Conditioner Only Washing, Does it Really Work?

Jamila of ForTheFabulousandFrugal

by Jenell of KinkyCurlyCoilyMe


If you have been natural for longer then 1 week, I am sure... no I am absolutely certain that you have heard someone say "Co-wash". If you were clueless about the whole natural thing like I was, then you probably thought this was how someone with an accent says “cold wash”.  A co-wash is easy to do, just wash your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo.  It sounds really bizarre, and it may take you some time to wrap your head around how is it that a product that is meant to restore and add moisture to your hair can also cleanse your hair at the same time.

It really depends most on the ingredients in the conditioner and the state of your hair at the time you plan to use the conditioner.  Let’s break down both. 

Cleansing Ingredients in your Conditioner

There is actually science and logic to support this hair care regime. Shampoos are typically composed of about 10-15% detergent. They use surfactants like Sodium Laureth Sulfate or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate which do an excellent job of cleaning and removing oil from hair.

Conditioners also have detergents, but they are different than those found in shampoos. They use cationic surfactants (or quats) which have the tendency to stick to the hair, which is how they provide conditioning. Common quats are Cetrimonium Chloride or Distearyldimonium Chloride. They’re used at levels between 1% and 5%. Although they do stick to the hair, these ingredients also have the ability to cleanse the hair, which is why the no-poo washing system can work.¹

If you turned your conditioner over you may find the following ingredients amongst a list of oils and other hard things to pronounce:
glycerin, cetyl alcohol, behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine (SADMA), and amodimethicone
These are very common conditioner ingredients. Here’s what they do:
Glycerin can provide moisturization in a leave on product, but it doesn’t do anything for hair when it’s rinsed out. Cetyl and cetearyl alcohol are thickening and emulsifying agents are are used to make a conditioner rich and creamy. Because they`re oil soluble they could, in theory, help lift some of the sebum of your hair and scalp. Behentrimonium methosulfate, SADMA, and amodimethicone are very effective conditioning ingredients because they deposit on the hair 
How dirty is your hair?

If you’ve recently used gels or products with silicones, petroleum, mineral oil, and/or lanolin, then you may want to use shampoo to effectively cleanse your hair, because conditioners just don’t have the same cleansing detergents as shampoo.  If you did decide to use a conditioner only method after using a combo of these ingredients, you could end up with buildup, itchy scalp, lack luster hair and your hair may even feel weighed down.

However, if you’ve managed to avoid all of these ingredients, rest assured, that conditioner alone will do the job.  You can use any conditioner you prefer.  Some of my favorite conditioners are Design Essentials Natural Moisturizing Conditioner, Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner, Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Conditioner, and Shea Moisture Yuccaa & Baobab Volumizing Conditioner.

Why not just use shampoo?

Shampoos have harsh detergents that can leave the hair stripped and dry. Depending on the products you used, you may feel the need to shampoo to thoroughly cleanse your hair.  I find that shampoos labeled “moisturizing” work great in my hair even if they contain sulfates. Using shampoo or no-pooing is a personal preference based on your hair care needs.  When I first went natural I used shampoo every other wash day. The wash days in between, I used conditioner only.  I also co washed mid week to give my hair a moisture boost. There are many shampoos on the market with absolutely no sulfates, these are great alternatives to shampoos with sulfates. It’s your hair, use what you want. Just be informed.

Source¹ Source²

The Best Way to Deep Condition for Maximum Moisture - Part II

Part 2: The Ingredients and the Methods

by Susan Walker of Earthtone Naturals

How do you know if your deep conditioner is good or not? Do you rely on price? Not necessarily as an expensive product doesn’t mean the product is good, nor does a cheap product mean it doesn’t work. So what should you look for? The answer to this question is to become ingredient savvy. Having an understanding of ingredients will help you determine, at least at first glance, if a deep conditioner is going to be effective for you or not.

