5.3 oz)

The Rusk tube and the One 'n Only tube look so much alike, you might get them confused if they were side-by-side on a store shelf.

So what does this product do, exactly? Well according to the package, it's for chemically or color-treated hair, and it's a "deep-penetrating treatment formulated with natural keratin, vitamins and proteins to help improve the strength of the hair" and "helps protect against heart during thermal styling" and "keeps hair smooth and shiny."

I like that this product is paraben-free, and it contains some great, hydrating ingredients such as shea butter, grape seed oil, jojoba seed oil, macadamia seed oil and honey.

But aside from the claims and ingredients, the thing I really LOVE about this product is the fragrance. Anthony told me I'd love it, and he was absolutely right. To my nose, it smells like rich coconut mixed with tiare flowers (Tahitian gardenias). It really smells amazing, and it makes your hair smell amazing as well.

For this review, I tested this product 2-3 times a week for the past few weeks. At first I wasn't sure exactly how to use this since the directions are a little lacking. When it says to use on "clean, damp hair" does that mean you use it on shampooed and conditioned hair, or do you use it in place of your normal conditioner? Also, how much do you use? Do you slather it on, or just use a tiny bit? And how often should you use it? Every day (if your hair is quite damaged)? Once a week? Once a month?

If you're not a regular reader of this blog, my hair is long and wavy (I usually let it air-dry to avoid heat damage and I like my natural soft waves). But I do straighten it a few times a month (with a hair dryer and a round brush). The texture of my hair is fine but I've got lots of it. My roots are oily and my ends are dry, and my hair is color-treated. So it seems like I'm a perfect candidate for a product like this because I need help with smoothing (if I wear my hair naturally, it can get frizzy with flyaways) and if I straighten it, I definitely need some help in the smoothing department.

So here's what has worked the best for me. I think it would be overkill to use this product every day. For me, I've found that using it a few times a week is perfect. I've tried using it in place of my regular conditioner, and it's been OK. It does detangle and it leaves my hair soft, but I've found that it doesn't deliver quite the amount of moisture that I need overall. So the very best way for me to use this is to use it after my regular conditioner and leave it in the for the full three minutes (or roughly about the time it takes to shave my legs).

How much should you use? For me, it works best when I use roughly the same amount of product as I would use if this was my regular conditioner. For my long hair, that's about the size of two quarters. This product is on the thick side but it's not difficult to work through the hair at all. It's easy to coat your hair and, like I said before, it does some extra detangling, which is nice.

I tried using this on the days when I let my hair air-dry, but for me, it didn't do much to help control my frizzies or flyaways. It's not a curl-defining product, so I wasn't surprised that it didn't help encourage my curls or give my curls any extra volume. So if you're a curly-haired girl who is looking to use this to help your curls, I'd move right along to another product.

But if you've got curly/wavy hair and you straighten it on a regular basis, this might be a wonderful product for you. On the days when I straightened my hair, LOOK OUT! I was beyond impressed with the performance of this product. One 'n Only Brazilian Tech Keratin Smoothing Treatment really helped my hair to lie down smoothly, but the best part? It didn't leave my hair heavy, greasy, oily, or weighed down.

While straightening my hair with my hair dryer and round brush, I instantly felt like my hair was just so much easier to manage. The frizzies and flyaways just simply were not there, and my hair looked and felt smoother and more polished. No frizzies, no flyaways, just straight, smooth, polished hair. Yes!

If you've found that your usual smoothing, glossing, or straightening products (products you apply after the shower and prior to straightening) tend to make your hair feel too weighed down, greasy, or flat, I think this might be the perfect product for you to try. The fact that it's a rinse-out product helps to alleviate the weighed-down feeling that certain leave-in products may give you. So if you've trying to avoid that weighed-down feeling, while still maintaining soft, smooth, straight hair, I would definitely consider giving this product a whirl.

Please don't forget to check out Anthony's version of the original product, Rusk Pro Elements Keratin Smoothing Treatment, for the details on the real thing. After you've read both reviews, I'm hoping you can easily determine whether or not you'd like to invest in the original, or try the knock-off at Sally Beauty.

Thanks for reading, and of course I'd love to hear from you! Have you already tried this version of the Rusk product? Do you own the original? Are you considering giving this one a whirl?


  1. wow i would love to try this out! i've been straightening my curly hair ever since i've cut it short (about 10 inches went buh-bye! last month :D) and i find that a lot of smoothing/straightening products leave my hair really heavy and greasy. thanks for the great review!

  2. I used to straighten my hair and it got so damaged. All the products that were supposed to protect my hair were sticky and just made it harder to straighten. This looks awesome!

  3. I had the keratin smoothing treatment done to my hair, and I know that is heat activated. Maybe this product is the same way and that's why it worked better when you straightened your hair as opposed to you just letting it air dry? You would think they would put that on the packaging though...

  4. kellie: Oh wow! Ten inches is a major change. How fun!!! I've been wanting to chop mine forever but I just can't bring myself to do it. I'm a wimp! And of course I would love to see a review if you end up getting this product. :)

    PCS: I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes those leave-in products make my hair so darn heavy and flat, it's just not worth it. I think you might really like this one. :)

    meghan: Wow, that's very interesting! I bet that's exactly what happened here, and why I didn't see good results when I let my hair air-dry. Thanks so much for the insight! :)

  5. So after some research, it turns out One 'n Only is owned by Jheri Redding, which is owned by Conair, who in turn owns Rusk (along with BaByliss). Crazy eh?

  6. @Heartstarbolt- so....are they just trying to get more people to buy it by essentially making a knockoff of their own product? (that seems odd to me. but then, i wouldn't buy the high-end one anyways.)

  7. Anthony: That is CRAZY!! Bravo for your great detective work! No wonder they were obviously OK with One 'n Only using the same packaging (even down to the text and font!).

    beautifulmonday: Seems odd to me too, but I guess it's Rusk's way of marketing their products to both types of clientele (salon shoppers and Sally shoppers)? Hum...

  8. I use this product twice a week (2-3 minutes) on my platinum bleached hair (I'm 70% gray and I live in sunny Arizona so my hair takes a beating). I LOVE it! My hair feels so soft and is smoother and shinier than it has ever been! They also make a Brazilian Tech shampoo & conditioner--I wonder if that would be too much of a good thing?

  9. I love the idea of you and this fellow blogger comparing the generic and 'official' product. Are you still doing this?

  10. I personally love my Cocoa Keratin by Karmin :)


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