Good Or Nah : New (To Me) Shampoo/Conditioners

Okay you guys know the current state of my hair : quite long, bleached, dyed blue, extremely damaged. I’m generally very picky about what I use on it, because I try to avoid sulfates (so stripping!) and a load of silicones (so build-up-y and nasty!) BUT FOR YOU GUYS, I am EXPERIMENTING and trying all kinds of Allegedly Real Good shampoos and conditioners, to see if they’re even remotely living up to their claims. LET’S LOOK AT A COUPLE, YEAH?

First Up : Living Proof Restore Shampoo & Conditioner

Listen I have a finely-tuned Bullshit-o-meter that is calibrated to automatically filter out any brand or product that has a Celebrity Spokesperson. Also, Jennifer Aniston irritates me, so even though she departed Living Proof as brand rep and co-owner when Unilever bought them out a year or so ago, it’s still tainted in my mind. BUT FOR SCIENCE (and boredom), I tried it anyway. The shampoo and conditioner each retail for $28/8oz (at Ulta), which, to me, is WAY too much for a celebrity cash-in brand that’s now owned by the same people who make Dove soap and Axe body spray.

CLAIMS : The usual shit about restoring health and moisture to dry and damaged hair. I will give them props for being both sulfate-free and silicone-free.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Both the shampoo and conditioner are of a good consistency (not too runny, not so thick they’re difficult to distribute). Both are pearly white. Both have the type of scent that I associate with nice-ish salons : vaguely and indeterminately fruity-floral-perfumey. It’s actually not bad — I don’t adore it, but it’s the kind of fragrance that “if it does wonderful things for my hair, I can deal with it.” The scent isn’t super strong, and when your hair is dry it smells faintly perfumey with a hint of lemon. Acceptable so far!

While washing, the shampoo lathered REALLY WELL for an SLS/SLeS-free product, didn’t feel super stripping or drying, and didn’t pull an unusually large amount of blue dye out of my hair (about the same as my usual shampoos). I left the conditioner on for 2-3 minutes as usual, rinsed thoroughly, and let my hair air-dry for an hour or two before blow-drying it the rest of the way, also as usual.

OMG THEN WHAT HAPPENED? Then I went “ehhhhhhh.” Honestly, despite its extreem claims of extreem repair for extreem damage, my hair doesn’t feel or behave any differently. It didn’t take more or less time than usual to dry, it still feels rougher than it does in its unbleached state, the ends still feel dryish, it’s not any more soft or supple. Also, the conditioner seemed to leave behind a bit of residue despite VERY thorough rinsing — it’s not heavy or gunky, but if I run my hands through my hair a lot, they come away feeling a little bit slick and also weirdly … powdery? It doesn’t feel as clean as it does after using any of my regular conditioner / deep conditioners, and I’m guessing that it’ll feel truly “dirty” more quickly (I’ll report back tomorrow if anything notable happens in that regard.)

GOOD OR NAH : Eh, nah. This isn’t horrible, and maybe it’d perform better for someone with a slightly different hair type? Possibly if you have only moderately damaged hair (say, from a standard dye job or highlights), and/or you have very fine hair and you LIKE to have a little build-up kinda stuff on it to give it more bulk and volume? Then this might be great for you! But for me, it’s a nope. (The shampoo I could contentedly use in a pinch, but the conditioner’s residue marks that one off my list.)

Living Proof Restore Shampoo Ingredients : Water/Eau/Aqua, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Glycol Distearate, Lactamide MEA, Polyquaternium-47, Behenyl Alcohol, Octafluoropentyl Methacrylate (OFPMA), Creatine, Polyquaternium-22, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Laureth-4, Laureth-23, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance/Parfum, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Citronellol, Magnesium Nitrate, Magnesium Chloride.

Living Proof Restore Conditioner Ingredients : Water/Eau/Aqua, Cetearyl Alcohol, Octafluoropentyl Methacrylate (OFPMA), Behentrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Ceteareth-25, Quaternium-87, Hydrogenated Castor Oil/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Citric Acid, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Fragrance/Parfum, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Citronellol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Magnesium Nitrate, Magnesium Chloride.

NEXT UP : TIGI S-Factor Serious Shampoo & Conditioner

Okay this is a brand I’ve always avoided, because I see rows of their shouty packaging in drugstores and it all looks so aggressively “Tryna Be Cool So Teens Will Be Down With It,” which is a huge turn-off for the graphic design snob in me. Also, the few products I’ve opened and sniffed in Walgreens all smelled like someone is boiling a pot of Sharkleberry Fin Kool-Aid with a couple bags of Jolly Ranchers still in their plastic wrappers tossed in. But okay, fine, it says “SERIOUS” right there on the label! I’m a serious person! (Shut up.) It’s allegedly a ~salon brand~ even tho it’s at RiteAid! I’ll try it! I mean it’s not cheap — the shampoo is $33.99/8.5oz and the conditioner $33.99/5oz at Ulta, so how bad can it be?

CLAIMS : Again, the usual “ooooo extreem repair for damage etc etc” stuff. And yet, the shampoo is not sulfate-free, and the conditioner has a load of silicones. But also it contains silk, because this is Pantene and it’s the 90s? Okay well you guys are allegedly professionals, let’s see what happens.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? It’s fucking rank. Okay you know those Life Savers Cream Savers things, that’re like swirled white (cream) plus a color (random fruit)? This smells exactly, precisely like the strawberries ‘n’ cream version of those … plus a mentholyptus cough drop. The scent is LOUD, it is CLOYINGLY SWEET, and it is NASTY AF. “Oh but probably after you rinse it out and dry your hair it’ll …” NOPE, I CAN STILL SMELL THIS SHIT, it’s like someone ate all the worst varieties of Yankee Candles and got super stoned on them and then ate a basket of decorative dried eucalyptus and then threw up on my head. Y’all this shit made my hair smell so nast that I actually washed it again the next day (which, with ravaged and blue-dyed hair that sheds its color like my dog sheds fur? I do not / will not wash my hair every day) just to get the smell out.

OMG THEN WHAT HAPPENED? Well the shampoo’s got a shitload of sodium laureth sulfate, and the conditioner’s got a shitload of ‘cones. So, yeah, it lathered well, and my hair felt slightly dryer than usual, and with that silicone slip that maybe feels nice right now, but you know it’s going to grab onto every bit of dirt and dust and oil and humidity etc and feel extra heavy and dirty the next day. AND THAT SCENT. :(

GOOD OR NAH : NAHHHHH. Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out NOPE.

Tigi S-Factor Serious Shampoo Ingredients : Water (Aqua/Eau), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Silk Powder (Serica/Poudre de soie), Dimethiconol, Gluconolactone, Trehalose, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance (Parfum), Glycerin, Citric Acid, Carbomer, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Cocamide MEA, TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Sodium Sulfate, Disodium EDTA, PEG-45M, Silica, PPG-9, Sodium PCA, Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Red 33 (CI 17200).

Tigi S-Factor Serious Conditioner Ingredients : Aqua (Water/Eau), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Esters, Behentrimonium Chloride, Amodimethicone, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sodium PCA, Hydrolyzed Silk, Cetrimonium Chloride, Trideceth-12, Parfum (Fragrance), Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, CI 17200 (Red 33), CI14700 (Red 4).

Tried either of these? Love or loathe? Discuss!