Rating: Not great


  • Comes in large size, minimising packaging
  • Palm oil sources due to be certified in 2019
  • Some ingredients have low aquatic toxicity


TRESemme was founded in 1948, and grew with the aim of providing women with professional-quality hair at home. In 2010, the brand was acquired by Unilever.

In reference to the professional-quality aims of TRESemme, their Moisture Rich Conditioner comes in salon-sized 900 mL bottles. This is good, because being able to buy in bulk can minimise the amount of packaging that needs to be used. The plastic that is used to package the product is also relatively easy to recycle in most kerbside programs.

Some of the main ingredients in this product can be derived from palm oil. Unilever aims to use 100% RSPO certified palm oil by 2019, up from 19% in 2015. Because it is such a large company, this is a significant commitment. Palm oil sources that are certified by the RSPO have a lower environmental impact during production.

The ingredients that could be derived from palm oil are readily biodegradable and have low aquatic toxicity. However, many of the other ingredients are very toxic to aquatic life. Some, like cetrimonium chloride, are readily biodegradable, so a large amount of this chemical should break down during waste water treatment. This will limit the amount of this chemical that is released to the environment. But others are not readily biodegradable – or there is insufficient information to reliably say whether they are readily biodegradable or not. For these chemicals, a large amount could be released to the environment where it could cause harm.

This product also contains two types of silicones. Based on the information that is available for these chemicals, it looks like they will not readily biodegrade. There is limited data about their toxicity to aquatic life, but it is likely to be low.

The preservatives, in particular, are not great. This product contains disodium EDTA, which is a common pollutant in waterways where it can increase exposure to heavy metals and interfere with normal nutrient cycles. It also contains methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone. Both of these chemicals are not readily biodegradable and very toxic to aquatic life, so they will last in the environment and could cause harm.

Another preservative is DMDM hydantoin. This chemical works as a preservative because it breaks down to release another chemical; formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is toxic to aquatic life but is readily biodegradable. The DMDM hydantoin should break down pretty quickly once it goes into waste water, so most of the formaldehyde should be degraded during waste water treatment. Again, though, some will probably get through and cause toxic effects in the environment.

Finally, the fragrances in this product are just listed as “fragrance“. This could be anything, potentially including chemicals of high concern.

But does it work?

Considering how well a product works is a big factor in determining whether a product is a good one or not. A product that does not work is a waste.

Luckily, most users seem to like this product. For more reviews, check out Influenster, Allure and Beauty Bulletin.

Image credit: ovnblog

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