Herbal Essences Reboot

Herbal Essences RebootHerbal Essences Smooth Collection Shampoo and Conditioner

Years ago, Herbal Essences underwent a facelift and eagerly dashed away from the awkward, far-too-excited commercials of yore. But with the new look came new formulas, and people pined for the Herbal Essences formulas from back in the day. Within the last year, Proctor and Gamble decided to reboot two of the classic Herbal Essences lines: Smooth (rose-based, pink bottles shown above) and Shine (chamomile-based, the classic yellow bottles). Users rejoiced!

I’ve never used Herbal Essences products aside from a leave-in product about four years ago, so I wasn’t lining up to pluck the bottles from the shelves. I didn’t have a basis for comparison to the old stuff, so talking about it wasn’t a priority.

Recently, having finished up my Nexxus Therappe and Humectress, I was shopping for shampoo again. I perused the aisle until my gaze fell across the new-old Herbal Essences bottles. I don’t want to spoil it, but I’ll give you a hint: look at the green banners on the left side of each bottle.

Oh great, silicone and sulfate free!

Are your eyes still open? Good. Now look which product claims to be free of silicones and which claims to be free of sulfates.

Yes, the new-old Herbal Essences shampoo claims to be free of ‘cones and the conditioner claims to be free of sulfates. Yes. That is not backwards, that is what the bottles say. Yes, in real life. Their site even mentions that the shampoo contains 0% silicone.

I’m torn between thinking this is stupid or clever. On one hand, the collection is auditioning for Captain Obvious. Of course a conditioner doesn’t have sulfates, that would defeat the purpose. A shampoo containing silicones is rare (not unheard of, but not remotely common, either). On the other hand, Herbal Essences is not lying about the products: the shampoo doesn’t contain silicone and the conditioner does not contain sulfates. They’re pointing out a truth about their product. If you are paying attention to the products you buy, as you should be, you would never actually be misled by this.

I’m not anti-silicone in my conditioner nor am I anti-sulfate in my shampoo. (I understand the reasoning behind wanting products free of these components, and would be happy to use one if my hair was happy with it.) That said, it does disappoint me that Herbal Essences is even trying to pull this nonsense. I do think we as individuals should be responsible consumers and make informed purchase decisions, but there’s just something about the attempt itself that rubs me the wrong way.

Were you excited about the Herbal Essences reboot? Did you notice their silly marketing? Do you care? Is it good enough to try anyway?