My review of Get Creamed Body Naked Decadence Shampoo ($20) has been a long time coming and difficult to pen. I’m still on the proverbial fence about it, and I think much of that confusion may be from the lack of its own confident brand identity. In other words, I suspect the brand’s mixed signals might be influencing my mixed feelings about it. Most girls get mixed signals from their boyfriends or husbands, but I am getting mixed signals from my shampoo. Yes, really.

On paper, it’s a great shampoo. The ingredients list made my inner crunchy eco-girl downright giddy with delight – the first dozen ingredients on the label are water, plants or plant extracts, and oils. The first ten ingredients listed are all organic. After these are two very mild surfactants: alkyl polyglucosides (though it is not specified which one(s) are used and I’d like to know!) and cocamidopropyl betaine. The rest of the ingredients list is rounded out with vegetable glycerine, some oils, vitamins, and amino acids. I was quite happy to see rosemary, horsetail, and nettle prominently near the top of the list – all of which are traditionally known to strengthen and grow hair while preventing shed. To add to this all-natural lovefest, the product is eco-friendly, not tested on animals, in recyclable packaging, and if you live in Vancouver, Canada, it’s even locally made.

As far as performance, it worked well. The roots of my baby-fine hair, which sometimes get oily and limp, seemed cleansed but not stripped of moisture. In fact, I didn’t have the icky-feeling oily roots that I sometimes get from other shampoos, usually a result of the product stripping out the natural scalp oils and leaving the scalp to overcompensate by overproducing oil. My tresses were quite shiny as well. It did not fade or strip the red of my freshly henna-colored locks.

What I did find a wee bit disappointing was that this shampoo will almost assuredly require a companion conditioner. After using it a full week without a conditioner, my normally healthy ends began to feel dry and a little straw-like. Even more annoying was the uncontrollable static. On a high-humidity rainy day (that normally would have made my hair limp), the static was so bad that I found my hair clinging to my face and just about everything else it encountered. Thankfully, pairing it with the Truth Vitality True Volume Condtioner ($44 in the shop) did wonders to tame my mane and moisturize it back to perfect balance.

It is worthwhile to note that while my scalp agreed with this shampoo, my husband’s ultra-sensitive cranium did not. While he commented that he enjoyed the man-friendly scent of this product, he did not enjoy the resulting eczema and dandruff. For those who are particularly sensitive, you may want to sample this product with some caution. I am happy to report that after he discontinued use, his scalp has returned to a normal, less snowy state.

Now I realize, I haven’t yet sufficiently explained my reasons to harbor ambiguous feelings about this shampoo. After all, it worked well. It has a great ingredients list. It needs a conditioner, but that’s not a deal-breaker. Why can’t I fully embrace it? Why do I struggle with inner conflict and turmoil over a shampoo? In one word – marketing!

First: the name. Seriously. It’s cringe-worthy. I don’t know that I could recommend Get Creamed Body or “Naked Decadence” to someone with a straight face. Both the company name and product names are trying too hard to be sexy. Nothing about this shampoo says sexy to me – particularly the scent. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the scent. It's lavender and rosemary heavy, with herbal freshness and a strong invigorating aroma that makes for a great morning wake-up call. I happen to adore rosemary and lavender, but I could understand where some people may find it overpowering and somewhat medicinal in smell. One might think it smells of eucalyptus, if you don’t know that there is no eucalyptus in it. Notice in my description I did not say it was a “decadent” smell; in my mind, decadent might be something with jasmine or vanilla or clove. Marketing has missed the mark here creating a disconnect between the consumer’s expectation and the reality of what the product actually is. If you expect luxurious or decadent from the label, then fresh and herbal in the bottle may leave you feeling pretty disappointed in your purchase.

The mixed marketing messages don’t end here. The label touts Naked Decadence as “Premium” and “Salon-quality” shampoo. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, depending on how you look at this critique), an interior designer tested this product. And as a designer, I can’t help but look at the entire product. Sure, performance is king, but in order for a beauty product to be successful, it has to appeal to all of the consumer’s senses, including the look of the label and how that equates to product identity and perception.

Take heart, GCB. I don’t mean to be harsh; I am being critical of the branding and marketing because I think you are on to something good. As a diligent label reader, your shampoo passed my very high standards. I strongly encourage GCB to do some tweaking in its marketing and graphic design. Rethink the company name. In fact, I think “Naked Decadence” could possibly work, seeing as your products are “naked” without SLS, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, dyes and perfumes. That’s a pretty stripped-down product – in a good way.

The formulation is already quite good… I was pleased enough with it to use up the entire bottle. A small change to reduce static and improve moisturization might be nice, but not absolutely necessary since most people will pair this shampoo with some sort of conditioner. Some cutting-edge ingredients (i.e. stem cells or emu oil or the like) may be an extra incentive to purchase – but only do it if it also enhances product performance!

Ingredients: Aqua, Infusion of Organic Lavender Water, Organic Rosemary Water, Organic Horsetail Plant, Organic Nettle Leaf, Organic Sage, Organic Ginseng, Organic Calendula Extract, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Camella Leaf Extract, St. John’s Wort Oil, Seaweed, Alkylpolyglucosides, Cocamidopropyl Betaine (from coconuts) , Vegetable Glycerine, Hemp Seed Oil, Panthenol (B5), Guar Gum, Citric Acid, Pure Essential Oils, Sodium Salt Glycine