A Rose Scented Conditioner By Any Other Name…

Guys, if you’re looking for something nice and Consumeristy to do for your gal for Valentines, here’s some inspiration. Benjamin Stein blogs about how his wife was in love with, besides him, Clairol’s Herbal Essences with Rose Hips and Jojoba conditioner. Then the line was discontinued. She was crushed. So he concocted a plan. He bought up all the overstock of the conditioner he can get from eBay and stashed it away, 38 bottles worth…

Then, two weeks before she gave birth to their new child, he gave her one wrapped bottle of the conditioner. He made a big deal about how he scoured the internet for it and this was the only one he could find. She was truly touched and began using the conditioner.

Then, every morning, he refilled it with a bit from one of the backup bottles. He kept waiting in eager anticipation for her to remark on the amazing “infinite” bottle.

Then 9 weeks after he gave her the bottle, she yells out, “Ben, I have to tell you the CRAZIEST thing about my conditioner!” This was it, he thought, she’s finally caught on! Mmm, not exactly…

For the rest of the story, one of the most beautiful consumer product based love stories ever told, check out Ben’s blog.

A Rose Scented Conditioner By Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet [Benjaminste.in] (Thanks to Richard!)


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  1. theblackdog says:

    A very touching story, did not quite expect the ending that occurred.

    The last line is the funniest:

    I still got most of the Good Husband Points that I was due (which I subsequently spent by taking our newborn to the sports bar).

    I wonder how many Good Husband points it costs.

  2. CaughtLooking says:

    The guy needs a new wife if she can exclaim that finding a new Clairol brand with the same scent “is the happiest day of my life”.

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      Hey, if they would start selling Blue Bell ice cream (banana split, specifically) locally, then that would arguably be the best day in my life. My three kids would understand. ;)

      • lotussix says:

        oh man. they sell that here in two places. cheeseburger in paradise (hate going there) and also the russell stover’s candy shop. in the summer i’m in there pretty often getting ice cream.

  3. The cake is a lie! says:

    Clever clever… That is very thoughtful. You know, they say it is the thought that counts. The fact he went on for as long as he did says a lot for the thoughts behind this. I’m not sure taking the newborn to the sports bar necessarily lost him any points either since you gotta teach them while they are young. Now, if he had taken the kid to Hooters, that would have been another story…

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    That’s really clever of him to do that, and quite thoughtful.

    Am I the only girl who picks conditioner based on how well it works and not how it smells? I mean, I wouldn’t use conditioner if it worked really well but smelled like garbage, but I don’t get the idea behind being really, really excited for a new line of conditioner…because it smells the same…I hope it actually works well as a conditioner.

    • nbs2 says:

      The missus was really scent sensitive when she was pregnant with the second – to the point that it was either throw up or not wash her hair (which meant washing hair about once every 7-10 days). She finally found one that was “fragrance free.” but it turned out that it was free of added fragrances and still smelled. And by smelled, it smelled like garbage. It’s still mostly unused and in our guest bathroom.

      She eventually found one that was fragrance neutral. It wasn’t as effective as what she normally uses, but it was good enough and didn’t make her puke.

      That’s the only example I can think of.

    • lilyHaze says:

      When I was a teenager, a male friend commented on the smell of that shampoo/conditioner. As someone who does’t get very many superficial comments, it stayed with me. It’s a pretty magical scent. I haven’t used it in a long time (my hair needs changed).

      There are people who can use a variety of products; perhaps she’s one of them. If I had easy-to-maintain hair, I would definitely pick scent as a preference.

    • falnfenix says:

      nah…i go by preferred brand, then by scent. if i can’t stand the scent, though, i’ll pitch the stuff in favor of something that smells more appealing.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i have really hard to manage hair and frankly i don’t care what my conditioner smells like as long as i can keep getting one that works. for the last twenty years i’ve been repeatedly finding a product that makes my hair not frizzy or poufy and then it gets discontinued within a year. i have a conditioner shelf in my closet because when i find one that works, as soon as it’s discontinued i head to big lots and buy everything they have [at a huge discount of course] which usually lasts me about a year.
      once upon a time i had the perfect conditioner for almost three years, then it was discontinued. imagine my delight to see it come back a year later… reformulated and doesn’t work for me at all.
      actually the on i really fell in love with was one i bought in europe on vacation [so i wouldn’t have to deal with the 3oz rule] and it was the european version of the american one i’d been using. it was actually even more effective at detangling/defrizzing and it smelled good.
      right when i was considering trying to import it the whole product line was killed off because they got some fancy hair designer’s name to use.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        The best conditioner I’ve ever used cost $8 a bottle, which was crazy, and I rationed it like crazy. It was fantastic, though. My hair has gotten a lot easier to manage so I don’t really need that conditioner anymore, but when I did need it, $8 was a hefty price to pay.

    • aloria says:

      I pay $25 for my conditioner. I could care less what it smells like; it’s the only thing that doesn’t make my hair look like I have a white girl fro.

