P&G Clairol Coupon Controversy



I tried to stay away from addressing this but so many emails have come in I feel I have to post something in order to avoid an overflowing inbox and responding to everyone individually.

Proctor & Gamble released a $5 off 2 Clairol Products in the P&G 7/7 insert.  Based on the emails I have gotten from MSM readers, this coupon is being paired with Herbal Essences Shampoo, Conditioner or Stylers to make free items in matchups and deal scenarios around Coupon World.

I thought & thought about this and searched my conscious wondering “Is this an appropriate use of the coupon?”  My take: It’s not.

First- let’s look at what Clairol lists as their products on their official website: all of their products are hair colors and dyes. Not a single Herbal Essences shampoo or conditioner.

Secondly- let’s check out their Facebook page.  I’m sure it’s full of questions about this coupon.  Renee of Clairol was running their Facebook Page yesterday and this is what she said, “The intent is that it would be good on only Clairol hair color.”   She answers another question with “This coupon is good on only Clairol hair color. Totally understand the question as Herbal Essences is Clairol, however Herbal Essences hair care products run their own coupons. You can use it on Herbal Essences hair color though. ^Renee”

Finally- I asked myself- when I say “Clairol” do I think about Herbal Essences?  Well, NOW I do…but before this controversy- Nope.  I thought about hair color.  Searching out a “loop hole” in order to use a coupon isn’t something I think is a good idea.  Taking advantage of a manufacturer is a good way to see those coupons drop in value or disappear completely. We’ve already seen our 50¢ Dawn Dish coupons drop to 25¢ or disappear.  We’ve seen our Tide Coupons drop drastically in value (many thanks to the controversy over the trial/travel packs- which aren’t even MADE or Distributed by P&G- but that’s another story).

Add it all up: The coupon shouldn’t be used on Herbal Essence Hair Products.

When a company has a coupon issued they have a specific budget set aside for that product.  So Clairol issues a high value coupon for hair dye- they expect to see an increase in hair dye sales and make adjustments in manufacturing, etc. for that.  Instead P&G sees thousands and thousands of bottles of Herbal Essences sold and Clairol sees no sales of hair dye.  That can really mess up their accounting, manufacturing, marketing, sales…..

Also, if a store does accept this coupon for Herbal Essences (which actually puts out its own coupons) the store might not be reimbursed.  Then we have a mad manufacturer AND a mad store.  Things could get nasty for us couponers!

We know that the coupon is intended to be used on Hair Dye and that Herbal Essences is not considered a Clairol Product by the company that makes it.

*I didn’t have any bottles of Herbal Essences in my stockpile but apparently the bottles say “Clairol” in the logo.  To me, adding up what the website says, their Facebook says and a little common sense about what brand of products the manufacturer intends the coupon for- I stand by my stance on this coupon.

Final Say: We each have to look at our own ethics (and not just couponing ethics) and decide what we think is the appropriate use of this coupon.  Clairol has responded ” It was our intent that the coupon be good for $5 off of any 2 Clairol hair color products. Herbal Essences is marketed separately under the Herbal Essences brand name, and the coupon for the shampoo & conditioner was found on the page following our Clairol coupon. However, we understand that the wording of the coupon does not clarify hair color and want to reassure you that we fully take responsibility and will honor the redemptions that have come through. However, we hope that our original intent of offering $5 off of any 2 Clairol hair color products is recognized, so that we can continue to provide value offers in the future.”

To me- that is clear enough.  The coupon isn’t truly valid on Herbal Essences.  To me it’s not a grey area – it’s cut and dry.  I won’t be using this coupon for Herbal Essences matchups nor using it in deal scenarios.  I like my P&G coupons and I hope you do too!  It makes me sad that people are demanding P&G “allow” this coupon to be used on a product it wasn’t for so they can have a few bottles of free or cheap shampoo.  We can get that without trying to pressure a manufacturer or store.

What do you think?


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  1. nicole says

    I agree. I think this entire situation has gotten out of control. Once the manufacturer made it clear that the intent was for it to be used on hair dyes, that should have assured consumers that they can not use on on anything but hair dye. I think the bigger issue is a persons heart. You have to decide for yourself what is the right thing to do. At the end of the day, you have to live with your decision and will be held accountable for your actions. As for me, I feel the right thing to do is not use it on anything but hair dyes. I feel comfortable with that decision based on my beliefs. Integrity first!

