Wednesday, October 28, 2009

PUREOLOGY: Less than Pure

*photo credit:

I'm so long-time fave line of hair products, PUREOLOGY, was purchased sometime in late 2007 by the big conglomerate, L'Oreal.....I did not learn of this acquisition myself until just last week. I only did a random Google search because my last purchase of Pureology Hydrate (shampoo & conditioner) just seemed different. I chalked it up to maybe my hair was just going through a phase....but it really did not feel the same.

Normally, any of the Pureology shampoos create lather beyond words! The stuff has NO added water, hence, it's a concentrate of sorts. You use VERY little & it goes a LONG way. My hair was never known for is ability to lather well, but this stuff was like a hair miracle. My hair never felt cleaner or healthier & I was sold. It's not cheap, either, but it was worth it!! The Hydrate shampoo averages around $28 a bottle, which may seem steep, but as a concentrate, you use so little that the bottle lasts far longer than anything else you might purchase. In the long run, it's really not that expensive. I would sing its praises anytime someone complained of bad hair days -- "GO, buy Pureology and if you dislike it, I will buy it off of you so you have nothing to lose!!!" And, you know what? NO ONE ever asked me to buy it off of them. Why? Because they were sold, too! It worked wonders!!!

Pureology is known for zero sulfates, no alcohol & no added water, amongst other things. It's not tested on animals & it was 100% vegan....whatever that means in the world of shampoo. *wink* It was full of yummy botanicals & my hair was Heavenly on any given day after using it. If I really wanted a treat, I would splurge on the Nanoworks line...average price of this shampoo or conditioner would set you back just over $40 a bottle, but the results were even better than the Hydrate, if one could even imagine such a thing! I love it!!!

Fast forward to my June purchase of Pureology Nano & Hydrate products that "felt different" sister, Marla, mentioned she was no longer using it & complained about the fact it had alcohol in it when some new product she discovered & liked did not. I was floored. ALCOHOL in my Pureology??? What was she talking about? I ran home & read the labels on my bottles, old & new (some of my old bottles were in the recycle bin still)....sure enough, the newer bottles not only had water added (now the 1st ingredient on the label), but 2 kinds of alcohol in it!! I was horrified....I am paying top dollar for something that is supposed to be so pure & wonderful & it's just not. No wonder my hair felt different; no wonder the product did not lather like it used to; no wonder it looked or smelled a tad WAS different!!! I jumped on Google & read tons & tons of messages & blogs about the fact that the recipe was cheapened & watered wonderful botanical ingredients were gone & in their place was plain old water & a bunch of color-fading alcohol! I am paying top dollar for crap equivalent to any drugstore shampoo now. Not cool. The whole point of Pureology is that it's color-protective & once you add alcohol, that all goes out the window, friends.

I e-mailed my hairdresser, Marla & my friend Stacie, who are all in the know about Pureology products. My hairdresser, Deborah, is livid & has written the company...not to mention she wants her money back on the stockpile of product she is selling in her salon. Stacie was like me & just wanted to cry. Marla had already given up on Pureology & switched to another alcohol-free product. *sigh* Deborah & I have been "joking" about creating a product line that IS pure & sulfate/alcohol free.....made me wonder....what is entailed in such a venture? Can this innocent joking turn out to be something more real??? I failed chemistry, so making hair product is way out of my skill level, but you never know. I'm always searching for that light bulb to go on over my head for an idea for a business so I can quit "working for the man". I think I need to seriously chat Deb up about this.

All dreams aside, it's a sad, sad day now that my Pureology is no longer pure. I have come to the conclusion that I need to shop around for older product in hopes it's still the original recipe. That might mean buying from less "reputable" sources like E-bay or local discount stores where the stuff often pops up on shelves. So, I jump on E-bay and search around. I find I am now asking sellers to e-mail me the first 3 ingredients listed so then I will know what I am getting. If water & alcohol come up first in lieu of the organic botanicals, don't buy it! My confession in all this: I had placed a bid on E-bay BEFORE realizing things had changed....did not expect to win, never uppped my bid, but of course, I won. It was a 3 item deal of the Nano line (shampoo, conditioner & a deep conditioning repair mask). The mask alone sells for like $65. I got all 3 for $47. The package just arrived this week....I anxiously ripped open the box & to my delight, they were OLD recipe versions. I scored so big time!!!! Now, I just have to keep finding the old product or find a new brand. Who knew a less "reputable" source, like E-bay (as some consider the risk of counterfeit items) would be MORE reputable in getting what I really want versus buying from a trusted salon or supply house?? I love my OLD Pureology. L'Oreal can suck it. L'Oreal: You have turned a fantastic product into garden variety crap out of pure greed. You are still marketing Pureology as pure & it's not!! This stuff should be selling for under $8 a bottle now, not in excess of $25. If anyone affiliated w/ L'Oreal ever should stumble upon this (yeah, right!): "F YOU". You ruined the ONLY hair product line that some of us ever loved.

