Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo & Conditioner
photo from Target
Intended this for publishing on Monday, but apparently I’m awesome at WordPress and it came out a little early. Don’t worry, the schedule is correct for the rest of the week!
First things first: I received Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo and Conditioner for free to try courtesy of BzzAgent (and, of course, Garnier). I was not paid to create this content. Anyone can join BzzAgent for free and qualify for BzzCampaigns – you receive free product provided you agree to review it.
Even though my current shampoo and conditioner situation is working out, I’m open to trying products from brands I’ve had luck with. I used Garnier Fructis products with relative success for years when the brand was new-ish. Since then, the brand’s offerings have changed a lot and I’m less familiar with their landscape. Garnier Fructis Grow Strong, which is paraben free and vegan, claims to support hair by making it 10x stronger. I tried it to find out.
The two stars of the Garnier Fructis Grow Strong duo are (per Garnier’s label) Apple Extract and Ceramide.
In reality, this means it contains malic acid, which is an acid produced by apples, but also all fruits (among other things). Along with glycolic, lactic, and citric acid, malic acid is a part of the alpha hydroxy acid family and is occasionally a component of skincare products.
Malic acid is part of why apple cider vinegar rinses are recommended for no- and low-‘poo regimens. Some people claim that malic acid (and ACV rinses) can stimulate hair growth. This skeptical jury of one is out on that; AHAs interact with living cells, so I suppose it is plausible that they could stimulate the scalp into doing what we want. Otherwise, applied to just the hair shaft itself, it isn’t going to promote hair growth.
These waxy lipids help the hair (or skin, in the case of its natural presence in skin or in skincare) bind together. Think of those ultra-close-up views of what a strand of hair truly looks like: it is essentially a cascade of tiny scales. Ceramide helps them stick and lie flush to prevent damage to the hair’s cuticle. Their presence assists the hair in trapping and retaining moisture. Both of those effects result in stronger hair by:
- directly reducing the likelihood of breakage
- improving moisture retention (which also reduces breakage risk!)
Net result is you win because you have healthier, fuller hair. You can learn more about the interaction between ceramide and hair at Longing4Length, who has a nice article on it.
Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo & Conditioner
All said and done, I haven’t been too impressed by the Garnier Fructis Grow Strong shampoo. It smells nice and cleans well. If you’re into the psychological effect of lather, it lathers well. It has not caused my hair to behave erratically but it hasn’t done anything for it, either. I would not repurchase the shampoo just because it isn’t anything special.
The Garnier Fructis Grow Strong conditioner, however? I’d repurchase in a heartbeat. It is thick, luxurious, and majestic – and it is also what your hair is going to reap more of the benefit from the malic acid and ceramide from, anyway. I use it the same way I use Aussie 3-Minute Miracle:
- Coat hair with a generous amount
- Comb through with a wide-tooth comb to evenly distribute
- Clip to top of head, leave there for five minutes
Out of the shower, my hair behaves the same with my Denman as it does with my Wet Brush. Upon drying, both air and with heat, my hair is shiny and manageable. After two weeks of use, I didn’t have any bizarre build-up to contend with either – which is fantastic considering this is a drugstore brand.
I’ve used it for about three weeks now, and unfortunately that is too short a period of time to assess whether or not it does have a positive impact on hair growth.
My assumption, though, is that if there is any impact will be negligible. Hair growth is influenced more by the things we consume than the things we put on it.
Here’s what it will do: make it appear as though hair is growing more and/or faster. Given the ceramide component it could certainly have the appearance of facilitating growth. Hair that isn’t breaking will appear to some to be hair that is experiencing robust growth. In reality it is growing at the same rate as always, but was breaking due to damage before.
Is it making my hair 10x stronger? I lack the appropriate resources to examine this properly, but – no. That may not be any fault of the product though; in spite of my highlights, my hair is in decent shape health- and strength-wise. Garnier Fructis Grow Strong wasn’t like steroids for my hair though; I experienced the same elasticity, moisture, and breakage as usual.
Since I last bought a bottle of Garnier Fructis, they have modified their packaging. The plastic bottle is thinner and easier to squeeze – it probably uses less plastic to produce (which represents a savings for Garnier AND a smaller environmental impact). That said, there seems to have been a durability (or at least seal integrity) impact. When my pair of bottles arrived in the mail, although there appeared to be no damage to the bottle itself, shampoo had leaked. Not much, but enough to lead me to caution against ordering these to be shipped to you rather than picking them up in stores.
In good things, like Febreze, Garnier is partnered with TerraCycle to facilitate responsible recycling of products that may not be as easy to recycle in some municipalities. This partnership has nothing to do with the efficacy of the product but makes me feel good about the brand in a general sense.
The Bottom Line
Hard pass on Garnier Fructis Grow Strong shampoo. Just like with skincare, you want your beneficial ingredients to be in the products that sit on your hair longer. The shampoo isn’t bad, just not exceptional. The conditioner, however, is lovely and will probably complement most shampoos I have. If you’re concerned about parabens I’d say this is a good choice. Because I am not vegan, I have no idea what the haircare landscape looks like for someone avoiding all the things vegans avoid – but hey, there’s a drugstore option for you (whose conditioner is great).
I would be willing to purchase a 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner product from this line to try.