Are They Dupes?: Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner VS Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner

by Gio

a dupe for wen cleansing conditioner

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?



Cetyl Alcohol

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?


Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine

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 climateThat’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.

Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Vegetable Oil (Olus Oil), Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Polysorbate 60, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Amodimethicone, Citric Acid, Menthol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance (Parfum), Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde.

Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner Ingredients: Water/Eau, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil*, Menthol, Fragrance/Parfum, Glutamic Acid, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Zinc Pyrithione, Citric Acid, Sodium Chloride, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone. *Field Mint/Menthe Des Champs.

Have you tried these cleansing conditioners? If so, which one is your favourite?

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MonicaP June 20, 2016 - 4:13 pm

I’ve also tried both and I’m the same as you .. not a true fan of cleansing conditioners, but I sometimes use them to refresh my hair instead of scrubbing with shampoo/conditioner.

I like both, but I think I like the Herbal Essence better because the scent lasts in my hair – till the next day. I love when hair product scent lingers in my hair .. and I find it’s pretty rare, so that’s why I like HE better, but really both products seem to perform the same, to me anyway.


Gio June 25, 2016 - 4:28 pm

Monica, they’re just not that effective, are they? Shame, cos I like the idea.

Oh, I like when scents linger on hair, too!

Joanne Weber June 30, 2016 - 4:57 am

Hi Gio! I just used the Loreal cleansing balm and was wondering, will it remove silicones? I have very dry hair and it is wavy and coarse in texture. The cleansing conditioner made my hair moisturized. When I added my styling products my hair had definition and pretty waves. Thank you for your input!

Gio July 2, 2016 - 12:40 am

Joanne, mmm it should help remove at least some of them. You’d know if it doesn’t because your hair will feel and look very weighted down. I’d recommend you keep using L’Oreal Balm regularly, and then once every 10 days or so, use a stronger shampoo to remove the silicones.

Joanne Weber July 2, 2016 - 10:46 pm

Dear Gio,
Thank you very much for your quick and knowledgable response! I appreciate the time and effort you put into your topics. They are very informative and insightful. In the end, I believe we all need to do what’s best for our skin, hair and health! Everyone is different, so we all should adapt to what works for us. Continued success?

Gio July 14, 2016 - 8:56 pm

Joanna, you’re very welcome. And I completely agree. Science can tell us if an ingredient can really do its job, but that doesn’t mean it will work well for everyone. You really never know how something will work for you until you try it. It’s important to know the rules, but we also need to experiment as well.

Thank you! 🙂


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