I urge everyone that ever loved the REAL Pureology to shop around & try to purchase old product. Read those microscopic labels (and you only need to read the first 3 ingredients on the list). I urge you to write letters & blog about your dissatisfaction. L'Oreal has pulled the wool over our eyes & we have to help lift that wool & see the truth -- they are greedy liars. There is nothing pure about Pureology anymore & it saddens me to say such words. If you find the old product, let me know....I'd be interested in forking out some of my hard-earned $$ for it. If you see water listed as the #1 ingredient, don't even waste your time reading the rest of the label. It's no good. Your organic botanicals like various types of mushrooms, peppermint & herbs won't be in the product anymore. You won't get the killer lather. Your hair probably won't feel as amazing & you certainly won't have as much color protection if the bottles are now chocked full of alcohol. (insert heavy SIGH here).

Happy Shopping....I hope you find something pure in your search. I, for one, won't buy it anymore unless I can find the original recipe.


Anonymous said...

Oh Sue, I'm sorry!! I know you and Stacy are hair mavens and have spent a great deal of time finding "the" perfect shampoo. I hope you find something you like just as much soon, or at the very least, can corner the market on all of the old ones you can find!!

As for your "dream," I don't think it's as far-fetched as you might think. I don't think there is a celebrity out there who knows Jack about the chemistry involved in creating fragrances, but it's not stopping any of them! You'll need start up cash for one, and a business plan for another (ask Stacy about that, she knows WAY more about that than I do), and then with your friend Deb' connections, you can probably find a lab that makes shampoos for other companies-you'll probably want to find one that's eco-friendly/organic since the shampoo you want to create is, and tell them what you want. You already have the ingredients from the old bottles of your fave shampoo.

The only other issue there might be copyright...but since L'Oreal has bastardized the ingredients it may not matter. BTW-L'Oreal is owned by LaRoche-Posay in New York. Send your comments to them. And check my spelling on that because it might be wrong. Anway, they are huge and own other high-end companies and produce skin care lines, which is how I know they own L'Oreal. GOOD LUCK!!!

stacy said...

There is a place somewhere in the valley where you can work with a chemist and create your own line of products. I don't know what it's called but know that many people who have launched their own lines (skincare, haircare) have used it.

Try and find it and I think you guys should do it! Deborah has a great reputation in the industry and should be selling her own line of haircare!

You can hire me to do the packaging and product photography... hee hee.

Sueberry said...

I am intrigued, I will tell you that much!!! Does not hurt to investigate the possibility of making something good again.....I almost can't wait for my next hair appt. to chat w/ Deb. ha ha! THANKS girls!

Canvas Crib said...

Hello Sue,

My name is Jeremy and I put together private label lines for those seeking products that are Natural & Organic. ALL of our products are Sulfate Free, Sodium Free (for color) and Paraben Free. Our products are modeled after the ORIGINAL Pureology (but without the parabens that they have always used) as well as other lines such as Davines, Aveda and Bumble and bumble.

I would love to talk to you if you are interested in looking at starting your own line. You can check out our website at

You can reach me at

I look forward to talking with you.


MLW said...

What is everyone using as a replacement for Pureology?

Gabrielle Golfieri said...

Thanks for the info. I too, noticed a huge difference the last time i bought this stuff. Thought my hair was changing, but it smelled different too. I won't be buying this stuff again.

Christine Williams said...

I found your blog when I was researching PureOlogy and L'Oreal's purchase of the company. I recently bought a new 1 liter bottle of the Pure Volume Shampoo. (I have been using the shampoo and conditioner for a few years. My last liter bottle I bought in Oct. 2012.)
I used the new bottle a few days ago and it was awful! I have short, fine, straight highlighted hair, and this new shampoo made my hair feeel coarse, gummy and very tangled. It was nothing like the previous bottle, which made made my hair feel soft and manageable even before I used the conditioner. I found some old product and washed my hair witth it and it was how I had always had experienced the Pure Volume Shampoo.
Thinking that maybe I was nuts, I tried the new bottle of shampoo again. Same thing, hair felt llike crap!
I wrote to PureOlogy and asked if they had changed the formulation of the Pure Volume, explaining my experience. They wrote back, completely ignoring my question about the change of formulation, and said if I was not satisfied with the new product I could send it back (at my expense) with its receipt of purchase and they would refund my money! They also suggested I try the HyDrate series of products instead of the Pure Volume series.
Based upon what others have said, I am going to do an ingredient list comparison between the my old botttle and the new one, to see what gives. It looks like I will be looking for a new shampoo!!

tnalilly said...

