Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review: Ikove Organics Acai Chocolate Shampoo and Conditioner

Last week, we were at Central Market for their annual chocolate festival, when I saw something on the counter behind the lady dispensing the salted caramel hot chocolate samples.

Yep. Chocolate shampoo and conditioner. I needed shampoo, and indeed this was fortuitous. I don't know if Central Market typically has them available, or whether they're only in the store for this special celebration, but my husband happily agreed to get me some as an early Valentine's Day gift. (Actually, the conversation went like this... Me: "James, can I get--" James: "Of course.")

If you look on the Ikove website, it lists the ingredients of the Acai Chocolate shampoo as including "cocoa extract." I like the label on my set a lot better. On my bottle, it says, "theobroma cacao extract." I adore the scientific name for the chocolate tree.

The shampoo is the color of a good, dark honey, but it's actually a lot thinner; more the consistency of agave nectar. Also, there are no sulfates, and the ingredients are "all natural," so the shampoo doesn't lather. ("You Americans love your lather," is something I read in an article recently, and it's so true.) You can smell the chocolate (and maybe even more the orange) in the bottle, but once you put it on your scalp, it doesn't scent your hair.

After a suds-free shampoo and rinse, my hair was squeaky clean and ready to be conditioned.

The conditioner is the color and consistency of coffee yogurt, and it smells more strongly of chocolate than the shampoo... But, again, that's mostly in the bottle. Once you put it on your hair, it doesn't have a strong odor.

The ingredients list is here, even though I think mine is a bit different, but I wanted to point out something that's in the conditioner that isn't in the shampoo: cocoa butter!

If you pay attention to this sort of thing, you might have noticed that a lot of bottom-tier American "chocolate" (i.e. pretty much anything made by Palmer) contains a different fat than cocoa butter. They do this because cocoa butter, having become extremely popular in beauty products, is very expensive, and can actually be profit-maximized by using in personal care items instead of candy. Actually, some bigger companies have done this, too, and no one is very impressed.

The point is, whether we're dealing with eating chocolate or conditioner, the presence of cocoa butter is to be much rejoiced. In the case of conditioner, it locks in moisture and makes hair more manageable. Similar to replacing cocoa butter in chocolate with other oils and fats, a lot of conditioners use waxy ingredients to get that soft, easy-comb-through feel. This is definitely superior. Of course, that means you're going to pay for it.

Regarding "expensive" hair care products: For a long time, I'd buy Suave or whatever was on sale, and I balked at paying more than a buck or two for a bottle of shampoo. Then several years ago, my sweet departed Mema spent something like $35 on a set of Joico shampoo and conditioner for my birthday (she got it from my cousin's place, D Salon, which you should definitely patronize if you're in the Grayson County, Texas, area), and those bottles lasted me more than six months. I was shocked at how little shampoo I had to use, and how far the conditioner went.

So, when you factor it out over time, the cost of the pricier hair care is lower, as you don't have to use as much... Plus, your hair is in better condition, because you're not stripping it and coating it with garbage.

Final analysis: I like how light and clean my hair was after I used the shampoo and conditioner. I did need to use a spray detangler, even with the conditioner, but that is probably more about my damaged hair than the product. It will be interesting over time to see if there is a cumulative effect from using the cocoa butter, and I will definitely update in a few weeks.

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