The Good: Inexpensive, Intriguing scent, Cleans hair, Lathers well
The Bad: Takes a bit to rinse it all out, Scent does not endure, Doesn't significantly moisturize
The Basics: In a razor decision, discovering my Strawberries & Cream shampoo deceived me about its moisturizing qualities sinks this weakly-scented product.
Every now and then, I come across a perfectly average product that comes down to the toss of a coin for where I rate it and whether or not I recommend it or not. The most extreme examples of this are what I call the razor decisions, works that are ultimately average (five out of ten on my rating scale) and are a "take-it-or-leave-it" experience. The best advice I may usually give on such products is that if you're looking for something that will knock your socks off, you'll want to move on from the razor decision product and go for something more enthusiastic. In the realm of hair care products, I've just found another shampoo that comes down to a razor decision for me: VO5's Strawberries & Cream Moisture Milks Shampoo.
VO5 is fairly well known for having inexpensive shampoos and conditioners. In virtually every market in the United States, VO5 shampoos and conditioners may be found on sale for $1.00 for a 15 fl. oz. bottle. Strawberries & Cream Moisture Milks shampoo seems to be an attempt by Alberto VO5 to cash in on the more trendy hair care crazes, in this case the use of soy milk protein to strengthen and moisturize hair. The 15 fl. oz. bottle is a fairly flat (with rounded sides) bottle with a flip-top lid that is easy enough to open with one hand. The bottle is not contoured and does get slippery when wet.
Inside is the Strawberries & Cream moisturizing shampoo and it is a pink opaque gel that has a pearlescent quality to it that will intrigue those who look at shampoo bottles for long periods of time. This shampoo has good leg. The scent is an intriguing blend of subtle strawberry and overbearing vanilla - which represents the cream, I suppose. If one is looking for the scent of fresh fruit, or the market-tested concept scent most associate with strawberries, the Strawberries & Cream is liable to disappoint. This smells - at best - like a strawberries and cream oatmeal packet . . . after one has poured milk atop the steaming oatmeal.
Even when in the shower and one's nostrils are opened by the steam (I tend to like very hot showers) this shampoo does not truly smell like strawberries. Instead, it is much more the cream scent that comes out. And it does have a very delightful, very true vanilla undertone that is pleasant, at the very least.
When it comes to use, this is a simple shampoo and one need only flip the lid and dispense a small amount into the palm of the hand before applying it to the hair. The Strawberries & Cream moisturizing shampoo requires only about a quarter-sized dollop to clean a full head of hair. Unlike the Honeydew Smoothie moisture milks shampoo, I found this lathered up remarkably well, which meant I could get away with using less of it. I have long hair and as a result, shampoo can be an annoying expense when the shampoo I am using does not lather up and clean well.
In the case of the Strawberries & Cream, it lathers up wonderfully, such that a quarter-sized dollop can easily stretch to coat a very full head of hair, like mine. Used judiciously thus, the 15 oz. bottle may easily last a full month to six weeks with daily hair washings. This makes its value a little greater than some shampoos I've recently tested and a pleasure to use.
And, quite simply, as a shampoo, it works. Hair comes out looking and feeling cleaner after its use than before. I think the most objective test for a shampoo is to see if hair is cleaner using the shampoo vs. rinsing your hair with water alone and for the basic functioning of a shampoo the Strawberries & Cream Moisture Milks lived up to that basic litmus test.
I tend to like shampoos that leave my hair smelling delightful, like whatever scent they have lured me in with. Given that the Strawberries & Cream Moisture Milks Shampoo barely smelled like strawberries to begin with (lesson here: smell the product while in the store, not after you get it home!) it was little surprise that it left no scent on my hair after it was rinsed out. To be fair, the shampoo adequately cleaned the hair such that other scents were eliminated, but it did not leave anything remotely fruity in terms of bouquet behind. So, it being winter as I write this, my hair is often subjected to smoke from the wood stove I use to heat my house. It takes on the faint aura of smoke if it is not washed for a day. The Strawberries & Cream shampoo removed the smoke smell just fine. But it left my hair smelling neutral and like hair as opposed to strawberries or cream.
The other problem with this product is that I'm at something of a loss for its purpose. "Moisturizing shampoos" seem to me like a lazy attempt to create a shampoo and conditioner hybrid without committing to the conditioning half. The result is a shampoo that seems designed to protect and strengthen hair without truly giving it more body, bounce, or luster. After a few weeks of using this, my hair appears no more protected than it was before. It certainly does not shine more and I've noticed no real difference in the strength of my hair.
The hype about soy milk proteins may be more than just hype, but it is not evident by this product alone. I was about to suggest that this might have something to do with the heat needed to thoroughly rinse the rich lather out of one's hair, but instead I see that in the case of this shampoo, "moisturizing shampoo" is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, here as I wrote my review, I noticed on the back of the bottle an asterisk that noted "*When used with VO5 Strawberries & Cream Conditioner!" The asterisk, I finally traced back, referred to the front of the bottle's word "moisturizing." Apparently, this is only supposed to moisturize when it has the conditioner along with it . . . which makes one wonder how they can get away with calling it a "moisturizing shampoo" if the "moisturizing" part is in a different bottle! That's remarkably deceptive of Alberto!
As it stands, Strawberries & Cream works fine as a day to day shampoo that will clean your hair, but for those looking for a bold scent, actual moisturizing qualities, or something that will do more than simply strip away dirt and bothersome scents, this is not the shampoo for you. With or without its accompanying conditioner!
For other VO5 shampoo reviews, please check out my takes on:
Nourishing Oasis Energize & Volumize
Healthful Green Tea Tea Therapy
Vanilla Mint Tea Tea Therapy
Nectarine Orange Surge
Kiwi Lime Shampoo
Split Ends Anti-Breakage Shampoo
Passion Fruit Smoothie Moisture Milks Shampoo
Blackberry Sage Shampoo
For other health and beauty product reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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