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Why is new Dove Intensive Moisture their most effective conditioner yet

Kari’s question…While I was watching House Hunters last night I saw an ad for Dove’s Intensive Moisture conditioner and they said it’s their most effective conditioner yet. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this kind of claim before. Is it true that haircare products just keeps getting better and better or is this just marketing hype?

The Beauty Brains respond:

There’s no doubt that this is hype but, rest assured, it is hype that Dove has supported with some kind of test data.

How cosmetic companies improve formulations

When cosmetic companies upgrade their formulas they always find some way to make them a little bit better.  They typically approach an upgrade in two ways: they look for technical performance measures which demonstrate that the new product is better than the old and they conduct broad scale consumer testing to ensure that the new formula is at least as well liked by consumers as the old one. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that any improvements measured in the laboratory will be perceived by you, the consumer. This combination of consumer test data and technical measurement is enough to support the claim “new and improved.” (Read this cosmetic claims substantiation case study if you want to get a better feel for how to dissect claims.)

New and improved claims

Based on the the ingredient list below, the new Dove formula is a fairly conventional blend of fatty alcohols, quaternary ammonium compounds, and  cationic silicones but the various Dove commercials for this product do make a couple of interesting claims:

Gives your hair all the benefits of a treatment at the speed of a conditioner

This is not surprising since, as we’ve explained before, hair care products start to work almost instantly and don’t really need to sit on your hair for very long. The exception is coconut oil that can penetrate into the cortex – that takes more time.

Keratin Repair Actives absorb into Keratin already present in your hair and repair proteins at the cellular level.

The “cellular level” claim sounds great but what does that really mean? Anything that chemically binds to protein could be said to work at that level.

Repairs and seals lifted cuticles to help protect from future damage.

While “repair” is a fairly strong claim it can be supported with data showing improvement. That doesn’t mean it’s permanent repair though. Any good conditioner will smooth lifted cuticles to some degree. (The only way to permanently repair hair is to cut off the damaged part, keep that in mind the next time you schedule an appointment at Rush Hair.)

Dove Intensive Moisture Conditioner ingredients

Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Lactic Acid, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Fragrance (Parfum), Dipropylene Glycol, Amodimethicone, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Potassium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Gluconolactone, Trehalose, DMDM Hydantoin, PEG-150 Distearate, Cetrimonium Chloride, PEG-180M, Adipic Acid, Sodium Sulfate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.