Friday, April 24, 2009
I almost recommended it. Well, okay, I sort of did recommend it for a few days before too many things began to bother me. And I have to admit I was intrigued by it. I also had conflicting feelings about trying this conditioner. I've been wanting to add more variety to what I recommend on the site, but Aveda conditioners are so darn expensive. And I feel that they have basically the same working ingredients for your hair as less expensive brands—they simply throw in lots of exotic-sounding plant-water to sell it.
This is where my issues started to nag at me. It began to bother me that this product has several ingredients with very little objective information available on them. I hadn't heard anything bad about these mystery ingredients, necessarily. It's just that I like to read, from at least one unbiased source, what the function of each ingredient is. One ingredient in particular really got to me: Palmamidopropyl Trimonium Methosulfate. I spent hours trying to track this down. I mean, how can there be no references to this anywhere, not in any of my books on ingredients, nor online, except in listings of Aveda ingredients. How did Aveda get any information on this ingredient to use it in the first place, then? I tried lots of variations of it's name (sometimes companies like to change the way an ingredient is listed on their label by adding spaces, leaving off part of it and such). But no such luck. In desperation/ frustration, I even called Aveda (and if you knew how much I hate talking on the phone, you'd know this was quite a drastic action on my part). I asked the customer service representative if she might know of any objective source that would tell me what this ingredient did. Though very nice, instead of giving me an objective source for this ingredient's information, she simply told me the ingredient was "a conditioning agent". But if you think about it, it's not like she would tell me if this were a crappy ingredient in their product.
But I do like how environmentally conscious the company seems. And I want to recommend more products that work, so I tried it anyway. The combing was amazing. I tell you, it combs like a dream. This would be the conditioner to use if your hair is matting. (However, it dries very light, and isn't as moisturizing as other conditioners, so this might be best for hair that doesn't need as much weight and definition or moisture. Perfect for tangles, though. You can also wait for your curls to dry and smooth a bit more on the ends to keep them together. This would also be a good candidate for adding a little olive oil or jojoba oil in the bottle (about a teaspoon and shaking it hard) to make it more moisturizing.)
At first the scent caught me by surprise. I was expecting it to be sweet, but it smelled more like a bitter sap, and I didn't like it. Although, once it dried, the scent grew on me. It began to smell more like frankincense or myrrh, or another warm, smoky scent. Now (I say grudgingly) it may be one of my favorite scents. It may not be for everyone, though.
But those mystery ingredients started getting to me. Usually I gloss over the extracts. Extracts are in hair care products for show. They are so diluted by the time they are put in the product, and then they are in there in such teeny amounts that they are nearly non-existent. And what are they really going to do for hair anyway? Hair isn't alive, so it can't use vitamins and minerals and antioxidents. And if the extract or exotic oil is being marketed as moisturizing, simple olive, coconut, or jojoba oil would do the trick. And on top of that, if the extracts did have a function, the product would have to be labeled as a drug.
Then, as the last straw, I saw two extracts the bugged me. The first was styrax, which may be a resin, which means it could harden on the hair. However, I didn't see that concern mentioned in any of my books, and it's mostly used as a fragrance anyway. And it's low on the ingredients list, so it may be okay. But then...then I saw it had tomato extract. Not just of the fruit, which, though totally pointless in a hair-care product, is harmless. But then the label said it included the leaf and stem extracts—and those are toxic! (As are the leaves of potatoes, by the way. They are both in the Nightshade (Solanaceae) family). What on earth is that doing in there?! So that was it.
Grumbling and fussing, I pulled the conditioner off the site.
*Note: I understand that this product (as are nearly all the conditioners I review) is meant to be rinsed out. And there are plenty of wonderful reviews for how this product works when it's rinsed out. However, since my method involves leaving the product in our hair, I review how a product functions this way.