Look for ingredients that attach onto to the hair

Remember we discussed the fact that conditioning agents ADSORB to the hair? ADSORBING means that the ingredients attach to the surface of the hair. This phenomenon is responsible for helping to soften the hair, temporarily repair the hair, smooth the cuticle and reduce flyways.

The main types of ingredients you’re looking for are cationic surfactants, cationic polymers, emollients, oils and silicones.

Read More!!>>>

Daily Conditioner vs. Deep Conditioners and Natural Hair Care

Conditioners have always been a hot topic of discussion in the curly hair realm. Are we using the right products for adequate conditioning? What is the best way to condition? Once the hair has grown from the hair follicle, it must be conditioned for the best preservation. We can find this external nourishment via hair product ingredients found in our daily conditioners and deep conditioners.

What’s in a daily conditioner?
A daily conditioner is also known as a surface conditioner, cream rinse, or finishing rinse. These are usually formulated to be used in conjunction with a shampoo. They are designed for daily maintenance and manageability for your hair by conditioning the cuticle, making it lie smooth, enhancing shine, and reducing frizz. Manufacturers usually recommend leaving a daily conditioner on the hair for 1-5 minutes before rinsing. The purpose of a daily conditioning rinse is to moderately adsorb ingredients onto the surface of your hair. According to our Curl Chemist Tonya McKay, "adsorption describes the process when atoms or molecules are attracted to the surface of a material (hair)."

How to Deep Condition for Soft, Healthy Hair

By Susan Walker of DrWalkerWellness

So how do you deep condition? And how do you know if your deep conditioner is good or not? Do you rely on price? Not necessarily as an expensive product doesn’t mean the product is good, nor does a cheap product mean it doesn’t work. So what should you look for? The answer to this question is to become ingredient savvy. Having an understanding of ingredients will help you determine, at least at first glance, if a deep conditioner is going to be effective for you or not.

Read On!>>>

5 DIY Moisturizers for Long, Healthy Natural Hair


By Neisha of

Moisturizing is essential, especially for Type 4 natural hair.  Many naturals have spent lots of money (and time searching for) moisturizing products that may not have (or may have) worked. Did you know that your kitchen is loaded down with ingredients that can be used to nourish, moisturize and grow your hair long and strong? Below, find some easy, DIY recipes for homemade moisturizers:

Read On!>>>

Below, you'll find a compilation of homemade mixes that I've used, as well as others that CN community members love, and shared for all of us to enjoy!

5 Ingredients that My Type 4 Hair Loves

I have been doing this natural hair thing for a long time but it has only been the last three or so years that I have discover what works for my hair. I look beyond the front of the product bottles and like to delve into the ingredient list to determine what will give me shiny, defined curls. With so many products and ingredients with long and complicated names, it may feel impossible to narrow down which ones your hair likes and does not like. But anyone can do it when you start making looking at the ingredient list a priority. If you are new to the language of labels, here is a guide for what to look for.

Here are the five ingredients that I have found my hair loves.

2012 Hits and Misses To Date...

Hola Chicas,

I've tried a number of new products and rather than drag this out over several posts, I thought I'd fill you in right quick... right here! And although some of these products were gifted (noted below) rest assured that (as always) my reviews are real, unpaid and unbiased. Enjoy and weigh in!


Tigi Bed Head Candy Fixations Totally Baked Volumizing and Prepping Hair Meringue

Ingredients- water, polysorbate 20, glycerin, sucrose, PEG-60 almond glycerides, polymide-1, PEG-17 dimethicone, fragrance, phenoxyethanol, cocamidopropyl betaine, caprylyl glycol, PVP, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, citric acid, disodium EDTA, sodium chloride, sodium lauroyl lactylate, methylisothiazolinone, sobic acid, citral, limonene

Description- Start your style with this sweet treat! Bed Head Candy Fixations Totally Baked is a super light, creamy formula that provides shape retention to add to the life of a hairstyle. This humidity resistant meringue provides a light hold, giving you weightless motion. Bed Head Candy Fixations Totally Baked gives you a long lasting boost, style and texture.

