Monday, August 10, 2009

Beauty Reflection: The "Unavailable" Product Blues

It happens to everyone now and again. Just when you finally found your holy grail product (lotion, lipstick, foundation, etc.) the manufacturer puts it into a mysterious backorder/unavailable status. Or worse yet, the company discontinues it altogether!

This past week I've been in a blue mood over the loss (or least the temporary unavailability) of one of my favorite hair care products, Kiehl's Leave-In Hair Conditioner. I've been using the product since early spring and it has been a lifesaver for my dry, curly hair. I've been applying a quarter size dollop directly into my soaking wet hair before I add my other styling products. It has been working its magic to give me shiny, frizz-free hair. I especially love that it is chalked full of healthy hair products like avocado oil, coconut oil, and panthenol -- all without any "cones."

I first became suspicious of its unavailability from recent chatter on the hair forum. Several members had posted that they couldn't find the product at their local Kiehl's stores. I didn't give it too much thought as I still saw it listed on their Web site. But on Thursday I realized that I was very low on product and needed to purchase another bottle. I was going to the mall so I went to the Kiehl's counter at my local Nordstrom and noticed it wasn't on the shelf. I asked the associate and she told me they had discontinued it, but were working on a new formulation that would be introduced sometime in the fall. I then proceeded to get its status on was still listed. However, when I tried to select a quantity to add to my shopping cart, I received the following message. "Temporarily Unavailable. Email me when this item becomes available."

While the company's message seems hopeful, I wonder what is really going on. Because curiosity always gets the best of me, I sent in a product inquiry through the site's customer service comment/suggestion/concern area. They promised to respond within 48 hours, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.

In the mean time, I started my quest for a new leave-in. First, I've decided to try a couple of drug store options. I've never really had much luck with drug store hair products, but I've decided to give it a shot. I'll keep you posted on my findings. If you have a product suggestion, please feel free to recommend your favorite leave-in.

Anyone else recently experienced the "unavailable" product blues? I'd love to hear your story in the comments section of my blog!

Editor's Update (August 11, 2009): The Leave-In Conditioner is officially discontinued according to Kiehl's. Here is the company's response to my email inquiry. "Regrettably the Leave-In Hair Conditioner has been discontinued. Unfortunately, once an item is no longer available, whether discontinued or because it was a promotional product, the only way to locate any remaining product is for you to check at your local Kiehl’s retail counters."

Editor's Update (July 27, 2011): Even though I wrote this post nearly 2 1/2 years ago, it is one of the most-viewed ones that I still get asked about. The good news is that I did find a replacement leave-in conditioner — John Masters Organics Citrus & Neroli Detangler. Read more about my new leave-in!


  1. Help! Have you found an alternative. I'm 33 and have been using this conditioner since i was in college. it's the only thing that works on my curly hair.

  2. I'm still searching for an alternative. I've recently colored my hair and changed my routine, so I've eliminated the leave-in for the past several weeks. Prior to this, I was trying out Eufora Hydration Leave-in Conditioner. It was working pretty well for me, but would like to test run it a bit longer before I give a formal review. I know several of the ladies on Makeup Alley were recommending Giovanni Direct Leave-in Conditioner as a good substitute. I've yet to try it out, but will add it to my list. If you have good results with either product, would love to get your feedback.

    Thanks. :)

  3. I've been using this product since 1999! I'm down to my last dollop and just now discovered it is discontinued. I guess I'll be saving $25 a month but my curls will never be the same!

  4. The Bumble and Bumble leave in takes the frizz out but it doesn't leave your hair soft and shiny the way that the Kiehls did. I hope that the reformulation is good. I am with the undertanding that there was an ingredient in the old leave in that was not available to Kiehls anymore.????

  5. There is a product by Joico that works well for curly hair and leaves hair soft and shiny. It is from their DAILY CARE line of products and is called "Daily Conditioner". It is a leave-in or rinse out conditioner. I have only used it as a leave-in. It used to be called "ALTima". Do not confuse it with Daily Care Balancing Conditioner, as it is not the same product. Good Luck!


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