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Hair Styling Product Review: ABBA Hair Care Products

Searching For Natural Hair Care Products

After years of being addicted to the Aromatherapy and the herbs and flowers in the Aveda hair care products, I was anxious to try the ABBA product line. Not only does ABBA advertise that they are a 100% vegan company, but their products have "pure & natural hair care" as part of the Abba label.

I discovered the complete line of the ABBA products at my favorite Dallas hair salon and hair care products store. The Beauty Store has two locations close to my home and I have found some great buys there over the past 6 months.

When I looked at all the different Abba products on the shelves I was not sure which products would be best for my thick, wavy, highlighted, slightly dry hair. Abba has a complete line of products that cleanse, restore, style and finish. I asked one of the Beauty Store salon stylists to recommend the best ABBA products for my hair.

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Selecting The Best ABBA Shampoo For My Hair

After checking out my hair, she recommended that I start with ABBA's Complete shampoo and finish up with the Recoup conditioner and hair re-builder. We discussed whether I should use the ABBA Botanical High Volumtherapy for Fuller, Thicker, Shinier Hair or the Creme Moist for fragile hair. After some discussion, the ABBA Complete shampoo seemed like the best match for my hair.

I purchased 8 ounces of ABBA "Complete" Shampoo for $4.75 plus tax. The bottle had a special offer of a $1.00 off of my next refill on the Complete, if I returned the empty bottle to the Beauty Store shop where I purchased it. 8 ounces of Aveda Shampure is $9.00 plus tax. The Aveda Shampure is a lot more expensive than the ABBA.

Selecting The Best ABBA Conditioner

I also purchased 5.5 ounces of the ABBA Recoup Conditioner for $10.45 plus tax. I did note that 16 ounces of Aveda Cherry/Almond Bark reconstructive hair conditioner costs $30.19 plus tax for 16 ounces. At this pricing, the Aveda Cherry/Almond Bark is a small amount cheaper than the ABBA.

I considered testing the ABBA Botz which is a leave in styling creme. It advertises that it adds volume, texture and control, as well as vitamins A and E. ABBA advertise that Botz contains a potent sunscreen for color-treated hair. I did not see the UVA or UVB listing on the bottle. Also, Beauty Store stylist recommended I try the shampoo and conditioner first before I invested a lot in the rest of the ABBA line.

This turned out to be an excellent suggestion considering the results I had with the ABBA products that I purchased.

Hair Product Test Methodology

To be as fair as possible in my testing, I followed all of my standard daily hair care shampoo procedures. These procedures included the following steps:

  1. Brushed and detangled my hair before washing my hair.
  2. Washed my hair in the shower.
  3. Used lukewarm water
  4. Applied shampoo to the palms of my hands before I then applied to the roots of my hair.
  5. Worked up a lather with the shampoo and let the suds run down my hair to the ends where I carefully patted the shampoo suds into my hair.
  6. Rinsed completely, carefully squeezed as much excessive water as possible from my ends and then applied the Recoup by applying to the ends and the middle of my hair but not applying any conditioner to the very top root area.
  7. Let the Recoup conditioner remain on my hair for 5 minutes. Note: The Abba bottle recommends a minimum of 2.
  8. Rinsed the Recoup out completely and did a cool/cold water final rinse.
  9. Towel blotted my hair.
  10. Picked out any tangles.
  11. Wrapped hair in wet bun and let air dry for 3 hours.
  12. Unwrapped hair to fall loosely.

My Test Results

Complete Shampoo

ABBA advertises directly on the Complete Shampoo bottle that it is "Your all-purpose, one-step shampoo". The Complete Shampoo bottle states that "advanced botanical and coconut based formula provides gentle, but thorough cleansing of your hair and scalp. Acid balanced 5.0 pH formulation lathers abundantly, rinses out quickly. Maintains healthy condition."

The shampoo is a clear shampoo which does, as advertised, provide a major foam. I was actually concerned that too much foam would be difficult to completely rinse out.

I did not like the aroma of the shampoo and found it overpowering. The intense and heavy aroma of the Complete reminded me of a favorite auntie who always wore way too much lavender perfume. Anyone with a sensitive nose may have a hard time handling the heavy aroma.

