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Love it or leave it: The best shampoos and conditioners

My dad is a White Rain shampoo connoisseur; he's never met a bottle on a shelf at the Dollar Store that he didn't take home.

And then there's me.

Being born with curly hair and raised in Florida, may have served as the basis for my infatuation with finding that just right shampoo and conditioner. Or maybe it was growing up in the '80s; after all, one needs seriously great hair products to get big hair — and bangs — humidity be damned.

Most likely, it's the fact that I've tested well over 100 brands of shampoo and conditioner that have contributed to my discerning taste.

So this week, I've rounded up the best and worst hair care products; shampoos and conditioners plucked from both the shelves of your local pharmacy and the pricey product boutique at your favorite salon.

Love It!
Eufora: Eufora's Urgent Repair Shampoo helped me recover from some subpar shampoos I'd been testing — all in the name of truth in beauty, of course. The sulfate-free shampoo calls upon top-notch ingredients — think lychee berry and organic aloe vera — to keep locks looking lustrous. Paired with the Urgent Repair Replenishing Treatment, this duo makes even damaged hair seem suddenly manageable. Plus, Eufora has signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Compact, pledging not to use chemicals such as phthalates, petrochemicals, parabens and sulfates. The collection retails for about $30 per product; log on to to find a salon retailer near you.

Leave It
Sebastian Drench: While beauty companies are often charged with overspending on packaging, the Sebastian Drench collection leaves a lot to be desired in the packaging department. I tested the 8.4 ounce conditioner and shampoo, both housed in hard plastic containers that make getting the product out a real challenge. And as for that product and its promise to nourish dry or fizzy hair, I felt it left my hair looking frazzled.

Love It!
Aveeno's Nourish and Moisturize: Aveeno's Nourish and Moisturize promised to "feed" my hair, repairing damage in just three washes. And while I'm fairly sure that I inflict more heat damage to my hair than any one shampoo or conditioner could ever hope to repair, the collection did leave my locks feeling soft and silky. Get 'em for $7.99 each at your local Walgreens.

Leave it
Carita for Color Treated Hair: Carita's Intense Colour Shampoo and Daily Protective Cream ($32 and $35 respectively) didn't deliver on their promise to "boost shine, body and softness." Plus, this high-end product is shockingly full of parabens, a chemical preservative that many consumers are now trying to avoid.

Love it!
Organix Cherry Blossom Ginseng Collection: This collection is so affordable — currently on sales for $4.99 a bottle at your local CVS (normally $5.99) — that I'm surely making Dad proud by including it on my "love it!" list. But it's the product quality and pretty scent, not potential for parental approval, which sold me. Housed in eco-friendly bottles that boast a blend of cherry blossom and ginger root within, the shampoo and conditioner effectively cleanse and hydrate hair, leaving it smelling oh-so-sweet.

— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of, a guide to all that is hip and happening in local beauty. Need beauty advice? E-mail her at [email protected]

Love it or leave it: The best shampoos and conditioners 04/08/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 8, 2010 9:13am]
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