For hair that needs extra strength, now there is haircare tha's so gentle, yet so strong. The new EverStrong Sulfate-Free Fortify System contains l'Oréal's patented bio-Ceramide complex, which strengthens hair after just one wash. EverStrong Hydrate Shampoo gently cleanses and nourishes dry hair to leave it strong and silky. Rich lather and natural aromatic properties from rosemay and juniper help energize and invigorate the senses.
So what is in this fabulous new shampoo? I'm using the ingredients list from the L'Oreal Everstrong Hydrated Shampoo...
Water: The solvent for all this stuff, right?
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate: A nice creamy feeling gentle surfactant with great foam, good lather, good bubbles, and a fabulous skin feel.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate: Usually comes in a powder with excellent foam, lather, and bubbles, that's very stable in hard water and is considered mild.
Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate: One of my favourite surfactants, it has good foam and good detergency, and is considered very mild. It's fabulous for oily hair and is stable in hard water. As a note, LSB from Stepan is sodium lauryl sulfoacetate and disodium laureth sulfosuccinate.
Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate: A very mild surfactant that will foam in the presence of sebum. They adsorb to skin, so they are considered substantive to our hair, and offer light conditioning.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine: An amphoteric surfactant we add to increase mildness and thickness, and it can behave as a humectant.
Glycol Distearate: This is EZ Pearl (at Voyageur). It's used as a thickener and oil free moisturizer.
Glycereth-26: An emollient and thickening glyceryl ester that acts as a moisturizer.
Decyl Glucoside: A non-ionic surfactant that offers good foam and enhances cationic conditioning. It can reduce the irritation level of other surfactants.
Parfum / Fragrance: Smells nice!
Ppg-5-Ceteth-20: A non-ionic surfactant and thickening ingredient.
Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, C12-13 Pareth-23, C12-13 Pareth-3: Dow Corning HMW 2220 non-ionic emulsion. A film former and emulsifier.
Amodimethicone: An amine functionalized dimethicone that is modified to be a cationic polymer (dimethicone is normally non-ionic) so it is more substantive to hair.
Polyquaternium-7: A cationic polymer that offers conditioning to hair.
Peg-55 Propylene Glycol Oleate: Used at up to 5% in a hair care product, an emollient and emulsifier.
Propylene Glycol: A humectant.
Polyquaternium-10: Another cationic polymer like polyquat 7. Conditioning and anti-static.
Carbomer: To make it gel!
C11-15 Pareth-7: An ethoxylated alcohol used as an emulsifier.
Benzyl Salicylate: Fragrance fixative.
Hexyl Cinnamal: Fragrance. Found in oil of chamomile.
Trideceth-12: Emulsifier for amodimethicone. Prevents build-up of silicones in hair.
Laureth-9: A non-ionic solubilizer, mild surfactant and dispersant.
Tocopherol: Vitamin E.
2-Oleamido-1,3-Octadecanediol: Skin conditioning (there is very little information on this ingredient on-line or in my chemistry texts!)
Benzyl Alcohol: A general solvent.
Juniperus Communis Oil / Juniperus Communis Fruit Oil: Juniper oil extract
Methylchloroisothiazolinone & methylisothiazolinone: Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal preservative. Sold under the name Kathon CG.
Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil / Rosemary Leaf Oil: Rosemary oil extract.
Sodium Hydroxide: Lye. Used to adjust the pH or gel the carbomer.
Citric Acid: Probably used as a pH adjuster, although it's also an anti-oxidant.
So if we break it down we find a bunch of gentle to mild surfactants, some conditioning agents, some emollients, a couple of humectants but way down the list, preservatives, a few extracts (again way down the list), a gelling agent and neutralizer, and some fragrance oils. What's so "strengthening" about any of these ingredients?
Well, nothing. (And if you compare this ingredient list to that of the reconstructing shampoo, the only differences are the order of the surfactants and the silicone ingredients.) As you'll see over the next week or so, there's nothing inherently strengthening about surfactants, regardless of type, but we can do things like use gentle to mild surfactants, increase the mildness with amphoteric surfactant and emollients, and include film formers, humectants, and conditioning agents to make our hair and skin feel lovely after washing.
The L'Oreal line is capitalizing on the fear of sulphates - even the lovely ones like SLeS and the amide ether sulfates, which are very mild and don't strip our skin or hair of oils - and by using the phase "Everstrong" they are implying that this is good for our hair.
What's interesting is that I cannot figure out what they mean by "patented Bio-ceramide complex" in the list of ingredients, unless they mean the esters and emollients in the shampoo. (Click here for more information on ceramides.) Hair contains 18-methyleicosanoic acid (which we find in sal butter, and we can add lactic acid to our products to help with the ceramides, but I don't see either of those in here. So I guess I can't really comment on the patented ceramide complex.
So is this a good shampoo? Sure. The surfactants are very nice - I'd use those combinations myself, although I wouldn't use so many different ones - and there's something there for every hair type. The SCI will make it feel very nice and creamy, as will the emollients. It won't be especially degreasing for the oily hair types - we might find a sulfosuccinate in there, but there are far too many emollients for greasy girls to feel their hair is completely clean - but it will be gentle to mild for most other hair types. It doesn't seem to matter which one of the shampoos in this line of products you choose - they're all pretty much the same - so get the one that smells nice and is on sale that week!