Shea Shampoo Shampler #1


Because I have an overwhelming urge to constantly try new hair crap, and because I ran out of my previous shampoo(s), and because I was in Walgreens when I remembered this, BEHOLD, the first of three test-drives of new-to-me Shea Moisture shampoos! First up, African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo, which I bought because three different drugstores didn’t have the one I wanted, sigh. LET’S GO.


Well, according to the front label, tea tree oil and willow bark extract! That sounds good, right? You probably know willow bark as the source of both aspirin and salicylic acid, and tea tree oil is usually found in products targeted at acne or oily skin (though interestingly, there’s apparently not a lot of solid evidence that it’s super helpful against acne). Anyway, those ingredients plus “DEEP CLEANSING” sounded appealing since even though my hair is dryyyyyy, my scalp tends to be oily and I use a lot of hairspray. But then the front label also says “Calm & Balance DRY SCALP” and the other copy seems to indicate it’s got anti-dandruff functionality so…? (Also there’s a version of this stuff — older? newer? — that’s straight-up billed as a dandruff shampoo.) Okay, whatever, let’s see what else there is :

Ingredients : Water, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl lsethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin (Vegetable), Glycol Distearate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Vinegar, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*♥, Salicylic Acid, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Mangifera lndica (Mango) Seed Butter, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Melia Azadirachta Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Plantago Major Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Shea Butterate, Sodium Cocoate, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Pod Ash, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caramel, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend)

A non-sulfate surfactant, a coconut-oil-derived surfactant, more coconut-oil-derived stuff, olive oil, shea butter, avocado / coconut / argan / jojoba / macadamia oils (jesus that’s a lot of oil), mango seed butter (BASICALLY OIL), fennel extract, GRAPE SEED OIL, okay and now I’m wondering why I didn’t read past the first four or five ingredients while I was standing in the store with the damn bottle in my hand.


First off, let me just give thanks for this, my favorite shampoo bottle design. It’s compact, it’s not try-hard, it’s not top-heavy, and it has the nice press-open cap that doesn’t collect cold shower water or get all mildewy. Visually, the shampoo itself is a rather pleasing pearly light khaki color. Texture-wise, it’s fairly thin and slippy — thinner than I prefer, but not so watery that it immediately runs off your hand. Fragrance-wise, it is … not my favorite. Despite having a hefty dose of tea tree oil (whose scent I love), the dominant notes here are sweet-warm-creamy — think amber, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and so forth. It’s not awful, but it’s not something I’d pick. (Yes, I’m one of those neurotic types who won’t peel open a bottle’s glued-on seal to smell the contents. I regret that now.)


I don’t expect non-sulfate shampoos to foam like a mofo, especially on the first lather. But this doesn’t even suds up a lot on the second lather, and also I felt like I needed to use quite a bit of it to get it distributed through my hair and really do anything. But function-wise : listen, this is a bottle of oil. Okay yes, it’s got emulsifiers and a couple low-key surfactants in it and some other stuff, but this is OILY. It did seem to remove my hairspray plus the accumulated dirt and oils and so forth but … eh.


After rinsing, my hair felt pretty slick, but I applied my usual conditioner anyway (albeit in a reduced amount). While still wet, my hair felt very … slippy. When dried (mostly air-dry, finish with blow dryer), it felt slightly silkier than usual, and not coated or heavy or anything but … kinda limp? I put it up in the usual Modified Sock Bun overnight, and when I took it down the next day, MAN was there a serious lack of volume and curl. My hair really wanted to lie all smooth and low, and really did not want to hold a curl. :(  Seriously, it was almost straight again in a couple hours. :((((

THE VERDICT : Do you co-wash, or have an interest in co-washing, or have the driest hair imaginable AND want it to be very straight and very smooth? This might be great for you! It is not great for me. However, at about $11/13oz (currently $11.15 and an extra coupon on Amazon, also at drugstores etc.) it wasn’t a pricey experiment. ALSO, you know what? This makes a damn fine shower gel. No, really! It bubbles quite nicely on my palm body brush, and (no surprise) feels SUPER moisturizing. The scent is still not ideal, but I did edit it a bit by adding a couple big blorps of EO/fragrance oil (cedar and tobacco-bay, oooo). So at least it’s getting used! Tho I might stash it away for winter, when my skin will appreciate it more. <3

TRIED THIS ONE? Dig it or nah? Tell meeeeee.