"The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"

- Psalms 27 : 1

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Focus On...The Good Conditioner


I remember, as a newly natural, how one of my biggest tasks was actually finding the products that worked! This is not only an experience only a few naturals go through, but we all basically go through that phase. Some are lucky and can still use some of their old products, while others easily finds what works. Well, neither was the case for me. I could NOT use any of my old products because they had nothing good to offer my hair. Most of them were filled with cheap and shocking ingredients (and were so over prized for nothing). Secondly, nothing I tried really worked out. I tried a few products I'd heard so many good reviews about, hoping fervently they would work out fine for me but it wasn't the case. I only really finally got satisfaction from my handmade products but I have to admit, the hardest product I was able to find, that worked just for me, was my conditioner. Conditioners are a very important part of a natural's hair regimen and is one product I doubt any natural can do without.
Now conditioners come in many form, shapes, sizes and compositions but it's not really about who made  the conditioner, that is, it's mark (whether it be Herbal Essences, Tresemm√© etc.), what really matters is what it does.

To look more into this, let us first define what a good conditioner is and by doing this, we would also be marking out the "bad ones" we need to avoid.

According to my experience, a good conditioner, especially when it concerns a natural, should :

1. have detangling properties : this is one of the main reasons conditioners are so important to us natural divas. A conditioner without detangling abilities is useless and should not be called so.

2. have great slip : now I know there are some conditioners out there that detangle okay and get the rest done but that don't have great slip but for me, a good enough conditioner should have great slip. A conditioner with great slip has a higher capability of detangling the hair and with such an ability, the detangling process is made much easier. Such a conditioner would also be easily spread over the hair. As naturals with kinky hair, it is important to use products with good spreadability. Another attribute of such a conditioner would be more protection. I do not know if you've noticed but a conditioner with great slip reduces breakage while you detangle by coating your hair and protecting the amino acid polymers.

3. be moisturizing : this is an important attribute of a conditioner. A good conditioner has to be moisturizing or else, there's no point to it. It's true that not all conditioners have the same degree of moisture, but I believe that for us kinky girls, moisture is very, very important! Any conditioner we use must deliver when it comes to moisture because moisture is very important to our naturally dry hair and all the washing process can be drying so finishing it up with a moisture fix is just the right thing. Not only does the conditioner has to be moisturizing but it has to hep retain moisture too. Remember, the indication to a moisturizing conditioner, is one that makes your hair silly soft.

4. have strengthening properties : Any good conditioner should have strengthening properties. When I say strengthening properties, I mean, a conditioner that strengthens the hair strand by coating it and keeping the amino polymers intact or restructuring the ones that have been damaged by friction, cold weather, and such.

So now that we know what a good conditioner is all about, here are the ingredients to look out for in a good conditioner  :

1. Cetearyl Alcohol : is a great alcohol that helps with detangling by giving great slip.

2. Behentrimonium Methosulfate : is a great emulsifier that has very good detangling properties and gives good slip. It also lowers the pH of it's products (thus helping to close the cuticles and retain moisture)

3. Oils : A good conditioner is composed of at least one oil with conditioning properties. Here is a list of great oils to have in a conditioner : Olive oil, Coconut oil, Avocado oil, Jojoba oil etc.
The list goes on and on and the more of these a conditioner contains, the better! Oils help retain moisture,  and keep our strands protected.

4. Water : A good conditioner is always water based. Water is our ultimate moisturizer and therefore it should be the base of any good conditioner for maximum moisturizing properties.

5. Essential oils : There are a long list of great essential oils that can be used in a conditioner. Essential oils help protect the hair, strengthen it and moisturize it depending on the essential oil. Here are a list of great essential oils : Rosemary EO, Sage EO, Ylang-Ylang EO, Lavender EO etc.

6. Plant extracts : these are also great and have great properties like essential oils. In fact, essential oils are more or less also considered as plant extracts because they all come from plants but they are other types of extracts that do not come in oil forms such as aloe vera gel/juice, marshmallow root extract, vanilla oil extract, etc.

Those are, according to me, the main ingredients that should make up a conditioner and anything else, should be put into consideration.

Now, when you go shopping for a conditioner, here are a few things you should learn to do automatically :

1. read the ingredients list. If you find a conditioner that contains at least most of the ingredients listed above, then you can consider it. Please note that the ingredients are written in order and water, should be the number one listed ingredient. Some Conditioners claim to have great ingredients such as oils and the like but these ingredients are at the very bottom of the list, such conditioners should not be taken seriously at all.

2. If the conditioner contains other ingredients, then please consider them. Some naturals use conditioners with silicones while others don't. Some do not mind having parabens in their conditioner and some do but whatever you do, please be sure to know the consequences. Silicones are added to conditioners for slip and a filmy kind of feel but they can cause silicone build-up if you do not clarify often and ultimately cause your hair to dry out by keeping moisture out. Parabens help prolong the shelf life of products but are believed to be toxic. If you are worried about shelf life, there are many great natural preservatives such as grapefruit seed extract. Other ingredients to be careful about are : short chain alcohols (deshydrogenases) such as isopropyl alcohol because they are volatile (easily evaporate) and as they evaporate they take away moisture from the hair.

3. If you are not sure what an ingredient is or what it does, then put down the conditioner. You do not want to buy it only to find out that ingredient you could not identify is not beneficial to your hair. This will only cost you money and of course time. Do your research first then buy.
If you want to do some research here is a great website.

That's all on the good conditioner! If you look well enough, you can easily find an affordable conditioner that has the traits of a "good conditioner". Never settle for mediocrity. If a conditioner is not doing all those things stated above, then forget it. Another thing you can do is compensate what one conditioner lacks with another. I don't really like this option because it will be time consuming to apply two conditioners each time you want to wash your hair and of course, there is the money factor.

Again, arm yourself and never settle for mediocre conditioners because on the long run, it's your hair that's going to suffer for it.

If you have any suggestions or experiences, do share! Please share your "good conditioners" with us! Thanks

Stay blessed and funky sisters!


  1. This is a great post Lady and very good research! Thanks for sharing, I know a lot of naturals that could use this info. ;)

  2. Thank you sis!! It's a pleasure!!


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