Did you fall in love with the white Herbal Essences Cleansing Conditioner and now you can’t find it anywhere? Let’s form a support group. Here are three alternative products to help you avoid sulfates like a pro.
To say that I love the Herbal Essences Cleansing Conditioner (RIP) in the white bottle with all of my might would be the understatement of the year. I first wrote about its magical powers in 2014 and since then, I’ve forced it into the hands of anyone who has come to me for haircare advice (and even a few friends who didn’t). I’ve tried the pink formula for color treated hair, as that is all I can currently find in stores, but the formula is too hydrating, so it leaves my hair limp & lifeless. The white formula was perfect, but sadly it is being phased out by the end of the year. This won’t be the first product I’ve loved to be discontinued and it certainly won’t be the last. If you’re in mourning like me, I have three solid product recommendations to help you move on.
Closest match: Pantene Pro-V Color Preserve Cleansing Conditioner
A little birdie told me that the Pantene & Herbal Essences formulas were nearly identical (their ingredient lists are very different), but for some reason, I could never get all the way on board with the Pantene experience. It’s probably because the Herbal Essences cleansing conditioner formula contained delicious smelling ingredients like peppermint & passion fruit extract. All of that aside, this Pantene alternative is a perfectly fine cleansing conditioner. Just don’t expect a full-blown sensory experience.
Interesting alternative: Hair Food by Clairol Honey Apricot Cleansing Conditioner
If you couldn’t tell by my sentiments surrounding the Pantene option, scent is really important to me, especially when it’s infused into a product that sits on my hair for as long as a cleansing conditioner does. Hair Food is available exclusively at Target, which is my number one frustration with the line, with the second being that it is nearly twice as expensive as the Herbal Essences version. The honey apricot fragrance has warmth, perfect for the fall & winter season, and the formula performs fairly well. I would have liked deeper conditioning, but at this point, I’m running out of options.
Or, you could try just plain conditioner
Hear me out. Another little birdie told me that if you use a lot of conditioner, it has the same effect as cleansing conditioner. I haven’t been able to replicate those results either, however, I did try using only conditioner on my hair for three days between shampoo washings. On the first day, the results were better than the day I washed my hair. I used the conditioner in the exact same manner I used the cleansing conditioner. Afterward, my hair was soft, shiny, and super manageable. On the second day, my hair was a little more weighted down, but nothing a great hat wouldn’t counteract. By the third day, my fine hair was in a ponytail-only zone (without dry shampoo). If you’ve been nervous to try out this method, give it a shot! The worst that can happen is you get an excuse to wear your favorite hat.
Is there a drugstore cleansing conditioner alternative that I’ve missed? Please point me in all the directions!