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Not long ago, I saw a meme regarding men’s and women’s shampoo. The woman in the meme was looking at shampoo for dried and damaged hair. The man in the meme was looking at 6-in-1 shampoo for hair, face, body, carpet, car, and dishes.
It’s obviously a bit of an exaggeration, but it does seem like there are two different schools of thought when it comes to shower hygiene products. Some products, which are frequently marketed to women, are highly specialized. A single shopper might have shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, to say nothing of whatever other things (lotions, detanglers, other hair or skin care products) might happen later.
Other products, which are frequently marketed to men, are advertised as all-in-one solutions. One of the classic examples is Pert Plus, which was introduced in the 1980s as a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner combination. In recent years, I’ve seen more of this combination, but I’ve also seen a growth in 3-in-1 combinations that claim to do shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
Trader Joe’s Formula No. 3 is an everyday buy at the grocer. At the time of this post, it costs $7.99 for a 32-ounce bottle, which comes out to about 25 cents an ounce. That’s on the lower end of prices for 3-in-1 shower products that I’ve seen online.
Formula No. 3 — which declares “all for one” and “one for all” on the front — claims to be a combination shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. “This unique and versatile product,” it states on one side, “was created for deep cleaning while maintaining a soft, hydrated feel for your hair and your body. It has a fresh scent with notes of bergamot, lemon, sage, clary, ginger, and jasmine. It was designed for the whole family — pH balanced, color safe, hypoallergenic, and no harsh chemicals.”
The bottle comes with a simple hand pump on top. It’s pretty easy to open, and it’s just as easy to use. Just pump the desired amount into your hand.
The liquid that comes out is clear, with a thick enough consistency that it doesn’t go running out of your hand. The best way I can describe the smell is like going into a gift shop at a campground. It has a distinct, clean, outdoorsy scent; as someone who has done his share of tent camping, this shampoo evokes memories, something I could hardly say about most of my body care products.
I would say that, for me, it works. It works fine as a shampoo, good enough as a conditioner, and well as a body wash. It produces a terrific lather, so much so that I’ve discovered I don’t need a full pump for my hair (which is short but thick) or my body. A little bit of this seems to go a long way.
Is it salon quality? I’m probably not the person to be the judge of that. But I can say this: my hair and body feel clean after I use this. My hair feels like it should, and my body doesn’t have any film or residue.
While I had my uncertainties about whether a 3-in-1 could do the job it said it could do, I’m pleased to say that I’ve had good experiences with Trader Joe’s Formula No. 3. It’s easy to use, builds up a great lather, does what it claims to do, and smells good in the process. If you’re looking to experiment with a multipurpose solution for the shower, this is well worth a look.