  2. Felicia says

    Totally AGREE!! Some people …. uggghhhh! These are the ones that make “HONEST” couponers have such a hard time at stores!!

  3. Michelle says

    Agree. I would never think of Herbal Essence shampoo for this coupon. IMO its clear thats not what the coupon is intended for. Its for hair color. Now, I love a deal as much as the next person. But lets not get crazy here.

  4. Cammi says

    Totally agree. We can get free name brand shampoo without having to find loopholes. I do my couponing ethically, and still come out on top, and it saddens me when other’s do not.

  5. Angela says

    The first thing I thought off when I saw this coupon was “hair dye”. We can agree that the manufacturer made a mistake in the wording, but that should not be used as an excuse to abuse this coupon in the way that it has. When the value of the coupons are reduced then people should not act all surprised. I like a good bargain but I also want to do what it is ethically correct.

  6. Leen says

    it is clearly their fault. they should be more careful next time because couponers go by the wordings not by the pictures but yes I agree I’m not going to use this on Herbal Essences.

  7. Denise says

    I agree with you. Herbal Essence is not a product I use any way so it was not something for me to jump on. Those using the coupon incorrectly are the same ones that get mad/upset when stores and manufacturer’s change policies or reduce coupon amounts. Plain and simple–to use it incorrectly is FRAUD. Companies are in business to make money and Clairol’s budget is out the window.

  8. stephanie anderson says

    I was one of the people that ran to use this coupon. Until I saw this on the website, I didn’t even know that herbal essence was a Clairol product. I didn’t realize until now that this particular coupon had been intended for hair color, so I didn’t see anything wrong with using the coupon. Now I know there is an issues and it was not the original intention of the company to have this coupon used on anything other than hair color. I won’t continue to use my coupons, but don’t think I should be chastised for using it, when I didn’t realize it was an issue. I’m glad to have this website. I love all of the information available.

    • Nikki says

      I agree that you should use it the way it was intended, on hair color. However, there was a reply from the Clairol representative on FB that has since been edited but it said that it would be up to the store and you should “give it a try”. I’m not saying that using it for things other than what’s it is intended for is right but obviously there was a lot of confusion not only with consumers but with the company itself.

      • nicole says

        i saw that comment that you were referring to. The beginning of the explanation stated that the intent was to be used on hair dye only. Some may have questioned whether they can use it on shampoo/conditioner since it was also mentioned to “give it a try” in the comment. However, I think that being as such that you still had to question the usage and was unsure, should lead to not use the coupon for shampoo, or at least wait for further guidance from Clairol.

  9. Ashley Rombs says

    I completely agree with you and I’m glad to see a coupon blogger use ethics like this. I feel too many look for loopholes and it makes me uncomfortable. Thanks for your post.

  10. lisa says

    clairol is hair coloring ….and the picture on the coupon shows boxes of haircolring …to use it for anything other than its intent is wrong and again it will devalue any future p/g coupons that will be released ..I have. Almost 40 bottles of free shampoo ..so I will not use this coupon ..

  11. Tracey says

    I will definitely use this coupon BUT just for Clariol hair color. Probably at Dollar General

  12. Lydia says

    “You can use it on Herbal Essences hair color though” – I find this statement odd if Herbal Essence puts out its own coupons. Why is it okay for the hair color, but not the shampoo/conditioner? This is a bit contradictory IMHO.

  13. Missy says

    This is another example of people taking advantage of a situation. We all know what this coupon was intended for, especially since a coupon specifically for Herbal Essence was on the next page of the insert, so obviously it was not intended to be used on HE. I hate to be the coupon police, but when people abuse coupons it makes it harder for everyone. Just like using the $1 Gain detergent coupon (with a pic of laundry detergent) on Gain dish soap and claiming it is the same thing. Let’s stay ethical…the deals will continue to come to use AND we can coupon the right way.

  14. PENNY says


  15. Couponer says

    I completely understand what you are saying about the intent of the coupon. However, when a store advertises the wrong price of something, don’t you expect it at the price you were initially told? Clairol made a mistake, and they are going to honor their mistake, using them is not fraud like some are saying.

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