Remember those television commercials for Clairol Herbal Essences, the ones showing women having highly vocal “Totally Organic Experiences” while washing their hair? Me too. That is, I remember the beginnings of those commercials; I usually changed the channel or left the room before much of their thirty seconds could elapse. Fortunately, Clairol has been promoting its Herbal Essences line in a new direction lately, with more emphasis on the products’ effects and on their fragrances.
The new theme for Herbal Essences is the escape to a “fantasy paradise” of scent. I tried two formulas with different fragrances: Long Term Relationship (red bottle not shown, created to protect longer hair against damage) and Hello Hydration (turquoise bottle as shown, for dry hair). According to Clairol, “Herbal Essences developed each unique scent like a fine fragrance—with top, middle, and base notes.” Can that kind of composition exist in a shampoo or conditioner, the way it would in an oil- or alcohol-based perfume? Somehow, I doubt it (but I’m not a chemist, so who knows). In any case, I tried these two product pairs to see what would happen.
Long Term Relationship shampoo looks and smells like a raspberry-strawberry smoothie drink; the matching conditioner has a plummier berry scent, with a hint of dusky cocoa. Hello Hydration shampoo has a predominant coconut note, surrounded by a fruity-floral blend that might suggest apple or melon, with a few generic white flowers. The conditioner smells a bit muskier, but it’s a soft musk that melts into the coconut and light fruits. In both cases, I did notice the progression from shampoo to conditioner as a shift from brighter to slightly deeper scent blends. I didn’t experience a similar scent evolution on my hair after my shower, nor did I find the fragrances particularly long lasting, which is fine with me; other users’ heads might react differently.
Both these scents happen to feel very on-trend, and should fit easily into many customers’ fragrance tastes: the fruit-over-chocolate combination of Long Term Relationship smells like a more casual, teenaged cousin of Ralph Lauren Notorious, and the tropical, coconut-based floral of Hello Hydration reminded me of “G” from the Harajuku Lovers line. The colorful, text-jammed packaging also seems aimed at younger users, but these hair products could be an easy, temporary way for anyone to enjoy playful, fruity scents that she might or might not necessarily wear as perfumes. (Ecstatic moaning not required.)
For more information, see herbalessences. Clairol Herbal Essences products are available for approximately $4 each at drugstores.