I bought this shampoo as an experiment. I had been reading the hair care product book by author and so-called "Cosmetics Cop" Paula Begoun and, at the time of publication, she gave lots of White Rain shampoos excellent ratings. (I note "at time of publication" because the book was put out over 10 years ago and companies often change formulations and packaging to stay on-trend) I always thought of White Rain as the cheapest of the cheap drugstore brands: certainly inexpensive, but probably not very good. However, Begoun had me thinking...if the science of good ingredients in good proportions are there, then who cares whether or not the company has a big budget for sexy packaging or expensive advertising or exclusive salon endorsements?? If it works, it works, right? Still, I was expecting this drugstore shampoo to fry my hair and strip my color. I took the risk to see if Begoun was right and because I could always pawn this 1.17 mistake off onto my DH, who could shampoo with Fels Naptha and still have fantastic locks.
Firstly, I chose the Cherry Blossom formula because it looked light. I wanted a lightweight shampoo that would not weigh down my fine to medium textured dry-ish color-treated hair. I also liked that the shampoo was light in color...no weird bionic green colors resembling anti-freeze (I always wonder if those bright hues are rough on your hair....) Secondly, I was interested in the ingredients. The cleaning agents are ammonium laureth and ammonium lauryl sulfate. As far as sulfates go, our expert author Begoun says the ammonium varieties are far more gentle than the sodium varieties (which seem to be in every other drugstore shampoo out there). Another positive-sounding ingredients was citric acid (to smooth the hair cuticle). When using this shampoo, the first thing you'll notice is that it does not make an abundance of lather. That will make it un-likable to many people out there, but I take it as a sign that the proportion of sulfates is balanced with the other ingredients so it is not stripping the life out of my hair. When I felt like I needed a little more stuff to scrub with, I mixed a tiny bit more shampoo in with a light conditioner (just paranoid about my tendency to dryness) and gave myself a good scalp massage. At the rinse of the shampoo, I didn't feel the usual moist, luxurious "slip" you get with more expensive shampoos, but I suspect that is because this 'poo is not loaded with 'cones. I felt I couldn't complain about that, since I was asking for a lightweight shampoo. Plus, the lack of slip was instantly remedied by using conditioner or a detangling spray. The scent is not powerful, but with slight chemical undertones under the soft cherry fruit topnote, but it is not objectionable and leaves little to no lingering aroma. After drying my hair, I have to admit that my hair had above-average shine and bounce without the addition of product. I have now used this shampoo a number of times and have not noticed any hair color fading, but please note I do not shampoo daily and I tried not to over-use the product in an attempt to increase the lather. My final verdict is that Begoun was right: this is a decent lightweight shampoo that, for the price, they are practically giving away! I only give it 3 lippies as it is so NOT a luxurious experience for the user, neither in feel/texture nor in fragrance, but I will definitely buy this again as it is so hard to find a good lightweight shampoo (they all seem to be creamy, or film-forming, or cone-heavy) and I cannot deny how nice my hair looks after using this.