The Good: Lathers well enough, Cleans hair, Inexpensive
The Bad: Smells terrible, Marginal conditioning properties.
The Basics: A very average shampoo, VO5's Anti-Breakage Shampoo smells awful, but actually works.
When it comes to shampoos, especially those of the less expensive variety which I tend to prefer (mostly because I don't see much point in spending loads of money on anything one would wash down the drain!), I tend to be suspicious of those which promise amazing conditioning properties. Instead, I tend to believe that most shampoos will clean and leave the hair restoration and conditioning to conditioners. In fact, my prejudice against shampoos has only grown since noticing a lot of fine print on shampoos which point out that in order to get the most out of their shampoos, one must use the accompanying conditioner. So, it was with some trepidation that I began using VO5 Split Ends Anti-Breakage shampoo.
The Anti-Breakage Shampoo appeared on the local Big Lots shelf and my partner and I were surprised as none of the other places we usually buy hair care products had this particular "flavor" shampoo. As it turns out, this might be one of the more obscure VO5 shampoos and it would not surprise me at all if it ended up being clearanced before it gets a proper chance in the marketplace.
VO5 shampoos are part of an inexpensive line of hair care products that tend to be found for an average price of $1.00 per 15 oz. bottle in most markets in the United States. The bottles have recently been redesigned to be flatter instead of tapered, which makes them easier to hold when wet and I have only found Anti-Breakage in the new bottles. Anti-Breakage is a dark blue translucent shampoo that is a little thicker than other VO5 shampoos. In fact, this is less viscous than the standard VO5 shampoo as far as consistency goes. It is easily distinguished from every other V05 shampoo as most have lighter colors and more natural-looking colors. The dark blue stands out on the shelf. The Anti-Breakage shampoo comes with a flip-top cap for easy access to the shampoo with one hand while in the shower.
Anti-Breakage is a shampoo, so there is no trick to using it. Simply place a dollop on your hand and rub it into your wet hair until it lathers up. Then rinse and repeat if necessary. More than any other shampoo in recent memory that I've tested, Anti-Breakage requires the second helping, lowering the overall value of this product. Truth be told, I've been washing my hair double regardless to offset the crap that gets in my hair at work, so it is quite possible that the Anti-Breakage Shampoo is fine on its own as far as the quantity goes. It's fine, but my hair does seem to get more clean by lathering up twice. I have long hair and I can get away with a quarter-sized dollop to clean my hair with most shampoos. I ended up using two quarter-sized portions to try to clean my hair and at this rate I suspect the Anti-Breakage Shampoo will last about two months..
The big gimmick with this shampoo is that it is supposed to prevent split ends. To that end, it is fair to wonderful. However, my experience in using just the shampoo alone for testing was limited to a week. After a week of daily use, I went back to using the Anti-Breakage Shampoo with a conditioner and together, they keep my hair perfectly moisturized and free of split ends. To the shampoo's credit, for the week that I used it on its own, I developed no new split ends and given that I had my hair trimmed on day three of the first week, Anti-Breakage actually worked at a time when my hair was at its most fragile.
Moreover, Anti-Breakage works perfectly for cleaning, even if it takes the "repeat" lathering to truly clean hair. As winter approaches, my hair usually becomes quite brittle, but this year, the Anti-Breakage shampoo seems to be help keep my hair supple and healthy, more so than prior years with any shampoo and conditioner combination.
As far as the scent goes, Anti-Breakage is utterly disgusting. VO5 has a real strike against it with Anti-Breakage when it comes to the aroma. This bears a scent which can only be described as strongly medicinal. There is a somewhat metallic scent to the liquid and it smells like medicine. The first time I opened the bottle, it nearly made me gag from the intensity of the scent, but since then I have gotten used to it. Unfortunately, it makes ones whole shower experience smell like a hospital visit. The only plus side of the scent is that it does not linger in the hair for more than an hour after rinsing it out. But as one who likes strong scents in hair products to trigger scent-memories, this was just unpleasant.
On the positive side, it does rinse out of my hair remarkably easily. This shampoo may not lather up incredibly easily but it does wash out without leaving any residue of its own. As well, some conditioners I've used have effectively nullified the scent afterward.
In the end, for something that seems to be banking on the medicinal properties of the shampoo more than the cleaning or aesthetic scent that the VO5 line usually trades on. As such, it is harder to recommend, though it is effective at preventing split ends, like it promises.
For other VO5 and similar shampoos, please check out my reviews of:
Passion Fruit Smoothie
Suave Ocean Breeze Shampoo
For other hair care product reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.