The foam, contrary to ABBA's bottle, did not rinse out quickly. I had to rinse more than normal to remove all the suds. My hair felt tacky even after several rinses.

Recoup Conditioner

The Recoup had a white grainy appearance and had a different aroma than the Complete. I also found the Recoup aroma to be too strong and slightly overpowering. I was careful to set an egg timer to make sure that I left the Abba conditioner on for a full 5 minutes.

After I towel blotted my hair dry, I found it more tangled than after my normal Aveda regime. It took me about 10 extra minutes to pick out the tangles from my hair and wrap it in a bun on top of my head. I did not apply any setting gels, cremes or other hair products of any type.

Normally my hair will air dry in a maximum of three hours. The first day with the ABBA my hair never did seem to completely dry. After 5 hours, I took the hair down and picked it out and it still felt damp. It also felt slightly sticky or gummy and I was aware that the strong aroma of the shampoo was lingering in my hair. My hair felt dry and did not have its normal shine and bounce.

I was disappointed with the first day's results of ABBA but decided to give it a fair trial and use the product for at least 7 days to determine if the product had a cumulative effect. I discovered that ABBA does have a cumulative effect. In my case my hair became more dry and unmanageable as the week unfolded. Each day my hair felt worse than the day before. By day #5 I started receiving comments about how dry my hair looked. By day #7 I dreaded washing my hair and vowed that I was finished with the ABBA test.

Sadly, it took about 3 days of Aveda Shampure and Deep Conditioner, to restore my hair to its normal softness, shine and body. Although the ABBA Recoup conditioner is supposed to be composed of a unique protein and botanical hair re-builder, it actually seemed to have no noticeable positive impact on my hair. The Recoup is advertised as a conditioning product designed for chemically treated hair. Ironically, my highlighted hair did not seem to realize any benefits from this product designed for my highlighted hair.

When I reviewed the product ingredients listed on the bottle (see ABBA Recoup Ingredients) I noticed the inclusion of two different silicone related ingredients (Cyclomethicone & Dimethiconol). These "cone" ingredients are listed 3rd and 4th on the total product list which implies a high concentration of the total product formula.

The listing of these "cone" ingredients so high in the overall list makes me wonder about ABBA's claim to be a "pure and natural" product. In my limited opinion the ABBA seemed a lot less "pure and natural" than Aveda's products.

ABBA Complete Shampoo Ingredients

Botanicals (Cherry Bark, Lavender, Bergamot, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate & Cocamidoprophyl Betaine & Lauramide DEA (Coconut), Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Human Hair Keratin (150mw)Soy (1000mw), Wheat (2000mw) Proteins, Glycol Stearate, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA (Chelator), Methyl & Propyl Parabens (Food Grade Preservatives), ABBA's Aromatherapy Fragrance. 100% Vegan, No Animal Testing.

ABBA Recoup Maximum Reconstructor Ingredients

Botanicals (Lavender, Chamomile, Mint, Juniper), Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Plant), Cetearyl Alcohol (Moisturizer), Cyclomethicone & Dimethiconol (Sand), Stearalkonium Chloride & Glyceryl Stearate & PEG-100 Stearate (Plant) Polyquaternium-10, Human Hair Keratin (150mw), Soy (1000mw), Wheat (2000mw), Proteins, Cetrimonium Chloride (Plant) Tetrasodium EDTA, Methyl & Propyl Parabens (Food Grade Preservatives), Bois de Rose, ABBA's Aromatherapy Fragrance. 100% Vegan, No Animal Testing.


After seven straight days of testing, the combination of the ABBA Complete Shampoo and Recoup Conditioner left my hair tangled, dry, sticky and with a strong annoying lingering aroma. The ABBA Recoup Conditioner did not appear to add strength, body, shine or softness. While the ABBA Complete Shampoo is less expensive than Aveda, the Recoup conditioner is slightly more expensive that the Aveda Cherry Almond Bark conditioner.

It is possible that some hair types and textures may thrive with the ABBA Complete and Recoup. My highlighted, slightly dry, naturally thick and wavy long hair did not fare will the products tested.

ABBA hair care products are made in the USA in California. I was unable to locate an ABBA web site.

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Original Publication Date: 1999 - Revised Publication Date: 10/19/10

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