Bumble & Bumble Brilliantine


155 reviews

77% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$$


Deionized Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/CapricTriglyceride, Castor Oil, Emulsifying Wax NF, Oleyl Alcohol, Polybutene, Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate, Cetyl Acetate, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Sage Extract, Rosemary Extract, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Benzophenone-4, Propylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Potassium Sorbate, Polymethoxy Bicyclic Oxazolidine, Fragrance, FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C Red 40

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I've been struggling to come up with a proper review for B&B's Brilliantine Creme.

Part of that is because of the fact that *why* I love it so much has everything to do with the scent and basically the scent alone. Its performance as a hair product is adequate or a bit better.

It makes your hair kind of piece-y and sexy and bed-headish, as if you'd somehow been transported across the ocean and dumped into a Parisian apartment with an incredibly sexy boyfriend. He really loves you and you're pretty fond of him, too. You suddenly don't hate waking up early in the morning.

But hey, I digress.

I realize that objectively, it's not the loveliest scent of all time ever in the history of the world. It just does something to me that nothing else does. It's too personal to be broadly relevant, I guess. Your mileage may vary, and this is probably one of the most useless reviews I'll ever write.

That said, Brilliantine is a strange little beauty in the scent department. By the same token, Jeffrey Eugenide's Middlesex is not the best book I've ever read by a long shot, but it's the most cinematic and one of the most memorable. B&B's Brilliantine Creme and Middlesex somehow manage to occupy the same parts of my brain.

I don't know why exactly.

Just something about the both of them causes me to wander back in time 80 years or so ago and then progress forward. Like a movie that covers a great deal of time in less than two hours.

Can a book and the scent of a hair product both be grassy and greenish, melancholy and optimistic, and remind you of an amazingly iconic photo of your grandmother in Spain in the 1920s with her soon-to-be-dead (spoiler alert!) bullfighter fiancé wearing a newspaper cap on his head? And then he died and your grandmother ended up marrying some dude from Nebraska by default, and here you are (or rather, here I am)?

Gad. This is a super-triggering scent! The spray version has nothing on the tube version, BTW.

11 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

on 6/22/2015 3:04:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Blue

Over the past few years, I've bought this over and over again, because it's my favorite Bumble & Bumble product. It's a smoothing finishing polish for people with dry hair. It adds shine but does not look greasy or dirty, is not tacky on the fingers, and has a little bit of hold. I use it for "detailing" little strands around my face or smoothing the ends of my hair.

It can be used to create a tousled look that is shiny rather than the matte finish of Surf Spray. But if you use a lot of it, the tube doesn't last long, as you can imagine, and you have to keep buying it. The instructions are to "use sparingly."

I've learned to save money by supplementing it with some of B&B's other styling products that cost less per ounce and I just use a tiny bit of Brilliantine to add sheen and complete the look. Best when applied on hair that is slightly damp or almost dry. It will give you separation or "piecey-ness" if you have a layered hairstyle.

For years I would use a dollop of Grooming Creme and work that through most of my hair and then when it was almost dry, I would add a little Brilliantine here and there, on certain strands around the face, or on split ends. Then when Texture came out, I liked that it had a little more hold than Grooming Creme, so I switched to that for awhile. One summer I got hooked on Surf Spray for convenience. And then if my hair started to look dull from too much sea salt, I'd add Brilliantine. Using it sparingly, I can make the tube last longer. My latest crush is Don't Blow It (H)Air Styler for people who don't want to blow dry their hair but want a little volume and UV protection, and want to look "artfully mussed," as the website states. But since Don't Blow It isn't super shiny, I'm still reaching for a little dab of Brilliantine when my hair is almost dry for a glossier finish.


Adds shine

Provides subtle hold, like a light pomade

Not heavy or greasy (use as directed)

Not sticky at all

Tames dry ends, making them smooth and controlled

Does not have a strong fragrance

2 ounce tube makes it easy for travel


$24 for 2 ounces is insane. Please stop raising the price on this. I remember when it was $18 and I thought that was too much.

