Thursday, October 13, 2011

Strawberries & Cream Moisture Milks Conditioner: A Fine Conditioner To Pair With A Mediocre Shampoo!

The Good: Inexpensive, Intriguing scent, Mildly conditions hair
The Bad: Takes a bit to rinse it all out, Scent does not endure, Doesn't significantly moisturize
The Basics: A decent, though unextraordinary, conditioner, VO5's Moisture Milks Strawberries & Cream Conditioner might not have the strongest scent, but it does protect.

So the other day, I was reviewing VO5's "Strawberries & Cream Moisture Milks Shampoo" (reviewed here!) when I noticed a little asterisk on the front of the bottle. The asterisk was next to the word "moisturizing" in "moisturizing shampoo" and I thought that was odd. So, I checked out the back of the shampoo and eventually found in the fine print, the asterisk and the information attached to it. It said "*When used with VO5 Strawberries & Cream Conditioner" and I was more than a little peeved about this. Why didn't VO5 simply release its Strawberries & Cream moisture milks line as a shampoo and conditioner two-in-one as opposed to trying to dupe its loyal customers with the idea that the shampoo might do some of the moisturizing work of the conditioner? I felt disappointed.

But then, I picked up my bottle of "Strawberries & Cream" Moisture Milks Conditioner and I decided I would ring in the new year with a review of a slightly better product.

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 conditioner, like the shampoos in the line, is 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 conditioner and it is a light pink - almost white - opaque fluid. And yes, this has an asterisk, too, and in this case the conditioner seems designed to strengthen hair as it offers to double the strength of one's hair when used with the corresponding shampoo. Like most VO5 conditioners, this makes no claims for dramatic hair changes. This is not advertised as a "dry to normal hair" conditioner, nor a "normal to oily hair," so the assumption here is that it is designed for all hair types and will not so much change the composition of one's hair, but rather protect what one already has.

The scent is an intriguing blend of sweet strawberry and a strong undertone of vanilla - which represents the cream. If one is looking for the scent of fresh fruit the Strawberries & Cream might disappoint. The smell is somewhat fruity in that generic strawberry candle way that we have - as a society - come to accept as the scent of strawberries. Most precisely, this smells like homemade strawberry ice cream when one has used vanilla extract instead of strawberry extract to enhance the flavor.

Even when in the shower and one's nostrils are opened by the steam (I tend to like very hot showers) this conditioner does not truly smell like strawberries. It does, however, smell inoffensive and generally like what it is supposed to. I have not noticed any improvement in the realism of the scent when shampooing with its corresponding shampoo. In other words, using it with the shampoo partner does not enhance the strawberry scent at all.

When it comes to use, this is a versatile and standard conditioner 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 conditioner requires at least a half-dollar-sized dollop to condition a full head of hair. I have long hair and as a result, conditioning can be an annoying expense as conditioner does not, traditionally, lather up to spread the way a shampoo does. As a result, I go through at least twice as much Strawberries & Cream conditioner than I do shampoo.

Even used judiciously, the 15 oz. bottle lasted only three weeks with daily hair washings and conditioning. One might want to keep that in mind when purchasing this combination if they have long hair. Indeed, my hair only comes down to the shoulder blades; people with waist-long hair will likely need even more conditioner to make this product work as it is supposed to.

And as a protecting and moisturizing conditioner, the Strawberries & Cream works. The Moisture Milks Strawberries & Cream combination worked fine at protecting my hair. Usually, I get split ends within a week of trimming them off, but in order to do a thorough review of this product, I trimmed my hair and did a faithful regimen of using this conditioner and its corresponding shampoo and after two and a half weeks, there are still no split ends! Given that I am working around a lot of fires these days, I take that as an effective endorsement of this!

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 Conditioner barely smelled only mildly like strawberries to begin with, it was little surprise that it left no scent on my hair after it was rinsed out. To be fair, the conditioner when used with the shampoo, seemed to eliminate other scents from my hair, 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 and it tends to dry out quicker as well. The Strawberries & Cream conditioner prevented the drying of the hair, which most frequently leads to split ends, and it left my hair smelling neutral and like hair as opposed to strawberries or cream.

The hype about soy milk proteins may be more than just hype, but it is not evident by this product alone. With the corresponding shampoo, the hair does appear to be protected. What it is not is changed at all in terms of body, luster or bounce. The moisture milks Strawberries & Cream wants us to believe it strengthens hair, but I am unsure how to judge that for effectiveness. I try not to pull things with my hair and the only reasonable condition I think day to day users might have as a litmus test would be in the amount of hair that ends up in the hairbrush. In this case, it seems about the same as before I started using this. My hair seems to detach with the same frequency as before, so if it is getting stronger, it's being quite cagey about revealing that to me.

But, at least it protects. The Strawberries & Cream works fine as a day to day conditioner that holds the line against wear, tear and weather damage, but for those looking for a bold scent, actual moisturizing qualities, or something that will add bounce and make a noticeable difference in the quality of your hair, this is not the conditioner for you. But with its accompanying shampoo, this conditioner does seem to do its thing and well enough to be an inexpensive option for those who like their hair, but don't want to spend their whole budget on it!

For other VO5 conditioner reviews, please visit my commentaries on:
Nourishing Oasis Energize and Volumize conditioner
Honeydew Smoothie
Vanilla Mint Tea Tea Therapy
Split-Ends conditioner
Passion Fruit Smoothie conditioner
Blackberry Sage conditioner


For other health and beauty product reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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