First Impressions: Zents Mandarin Balancing Shampoo and Water Hydrating Conditioner

Last week I was sent a lovely package from the brand Zents.  It included a collection of samples from their Eau de Toilette collection (ten scents in all) and a set of their Mandarin Balancing Shampoo and Water Hydrating Conditioner. While I will get to the perfumes, each in their turn, it is time to begin the shampoo and conditioner trial.

I know some of you may be familiar with my shampoo and conditioner process and others are just tuning in.  If you are new welcome, if you have been here before, welcome back. While a first test of a shampoo and conditioner can tell you if it is something you want to try or if it is definitely not for you, I typically find that often as I use the product sin my hair my opinion sometimes changes.  I’ve tried several shampoos that I adored on first use, but by the time I made it midway through the bottle I was ready to chuck it. I’ve tried a couple that didn’t thrill me at first, but by the end of the bottle I was sad to see the bottle emptied.

So I tend to do multiple posts about a shampoo and conditioner set as I work my way through the bottle.  That way I am actually fair to the product. The first of the posts is the First Impression post where I am just getting to know the products, the second is posted when I am about halfway through the bottle and the third will be at the end of the bottle when there is no more product.  Sometimes I reach the end sad at the empty, other times relieved.

So this is the first of three posts on the Zents Mandarin Balancing Shampoo and Water Hydrating Conditioner.

First off, I like the pump bottles.  I really like the way they dispense the product and I like that I can tell the levels of product.  If I like and routinely use a product, then I like to reorder it before it actually runs out and bottles like this let me do exactly that. It isn’t a major thing, but it is something that I like.

I have been a big fan of Zents Bath Truffles for a while now.  Mandarin is actually my favorite scent for those actually. The products in the line from shampoo to body wash and bath truffles are designed specifically for those who are sensitive to scent. 

Use code ZENTS15 for 15% off site-wide! Shop now!

While the owner and founder’s inspirational story can be found on the website, I’m not going to repeat it here, mostly because it is just very well written there.  I highly encourage you to read about the foundation of the brand.  There is one line that I have to quote because I really just loved it.

“We call our scents our “liquid memories” because they draw upon the brain’s powerful ability to connect scent to memory. With our scents we can relive our favorite moments.”

Zents

While I absolutely love scents, a lot of the time my sense of smell will help me determine whether or not I like a product.  Just recently I tested a perfume from Kierin NYC that I had a hard time actually describing because it smelled exactly like sitting in the sunroom with my mother when I was a child.  It was actually difficult for me to sit down and break that perfume into actual scent components.

While I do like scent, when it comes to a lot of hair products I often have some issues.  My hair is long, it is thick and it traps scents.  Sometimes it is an acivity scent,  If I am working in the kitchen and slow cooking items I will often carry that scent around with me.  Sometimes I like the scents of hair products, other items I don’t but whatever they are, they will usually stick with me for a while so I do judge shampoos and conditioners first on scent and then on how they work.  I know that sounds kind of strange but If I don’t like th scent I won’t use it no matter how good the product works.  I recently tested a shampoo and conditioner set like that.  The product worked well but the scent was not only strong and not to my liking, but it overpowered everything else.  I couldn’t wear perfume or even scented lotion because it clashed with the scent of my hair.

Now because I have used the Mandarin Bath Truffle I was prepared for the scent of the mandarin Shampoo.  I was wondering how different it would be.  The result is not different.  The scent is, as one would expect, orange. However it reminds me of the frozen pops my mom would make when we were kids.  Not the store bought kind but the kind where she just poured juice into reusable plastic pops and put it into the freezer.  We had a juicer when I was growing up and for frozen treats my mom would juice whatever fruit was in season. 

When it came to oranges, even frozen, you could smell the scent of orange.  It was blunted by the cold of the frozen pop, but you could still get a whiff of it.  That was the strength of the orange. When I dispensed it into my hand.  It was there, but not over powering.  When I applied it to my hair and began lathering, the scent was a little stronger, partially because it was closer to my nose and partially because of the steam in the air. I always find heat tends to intensify scents, at least to me.

When I rinsed my hair, the suds slipped off down the drain taking most of the orange scent with them. 

Then of course, came the conditioner.

The conditioner is not Mandarin scented, so it isn’t reinforcing the orange scent, which I liked. The scent of the conditioner is called Water.  I’ll admit, when the scent of water comes to mind it is a fifty/fifty shot if my brain goes to the beach or the mountains.  Part of me thinks of the ocean and the other part thinks of the cool green scent that always lingers around swift moving streams in the mountains where  I used to hike.  I read the description to see which I should expect.  The description of Water is…

WATER: Refreshing & Renewing: blue chamomile, coriander, lemon, mint, anise

Luxurious, color-safe WATER Conditioner nourishes all types of hair, delivering intensive moisture with 100% organic shea butter. Rich jojoba extract guards against sun damage and imparts manageability. Icelandic moss and Sunflower Oil fortify the hair and protect against breakage. WATER Conditioner leaves hair full, vibrant, and lustrous.

I’ll admit, I thought those scents would make it a bit strong as those are some pretty potent scent notes.  If you do a lot of baking, you know that those scents can easily dominate. They don’t. And it isn’t the massive scent bomb I feared. It is a light delicate fragrance.  The lemon and mint I can detect a little in the freshness that is leant to the floral that I am guessing is the blue chamomile.  It is lightly floral, with fresh notes and just a hint of spice. 

I’ll admit, I didn’t get the hind of spice until I washed it out.  And once the conditioner was in, I no longer had any hint of orange.   It is like the conditioner said, ‘thank you for coming’ and sent the scent on its way.  Not that the conditioner lingered for much longer.  Most of the scent dissipated when the conditioner rinsed out. By the time I stepped out of the shower, my hair just smelled clean.  I couldn’t detect anything but clean hair.  I got my babydoll to sniff and he asked if I was trying to trick him because there was nothing in my hair. 

As this was the first impressions of the shampoo and conditioner, I towel dried my hair and let it air dry naturally.  I put no additional products in it.  Since whenever I dry my hair I use a heat protectant spray, I didn’t use my hair dryer.  I also added no leave in conditioners and even skipped this week’s hair mask.

Don’t get me wrong, I will be using those items moving forward, but for the first impression, it was the Zents Mandarin Balancing Shampoo and Water Hydrating conditioner only. I also held off dying my hair (even though my new eSalon kit had just arrived) so that the products would stand alone. 

And wow, did it stand. 

When my hair was dry I ran my fingers through it to see how tangled things were likely to become. I had no tangles and my hair felt luxuriously soft. It felt light and not weighed down and I had fewer fly aways than usual.  In the photograph in this post, my hair is air dried and brushed through.  There is no styling as both the styling and styling products might skew the first thoughts.  I have to say I was very pleased with how my hair looked and felt with just a simple brush through after air drying.  As I make my way through the bottles I will do a dive into ingredients and discuss some of the ingredients that I think my hair is responding to as well as talking about how they continue to respond to the shampoo and conditioner.  There will of course be other products used so I’ll get to see how they interact with each other. But thus far in this first impression, I am absolutely thrilled with my hair. I can’t wait to see how this plays out as I work my way through the bottle.

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