on 1/5/2015 10:52:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Green

Not a bad styling creme. Smells nice, not too overwhelming. My husband loves it :)

on 9/30/2014 1:39:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

First time I purchased this, it was left forgotten behind my bathroom mirror and eventually tossed out during spring cleaning. I remember reading about in a forum or magazine and it piqued my interest. My hair is in much better condition now compared to a year ago, but it can look a little 'boring" when worn long and straight everyday. I'm not much of product junkie, but wanted to go back to something that could give my a hair a little texture without weighing it down. I remembered Brilliantine and decided I'd give it another shot. I find this works best on unwashed, slept in hair. It smells faintly of cucumbers and a pea sized amount is all I need because any more, and my hair immediately feels weighed down. All I do is work it gently over my hair, teasing it here and there, and the result is a lovely sort of definition or texture that really lifts my hair from being straight and boring. Price is a bit steep, and I've yet to find a dupe but I use it sparingly so this tube should last a while. Will buy again.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 5/27/2014 8:02:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I have pretty fine hair, and this stuff doesn't weigh it down too much! Applying it to wet hair gives it more body, more life! Applying it to dry hair (I primarily only use it after blow drying) makes my hair smoother and shinier!
Since I barely use more than a dime's worth each use, it has lasted me months and months so far. The only reason I wouldn't but again is because I'd rather try some other product that has more to offer me, i.e. heat protection.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 3/24/2014 4:51:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

When attempting tousled, bed head or "beachy" styles, this cream is simply the best. I've tried many waxes, texture creams, salt sprays, "puttys", etc., in search of the ideal product for creating texture and separation. I've found that waxes and puttys are hard to spread evenly through hair without destroying the curls or waves and it's very hard to get the amount of product right. I usually get too much or too little. Texture creams and salt sprays usually either don't give me much texture or make my sticky and gunky. This cream is the best solution I've found so far. It gives nice separation without making my hair feel like it has a ton of product. It makes my hair shiny but not greasy. The consistency is very thin for a cream, which makes it easy to evenly distribute through dry hair. The consistency is also very light, I haven't had any issues with this weighing my hair down. As of 2014, the packaging is a pretty bronze tube with a screw top lid. I wish the lid was a flip top instead, because the screw top is inconvenient to close. This was an issue because I'd squirt a blob of product on my hand, then try to screw the lid back on the tube and the product would slide off my hand onto the floor. Now I just don't put the lid back on the tube until I have applied the product to my hair, but I would still prefer a flip top. I also wish Bumble & Bumble would give us a little more than 2 oz for $23. It's true that a little goes a long way with this product, but I've still used up my tube pretty fast. This product is still well worth it to me though; it is a unique product that really does what it says. I've heard that L'oreal Everstyle Tousle Creme is a dupe for Brilliantine. Since that is only $6 or $7 for a 5 oz I will try that when my tube is gone. If I end up not liking that I will definetly repurchase Brilliantine. Aside from the price, if you're interested in trying this product, I highly recommend.

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

on 10/15/2013 10:04:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I have very healthy hair, but it always looks like it is missing something. With this, I feel like it was styled by a top professional. I am not sure what it does, exactly. It is definitely as the package describes--ineffable. It gives it great shine and texture. I don't go to an important event without this. And the best part is you use so little! I used to use Frederick Fekkai glossing cream. And although that took care of my frizz, it did not give my hair any style. Brilliantine takes care of frizz, style, and it adds something extra I can't put my finger on.

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 8/15/2013 12:24:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Normal, Olive, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I love Brilliantine, I've used it forever. It's expensive, but I've never found anything else like it and I've repurchased it many times .... until now. L'Oreal Everstyle Tousle Creme performs exactly the same as Brilliantine for me, except I don't have to be as judicious about the amount. The Everstyle is a little thinner and easier to work with. HTH someone, it was a nice surprise for me and my wallet. I have collarbone length Botticelli/3a curls, when I use this I put it in very wet hair and I use no other product with it.

ETA: Try Purology Curl Taming Butter too. This is the best dupe of Bril yet.

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

on 7/24/2013 12:37:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Straight, Other

Eyes: Blue

Like all Bumble&Bumble products this is expensive. I think I paid 25.00 for the smaller tube. I use just a touch on my damp hair and also use a root spray from another brand. I still don't fully understand what exactly this product does, but I do know that I usually have good hair days when I use it. It gives my hair a little volume and a nice texture My hair is pretty long and I use the smallest amount, a little more than the size of a big pea. Also, my hair is gross and thin and this stuff doesn't make my hair greasy, and for some reason I feel like it makes my hair seem more alive. You should try this.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 7/2/2013 7:57:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

This is the perfect finish to any hair style! Instead of adding more oils to my ends, this gets rid of fly aways and split ends, as well and adding shine, softness, and texture! I'm obsessed!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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