GOOD OR NAH : Acure Lemongrass Shampoo & Conditioner

Good Or Nah?

Yeah, so this place is rapidly becoming The Acure Channel, SORRY. I swear they’re not bribing us! They just have so many things I want to try! I like their ingredients and their packaging! And thus here we go again …

So lately I’ve been alternating using the Hask Blue Chamomile shampoo and John Masters Organics Bare shampoo — both pretty good, both sulfate-free — and my beloved John Masters Lavender Avocado conditioner — which is freaking AMAZING and which Finch raved about yesterday. But! I’m always open to new hair things! Especially when they’re sulfate-free, silicone-free, come in attractive containers, and have a scent I suspect I’ll like. Acure’s Lemongrass shampoo ($6.59/8oz at Amazon) and conditioner ($7.99/8oz at Amazon) seemed to tick all those boxes, and UM HI HELLO DID YOU SEE THOSE PRICES? Obviously I had to try them.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

Both the shampoo and conditioner are billed as “clarifying” and “for all hair types.” And, yeah, the “clarifying” part threw me a little at first, because of so many years of fashion-mag articles about how you should use a clarifying shampoo every couple of weeks to remove build-up (which, helpful if you use a lot of styling products, but probably otherwise unnecessary unless your conditioners are heavy on the ‘cones, which mine are not). Which, right, that generally meant it’s gonna be harsh as hell, basically a bottle of sodium lauryl sulfate, and probably not ideal for my dry damaged hair. But! This stuff is sulfate-free! And the conditioner is ‘cone-free! That allows me to give them a pass [albeit with an eyeroll] for having “argan stem cell” on the label of the conditioner.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Both are packaged in the usual stand-up tube with flip-top cap. Which, yes, those cap assemblies collect water like a mofo, which is gross when it gets all manky, and AWFUL and gross when it blorps ice-cold foetid water all over you. BUT, just do what I do : save an old shampoo / conditioner bottle that has a normal top cap or pump — preferably an attractive one, because we have Standards — and decant. One other extremely minor quibble from my inner Graphic Design Logistics/Visual Organization Snob : shampoos are usually clear, or a jelly-like tint; conditioners are usually pearly white. PACKAGING SHOULD REFLECT THIS. Acure does it backwards here : the conditioner tube is a bright acid green that shouts “CLEAN,” and the shampoo tube is white. NOPE, WRONG. The products themselves are much as expected, tho : the shampoo is clear (and of a slightly thinner consistency than I’m accustomed to, but certainly not to a problematic level), and the conditioner is pearly ivory white and of a consistency I’ll call “medium” (it’s not thin and runny like cheap drugstore crap, but it’s nowhere near as thick as, say, Aveda’s Pure Abundance conditioner).

HOW’S IT DO?

Most of the sulfate-free shampoos I’ve tried barely lather at all on the first pass and can be kind of hard to distribute through hair, and then the “repeat” portion of the “lather, rinse, repeat” cycle is much more bubbly. The same holds true here. I definitely felt like the first lather was accomplishing something, but working a normal amount of shampoo through all of my hair was mildly difficult, as expected. The second lather, tho, was completely easy and satisfying from a distribution-and-bubbles standpoint. Granted, I hadn’t washed my hair in, uh, a couple days? And so it was pretty dirty and ALSO had quite a lot of hairspray in it, so ymmv there depending on your wash frequency and how much gunk you put in it. Comparisons as to lathering and cleaning efficacy versus other sulfate-free options : not as good as Hask Blue Chamomile on the lathering front, about the same as John Masters “Bare,” much better than Shea Moisture Frankincense & Myrrh. Also worth noting : it didn’t seem to pull an unusual amount of blue dye from my hair (about the same as my other stuff), so yay.

For the conditioner, I used a pretty good amount — probably two tbsp, the same as what I use with the John Masters Lavender Avocado. It distributes pretty easily, and definitely feels like it’s saturating my hair. As usual, I twisted it up on top of my head and secured with a clip for a couple minutes while I scrub and wash my face and blah blah. It rinses cleanly quite easily, didn’t feel like “welp I guess I’ve rinsed ALL my conditioner away” but also didn’t have that feeling of “uh-oh there’s still too much of this gunk in my hair, why won’t it come oooouuuut, this is gonna feel nasty when it dries.”

