Believe it or not, the product you see here is not the offspring of Glaceau, not even a distant hair-loving cousin. The company that brought us the ever-popular Vitamin Water is the victim of a royal rip-off. Named Vitamin Shampoo, this new line of shampoos and conditioners is marketed as "an energy drink for your hair." If it's not a brand extension of Vitamin Water and it has no business equating itself with energy drinks, how can Vitamin Shampoo get away with such flagrant fraud?
Well, thanks to copyright law, it won't. The manufacturer of Vitamin Shampoo is Vogue International, which also makes the salon-inspired haircare products FX Special Effects, ProVitamin Intensives, Organix, and iWater. Vitamin Shampoo is the company's latest attempt to jump on the bandwagon of healthy, natural living. Seeking a shortcut to reach its target audience, Vogue tried to ride on the coattails of Glaceau's established following.
This fall, after some ads in select women's magazines displayed the shampoo bottles in direct imitation of the drinks, Glaceau secured a temporary restraining order against Vogue International. According to Managing Intellectual Property
, Glaceau's lawyers filed a complaint accusing Vogue of a number of counts of copyright infringement. The judge ruled that Vogue's intention is clearly to confuse the customer into thinking that the product belongs to Glaceau's brand name. Even if shampoo and energy drinks are different classes of goods, the blurring of the brand names is unmistakable.
Amid heated negotiations, Vogue International's first step has been to tweak the typography on the packaging so that the label is no longer nearly identical to the one on the beverage. Although the new design
is a definite step in a different direction, it is not the end of the legal battle. And it certainly isn't winning the new haircare line any positive press, since duped consumers have been speaking out about what they perceive as a mass-market con.
If only Vitamin Shampoo products were worth fighting for, Vogue might be justified in going through all this brouhaha. Instead, its formula is far from natural and laden with inferior ingredients. Vitamin Shampoo's most prevalent component after water (disodium laureth sulfosuccinate)
is a mild irritant, according to studies on both humans and animals, and the third ingredient (cocamidopropyl betaine)
, a semi-synthetic surfactant, is a potential allergen. The rest of the formula consists of a conditioning chemical (guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride)
, a formaldehyde-releasing preservative (DMDM hydantoin), and a foaming agent (cocamide DEA) that can lead to the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines.
So, where are those vitamins touted in the title? They represent the formula's final ingredients, and thus its smallest portion. No amount of noni or lemongrass extract can compensate for the baddies that make up the bulk of Vitamin Shampoo. You might as well cleanse your hair with one of Glaceau's bottled beverages.
Ingredients in Noni Berry Vitamin Shampoo:
Aqua (Water), Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Dimethicone Copolyol, Cocamide DEA, Glycol Distearate, Parfume, Panthenol, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-11, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Coconut Oil, DMDM Hydantoin, Coconut Milk, Silk Amino Acids, Egg White Proteins, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Noni Extract, Lemongrass Extract, Vitamin A, Vitamin C