Product Type: Boots hair care products
Newest Review: ... as effective on dyed hair. ***The conditioner*** Whereas the conditioner was a quite dark reddish-brown colour, the conditioner is a ... more
Boots Henna & Horsechestnut Conditioner
Member Name: calypte
Boots Henna & Horsechestnut Conditioner
Date: 10/03/07, updated on 10/03/07 (802 review reads)
Advantages: nice smell, cheap, leaves my hair manageable
Disadvantages: looks like something slightly nasty!
...ampoo... Oh, wait - I'm reviewing the conditioner. My bad ;)
It does, however, give me a good starting point: the appearance of Boots' Henna and Horsechestnut Conditioner (H&HC). While the shampoo makes me think of dog shampoo (brown and semi-transparent), this conditioner does rather resemble a bottle of... urm... well, poo, not to put too fine a point on it! The resemblance is even more pronounced when you actually come to use this, as the consistency is quite thick.
Hmm. Now that I've totally put you off the stuff, let me tell why - despite appearances! - I still use this stuff.
There is an irony in me buying red-enhancing products for my hair. As a child I was fairly red-headed and I HATED it! However, through the years my hair has darkened increasingly towards brown, nowadays needing to catch the light in a certain way to really show the coppery tints - and I miss them! And so over the past decade I've tried lots of different dyes, mousses and colour-enhancing shampoos. The first two are messy and time consuming, and the latter usually involves paying over the odds for something that doesn't really work.
Step forward Boots' Henna and Horsechestnut! I've always quite liked the natural simplicity of the Boots range: cheap'n'cheerful, at least in the packaging stakes. Plus, the products are regularly on offer - either 99p a bottle compared with the (current) usual £1.29, or - as I picked up - 3 for 2 (that's cheaper: works out at 86p a bottle for the non-mathematically inclined ;)).
Another plus is the smell. While the brown gloop plainly visible in the bottle isn't at all attractive, opening for a sneaky sniff revealed a sweet, natural-ish and mid-strength scent, fresh and a little bit sherbet-y, almost reminiscent of Lush products.
Time for use! As always, the recommendation is to use the matching shampoo and conditioner - I'm not complaining, I quite like both! With colour-enhancing products especially - and with these - I tend to find the shampoo contains acidic acid (eg lemon juice), which I do associate with a natural bleaching agent. If your hair is on the darker side of red, like mine, then the only way to get redder is with a bit of lightening up.
After using the shampoo, it's time for the product at hand. The feel of the H&HC carries on my sense of this being a slightly more natural product than many: rather than the silky silicone of many 'modern' conditioners, the H&HC has a creamy but 'dull'/unslippy texture. The gunkiness of the colour becomes more apparent once you finish rubbing the conditioner through your hair, and bring your hands away covered in browny-redness. Fortunately by this point the original resemblance to a certain substance has more or less disappeared (thankfully!) but it was still a surprise on first use to find the colour hadn't vanished into a white lather as most hair products, no matter what the colour, usually manage.
Then comes the next 'surprise' - start rinsing your hair, and watch a pinkish-brown stream flow towards the drain! This stuff does *not* lose its colour! I'd recommend you get all of the residue out of the bath/shower: it dries to a brownish-pink 'foam' that doesn't look great in the bottom of the tub.
Never mind what it does to the bath, what does it do to your hair?! Initial thought is that it's bit drying - I do now like to add an intensive conditioner into my routine at least once a week (handily, there is one in this range!). However, extended use hasn't left my hair straw-like, so I suspect it's just that my normal shampoo/conditioner is leaving a layer that fools me into finding my hair soft and sleek.
In fact, I'll go a step further and say that styling my hair became a lot easier when I switched to this. Surprisingly good considering I thought this was leaving my hair a little drier than usual, but it actually feels a bit thicker (I have short-ish, very fine hair) and has been looking very glossy. Even better, my hair does usually have a mind of its own, but for some reason with this I can get away with just blow-drying and no styling products, wax, etc. - in fact, my hair style seems to be more manageable now.
Of course, the one very important thing I haven't touched on yet is half the point of this conditioner - does it make my hair red?! The honest answer has to be no: this isn't dye, and it's not going to turn your mousey locks Titian red! However... well, while I was all prepared to say this does nothing for the colour of my hair but I like it anyway - urm, well, I'm not sure! The cynic in me says any colour difference is all in my mind, but on the other hand I could be swayed towards saying there is a (small) change. My natural red tones do seem to be a little more prominent! Whether that's genuine colour addition, or just the glossy finish I get minus the coating - I don't know. And even if I am fooling myself, the conditioner is cheap enough not to really mind.
Final comments around the bottle design. You get what you pay for here, with a very basic clear plastic bottle. More than suitable for needs, I feel. The lid, however, is a bit of a pain: opening is fine, with a fairly easy flip lid, but to close it again involves a bit of skill: you can't just flick the lid back down, but have to push it slightly forward at the same time. Not really a problem, as long as you suss the 'trick'! My only real complaint isn't so much about the packaging, but the difficulty removing the conditioner from it! This is a really thick gloop, and I wasn't even halfway through the bottle before I was struggling to get any out. Your options are a forceful shake with the lid pointing down (and closed, for safety!), or store the bottle upside down - it doesn't really want to balance, but this is my preference. You do have to watch for occasionally overflowings when you open the bottle, though!
Overall: I like it! I've tried various shampoos and conditioners over the years and always end up back at my lazy usual. However, this is a good mix. It's a bit fun with the colour element, I like the smell, but mostly I'm liking the (unexpected) improvement to my hair's manageability and how it holds a style with no added gunk (something that helps at first, but often weighs my hair down to look worse). I do feel the need to give it a more intensive condition at the weekend, but overall I feel I'm treating my hair a little better with this stuff AND getting a good effect, so I'm sold!
¤ Boring bits: ¤
* Price: £1.29, but look out for 3-for-2 or other offers on the range
* Availability: any Boots store I've been in, or www.boots.co.uk
* Suitability: brunettes and redheads with normal to greasy hair
* Other products: Henna and Horsechestnut shampoo, and intensive conditioner
* Ingredients (proving it isn't all *that* natural!):
Aqua, cetyl alcohol, cetrimonium chloride, phenoxyethanol, propylene glycol, dimethicone, glyceryl stearate, paraffinum liquidum, behentrimonium chloride, dipropylene glycol, parfum, isopropyl alcohol, talc, sodium citrate, citric acid, lawsonia inermis, sorbitol, aesculus hippocastanum, methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparben, propylparaben, Cl 77499, Cl 77002, Cl 77491, Cl 19140 (yes, that lot scares me too!)
Summary: Cheap and nice enough, leaves my hair more manageable if not flaming red