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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: New Infusium 23 Color Defender Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner

Let me preface this review by telling you that I'm a long-time fan of Infusium 23. Their Moisture Replenisher Conditioner has a permanent spot in my shower and I love the way it works for my particular hair type. So when Rite Aid was having a sale on Infusium a while back, which coincided with some coupons in the newspaper, I jumped at the chance to purchase their newest Color Defender products (I think I ended up paying just $2.99 each for these!):

 Infusium 23 Color Defender Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner
(retail: around $7.99 each, 16 oz)

So let's start with the shampoo:

I'm not a chemist, but I believe that the "sulfoacetate",  "sulfosuccinate" and "sulfonate" in this shampoo are gentler alternatives to sulfates:

 Shampoo ingredients

Since I'm guessing that there are three sulfate-alternatives in this shampoo, it's easy to understand why this shampoo does lather well even despite the absence of sulfates. Again, I'm no chemist, but I'm trying to account for the fact that, unlike other shampoos I've used that contain no ingredients beginning with the prefix "sul", this shampoo lathers in much the same way as a sulfate-rich shampoo.

Moving down the ingredients list, you'll see that there are three different types of "cones" in this shampoo as well. Well, I'm afraid that this is perhaps one too many, because I find that this shampoo leaves a rather heavy coating in my oily-roots-dry-ends-color-treated hair. The texture of my hair is fine, and it's naturally wavy as well. I have long hair (it hits my bra-strap) and although I love moisturizing shampoos, I find this one to be too rich for my hair type. I need a shampoo that's going to leave my hair feeling less like hay, but not so coated that it weighs my hair down and leaves it flat. This shampoo is so rich that I have a very difficult time rinsing it out. In other words, I'm never quite sure when to stop rinsing. After a good amount of time rinsing out this shampoo, the texture of my hair feels like there's still shampoo left to be rinsed. I find this guessing game to be a bit frustrating, actually.

So let's move on to the conditioner:

Now this is interested (well, to me at least). There are two 'cones in this conditioner (remember, the shampoo contains three) but they're lower on the list than the parabens. In theory, this means that there are more preservatives (parabens) in this formula than 'cones. No WONDER this conditioner didn't work for me. You see, I find that, unlike the shampoo, the conditioner doesn't provide enough moisturization. I don't feel any slip in this formula (the slick feeling that helps detangle your hair) and after I rinse, my hair doesn't feel nearly as soft as when I use the Infusium 23 Moisture Replenisher conditioner. 

FINAL VERDICT: For my particular haircare needs, I find the new Infusium 23 Color Defender Shampoo to be too heavy, while the Color Defender Conditioner doesn't provide enough moisturization. In my humble opinion, they put too much of a good thing into the shampoo, and not enough of a good thing into the conditioner. I'm very sorry these products missed the mark for me--oh how I wanted to love them! On the plus side, I do enjoy the fragrance of both products, because they smell very similar to the original Infusium products, which I love.

Have you tried the new Infusium 23 Color Defender products? If so, how did they work for you? I hope that some of you find them to be a great match for your hair type--unfortunately they're not a love match for me.


  1. G, check out RenPure shampoos and conditioners. They're sulfate, 'cone (I think), and paraben free. I color my hair red, it's naturally curly and I abuse it with the curling iron. I need something gentle...I think I've found a great match! They lather nicely and I'm able to go an extra day without 'poo-ing (with the help of Suave dry shampoo; that stuff is awesome!). Watch for sales at RiteAid because I scored Up $ and they were on sale.

  2. Hermione: that's so funny because I've actually been testing a Renpure shampoo and conditioner for the last two weeks now! I'm getting ready to post my review next week! lol! So glad they're working out for you, hun!

  3. G: I've been using the Infusium Color Defender shampoo and conditioner for a little while now, and they've been working pretty well for me, it hasn't really been long enough for me to see how it's going to be on my hair color.

    Hermoine: Any recc for a specific RenPure shampoo and conditioner for color-treated hair?

  4. Kitsune, I'm using the moisturizing shampoo and conditioner (the red bottles). I washed my hair Monday night; it's now Thursday morning and it still looks good (that's with one intense workout also). I used a bit of Suave dry shampoo to freshen up and give my hair body at the roots.

    I do use product in my hair: Phyto-Defrisant balm and Sebastian mousse while wet, Sebastian MicroWeb once styled. So to get 3 days from a hair wash is awesome!

    I tried the new Loreal sulfate-free stuff and my hair felt like straw. YUCK!!!

  5. I have long, fine, color treated hair. I purchased the Infusium Color Defender Shampoo, Conditioner, AND Leave-In Protector. The shampoo and conditioner alone were too heavy, and left my hair flat. Then I added the Leave-In to my routine a few days later, and it made my hair feel, and look, dirty! I think these products are made for thick hair, or a day at the beach when you are going to slick your hair back.

  6. I want to try the new Renpure Color Protecting Shampoo and conditioner. Has anyone tried these?

  7. I haven't tried these but I do love Infusium original shampoo & conditioner and for some reason haven't bought it in a while...thanks for the reminder about this line :)

  8. I got the Shielo Color Protect Shampoo because I wanted to spring for a good sulfate-free shampoo. I hadn't smelled it or even heard of it before. I'm obsessed and want to shower all the time. It smells sooo good and is the highlight of my primping! I used to always see my hair color fade after every shower, but I swear, this shampoo makes it last months longer. I've saved so much money at the salon from using it!

  9. When it comes to using this product, following the instructions down to the letter is the only way I've found it to work, I really do just put a few dabs on my fingertips and work it through my hair. I don't even bother with the ends. And then rinse, rinse, rinse while concentrating on the hair closest to my forehead. If I find that I haven't rinsed it all out, a few dabs on my homemade dry shampoo (a mixture of baking soda, corn starch and cocoa) cleans it up lickity split.

    I, too, have hair just like yours - fine with a bit of a natural wave that is dyed. I have a hard time finding a shampoo I enjoy using all-around. I-23 S-F Color Defender is the first sulfate-free shampoo I've used and sometimes I wonder if maybe I should just switch brands. I haven't noticed whether or not my dye job has lasted any longer than normal because I'm only applying the shampoo to my roots. All-in-all, I am happy with this shampoo, it just took a little practice to figure out how to use.


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