Disclaimer: Do you have any idea how hard it is to find the ingredients for these products? There's nothing on the official site except for hype! And I'm reviewing these products because of your e-mails and comments. This is most definitely not advertising!
Moroccanoil ingredient list: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Butylphenyl, MethylPropional, Argania Spinoza Kernal Oil (Aragan Oil), Linseed (Linum Usitatissimum) Extract, Fragrance Supplement, D&C Yellow-11, D&C Red-17, Coumarin, Benzyl Benzoate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone. It costs $35 to $40 for 3.4 ounces (about 100 ml or grams).
This is a product that is supposed to be great for conditioning and de-frizzing. The first three ingredients are silicones, so it's little surprise it's good for smoothing and de-frizzing. Then the argan oil. How much? I don't know, but I don't think it's much considering the ingredient before it is a synthetic fragrance - it's actually butylphenyl methylpropional and the comma makes it seem like two ingredients - and it has to be declared if there is more than 0.001% in a leave in product, so we could be into the miscellaneous category of the ingredient list (ingredients at less than 1% don't need to be put in order of the amount in the product). A little about butylphenyl methylpropional from CosmeticsInfo.org - "p-tert-butyl-alpha-methylhydrocinnamic aldehyde, is a colorless to pale yellow liquid with a powerful, floral-fresh odor." It is included in Europe's list of allergenic ingredients.
So, is the argan oil the secret to this product? I really don't think so considering how little is in there. I know that sometimes even 0.5% of an ingredient can make a huge difference in a product - look at the extracts or cetrimonium chloride or IPM for examples of this - but will a small amount of oil make that big a difference in a product filled with silicones? And could you make your own for about $2, including mister bottle? I'll let you make your own decision on this one.
If you don't want to make your own, gd notes that you can get this product - the One 'n Only Argan Oil Treatment for about $10 a bottle!
This is supposed to be a deep conditioner that will repair damage over time. Will these ingredients do that? (No, because we can't really repair damage to our hair, we can only mitigate the effects from washing to washing.) But what about the ingredients? We need water, and we know cetyl alcohol is a great inclusion to boost the substantivity of our conditioning agent, behentrimonium chloride. Linseed extract is an extract from linseed oil, which is a dry feeling oil, and we know dimethicone makes our hair feel conditioned and smoother. Glycerin is a humectant, and we know all about behentrimonium chloride (which is a variation on the BTMS we use all the time in conditioners.) Now we come to the argan oil, way down the list, which is where I think an oil should be. We have some cetrimonium chloride - yay! detangling awesomeness - then our preservatives and fragrances.
So how much argan oil is in here? We generally use cetrimonium chloride at 2% so it could be higher than that, but it could be included in the less than 1% or miscellaneous category. It is making a big difference? I wouldn't think 1% to 2% of an oil could make that big a difference to a conditioner, so I'm leaning towards "no" on this one. It seems like a decent enough conditioner. I would personally prefer to see the conditioning agent as the second ingredient, not the 6th, but I do like the behentrimonium chloride and I love the cetrimonium chloride and dimethicone, so I'd give it a yes as a conditioner, but not at the price they're asking!
I won't analyze this entire list ingredient by ingredient as it's really long, but let's just say this appears to be a mild, opaque or pearlized shampoo with lots of silicones, cetrimonium chloride, and a ton of cationic polymers, which makes it a conditioning shampoo, with two proteins (vegetable and silk), humectants (butylene glycol and sodium PCA), thickener (looks like Crothix or a variation thereon), and moisturizing ingredients, including avocado oil, glycol distearate, and argan oil.
In this product, the argan oil is higher up the list, but it's still near or in the miscellaneous category. We wouldn't use silk amino acids above 2% and the rosemary extract above 0.5% in a powdered form, or the vegetable protein at more than 2%, so I'd say there's maybe 2% argan oil in this product.
This looks like a nice conditioning and moisturizing shampoo with a ton of mild surfactants and conditioners. It has two proteins and cetrimonium chloride, which you know I love, so I'd have to say it's a nice enough shampoo. I wouldn't pay $20 for a cup of it - I'd go through that in a few weeks - but it seems like a good choice.
Does the argan oil make a difference? Again, I don't know. Adding a small amount of oil to a shampoo isn't a bad idea, but I don't think argan is any better than any other oil at this percentage.
So what's my verdict on these products? I think the Moroccanoil products look like nice products - the shampoo should be very conditioning and moisturizing, the conditioner should be a good conditioner and detangler, and the oil should help with smoothing and de-frizzing - but I really don't see how they are advertising on the small amount of argan oil they contain. Argan oil might be great for your hair, but it seems like it always comes with a little avocado oil, which we know is absorbed by our hair and offers good moisturizing and a reduction in fly-away hair.
When you consider that you can get similar products for much cheaper, it seems like a better idea to buy some of those and add some argan oil. Or make your own - which is kinda the point of this entire blog - and add some argan oil to your products at higher levels. Make a nice intense conditioner and add up to 10% argan oil or make a nice conditioning shampoo and add it at 5% to 10%.
You could make the Moroccanoil oil easily and cheaply. I'd use about 5% argan oil, 85% cyclomethicone, and 10% dimethicone as a starting point, with a possible increase to 10% argan oil and 80% cyclomethicone if your hair can handle that much oil.
I know of a few places to get argan oil, but be warned that it's expensive stuff! From Nature With Love, has it for $11.44 for 1 ounce or 30 ml or at Lotioncrafter at $9.50 for the same quantity. New Directions Aromatics (US site) has it for $9.73 for 3.3 ounces or 100 ml - it's $12.16 at the Canadian store and $12.10 for 17 ml of the organic stuff in the Australian store. I'm sure there are other locations - please feel free to include them in the comments (not you, Sea Buckthorn Guy or the plumbers from England! Anything that looks like advertising will be deleted!)