Uh, spoiler alert, I guess? Yeah, so I somehow acquired minis of this L’Oreal Volume Filler shampoo and conditioner. Did they come in a sample box? As a GWP from an Ulta order? Did Finch send them to me? IDK, anyway, they turned up in my house and I’m forever on the hunt for products that’ll make my ravaged hair feel only slightly ravaged (some ravagement is necessary for texture), so I thought Oh What The Hell Let’s Try It, Maybe It Is Great.
It is not great.
WHAT THAT IS :
Volume Filler thickening shampoo and conditioner! Thickening is good! I LOVE Aveda’s Pure Abundance shampoo and conditioner — but only when my hair is in good shape (meaning it’s just dyed black and hasn’t been bleached). It’s the only stuff that ever did actually add some volume / apparent thickness to my hair without making it feel like it’s coated in sludge [shoots a gnarly side-eye at Thicker Fuller Hair]. But I mean, science does make occasional advances! Sometimes “drugstore” brands make great products! This has something called “Filloxane,” which sounds like bullshit!
Anyway. The packaging claims “feels like 2x more hair!” So does that mean it feels like twice as much hair, or that it feels like 200% more hair, which is not the same thing? (If you had 100 hair, twice as much would be 200 hair, while “two times more” or 200% more would be 300 hair.) (Math!) (Semantics?) (Someone check my “math.”) What exactly is in there that can result in the equivalent of 300 hair for me? Let’s look.
SHAMPOO INGREDIENTS : Aqua/Water/Eau, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Coco-betaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Glycol Distearate, Hexylene Glycol, Aminopropyl Triethoxysilane, Parfum/Fragrance, Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Alcohol Denat., Polyquaternium-30, Carbomer, Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Hydroxide.
CONDITIONER INGREDIENTS : Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Aminopropyl Triethoxysilane, Starch Acetate, Parfum/Fragrance, Cetyl Esters, Isopropyl Alcohol, Lactic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Linalool, Limonene, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Citronellol, Geraniol.
Okay so in the shampoo we’ve got BOTH of the evil big sulfates (SLS and SLeS), some other surfactants, salt, a couple emollients, FRAGRANCE right there in the middle of the pack (which never bodes well for me), aminopropyl triethoxysilane, which some confused googling indicates is a … compound that’s used to prep a thing for other compounds to stick to it? Scary long thing with “guar” in it is a conditioning agent/emollient, ALCOHOL, some other “these are in everything” substances with mildly amusing names (linalool, limonene, geraniol), and two longnamestartingwith Methyl, both of which are preservatives, both of which seem to be particularly allergenic, and at least one of which may be cytotoxic. :D Oh and also there’s some lye.
Then in the conditioner we’ve got water, an emulsifier, Behentrimonium Chloride which is an anti-static conditioner and emulsifier, the same AminoWhatever that’s in the shampoo (I’m assuming this is their magical “filloxane”?), starch acetate which could come from rice/wheat/potatoes/corn/etc and maybe this is what the “filloxane” is trying to stick to your hair? MORE PERFUME, MORE ALCOHOL, a cellulose which is another thickening/bulking agent, some more Stuff That’s In Everything, and an antiseptic/antimicrobial. At least it doesn’t have silicones?
WHAT’S IT LIKE THO?
The shampoo is translucent milky white; the conditioner is a more opaque milky white. Both are a bit thinner/more watery than I prefer. Here’s what they look like, in case you’re sitting there all impatient like “omg, omg, where are the macro shots of blorp-on-hand?”
BUT HOW DID THEY DO?
Both are STANK. Interestingly (?), while they both have a generic fruity-floral perfumey scent that’s well within the range of Drugstore Hair Stuff, the shampoo seems to turn up the volume on the “fruity” element. However, to my intense astonishment, the fragrance remaining after my hair was rinsed and dried was very light, and honestly I was not even mad [about that]. The shampoo, being an absolute bucketful of sulfates, does indeed lather vigorously and seemed to clean well. The conditioner seemed to detangle effectively, and my wet hair did feel…slick, I guess.
Onnnnn the final performance front, though : Did I feel as though I had 2x more hair, i.e. 200% more hair, i.e. 300 hair? Lol no. Did I feel like I had twice as much hair aka 2x hair aka 200 hair? Lol no. Did I feel like I had approximately the same amount and thickness of hair as before I used them? Lol no it actually felt like I had LESS hair. And like, listen : y’all know what kind of shape this multi-bleached haystack is in. For something to actually sleek my hair down like a 2002 reality-show flat-iron addict … that takes some doing. This stuff did the doing. Silky limp hair is what I have naturally, and it is why I chemically beat it into submission.
AND AS A BONUS : I put my hair up in its usual Modified Sock Bun Thing, and left it there for the usual amount of time (overnight and then some). And when I took it down, it went floomp. Despite not feeling gunky or heavy or weighed down, man it did NOT want to hold a curl. I had probably 70% of my usual starting volume, and within a couple of hours it looked like I’d maybe just turned the ends under with a round brush while blow-drying. Wow. Wow.
IN CONCLUSION : I hate this and it sucks. Fug try-hard bottle graphics, smells like cheap perfume for tweenagers, and most importantly it made my hair lank as hell. There is literally nothing good about this for me. NOW: If you don’t mind the ingredients list (if you’re prone to contact dermatitis, I’d avoid) and enjoy fruity-floral smells AND want your hair to be as sleek and straight as possible? This might be great for you! It was a regrettable failure for me, though, to the extent that even though I hate waste, I threw the rest of it away because LOL NO. They’re both like $4.99 for 12oz, which is STUPID cheap, in fact I’d consider it surprisingly cheap for L’Oreal — I would’ve assumed like $8-10 each, particularly something with techy-sciencey branding that’s attempting to target a specific issue. Even though it failed on that issue like LOL NO.
Have you tried it? Are you a glutton for punishment (if so you should try it)? Do you have a fave volumizing/thickening line that actually works for you?