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The Consumer Graveyard: Touch of Yogurt Shampoo


Another entry in the category of major companies’ CPG gaffes is Clairol’s “Touch of Yogurt” shampoo. This shampoo came out in 1979, following the unsuccessful 1974 “Look of Buttermilk” shampoo.

Clairol apparently resisted the temptation to continue with “Scent of Kefir” or “Sound of Sour Cream.”

Yogurt was a trendy new food at the time, and cultured dairy foods were seen as healthful. Natural ingredients in personal care products were extremely popular; women whipped up hair treatments at home with avocado and eggs and often found it messy and smelly. Shampoos that could recreate the effect without the mess had an advantage. Shampoos of the ’70s contained beer, lemon, herbs, honey, and fruit, so why not yogurt?

Probably because the name conjured up mess and smelliness. Soured milk in hair doesn’t have that much consumer appeal, as Clairol discovered — twice.

The takeaway: just because it’s trendy, that doesn’t mean it’ll work for your particular product. We wouldn’t want quinoa in our laundry detergent, either.

A new product gets tried out in the consumer’s mind before they take it off the shelf. You have to work with what’s already in people’s minds. A shampoo with “milk proteins” or “the freshness of dairy cream” might have fared better. In fact, there are currently successful shampoos with dairy ingredients. They just bring a different image to mind.