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I am not at all brand loyal when it comes to shampoos and conditioners. In fact I think my hair responds best if I change the products that I use frequently. If I don't, any initial benefits given by the shampoo or conditioner seem to peter out. A few months ago, I decided to try Alberto Balsam's Juicy Green Apple Conditioner for normal/greasy hair. I thought it sounded a potentially pleasant scent, and I was also attracted to the price - £1 in Poundworld, for a 400ml bottle.
I used Alberto Balsam shampoo a long time ago but this is the only product I have used from the range recently. There is an accompanying shampoo, but I did not buy it as I only needed a conditioner at the time. Alberto Balsam say that the conditioner uses some of the same main ingredients as more expensive brands do. It promises to detangle and protect, improve manageability, as well as strengthen the hair with pro-vitamin B5.
The product comes in a standard green-tinged bottle. It doesn't look a premium product but it doesn't look especially cheap either, as the design isn't too plain. There is a picture of a juicy apple on the front, and full directions for use on the back. It has an easy to use flip-top lid which shuts securely. The main body of the bottle is opaque, but you can see how much product you have left which is useful.
USING THE CONDITIONER
As soon as I opened the bottle, I was struck by how the conditioner really does smell of apple - in particular a Granny Smith. I have used apple scented products before, and I have always found them to be very artificial smelling, or weak, but this is neither. It makes using it a real pleasure. The consistency was thinner than I expected but this does mean that a little goes a long way as it is easy to distribute it throughout your hair. The instructions suggest using a "good sized dollop" which is about what comes out with one squeeze of the bottle. They also say that the best results come from leaving the conditioner in place for 1-2 minutes. I always leave it in place for the full 2 minutes, as I want to give it as much chance to work as possible and it isn't that long to wait really. The delay also gives me an extra chance to breathe in that lovely apple scent. Once the time is up, the conditioner washes out easily which saves time.
I think that a decent conditioner makes it easy for me to run my fingers through my hair to gently tease out any tangles at the rinsing stage. The Alberto Balsam lets me do that. I definitely can see an improvement in the number of tangles present overall, which in turn makes styling my hair easier. I didn't feel much improvement to the softness of my hair after the first use but I was willing to wait to see if it needed repeated use to work. Unfortunately my hair still doesn't feel softer even though I have finished the bottle. I don't think my hair feels any stronger either. My hair tends towards being fragile at the ends which means the dreaded split ends make an appearance more often than I would like. There hasn't been any difference to the number of these. Having hair that is easier to brush because it is tangle-free no doubt helps prevent some damage, but I think that all conditioners give me this benefit to some extent. So my hair does not look or feel dramatically different as a result of using this. There is no added shine, and I can't say that my hair looks any healthier. In it's favour, there's the fact that it doesn't make my hair feel greasy any faster than normal, which has occasionally been a problem for me when using conditioners. Secondly, it does smell lovely. The scent seems strongest when you are actually washing your hair, but it is still noticeable into the next day. I get a gentle waft of apple whenever I move my head. I haven't suffered any irritation whilst using it, but I don't have a sensitive scalp, so problems in this area are rare for me.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?
I would buy this conditioner again for the scent, but I also need a product that makes my hair look and feel better for having used it. My hair is less tangled as a result off using this, but no more so than when using any other reasonable conditioner. I think for the price it is fine, and I would recommend it to those looking for a basic and very nice smelling conditioner. If you want something that is deeply nourishing, I think there are likely to be more suitable products around.
It is widely available for around £1, not just in the poundshops, but in supermarkets and chemists too.
[This review also appears on Dooyoo, under my user name.]