Thanks for the info! I was just about to drop some serious $$ for the whole Nano line until I started reading about the new formula and all the bad reviews on it. I was so excited to try it. So glad I didn't waste my money.

Crystal Serfaty said...

I too was about to splurge until I came across your post, thank you! I'm wondering if you've found a good alternative?? Thanks! x

AntiqueChase said...

I loved pureology in the purple bottles and used them for 5 years straight. All of a sudden with my new bottles my hair is horrible, a total broken mess. the conditioner feels like it doesn't even move through my hair. I thought it was me. Or that I had purchased fake product. My hair is so unhappy. I just don't even know what to try. I spent money on the Alterna Caviar and didn't like it. What are you using I need recommendations! thanks! marcy

Sueberry said...

I have not revisited my blog entry in ages until now.... While again searching the web for a Pureology replacement for my miserably unhappy hair.

I originally wrote this blog post in 2009. And, sadly, no! Nothing compares to the original Pureology recipes. Nothing. High end, such as Alterna Caviar.... Lower end drugstore brands. None of them work on my thick but fine hair. They all weigh it down or don't clean well or fade your color or all of the above!

My next splurge: Living Proof Full
Stay tuned, ladies! And happy shopping!

wi/tn/tx said...

I purchased by the suggestion of a hairdresser at The Knot in Fort Worth, Pureology Perfect 4 Platinum, when I went back I was told my hair was as ruined as it was prior to the my used of Pureology.

I was told to return it, but I don't know where to return it to.

Can someone help me please?

Jan McDaniel

er said...

I'm surprised no one has posted about this yet but if urology just like everyone says sucks really bad. The owner after being pushed out by L'Oreal ( so the story goes ) created his own line again.

The new product is called COLOR PROOF- super rich ... So far it's not in generic stores -And likely won't be since L'Oreal hasn't stolen it yet. You'll have to buy it at places like planet beauty which is a national beauty store.

My further complaint against L'Oreal is the fact that they've not only destroy the pure ologies shampoo and conditioners but they've also gone ahead now and destroy the one thing that was good still which is the anti-fade complex glossing missed which was an absolutely spectacular Product. It really did the job and definitely did maintain the color of your hair now that they've gone ahead and gotten rid of it however people are getting blackballed on places like Amazon at taking a product that was originally only $28 expensive and selling it for $67 I ordered two bottles that I hope her legitimate And real of the product of what I've Bought before four $49 a bottle. Yes with shipping and handling which really should've been free… I paid $110 for 2. 4.2 ounce bottles. Totally sucks.

Don't forget we have a choice we can sit back and be bullied by these big corporations are we can give them a piece of our mind and call them. Here's the telephone number and way to get through for L'Oreal that I've discovered I definitely called and complained they said they would lodged the complaint who knows?

They call you instead
First, call 800-322-2036; Press 2, then 4

aliciap said...

I realize this thread is years old but I just stumbled upon it during a Google search and thought I'd leave a note.

Because Pureology was purchased by Loreal, they are EU certified which means they are distributed globally. Pureology does not add water to products to dilute the concentration. They use plant based ingredients, and surprise, plants are mostly water. If a chemist were to test the products they would detect water in the products because there is water present in plant botanicals. As an EU certified company, Pureology has to hold a higher standard to labeling their ingredients than companies that are not distributed globally, hence why they had to start claiming water in the chemistry make up the product. If any other product line that you love and adore were to become EU certified in the future, they too would then have to start labeling water in their ingredient list.

As for alcohol, there is actually good and bad breeds of alcohol. Many product lines use alcohol as a volumizing and thickening agent or as a cleansing agent. Pureology uses coconut, corn and sugar for cleansing agents and uses eucalyptus and other plant sources for volume agents. Alcohol is present in some products as an agent that helps active conditioning agents penetrate deeper into the hair shaft. Basically what I'm saying is that not all alcohol is created equal or used for the same thing.