My thoughts- Y'all know I'll try damn near anything that touts 'volumizing' on the label. And while it performs very well as a styler, sadly, I can't say that it made my hair look any thicker. The hold is light and flexible and it (somewhat) withstood the Florida humidity. I'll be shelving it soon because my hair doesn't do so well with glycerin in the summer (highly porous and it needs no help absorbing more atmospheric moisture). The ingredient list is atrocious but I was pretty impressed with the results. This was gifted from TIGI, and I'd probably repurchase come Fall.

Original Moxie Hair Bling

Ingredients-Jojoba Oil; Jojoba Esters; Mango Butter; Tucuma Butter; Beeswax; Stearic Acid; Vitamin E; Essential Oils of Bergaptene-Free Bergamot, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Lavender, Tangerine & Vanilla (3% Dilution).

Description: Hair Bling is a blend of oils, butters and waxes that delivers high shine along with amazing softness and subtle hold.

My Thoughts: Shine? Come on with it! Softness? All day. Subtle hold? Ehhh... It's a great product to add some sheen to your situation, but it did nothing for holding or defining my dry twist-outs. In fact, Jane Carter's Nourish and Shine has more hold and it doesn't have much of any. This would make for a great sealant and while I wouldn't purchase it (it was gifted), I will gladly use the rest of my tin with a smile.

Original Moxie Lux Locks

Ingredients- Distilled Water; Vegetable Glycerin; Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol; Soy Butter; Ucuuba Butter; Soy Wax; Olive Oil Infused With Amla, Bhringraj, Burdock, Comfrey, Horsetail, Kelp, Neem, Stinging Nettle, & Yucca; Jojoba Esters; Castor Oil; Organic Unrefined Shea Butter; Fractionated Coconut Oil; Beeswax; Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (Paraben & Formeldahyde-Free Preservative); HE-Cellulose; Polyquaternium-10; Organic Aloe Vera; Vitamin E; Essential Oils of Black Pepper, Clove, Rose, Rosewood, Vanilla (3% Dilution), & Ylang Ylang.

Description- A rich styling butter that delivers moisture, shine and definition.

My 2 cents- Okay, this one is worth a try if you're looking for a soft hold product for your (wet or dry) twists, braids or even wash and gos. It gave me some pretty amazing hair in Los Angeles-- shiny, moisturized, soft and defined. This too was gifted and while I liked it for my dry twist-outs (especially days 1 and 2), it built up on me after a few days (to be expected) and I probably wouldn't purchase. I haven't used it on wet hair (as it is intended) but I've heard nothing but good things. Try it and report back!

Davines Natural Tech De-Stress Leave in

Ingredients-aqua (water), cyclomethicone, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, dimethicone, hydroxypropyltrimonium hydrolyzed wheat protein, dimethiconol, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, disodium edta, imdazolidinyl urea, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, tetrasodium edta, parfum/fragrance

Description- Davines Natural Tech Well Being De Stress Be-Phase Shelter spray is a unique product that conditions and protects both the skin and the hair. Shaking the bottle well before use mixes the two separate parts of the product for ultimate effectiveness. The wheat proteins incorporated into this sheltering spray provide intensive hydration and conditioning effects, while dimethicone and UV filters work against damage by protecting from the sun, chlorine, salt water and pollution. Using this product regularly can also help to prevent new split ends and breakage.

My thoughts- I was introduced to this product by Marie of Shi Salon in STL. This was the only product that she used on my damp hair prior to blow drying and flat ironing and it left my hair feeling like silk. There was no residue... almost as if my hair was product-less. It remained soft and moisturized for a week. Needless to say, I bought myself a bottle and have since purchased another bottle via Amazon. It may not be heavy enough as your solo leave-in, but would make for a good primer before your heavier leave-in products. It's full of silicones, so if you're on the Curly Girl diet, steer clear. Two thumbs up all the way over here :) I even apply it to my dry ends throughout the week.

