I was 16 when those suggestive Herbal Essences commercials first aired. I was a virgin, but I was sexually aware enough to know what I was supposed to infer. I was also sexually unaware enough to not be sure if shouting “YES!” during sex was a thing I would be expected to do.
“A totally organic experience”--get it? Organic/orgasmic? A display of Crap That Would Never Fly Today if I ever saw one, because Herbal Essences was not organic in any way.
And it still isn’t! But that doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to get in on hippie-product fever.
The Herbal Essences Naked line features haircare formulas that are free of ingredients people have been told they don’t want. For example, the Cleansing Conditioner has no dyes, sulfates (which I do like to avoid at the advice of my colorist), or parabens (to which I will remain indifferent until there’s definitive proof to match the muckraking).
The main reason I was reluctant to try the Cleansing Conditioner had nothing to do with what ingredients are or aren't there, however.
I'm from a generation of kids whose dads kept Pert Plus in business. You may recall their far less salacious commercials:
As a kid, I would occasionally use my father's Pert Plus out of curiosity, and consequently, when my hair would emerge knottier and less "manageable" (that was THE hair buzz word of the '80s and '90s), I'd be reminded that while it was shampoo and conditioner in one, it was much more shampoo than conditioner.
Basically, I was afraid Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner would be Pert Plus in disguise, what with its promises of gently cleansing while more-than-sufficiently moisturizing hair.
But I tried it. I followed its directions, massaging four pumps into my wet hair; I then "let it go to work for a few minutes" like a conditioner before rinsing it out.
Y'all, my hair was not a scraggly, unruly mess when all was said and done.
I was seriously pleased with how my hair felt more like it had been co-washed than shampooed: soft--not crunchy or puffy--and oh so manageable. And I'm not even worried that my scalp will get too oily using just this because it contains zync pyrithione, the most common anti-dandruff ingredient.
The super-fresh scent doesn't hurt, either. It makes my hair smell really, really clean, even if it's just sorta clean--like how a breath mint doesn't actually clean your mouth, but it makes it seem clean.
And at $7 for a giant honking 17 ounces, it'll last you longer and cost you less than most separate shampoos and conditioners; not to mention you'll never have to deal with that annoying conditioner-running-out-before-shampoo thing that always freakin' happens. I am removing the superfluous buns.
Have you tried a so-called cleansing conditioner? Were you happy with the cleansing to conditioning ratio? Did those of you who were very young when the first Herbal Essences commercials aired understand why the women were screaming “YES”?