Lisette’s Looking For Longer Locks:
I’m looking for a good deep conditioning hair treatment because I’m growing my hair long and I want it to be healthy, so I came across REDKEN EXTREME DEEP FUEL from Redken, and this is what it claims:
“Want to know how Gwen Stefani (No Doubt) and Julia Roberts get such great looking hair. They use Deep Fuel. This durable strengthening treatment helps restore your hair back to its natural, healthy state. It provides long-term conditioning and repair that last up to 8 shampoos. After 5 single treatments your hair will be up to 3 times stronger. The unique 3D repair complex, has a combination of proteins for internal strength, ceramides for cuticle reinforcement and lipids for protective resurfacing.”
Is it possible that the repair lasts ‘up to 8 shampoos’? How does that work and what does it really do to hair?
The Right Brain Lets Lisette Learn:
The answer to your question is partly about about science and partly about marketing. First the marketing part:
Cosmetic Marketing Trick
There are many fine companies in this industry selling many, many excellent products. And these companies are constantly trying to attract the attention of consumers like you so you’ll buy their products. One way they can attract your attention is by making unique functional claims. You’ve seen these claims before: Fructis claims to make your hair 5 times stronger. Pantene says it undoes 2 years of damage in just one month. And Redken says their Deep Fuel conditioner lasts through 5 to 8 shampoos.
Are these claims true? Certainly. Any respectable company should be able to produce test data to back up their claims. But do their claims really mean that the product is better for you? Maybe, but not necessarily.
True but not True Trick
That’s where the “trick” comes in. They have to say something to get your attention, but they can’t (or at least they shouldn’t) say anything that’s not true. So, they develop scientific claims that are true but not necessarily perceptible.
The 5 times stronger claim is a good example. You may use Fructis and love the way it makes your hair feel. But how in the world would you know if it’s making your hair 2 times, 5 times, or 30 times stronger? You can’t really tell that kind of difference. And maybe you don’t really care, as long as you like the product once you’ve tried it.
Now, let’s take a look at the science behind the Redken conditioner claim that you asked about.
For conditioners to be effective they need to leave a lubricating film on the hair. This film smoothes the cuticle and prevents further damage. You feel that effect every time you use a conditioner – your hair feels silkier and smoother. But the next time you shampoo your hair feels squeaky clean again. That’s because all, or almost all, of the conditioner film is removed every time you wash it. We’ve never seen a conditioner formula capable of providing SIGNIFICANT conditioning that’s lasts through multiple washings. The key word here is SIGNIFICANT. Conditioners can leave a slight residual deposit on the hair that doesn’t wash out completely, but this small amount of residue is not enough to provide as much conditioning as your hair typically needs.
Does that mean Redken’s claim isn’t true? Not at all. They claim that Deep Fuel lasts through 8 shampoos. They don’t say that it continues to give the hair as much conditioning on the 8th shampoo as it does on the first. So all they have to prove is that some of the conditioner is still on your hair after 8 washes, they don’t have to prove that it’s effective for that long. That’s a big difference!
So how can they prove it’s still on your hair? They could demonstrate it directly through a chemical analysis of hair that’s been treated with the product. If they show that even a few formula molecules can still be found on the hair after 8 shampoos, they’ve supported their claim. Similarly, they could measure some property of the hair that the product improves (like smoothness) and show that there is still a slight effect after multiple shampoos. The improvement can be very very small, it just has to be greater than using nothing at all. The bottom line is that with some clever testing it is possible to prove this product remains on your hair after 5 to 8 shampoos. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to tell any difference.
Beauty Brains Bottom Line
Does that make this a bad product? No, not at all. It’s a perfectly good conditioner and if you’ve used Redken Extreme Deep Fuel and you like it, that’s fine. Use it as often as you feel is appropriate for your hair. But don’t buy it because you think it’s providing longer lasting protection than other conditioners.
Finally, as we’ve pointed out in the past, we don’t believe there’s anything wrong with creative claims of this type or that of Ojon. The companies aren’t lying to you; they’re just trying to get you to try their products. As long as you understand what these claims really mean and what these products really can and can’t do, you’ll be a much more satisfied customer.