Review of John Masters Bare Unscented Shampoo by gingerrama
An OK basic no-frills shampoo; I wouldn't throw it out of the bathroom, would use it again in a pinch, but I wouldn't rebuy it again in a hurry.
Clear, gel-like texture, needs to be emulsified in hands (with water) before use. It won't foam on a first application, will lather slightly on a second one; this is usual for many shampoos, depends on kind of detergents in the formula (ex., as here, no SLS or SLES).
Pro #1: it is indeed unscented. There is no scent to this stuff. There are some essential oil extracts--chamomile, lavender--but very far down the ingredient list; my skin is irritated (rash) by lavender above a certain amount, and this was definitely below it. But worth knowing it's there if you're more irritable than me...
A pro for those with scent issues: be that a personal dislike, or dermatological and respiratory irritation, intolerance, and full allergies. Also a pro for anyone who might want to add scent to their haircare, for a personalised tailored version: be that with a favourite scent (if you're OK with the alcohol in most scents), or using essential oils, and/or using hydrosols like rosewater.
Pro #2: no irritation. Irritable scalp here, with mild eczema (hence why using unscented minimalist hair stuff).
Pro #3: the cheapest of JMO's shampoos.
Pro #4: packaging. I particularly love the labelling and fonts. Beautifully minimalist.
Pro #5: it will clean hair. Usual method here: wash twice, first wash is an approximate one (to loosen dirt etc.), second wash more thorough--still being gentle though--with shampoo left on for a good 1-2 minutes; meanwhile washing rest of self in shower. Then rinse out, condition, leave in conditioner for a couple of minutes, rinse out, and a final blast of cold water to seal cuticles. Using this method, with almost all shampoos, hair will be clean. This one too.
Con #1: But hair was beyond clean: dried out, once I'd conditioned and dried hair (drying naturally). Admittedly, I've had similar results with every other JMO shampoo I've tried--evening primrose, zinc & sage--except one: the amazing but as amazingly pricey honey & hibiscus. (Haven't used the lavender & rosemary, for lavender reasons; not used the cider one, as I don't use anything that needs clarifying removal.). The feel of the Bare was very like that of the Evening Primrose, so if you liked that, you might well like this.
YMMV: a lot will depend on individual hair and scalp. Hair here: normal, slightly dry ends, long (beyond bra), fine, dense/thick, slightly wavy, strong (doesn't break easily) but prone to tangling. Scalp: slightly dry, prone to drying out, eczema, easily irritated, skin is also thin so easily scratched. The only post-wash stuff I use is Phytodéfrisant (also unscented), no blow-drying or other processing/interference.
Con #2: price/functional effectiveness relationship. Amongst other unscented shampoos, I've had similar (OK but not altogether satisfactory) results from Elave, E45, Free & Clear, Jason, Lavera Neutral, Nature Clean, Whole Foods own-brand 365, and indeed clarifying shampoos like the old (pre-J&J-takeover) Neutrogena one, which back in the day--20 years ago in the UK--was one of the only unscented shampoos available. The other two being E45 and the old Aveda unscented one you used to be able to buy from salons.
Slightly better results from Earth Science and Urtekram fragrance-free.
Best results of all from Avalon Organics Olive & Grapeseed fragrance-free moisturizing shampoo: which works out 1/4 of the price.
Costs CAD17.00 for 236 ml / 8 fl oz from JMO online; slightly cheaper in the US, and available in some health-food stores (WF for one) in the US. Cruelty-free, using organic, fairtrade, biodegradable ingredients where possible, recyclable packaging. Like most of the other JMO products, this one is also vegan.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera leaf juice) gel,* aqua (water), decyl glucoside, sodium lauroamphoacetate, sodium cocoyl sulfoacetate, babassuamidopropyl betaine, panthenol, guar hydroxypropyl trimonium chloride, hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein. sodium pca, hyaluronic acid, sorbitol, arginine, serine, threonine, linum usitatissimum (flaxseed) seed oil,* borago officinalis (borage) seed oil,* helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil,* simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil,* oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil,* soy tocopherols, symphytum officinale (comfrey) leaf extract,* chamomilla recutica (chamomile) flower extract,* lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower/leaf/stem extract,* urtica dioica (nettle) root extract,* equisetum hiemale (horsetail) leaf/stem extract,* achillea millefolium (yarrow) extract,* camellia sinensis (white tea) extract,* salix alba (willow) bark extract,* sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate
* NOP Certified Organic