Davines MoMo Deep Conditioner

Ingredients- Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behenyl Alcohol, Centrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Chloride, Dimethicone, C30-45 Alkyl Methicone, Buxus Chinensis (Jojoba Seed Oil), Lauryl Alcohol, Panthenol, Silybum Marianum (Silybum Marianum Seed Oil), Amodimethicone, Dicaprylyl Ether, Rhizobian Gum, Tocopherol, Benzophenone-4, Ethylene/ Propylene/ Styrene Copolymer, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Potassium Sorbate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxylethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Citric Acid, CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 42090 (Blue 1), CI 15985 (Yellow 6), CI 16035 (Red 40), Parfum (Fragrance)

Description- Davines MOMO Moisturizing Revitalizing Creme Conditioner from Italy adds incredible moisture to the hair. Thanks to the exceptional moisturizing power of its components, MOMO Moisture Revitalizing Creme Conditioner is for dry and dehydrated hair. It works in response to the specific needs of moisturizing the hair.

My thoughts- Hands down, this is the best damn deep conditioner I've tried in a long time. It truly rivals my other favs (Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment and Curl Junkie Moisture Rehab), providing slip for detangling and tons of moisture. It leaves my hair feeling soft and smooth (not coated) upon rinsing. This is another product Marie introduced me to and I purchased it from her (expensive!) and will most certainly buy it again. The fragrance is light, herbal and pleasant.

Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Ingredients- A vegetable oil derived from the seeds of the Ricinus Communis plant.

Description- Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil is processed the traditional way. Our Organic seeds are roasted and ground by a manual Grinder and then the crushed beans are boiled to extract the 100% pure, dark brown, organic oil. It is the darkest Jamaican Black Castor Oil because we roast our beans longer which produces more Ash Content in our oil than any other oil on the market. More ash content increases the effectiveness of the oil. Therefore the Sunny Isle brand will strengthen and increase the length of your hair faster than any other brands on the market today.

My thoughts- Just when I thought I couldn't love castor oil anymore, Sunny Isle gifted me a bottle of their Black Castor oil. It's rich and dreamy! I cut it with Argan Oil and I'm honestly dreading the day my supply runs dry. It's good stuff for sealing as well as for warm oil treatments. When I'm bunning, I run it through my length and apply to my edges and sometimes even rub some into my scalp (put it in a color applicator bottle and go to town!). I'm super impressed and I will most certainly purchase in the future. For those of you looking for a product to act like a serum (the silicone laden ones), this oil is for you boo!

TIGI Glaze Haze Serum

Ingredients- cyclopentasiloxane, dimethiconol, dimethicone, isopropyl palmitate, dimethicone copolymer, fragrance, water, oryza satvia (rice) bran oil, polysilicone-15, propylene glycol, bambusa vulgaris extract, hydrolyzed soy protein, saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, hydrolyzed keratin, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, sorbic acid, butylparaben, ethylparaben, potassium sorbate, isobutylparaben, propylparaben

Description- This sweet treat candy coats each strand to fight humidity, add shine, and help speed up drying time. Delicious Crème Brule scent. TIGI Bed Head Candy Fixations Glaze Haze Benefits: Smooths flyaways. Adds luminous shine. Speeds up blow-dry time. Helps resist humidity for up to 12 hours.

My thoughts- If you've tried one silicone serum, you've tried them all. Seriously. But I really like that this one isn't greasy. It has a thicker consistency and actually did pretty well in the Florida humidity earlier this month. I was gifted this product from TIGI and would definitely purchase.

