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L'Oreal Mousse Absolue hair color not 'worth it'

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L'Oreal Preference Mousse Absolue Automatic Reusable Color

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If you're one of those women who's colored her own hair enough times that you could teach a class on it, you probably know the minute a new hair color option hits the market. So you've also probably seen L'Oreal's new entrant, Preference Mousse Absolue.

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Mousse Absolue sounds great when you first read about it. Heck, a hair color that's reusable so you can use more than once? Who wouldn't want to buy that? And Mousse Absolue comes packaged with all the key promotional phrases--like "multi-tonal color" and "mirror shine" that are supposed to deliver hair that previously only the likes of Jennifer Aniston could lay claim to.

That's the dream. Here's the reality:

1. It's reusable with an asterisk. If you've got short hair, you're in luck. Short being defined as roughly chin length at most--at least according to the visual on the package. Anything longer, and you won't get two full applications out of one box. If you have medium-length hair, you're supposed to get one full application and one touch-up; long hair? well...it'll be just a one-time use for you.

2. Shake...and shake...and shake... The instructions for use border on the comical. You know someone at L'Oreal felt that users would not get how they're supposed to use Mousse Absolue because the instructions show--repeatedly with pictures and all--how you should apply, shake, apply, shake, apply, shake, apply, shake, apply...Clearly no one was comfortable with just saying "shake before applying to each new section of hair". It required a schematic you thought you'd only see at IKEA.

3. About that shaking... Funny thing happens after you shake and dispense. The mousse is a wonderful, fluffy pouf that shoots out onto your hair. But, as most mousses will do, after dispensing, some will remain on the dispensing nozzle--and if you don't clean it off immediately you'll be flinging residual mousse around--and hopefully none of it will land in your eyes.

4. Light as mousse but... While mousse-textured hair color is great, if you're looking for the reassuring feel of a creamier formula, you won't find it here. With a cream formula it's more obvious how much you've applied and what areas you've covered. It's not as easy to tell that with a mousse--so the effect is that you wind up applying and reapplying to ensure you've actually covered everything.

The last two comments may be less universally felt: First, Mousse Absolue actually stung when applied; hair color should not feel like it's stinging. Secondly, it has that awful "hair color smell"--which isn't something I want to even risk having sit around the house for five minutes longer than it has to. When brands like Garnier's Olia are now formulated to have a much less offensive smell, why would anyone put anything on the market that can't measure up to that standard?

On the upside, L'Oreal Preference Mousse Absolue did color my hair. It just won't do it again.

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