    • Jubes says:

      Scent is a huge factor for me, not because it smells good, but because it’s too strong. I’m really picky about shampoos and conditioners. I don’t use any other products because they all are so heavily scented it hurts my brain. Having good hair but a massive headache is not a good trade off imo! I found a really good salon product that is colour-safe and volumizing, but at $8 each for half the size of a pharmacy set it hurts my wallet :(

    • I wumbo. You wumbo. He- she- me... wumbo. Wumbo; Wumboing; We'll have thee wumbo; Wumborama; Wumbology; the study of Wumbo. says:

      Actually, the stuff that smells the worst usually has lots of chemicals (which my hair hates). I stick to products with more natural ingredients (essential oils and whatnot), so they tend to smell better. Best of both worlds!

    • kmw2 says:

      I’ve used the same shampoo and conditioner since I was 8 or so (nature’s gate everyday herbal shampoo). I continue to use it because it works, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say the scent is part of my self-concept.

    • ouijabored says:

      No, I too pick conditioner on how it works – but I must admit, when I’m trying something new, smell is a big factor.

    • altfolk says:

      My hair gets used to a conditioner very quickly, so I use a different conditioner every time I buy a bottle. I’ve actually got 3 in my shower right now that I rotate…

  5. ArcanaJ says:

    That’s kind of adorable.

  6. nybiker says:

    Sorta reminds me of “50 First Dates.” On the other hand, at least he wasn’t trying to “Gaslight” her.

    • ubermex says:

      You don’t really need to put quotes around gaslight, given that it’s 100 years old, it can be considered a plain old verb now.

      • ubermex says:

        70, sorry

      • nybiker says:

        You would think that, but I still run into people who have no idea about the movie.
        When someone asks me if an empty seat is taken, I say yes, it’s Claude Rains’ seat. Some laugh, some have no idea. I guess it all depends on whether or not one has watched much classic movies.

  7. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Yay, as a class 1/2 hoarder, I can easily do this. Now the getting an SO is where I have the problem.

  8. ash says:

    I think it’s interesting that Herbal Essences decided to re-do their entire brand to attract a younger line BUT they got rid of the classic fragrances. IME, that’s what everyone knew about the brand–the scent.

    • aloria says:

      The new fragrances are horrible, IMO. I get physically nauseated when trying to use their stuff– it’s all so cloying and artificial. If they were super amazing products, I’d stick to them, but they’re the same overdrying, coat your hair with waxes and dimethicone, cheap-ass products as Pantene and Garnier and pretty much everything else you’ll find in a drugstore.

      • islandgirl says:

        I actually really like their new ‘Long Term Relationship’ shampoo and condition. My hair splits really easily and since I started using this shampoo and conditioner 3 months ago, I haven’t noticed any split ends. Once a month, I deep-condition with the conditioner, and my hair looks the healthiest it’s ever looked. I’ve started hoarding it.

  9. ash says:

    The other question is…what’s the other brand that has the same scent?

  10. RickScarf says:

    So what was his brilliant gameplan when he went through all 38 bottles and she had become accustomed to magic conditioner???

  11. Hi_Hello says:


  12. Jubes says:

    This is so sweet! I would appreciate a guy doing something like this over a flashy present any day.

  13. Rathina says:

    hmmmm now if only they would replace the old herbal essences spray in hair conditioner they used to make. I used that for 10+ years, only to have it be discontinued, but I had no way of knowing it and wasn’t going to pay the $12 a bottle people wanted on ebay. Never did find a replacement for it…..so sad….you would think a company would put some sort of labeling on a product if they intended to discontinue it so you knew well in advanced.

    • islandgirl says:

      I know what you mean! I used a water-based Maybelline foundation for years, and it worked wonders on my skin. Suddenly, last year, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I had to actually call the company to find out it has been discontinued. Now I use Neutrogena’s oil-free foundation, but it’s just not the same.

  14. Arcaeris says:

    The whole time I’m reading this blog, I’m thinking it’s Ben Stein from like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and I’ve got the voice going in my head and everything. Turns out it’s some other dude.

    Cute story anyway.

  15. Thyme for an edit button says:


  16. Vanilla5 says:

    As a chronic lover of products that have been discontinued – and someone with curly/wavy multi-racial hair, I can definitely attest to the joy of re-discovering that a loved product has returned. It doesn’t happen to me often, but I totally get it. I have stood in an aisle, walked up and down thinking I overlooked what I was looking for, and then audibly said, “Seriously?? AGAIN???”

    Now if Herbal Essences would bring their body washes back. I loved those.

  17. TheRealTavie says:

    FINALLY, a “discontinued hair products” thread!

    First, to keep it on-topic: this is a perfect Consumerist Valentine story. Yay, husband, for cleverness and romantic-osity-ness.

    Now: DOVE WEIGHTLESS HAIR GEL. Why did they stop making this? It was the best hair gel I’ve ever used. It kept my stupid ponytail from looking like a half-‘fro on top, it didn’t dry hard or sticky and I didn’t have to wash it out of my hair every night (VERY IMPORTANT when your hair is 3 feet long and your scalp only needs shampooing twice a week. If I washed it daily, it would always be wet.)

    No other “clean” gel I’ve found has accomplished this. Why I didn’t stock up like mad when it started to disappear from shelves, I don’t know. Not even on eBay anymore. So disappointing.

    • TheRealTavie says:

      Oh, yeah, and I could use it on dry hair. Man, that was one awesome gel. Dammit, Dove. Damn you. Bring it back.