Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: R+Co Gemstone Color Shampoo and Conditioner (Spoiler--I HATED IT.)

R+Co Gemstone Color Shampoo, available at C. Bigelow
I'm doing yeoman's work with my shampoo and conditioner samples, but I'm sorry to have to report that yet another expensive sulfate-free shampoo has done a worse job than the Aveeno stuff I picked up at the drugstore. How did I hate it? Let me count the ways:

How much does this shit cost?

A 8.5 oz./241 ml/ bottle costs $24.00.

Where can I purchase this overpriced crap?

C. Bigelow, Space NK, and the R+Co. website. Warning: If you chose to use the website, good luck. It is the single most baffling, hard-to-navigate website I've used since Alltop was putting everything at the bottom of the screen.


As I've said before, I have dyed, keratin-treated hair. I have to use sulfate-free shampoos if these expensive salon services are going to last. I picked the R+Co. Gemstone Color samples because I read through the first 20 or so ingredients and didn't find any sulfates. (I found a buttload of unfamiliar chemicals, but no sulfates.)

Then I watched the video on the C. Bigelow website. Some hairy fellow with an accent I can't quite identify stressed the importance of the pea extract in the formula.

Let's have another look at the ingredients, shall we?

I ask you. It shows up after a bunch of silicone, vegetable oils, and panthenol. Could pea extract possibly be all that important? 

Yet more stupidity

The directions say: "Apply Gemstone Color Shampoo to the middle of your hair and work through from the roots to the ends." Excuse me, what does that mean? I'm supposed to put a blob of shampoo on the middle of my hair, then work it up to the scalp, then work it down to the ends?

Do I really want to work against the direction of the cuticle of my hair? That is rhetorical questioning at its finest, internet; I do not. You always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS want to move the brush, blow dryer, or your hands in the direction your hair grows to keep the cuticle smoothed down. That's where your hair's shine comes from.

Also, my packet contained a mere 7 ml//.23 oz. of product, which was not enough to perform Cirque de Soleil up-and-down feats on the shafts of my hair. Assuming that I wanted to.

Other problems

There was no foam. Like, at all. I anticipated this, because it isn't the first time I've sampled sulfate-free shampoos. I carefully massaged the contents all over my head twice, but I never worked up anything you'd actually call lather. This might be because I didn't have enough product to work with.  If you watch the video, they use practically an entire palm full of shampoo on the model.

Can I be any more scathing?

Why yes, I can. I had to do an inordinate amount of research to figure out when this company was founded (2014) who the hair-washing hobbit was (Howard McLaren, formerly of Bumble & bumble) and why I should care. Oh wait--I'm still waiting for that last bit.

The founders of R+Co.: Thom Priano, Garren, and the Hobbit formerly known as Bilbo Baggins; photo from W magazine

Frankly, I get annoyed when a company half-asses their marketing to this extent. If you're handing out sample packets, you want me to try your product. Would it really be so terrible if you actually conveyed some information about your company? Or admitted that you want my money? Or tried to convince me that your product is actually superior to your competitors'?

Note to Hobbit: if the pea extract is this shampoo's raison d'être ... well, that's just sad.



My hair ended up soft, but then, it started out that way. It doesn't feel 100 percent clean. Also, even though I'm looking longingly at the descriptions of C. Bigelow's Mentha Hair Invigorating Shampoo as well as their claim that my hair "will love the invigorating formula" of their Lavender and Peppermint shampoo, I'm annoyed, because I'm going to have to go through my whole blow-dry routine again tomorrow.


I hated this shampoo and the horse it rode in on. 

p.s. The conditioner wasn't as creamy as I'd like, but it was OK.


  1. I have nothing valuable to add except that I enjoyed reading this. Stupid shampoo!

    1. As you can probably tell, the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. STUPID SHAMPOO POPPY SMASH. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Scottish. The accent is Scottish. And may be the only genuine thing about this product spot.

    1. I thought it might be. He sounded like a character from MacBeth, and I definitely get a Birnam Wood vibe from the bottom half of his face.

  3. Shampoo and Cond. ----- very difficult to find a good one!

    Hey Poppy .... the founders look like "Up yer self Mafia Bosses" !!!! LOL

    1. I'm really enjoying the way two of them are looking at the camera, but Our Boyfriend is looking away. Such disdain for the whole publicity project is conveyed by the way he twists away from Garren and crosses his arms. Not to mention the beard. That's one eloquent beard. It says "You are beneath our notice. We deserve to be somewhere much better. We shed in your general direction."


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.