I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that the sodium lauryl and laureth sulfates found in lathering shampoos are harmful to your health. Shampoos with sulfates and parabens can also leave your hair dry, damaged, and stripped of its natural oils and moisture. That’s why many savvy and health-conscious consumers have been switching to non-lathering (no-poo) and low-foaming (low-poo) hair cleansers.
I’ve wanted to write about the no-poo hair care trend for a while now, and I’ve finally tried enough products to give my well-rounded opinion on the topic. I present to you, The Great No-Poo Debate: Wen vs Hair One vs L’Oreal Evercreme.
One of the most popular and effective no-poo cleansing conditioners on the market is Wen. I LOVE Wen. I used to watch the infomercials late at night and became convinced that I could have Alyssa Milano’s hair. For a long time, I couldn’t justify spending $30 on one bottle of this stuff. Then I read horror stories online about people signing up for the club, getting overcharged, and not being able to cancel. So I waited for a great deal to come around and I finally scored two 16oz bottles on QVC for around $48 with shipping.
The deal came with Sweet Almond Mint and Pomegranate scents and according to the Web site, they have different effects on different types of hair, but I really couldn’t tell a difference after using both.
A little background on my hair: I used to dye my hair ALL the time, and after an incident with a bottle of bleach blonde, I began growing my hair out and stopped dying it. For the first time in 6 years, I have mostly natural-colored hair, except for the ends, which I kept blonde for an ombré look.
After the first wash, I saw an instant change in the softness, moisture levels and volume of my hair. For Wen to work effectively, you do have to follow the instructions exactly, which means 10-30 pumps each time you wash, depending on your hair length. During my brief relationship with Wen, I easily had the best hair I’ve had in years. I didn’t have to use any other products, it was smooth and cooperative, and I could just air dry and go. Unfortunately, I ran through both bottles in a couple of months and didn’t see the value in reordering it.
Wen’s effects and ingredient list are impressive. I won’t say it’s completely harmless, since amodimethicone, a hair-coating silicone, doesn’t agree with everyone’s hair. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s anything you can’t find in most conditioners on store shelves. And at $2 an ounce, it’s more expensive than going to the salon for a cut and blow dry once a month. Definitely not sustainable on an average budget.
So began my search for products similar to Wen. I wanted a sulfate-free shampoo that had Wen-like effects on a Pantene budget.
I stumbled upon L’Oreal EverCreme, a new sulfate-free cleansing conditioner with a price right up my alley. Ranging from $5-7 online, I was immediately attracted based on this factor alone. A few months ago, I ran out of my usual shampoo and conditioner and bought a bottle to test it out.
When I first used it, it made my hair feel dry and greasy at the same time. Also, this shampoo creates a foamy lather, which I found strange considering it boasted a sulfate-free label. However, after researching the short ingredient list, I didn’t find anything that raised a red flag.
I wanted to give it another chance and searched for tips and reviews online. Many people got better results if they pre-washed with a very small amount of the conditioner, rinsed, and washed again with a slightly larger amount. That helped, but I still found myself having to wash my hair more frequently since it got greasy quicker. That could be attributed my thick, somewhat dry hair, and could possibly work better for you.
Personally, I wouldn’t purchase EverCreme again simply because it doesn’t agree with my thick, dyed hair, and I find myself having to wash more frequently. It has an even mix of rave reviews and awful ones, but it doesn’t claim to work on everyone’s hair like Wen does. It’s a $6 bottle of cleanser that aims to replace both your shampoo and conditioner. If you’re on the edge as I was with Wen, this cleanser definitely warrants a trial and could end up saving you a lot of money.
I found out about Hair One cleansing conditioners, sold at Sally Beauty Supply, fairly recently. I was a little skeptical at all the reviews claiming this worked just like Wen at a fraction of the price, but I had to find out for myself. A few weeks ago, I stopped by Sally’s and picked up a couple sample size packets of the Jojoba Oil version at $1.59 a piece. The price for a 12oz. bottle is $11.99 regularly.
A red flag ingredient in this cleanser is propylene glycol, which has been known to cause skin irritation, eczema, and other allergic reactions. I have no idea what this or any of the other unpronounceable ingredients have to do in a shampoo, but I know enough to stay away.
I wasn’t expecting much, but it did a good enough job on my hair that I can confidently compare it to Wen. It left my hair smooth and soft, but not as moisturized as Wen. Also, it fell flat and felt greasy after one day, so I don’t think the actual cleansing part was executed very well.
At $12 a bottle, this is a decent alternative to Wen. It has similar effects, but it does have some questionable ingredients not found in its higher-end counterpart. Since I’m working towards a cleaner, more natural lifestyle, I passed on this product and kept looking for something with safer ingredients.
After giving all three products a fair try, my search for the most effective, safest, and wallet-friendly cleansing conditioner continues. Wen is great in my book, but it’s too expensive to keep up with, and after I stopped using it, my hair was very reluctant to go back to a normal shampoo and conditioner combo. The L’Oreal just doesn’t cut it for my thick hair, and the Hair One isn’t worth using with it’s potentially harmful ingredients.
I have, however, finally found a shampoo and conditioner combo that works for me. Look out for my upcoming review on Simply U shampoo from WalMart (shocking, I know!) and Aussie’s 3-Minute-Miracle conditioner.
What’s most important to you when choosing a hair product? What are some of your favorite products that I should try?