Double Take: Acure Clarifying Shampoo & Conditioner

Sometimes, one of us’ll discuss a product, and then the other tries it and has somethin’ more to say. Doesn’t mean the first person was wrong — Collier and I live in different climes (she: The Muggy South; me: The Western Desert), have different skin types (oily/acne-prone; ultra-sensitive/dry/Accutane’d), and different leanings/skill levels (she: fun! and talented!; me: neutral and lazy).

Generally, the “Ima let you finish, but I gotta talk about this product” will take one of three routes:

* All due respect, but this did NOT work for me the way it did for you

* Hear, Hear! Despite our different tastes/skin/climates, this performed similarly for me! Who’d’ve thunk it!

* SERIOUSLY THO YOU DID NOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH, I NEED TO SHOUT THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS

YOU might call it “redundant.” WE call it a “double take.”

Our first Double Take was spawned by my determination to SHOUT FROM THE ROOFTOPS how amazing the John Masters Organics Lavender & Avocado conditioner is, because oh my goodness I have never before tried a conditioner that leaves my hair feeling like kitten angel silk the way that one does. And then Collier had to go experiment with MORE sulfate-free shampoos/silicone-free conditioners, and suggested that the Acure Clarifying conditioner was almost as good as — and maybe even better than?! — the JMO conditioner. Which, at $8/8-oz vs $22/7-oz, was music to my ears. Logged onto Amazon, bought both the shampoo and conditioner, and gave ’em both a go.

TO BE COMPLETELY FAIR: I have never met ANY sulfate-free shampoo that I love. My hair is fine, delicate, and chemically-lightened; gets rill greasy rill fast; and I always put gunk like dry shampoo in it before wet-washing again — my shampoos have their work cut out for them, basically. But though I’ve never met one that I LOVE, I have met some that I can TOLERATE … and unfortunately, this just isn’t one of them. Not only does it not feel like it gets my hair clean, but I feel like it deposits something that makes it feel more gunked up. Not Acure’s fault — again, I’m fond of my sulfate’d shampoo — but it just didn’t do for my hair what I needed it to. Like Collier, I experienced minimal lather on the first wash, good lather on the second — but it left my hair feeling icky. No thanks. After giving it a few tries, I ditched it for a sulfate shampoo.

But that’s okay, because it was the conditioner that REALLY had my hopes up. Collier does Fun Things to her hair, which means it needs extra TLC, which means I trust her when she says that a hair product works well. (PLUS, she was the person who originally recommended the JMO.) I think Collier and I go by the same metric when it comes to conditioners — can I easily finger-comb my wet/damp hair? Does it feel tangled or gnarly or dry after?

While the runny-yogurt texture distributed well through my hair, and rinsing managed to strike the right midpoint between “is there anything left in my hair?” and “WHY ISN’T THIS COMING OUT?”, the finished results were less than desirable. I could NOT easily finger-comb my wet/damp hair after using this conditioner. Unlike the JMO — get in car, roll down windows, have perfectly silky and well-behaved hair when I arrive on campus — this took oodles of leave-in hair product (still using Davines Oi Hair Milk, in case you’re wondering), careful combing with a wide-toothed comb, gentle drying, and still felt dry, tangled, and dull compared to both post-JMO hair AND post-silicone-shampoo hair. This conditioner gave me UNBELIEVABLE second-day volume — probably because my hair was so dry? — but that’s about all the praise I can muster for this product.

Maybe one of the other formulas — Volume, Hydrating, Straightening, Smooth & Manageable, Repairing — would work better for me than the Clarifying. I’ll probably be trying the Volume conditioner, because mint is one of my favorite conditioner smells and my flat hair needs all the help it can get when it comes to volume.

Oh, but I 100% agree with Collier on one thing: having the shampoo in the white bottle and the conditioner in the colored bottle is hella annoying, and I more than once grabbed and squeezed the wrong tube due to the backwards color-coding. Boo.

Tl;dr: I’m glad it works for Collier, but it didn’t work for me. Still, I’m not writing off the brand’s entire hair care line — just the sulfate-free shampoos in general, and this particular conditioner formula.

Tried ’em? Love or nope? Let us knowwwww!