Desert Essence Shampoo & Conditioner Review

December 29, 2014

I used to work at a kind of fair trade/environmentally friendly shop and we stocked a lot of Desert Essence items. Since I got everything cheap when I worked there, I tried all the different types of shampoos and conditioners by Desert Essence. They were my first "natural" beauty items. Since I'm always on the look out for great natural hair and body care items, I thought I'd write some reviews on here of products I've used in the past (and what I use now) to help people out if they're thinking about making the switch.

I don't consider this brand to be the best option if you're looking for a really environmentally friendly or natural product. The ingredient list is quite long and they seem to include some unnecessary ingredients, but it's still pretty good stuff in them. If you are concerned about using a more natural product, stick to the Organics and avoid the ones that don't have that on their label. I have since switched to a different brand but I still tell people to try Desert Essence if they're looking for something a little healthier. Almost all of their products are vegan, and all are 100% vegetarian and never tested on animals. Most are gluten and soy free. So while it's not my favourite brand, you can feel pretty good about using it. The least expensive I've found is purchasing right from their website. They're pretty widely available, though, and I've seen their products in big department stores.

Desert Essence hair products are great for people who are used to normal shampoos like Dove or Pantene. They still lather really well, they have pretty strong scents, and behave like the products you're used to in general. They are a little pricier than regular drugstore brands, but natural products generally are. It's worth it. When you really start thinking about what's in your shampoo, conditioner, and soap, it's kind of gross. Dove bar soap, for example, still uses a form of animal fat.

I'm reviewing the six shampoo and conditioner duos you see above.

Green Apple and Ginger (organic):
This scent is to die for. It's fresh and fruity but not medicinal smelling, and it'll make your hair smell great for a couple of days. It says it's for fine hair so if you live in a dry climate (like me) or have dry/processed/thick hair, it's not a great option. I've used it in our more humid summers with pretty good results, and preferred it when my hair was on the shorter side. A friend of mine with really fine hair thinks this stuff is the bomb, and it makes her hair look great.

Italian Red Grape (organic):
I find the red grape shampoo smells like cheap processed candies. It's almost bubble gummy. I don't like it at all and when I bought it I ended up giving it to my sister because I hated it so much. It's for coloured hair, so it does help with dryness and protection. I just couldn't get over the crazy strong scent.

Lemon Tea Tree (organic):
This one is for oily hair so I imagine it's another one that would be better in more humid areas. It dried out my scalp, made me really itchy, and caused a lot of breakage in my hair. This is a good option for people with both oily hair and problems with dandruff or flaking. If you have dry hair, or naturally dry skin, avoid it. The scent is pretty nice, but a little medicinal. You can really smell the tea tree oil.

Coconut:
The coconut was my favourite at first, but it's also the only one that isn't classified as organic. It's most similar to conventional hair products. Both the shampoo and conditioner are crazy creamy and if you have dry hair, it'll work like a charm. The scent is quite strong and it lasts a long time between washes. This one uses an artificial fragrance, so keep that in mind. With extended use my scalp became really irritated from using this. It's their most popular scent, though, and it does smell good. If you're looking for a good transition from normal hair care products into more natural ones, this is a pretty decent option. If you have highly sensitive skin or issues with eczema, avoid it.

Fragrance Free (organic):
I wanted to like the unscented more than I did. It didn't irritate my skin at all, but my hair just seemed lacklustre. I also missed having a scent in my shampoo. It took the fun out of washing my hair. It is a good option for sensitive skin or dry hair, and I think it'd be great for kids. I don't know what babies are supposed to use so I'm not going to recommend it for them. I don't know any babies personally right now.

Red Raspberry (organic):
This baby is shine enhancing. It will make your hair fabulously shiny. I'm not a huge fan of the scent and find it a little cloying, but if you like very sweet-smelling products, this is for you. I know my sister likes it a lot. No complaints, but not my favourite.

What are your favourite natural hair products? Have you used Desert Essence and, if so, did you like it?


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