I’m not a big fan of cleansing conditioners.
I can’t be. My hair is oily and cleansing conditioners too gentle and moisturizing. It’s a match made in hell.
But, if you have dry hair, you’ll find they’re godsends for you. And, these days, you don’t even have to splurge on them anymore.
If rumours are to be believed, Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner is a dupe for Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner. Is it really true?
This is a fatty alcohol, which is simply an alcohol derived from fat (either coconut oil or palm oil). That means it doesn’t behave like an alcohol at all. Rather than being drying, it’s moisturizing. It’s what makes hair soft and smooth, gives conditioners their creamy textures, and helps them spread evenly on the hair.
So, both conditioners have got the conditioning part right. But, what about the cleansing part?
This is a gentle cationic surfactant (a positively charged surfactant) made from vegetable oil. Surfactants are the stuff that cleanses hair, but they’ve got a bad reputation because a few of them can be quite harsh (ouch!).
Cationic surfactants are different from other surfactants because they are much gentler. So, they can cleanse hair, but not that well. If you have oily hair like me, or use a ton of styling products, there’s no way stearamidopropyl dimethylamine can make your hair squeaky clean. But, if you have dry hair or a sensative scalp, you’ll probably appreciate it a lot more.
Anyway, cationic surfactants are usually used as conditioning agents. That’s because they can create a protective film on the hair that softens hair, reduces knots, and makes hair shine.
I’m not gonna talk in depth about mint because it doesn’t do much here. It just gives the cleansing conditioners their refreshing mint scents. As invigorating as that is, mint can also be irritating.
Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner only contains a sprinkle of menthol, so I’m not that worried about it. But Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner has menthol, peppermint oil, and mint oil. If I had sensitive skin, I’d stay well away!
What else do I need to know?
Mmm, the rest of the formulas are pretty different, but that hardly matters. It’s the first 5 ingredients that make up the bulk of the products. The rest, with a few exceptions, are usually added to thicken the formula, add a certain colour or fragrance, or just make products look more natural than they really are.
The only thing worthy of note is that Wen uses a big dollop of glycerin, while Herbal Essences has stearyl alcohol. Stearyl alcohol works pretty much the same way as cetyl alcohol, so I won’t repeat the same thing here. I’d just bore you to death.
Gycerin hydrates and moisturizes hair, too. But, only in the right climate. That’s because glycerin works by attracting water from the environment into the hair. If it’s too hot and there’s a lot of humidity in the hair, glycerin will absorb too much moisture and make your hair all frizzy.
If it’s very dry, glycerin won’t find much moisture in the environment and will so seek it from your hair, dehydrating it and making it prone to breakage. What a fussy diva, isn’t it?
Where Can I Get Them?
Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner is available at Sephora. A 16oz bottle will set you back a whooping $32.00!
Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner can be found at drugstores, including Walgreens. A 16.09oz costs a much more affordable $6.29.
Is Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner a dupe for Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner?
Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner isn’t an exact dupe for Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner, but it’s close enough. In the right climate, it does the same thing for a fraction of the cost. Still, I prefer Wen. It’s more expensive and doesn’t work well in all climates, but its formula is much gentler. All that mint in the Herbal Essences Cleansing Conditioner can’t be that good for the scalp.
Have you tried these cleansing conditioners? If so, which one is your favourite?