“But what about the SCENT?” you ask. It says “lemongrass” right there on the label, and OHHH YES INDEED it’s lemongrass. It’s tart, it’s bracing and fresh, and it’s got a hint of that herbal-grassy “dry” smell characteristic of good lemongrass scents. It is an absolutely stupendous smell (if you like lemongrass, which I do). But! If you’re hoping this acts as “hair perfume”? Nah. I could smell it in my wet hair afterwards, and on my mostly-air-dried hair, but today — even after sleeping in the ol’ sock bun wherein the bulk of my hair is covered — I took it down and brushed it and played with it, and there’s very little detectable scent. Which, honestly, that’s fine! I like things that smell nice and are a pleasure to use, but also I’m gonna be putting on hairspray and perfume, so the fewer scents I’ve got fighting for dominance on my head, the better.

THE RESULTS : You guys holy hell this stuff is really good. I mean, I think that conditioner is maybe as good as our beloved John Masters shiz? I could brush my wet hair straight out of the shower (with an Olivia Garden Finger Brush, which is very sparse/loose), no problem. After mostly air-drying and finishing up with blow-dryer as usual, my hair feels really soft, no tangles or snarls, it’s easy to brush, and yet it also feels cleeaaaaaan. The ends still feel a little bit rough, but that’s almost always the case, due to my hair being both very long and very bleach-damaged. Honestly it feels pretty much the same as it does after using the far-more-expensive John Masters!

THE VERDICT : GOOD. Omg so good. I dig it, will continue to use it, will likely repurchase at least once. I’ll update if I have bad/unexpected results on Day Two Post-Wash, or after using it regularly for a couple weeks — but so far, excellent!

NOTE : Acure also makes three other shampoo and conditioner varieties, which I haven’t tried : a “hydrating” set with extra argan oil which reviews indicate has a sweet-almond kinda fragrance (ew no), a “smoothing” set that’s coconut scented (also no), and a “volume” set that’s minty (nah). A glance at the labels indicates that all the varieties share quite a lot of ingredients — particularly Acure’s signature mix of organic extracts and oils — so if you’re down with one of those scents, they’re probably worth trying (and report back to us!).

Shampoo Ingredients : Ingredients: water/eau, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, euterpe oleracea (acai) fruit juice extract*,rubus fruticosus (blackberry) fruit juice extract*, rosa canina (rosehips) fruit juice extract*, punica granatum (pomegranate) fruit juice extract*, calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract*,matricaria recutita (chamomile) flower extract*, aspalathus linearis (rooibos) leaf extract*, sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate, betaine, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, glycerin, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, potassium sorbate, argania spinosa (argan) kernel oil*, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) seed oil, tocopherol acetate, curcubita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil*, persea americana (avocado) fruit oil, cymbopogon schoenanthus (lemongrass) oil, lavendula dentata (lavender) oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, ubiquinone (CoQ10), argania spinosa callus (argan) culture extract. *organic ingredient

Conditioner Ingredients : Organic euterpe oleracea (acai) berry, organic rubus fruticosus (blackberry), organic rose canina (rosehips), organic punica granatum (pomegranate), organic fair trade certified rooibos, cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, stearylkonium chloride, vegetable glycerin, glucono delta lactone (fermented sugar), organic argania spinosa (argan) oil, cetearyl glucoside (from corn and glucose), guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (guar gum conditioner), glyceryl stearate (vegetable derived), L-arginine (amino acid), organic fair trade certified theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, sorbitan olivate (from olives + sugar), panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), cellulose (plant derived), d-alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), lactic acid (vegetable derived), ubiquinone (CoQ10), argania spinosa (argan) stem cell culture, cymbopogon schoenanthus (lemongrass), lavendula dentata (French lavender), evernia prunastri (oakmass), and rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) essential oils.

Tried any of these? Love ’em or nah? Discuss!