I understand that you noticed a difference in the product. I also understand that you bought product off Ebay. I suggest that you never, NEVER, buy beauty products ANYWHERE other than a salon. Including online and the grocery store. Pureology is a salon only brand, meaning they are only guaranteed if bought from a salon source. If you were buying it on Ebay, it was most likely water downed, expired, or not even Pureology. Online distributors will buy products from salons who are closing their doors, sometimes used products, refill the low products with water cheaper ingredient product, and sell it online. It probably wasn't even authentic Pureology that you were using. Pureology, Redken, Paul Mitchell, Matrix, Aveda, etc etc etc are ONLY guaranteed if you buy from a salon, and if you buy from elsewhere and have an issue the company can't really help you because you probably bought product that was watered down and sat in a hot storage unit.

Anywho, that's my two cents :)

Liz A. Rennick said...

To aliciap,

Your comments do provide some good advice and information, but is out of context here. The point of this post is that the forumla for Pureology shampoo HAS changed, and the proof is not only in the announcement by Pureology of a "new formula" but in all the dedicated users of the products noticing the dramatic and disappointing difference.

Also, the first time I noticed the difference was when I bought a bottle from Amazon. Thinking it was a defective or fake product, I went to a salon and bought it again with THE SAME RESULTS. The OP went to e-Bay to find the OLD formula that can no longer be found in salons. So although you may have a valid point about where to purchase beauty products, the argument is moot in this context.

Has anyone else here tried Living Proof? I had a sample of it and plan to buy a bottle. It seems very promising as a replacement for Pureology.

TeachPeach said...

I've used Nanoworks for years with AMAZING results. I am over sixty with fine, color-treated hair. My hair looked amazing after months of Nanoworks! The NEW formula ("Gold") is an EPIC FAIL! I'm looking everywhere for a replacement. If they don't go back to the old formula, they have lost my business.

Cheryl Sahm said...

You should try Monat. It's brand new on the market. It is botanical based and chemical free. And highly concentrated.The only water that is in it is very little reverse osmosis water. Made in the USA. It is so much better than Pureology. I have had amazing results with it. check out the ingredients for yourself. It is also clinically proven to regrow healthy hair.

Karky said...

Hey All!!
Good News. Jim Markham was the creator of Pureology in the beginning. After he sold to Loreal for 800 Million, he decided to come up with a brand that would bring something even more innovative than the coveted Pureology. What I mean by this, is that his new line COLORPROOF, is actually Pureology 2.0, having the same desired ingredients and more. Now the FULL line has Nano Technology!! COLORPROOF IS vegan, sulfate free, alcohol free, sodium free, glycol free, Paraban free Heaven. Lol. This my friends is your answer.

deedee said...

I second the recommendation for Monat! It's great for colored hair, and has none of the bad ingredients in it! Check out my site
All products are guaranteed!

deedee said...

I second the recommendation for Monat! It's great for colored hair, and has none of the bad ingredients in it! Check out my site
All products are guaranteed!

Scott said...

Hi there, For anyone who doesn't know... You can essentially buy any of the original Pureology formulas but they are now under a different brand called ColorProof. Also, the original Pureology Hydrate formula (purple bottle) is available in Costco, it's their Kirkland Signature Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner. Hope this helps anyone who stumbles across this post now or in the future.

Robyn Porter said...

I've noticed a change in my hair as well.. I thought it was just from getting older. Thank you for this information!I'm so pissed! I've been considering using Living Proof. Has anyone else used that line?

Magda Wyspianski said...

I knew somethi felt different!!!! I'm going to write to the company. At first I thought it was my water since I recently moved. But although my water is hard, I now know it's the shampoo, I always used the hydrate and now switched to strength cure, which is a bit better but I do need to use more than ever before. It certainly doesn't last as long as it use to. Thanks for the info xx

Ina Sander said...

I love using Monat products on my hair, literally the best :) Would never go back to pureology again.

toni losada said...

Monat!!!!!! Nontoxic that's all I'm going to say

Patricia Ristvedt said...

Hi all, I am in the same boat. Loyal original nanoworks. I tried colorproof just now and it's nothing compared to nano. Any other suggestions to try? I am praying one of the two companies brings it back.

FreeSpirit said...

What Loreal has done to the Pureology line of formerly excellent products amounts to THEFT of the unaware! Not cool Loreal! They really should be sued for this, along with all the other greedy corporations who change ingredients or buy out other companies and change the ingredients covertly without changing the packaging! That's BAIT AND SWITCH!