I should have known better than to buy The Body Shop’s Banana Conditioner strictly for the scent: of course it would end up smelling like banana candies rather than actual bananas!
Everything banana-scented basically uses isoamyl acetate, a chemical that is naturally found in bananas and which gives them their distinctive smell. However, in different concentrations, it smells different (the BBC article I linked mentions that in dilute concentrations, it actually smells like pears!). In addition, this artificial banana scent may actually resemble the real thing more than we thought. Today’s bananas are pretty much all the Cavendish cultivar, but prior to the 1960s, the Gros Michel cultivar was the most common. It was wiped out by a fungus, which is why we use the Cavendish today, but some who still grow the Gros Michel say that it does have a sweeter, more “artificial” scent.
Well, truth be told, I prefer the subtler scent of the Cavendish banana! I’ve never been one for banana-flavored candies or the like, so I’m not sure what possessed me to buy this conditioner. I suspect it was The Body Shop saying that the conditioner contained actual banana purée (as the second ingredient listed, no less!), and somehow I thought maybe it wouldn’t smell like banana Runts.
A beauty classic returns. This thick and creamy conditioner leaves hair beautifully soft and tangle-free. It contains real banana puree.
Luckily, the scent isn’t actually that strong nor that sweet, so I don’t really mind it—though I’d obviously prefer a different scent.
One thing I do want to mention is that the conditioner looks somewhat different on the website than it does in real life—or at least the bottle I received in the mail. Above, you see my photo of my bottle of conditioner. Bright, mango yellow, right?
Here’s the website version:
Hmmm, not so yellow! Is the product actually that color, or is it just in an opaque bottle? This pale color probably contributed to my thinking the scent would be less artificial, as well.
Onto the packaging: it comes in a rigid plastic bottle with a flip-top cap. It would actually do much better to come in a squeeze tube, because this stuff is kind of thick. The bottle does squeeze enough, but it’s unpleasant and more difficult than a softer tube would be. Also, it’s difficult to store upside-down (I keep it upside-down in a basket, propped up by my other bath and body products, heh); if you store it rightside-up, you have to shake it to get the product to plop into the cap so you can start squeezing it out.
The conditioner is remarkably lightweight on the hair, however, and I must say that I quite like it for my thick, straight hair. I’m currently suffering through round two of postpartum hair loss (a lot of my nice thick hair from being pregnant has, over the course of two months, fallen out in the shower!) so my hair is lacking a lot of body. This conditioner doesn’t help with that, but it also doesn’t weigh down my hair. It keeps my hair smooth, kind of shiny, and pretty static-free. I really like that it rinses quite clean, yet still tames my hair.
I’m curious to see how it works in the winter, when the air is dry and my hair becomes staticky, but for now, I like this conditioner and would consider repurchasing it. I don’t really have a “holy grail” conditioner so I’m more tempted to try out something new, but I wouldn’t be unhappy with another bottle of this to use up. I’m probably more likely to try out its companion Banana Shampoo.
The ingredients are:
Aqua/Water/Eau (Solvent/Diluent), Musa Paradisica Fruit/Musa Paradisica (Banana) Fruit (Emollient/Lubricant), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Cetrimonium Chloride (Hair Conditioning Agent), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Hydroxyethylcellulose (Stabiliser/Thickener), Lecithin (Stabiliser/Emulsifier), Mel/Honey/Miel (Natural Additive), Panthenol (Hair Conditioning Agent), Propylene Glycol (Humectant), Parfum/Fragrance (Fragrance), Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), Ascorbic Acid (Antioxidant), Citric Acid (pH Adjuster), Sodium Chloride (Viscosity Modifier), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), CI 15985/Yellow 6 (Colorant), CI 19140/Yellow 5 (Colour).
The Body Shop Banana Conditioner is 8.4 fl oz / 250 mL and retails for US$8 / CA$10 / £5. The formula is vegetarian and contains community fair trade and non-GMO ingredients. The Body Shop is a cruelty-free company.
The Body Shop was founded in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick. It is headquartered in Littlehampton, England. In 2006, the company was acquired by L’Oréal.