Wednesday, January 6, 2010

eco.kid: It's not you, it's me...

Hi all...Melissa stepping up to review a product Jenn threw my way.

When Jenn received a shampoo and conditioner from Australian company eco.kid, she promptly handed it to me because I have the appropriate test subjects: kids, that is. I'm always on the lookout for kid-and-environmentally-friendly personal care products, so I was more than happy to take them on.

The shampoo, Prevent, couldn't have a much more appealing profile: Its heavy-on-the-organics, hold-the-nasty-stuff formulation comes from naturally-derived and renewable ingredients (though I guess that could be said of anything that comes from plants, right?). It contains essential oils that smell pretty good, but are a turnoff to lice (that's what it prevents). So does its companion conditioner, Nourish. Sorry to be bringing up vermin, but parents know lice are no joke, and any products that can help to lessen the chance of an infestation get big points. At least, if they clean adequately.

Do they? I'd say yes, but with a caveat. One of my sons was showering on his own and came in, after finishing up, with hair that felt and looked kind of loaded down with residue. I had to send him back for further rinsing. The other two, who were in the bath, were all lathered up, and I rinsed...and rinsed...and rinsed...and you get the idea.

The shampoo came out, after the kids were sufficiently waterlogged, but I have to say, that amount of rinsing isn't likely to be popular with kids who don't appreciate being drenched from the top down (and mine don't). And it does beg the question how many extra gallons of water would it take to get a proper rinse? (Not a problem in the bath, so much, but kind of an issue in the shower.)

Now before unfairly condemning the product to a lukewarm review, I hopped onto eco-kid's website to see what they had to say for themselves. If I understand correctly, the reason the shampoo works a bit differently is that it doesn't use detergent action -- it works more like dry cleaning. I don't know if that fully explains it, but it seems like it would account for the shampoo not behaving like a more traditional, easy-rinsing product.

Other points to note: These are not "tears-free" formulas. The company explains on its site that products containing essential oils will unavoidably sting somewhat, so users will need to watch out for the little ones' eyes. Also, these products are not formulated to remove build up from styling products, so if your tykes gel up, think twice.

I did try the conditioner, as well, but here, I'm a bit out of my element. I have all boys, and their hair is typically no more than a couple of inches long, so conditioning and detangling aren't a major concern for us. Nothing bad to report, other than the aforementioned need for repeated rinsing.

I don't know, maybe that's just the price of products that don't contain all those unwanted chemicals...anyone have any feedback on that? Products you've tried that aren't quite such a project to rinse out? As I said, both Prevent and Nourish have great-sounding ingredient lists, and both smell pretty good, too. The company's heart appears to be in the right place, so I want to like their product, too -- but I just don't feel it, at least until I know I have to be prepared to settle for hosing the kids down like they were rioters!

So for now, I'll go with a relatively neutral three leaves (I'm feeling more like 2.5, but wish I could give it a this is my compromise).

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