Frederic Fekkai's Glossing Shampoo ($23) was an impulse buy at Sephora. I have been in danger of becoming a shampoo purist, intent on banishing sulfates, silicones and just about anything that hasn't once sprouted from the earth and, therefore, decided that I was in need of some perspective: upmarket, but still mainstream brands such as Fekkai are not all bad and can bestow very good results. In fact, Fekkai's Advanced Brilliant Glossing Shampoo turned out to live up to that: not all bad and the giver of a good enough hair day to warrant turning a blind eye to anything that my inner purist might abhor. That is, until I took a closer look.

Fekkai breaks my first golden rule of a trustworthy beauty company by claiming to have a new, breakthrough technology - otherwise known as marketing gobbledegook. In this case, it is "encapsulated shine release complex". Apparently, "micro-encapsulation technology" creates fine droplets of olive oil (the active ingredient) that are, thus, more evenly distributed to impart shine. Irritating though this babble is, I have to admit that after I tried Glossing Shampoo, my hair was much shinier than usual.

As well as olive, there are oat amino acids, antioxidant grape and UV blocking cinnamidopropyltrimonium chloride. Sadly, everything else is the kind of thing you'd find in any old (frankly, cheaper) shampoo formulation, including synthetic wax (could this be as responsible for my glossy locks as the microencapsulated olive droplets?) There is also a sulfate, albeit sodium laureth sulfate, which is milder than its harsher and more irritating twin sodium lauryl sulfate, a silcone and anti-static chemicals such as hydroxyethyl behenamidopropyl dimonium chloride.

Even less appealing are the parabens and PEG-150 distearate, an ingredient that featured in our post on things to avoid for a safe shampoo. According to a study published in the International Journal of Toxicology, PEG 150 Distearate can contain harmful impurities, including some that are carcinogenic. Benzophenone-4 is a sunscreen that can be an allergan and irritant.

On balance, I won't send it straight to the trash. My inner purist is not appeased, but not outraged either and so if I need to liven up a dull head of hair, I will probably reach for Fekkai's Glossing Shampoo again. But a good (not fantastic) hair day isn't quite enough to gloss over the mediocre and potentially harmful ingredients.


Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Cocamide MEA, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polyglyceryl-3 Laurate, PEG 7 Glyceryl Cocoate, PEG-150 Distearate, Olive Glycerides, Hydroxyethyl Behenamidopropyl Dimonium Chloride, Synthetic Wax, Polyquaternium-67, Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids, Polyquaternium-10, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Glycol Stearate, Panthenol, Methoxy PEG/PPG-7/3 Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Fragrance, Benzophenone-4, Citric Acid, Trisodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Red 33.