I'm not the type of guy to just pick any sample that comes in those small plastic packets. But this past week, my gym was giving out John Frieda Root Awakening Strength Restoring Conditioner ($5.98). It was in a big basket that replaced the complimentary apples. I'm assuming they were out of apples that day but it gave the impression this conditioner was better than fruit. So I playfully took it as a sign and picked up a sample.

John Frieda is a heavyweight in the hair industry, not only a popular salon but a lifestyle brand complete with its own range of hair products. It's pretty mainstream, and I'm sure you're familiar (I actually have family members who use the product line).

I wanted to like John Frieda Root Awakening Strength Restoring Conditioner. After using the conditioner, my scalp was tingling and stimulated with a smart coolness from the peppermint and eucalyptus extracts. It felt great on my head and definitely "awakened" my roots. But the reality is that's pretty much all it did. The product promises to reinforce the hair structure, and the only ingredient that really applies is the panthenol.

It's like a pop star without any groupies. Most every other ingredient in this product are surfactants, emollients and conditioning agents, so it definitely conditions and gives your hair a ultra-silky feeling... I just wish it was with the right ingredients instead of chemicals (especially completely random ones, like maltodextrin, which is primarily a sugar alternative, but still a hair conditioning agent).

Eucalyptus is a saving grace. It supports healthy hair and, going to back to the "root" of problems, it does help prevent dandruff.


Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Behenamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Cetyl Esters, Stearyl Alcohol, Mentha Piperita Leaf Extract (Peppermint), Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Extract, Dimethicone, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, Menthol, Quaternium 91, Menthyl Lactate, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Glycine, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Sodium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Maltodextrin, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Mentha Piperita Oil (Peppermint), Lactic Acid, Pyridoxine HCI, Malic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Silica, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance (Parfum)