Aveda Revisited


Okay we know that aside from a few recent ill-fated forays into Other Hairsprays, I’ve been pretty much in love with Aveda Pure Abundance for like … fifteen years? Or however long it’s existed. But after being similarly devoted to their shampoos and conditioners for a long, long time (the Pure Abundance line when my hair was relatively undamaged, Dry Remedy or Damage Remedy when it wasn’t), I kinda fell off that truck. My first double-bleaching (over two years ago, WOW) compelled me to start trying other options — first a couple from R+Co, and then I discovered the Shea Moisture Sacha Inchi stuff which I’ve been super keen on. BUT! I get bored easily, and also I got a blog to feed, so hey let’s look at some Aveda stuff that I’ve never even tried at all! 


Aveda’s site description : “Weightless cleansing leaves fine to normal hair healthy and full of body.” Right there should be a tip-off that this is Not For Me. Is my hair “fine”? Indeed! Is it “normal”? Only in the sense that it’s located on my head as per the typical arrangement for h. sapiens, and that it is in fact human hair and not some kind of odd fur or like, tentacles or snakes or whatever. Otherwise? Nope. Not normal. Very chemically abused. Lol whatever, I’ma try it anyway. Oh hey what’s in there?

Shampoo Ingredients : Aqueous (Water\Aqua\Eau) Extracts\Extraits Aqueux:Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract , Sodium Coco-Sulfate , Lauramidopropyl Betaine , Glycerin , Babassuamidopropyl Betaine , Vinegar\Acetum\Vinaigre , Camphor , Menthol , Cocamidopropylamine Oxide , Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine , Polyquaternium-4 , Fragrance (Parfum) , Linalool , Limonene , Citric Acid , Sodium Chloride , Sodium Gluconate , Phenoxyethanol , Benzoic Acid <ILN36155>

Hooray, no SLS/SLeS! Oh but oops, apparently Sodium Coco-Sulfate basically IS Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, but its [plant-derived form] utilizes multiple fatty acids found in coconut, not just the lauric acid. BOOOOOO. Now I don’t even care about the rest of the ingredients, but honestly much of the rest of this list is making me give a big old eye-roll to Aveda’s heavily-cultivated (heh) “natural” “from plants” image. Tch.


Okay I assumed “rosemary mint” would be a sharp and brisk and very cleeeean smell. And it kind of is, but do you see camphor and menthol up there in the ingredients? Yeah. This does indeed have rosemary and mint notes apparent (heavier on the mint, to my nose), but the camphor and menthol OVERWHELM everything else. Just sniffing the open bottle is like “hmm, ooh, interesting.” Actually washing your hair with it is like getting smacked upside the head with a boat oar covered with slightly-sweetened Vick’s VapoRub. [Incidentally, VapoRub is bullshit and you should not use it under most circumstances. Its ingredients have no real clinical evidence backing up their claims of opening airways or relieving chest congestion, and in fact some of them — the camphor in particular — can be irritating and potentially harmful.] ANYWAY. Did it clean my hair effectively? Sure, it’s got an assload of heavy-duty detergent in it. Was it an enjoyable experience? Nah.


Aveda’s site sez “Weightless conditioning leaves fine to normal hair healthy and full of body.” I say “yeah I shoulda read that first, this is not gonna be good.” Still, my expectations for a conditioner are for it to at least achieve baseline adequacy even if it’s not GREAT. Like, a cheap dimethicone-laden thing from the drugstore might perform very little actual conditioning, as dimethicone just forms a film over your hair shaft — but would at least make it [temporarily] feel softer. But what’s in therrrrreeee :

Conditioner Ingredients: Aqueous (Water\Aqua\Eau) Extracts\Extraits Aqueux: Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearalkonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-11, Vinegar\Acetum\Vinaigre, Wheat Amino Acids, Tocopherol, Oryzanol, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil , Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Olealkonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate <ILN36156>

Okay yay, no dimethicone! Or any other ‘cones! However, a fatty alcohol (cetyl), some stuff derived from stearic acid (the next two things), and polyquaternium-11 (a film-forming agent common to [cheap] conditioners) are pretty damn weaksauce and I’d rather just have the dimethicone, thx. The jojoba oil, panthenol, tocopherol and soybean oil are all fine-ish or whatever, but who cares, because …


LAME. In fairness, this is for “normal / fine” hair. It would be super unreasonable to assume it’s going to do any kind of “good” job on the multibleached haystack. But fo sho, I applied my usual amount for the usual length of time, rinsed, and when my hair was at the “air-dried and still barely damp” point where I go to brush through it and finish it off with the blow-dryer before sock-bunning? I could barely get the big-ass vent brush through it. Mild panic induced me to rub a generous blop of a couple leave-in conditioners in there (Aveda Damage Remedy plus a little Phyto stuff) and it STILL felt noticeably drier and less soft than usual. :( On the plus side, the fragrance in this one is much lighter and less intense to me than the shampoo. After using both, my hair smelled only vaguely minty/menthol-y, so that was something of a relief.

IN CONCLUSION : Okay I still seriously dig a lot of Aveda products. I got pretty good results from their Dry Remedy Masque (tho I hear the formula and/or scent has changed in the recentish past?), and I will love the Pure Abundance hairspray until I die — and will also probably put the P.A. shampoo and conditioner back in rotation if/when my hair is “healthy” (i.e. just dyed black, not bleached) again because it’s legiiiiiit. But this stuff is a big NOPE for me, and unlike a lot of other things that’re NOPEs for me, I wouldn’t even recommend this for someone with different hair. The shampoo is — with its load of SLS-doppelganger — unnecessarily stripping, and the conditioner is largely ineffectual except for people who don’t actually need any real conditioning, maybe just some smoothing and static-decreasing? And considering they’re both $14 for 8.5oz, you can accomplish everything these do AND MORE for a lot less with basically anything from your local Tarzhay, with the added bonus of not feeling like you’re showering in the bedroom of a kid in the 80s with a chest cold whose parents don’t know any better (like mine! :D). If you MUST for some reason use them, I recommend rubbing some directly under your nostrils, pretending you’re in that gristly morgue scene in Silence of the Lambs, and just keep repeating “no suh, that’s a buhg cocoon” and “thayre’s, uh, glitter nail polish … looks lahk town to me.”

TRIED ‘EM? Good or nah for you? Feeling like rewatching Silence of the Lambs now? DISCUSS.