CURLS Coconut Sublime Moisturizing Conditioner

Ingredients-Purified Water, Cetyl Alcohol (derived from coconut) Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Certified Organic Coconut Oil, Panthenol, Certified Organic Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Certified Organic Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Certified Organic Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Certified Organic Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Methylheptyl Isostearate, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Benxophenone-4, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance, Caramel

Description-Looking for a conditioner that provides MAXIMUM moisture and softness for your dry curly tresses? Look no further. Coconut Sublime Conditioner is guaranteed to soften the kinkiest curl, moisturize the driest lock, and detangle the most unruly tresses. Great for all curly hair textures especially dry, damaged, and chemically treated kinky, medium or coarse curly hair.

My Thoughts- Another great product from CURLS. It's super slippery, moisturizing and rinses clean. I use it as an instant conditioner prior to applying a leave-in and my hair is still detangled and soft when I begin the styling process. It smells divine too! It was gifted from CURLS and I'd definitely purchase.

Sof'n Free 2 in 1 Conditioning Shampoo

Ingredients-Water (Aqua), C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acetamide MEA, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Glycol Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-10, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-23 M, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Olea Europea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oill, Milk Protein, Plukenetia Volubilis (Sacha Inchi) Seed Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Diazolidnyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Salt, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde, d-Limonene.

Description-Infused with moisturizers and hair healthy natural ingredients, its rich, luxurious lather thoroughly cleanses hair and scalp without stripping it of natural oils.

My thoughts- One of the best 'moisturizing' shampoos I've used in a while. It does what many other similar products DON'T... actually cleans your hair. My scalp is cleared of the gunk and yet my strands don't get that dry hay feeling. The moisturizing properties also help begin the detangling process. This product was gifted from Soft'n Free and I'd probably purchase due to the 4.99 price tag!


Dr. Miracles Curl Care Hydrating Shampoo + Conditioner

Shampoo Ingredients-Water (Aqua EU), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Polyquaternium - 10, Honey, Simmondsia Chinenesis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed, Tocopheryl Acetate Wheat Protein, Retinyl Palmitate, Zea Mays (Corn ) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Menthol, Panthenol, Glycol Distearate, Cholecalciferol, DMDM, Diazolidinyl Urea Hydantoin, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Citronellol, d-Limonine, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde, Linalool

Shampoo Description- Dr. Miracle Curl Care Rehydrating Shampoo with vitamin A, E and panthenol to rehydrate curls as it gently cleanses. This product has no sulfates, parabens, sodium and phthalate and is a low sud formula. The unique natural complex, with honey and vitamins, helps hold curls for up to 12 hours.

Conditioner Ingredients- Water (Aqua EU), Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium - 7, Honey Amodimethicone, Butyrospermium Parkii (SheaButter), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Menthol, Menthone Glycerin Acetal, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Cholecalciferol, DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Citonellol, d-Limonine, Geraniol, Hexy Cinnamic Aldehyde, Linalool

Conditioner Description- Dr. Miracles Curl Care Nourishing Conditioner conditions and softens every curl. This unique natural complex, with honey and vitamins, helps to hold culs for up to 12 hours. This product has no sulfates or parabens and is excellent for kinky, curly or wavy hair.

My thoughts on the Poo- So I'm not very particular when it comes to aromatics, and have used products with mint but this... this was different. It was much too much and the steam from the shower... it was ridiculous, like nauseating. It felt like it was in my mouth, my throat... all up in my nose. I thought it was just me, until hubby complained about 'the new shampoo in the shower' and he ain't picky. I wish I can remember how it performed... I feel like it was actually pretty decent. This was gifted from NC and I won't purchase until they make some fragrance tweaks.

My thoughts on the Conditioner- I have to be honest... I wasn't a big fan of Dr. Miracle's 'I hate my frizzy natural hair' marketing tactics from a while ago, but that didn't stop me from giving their new curly line a fair shake. But again with the mint! It had slip and probably good moisture, but I couldn't focus. The products are reasonably priced and accessible (Sally's), but I just... I can't. If you really, really like mint, try it out and send me your review!

Curly Hair Solutions Extenzz

Ingredients- Aqua, Lecithin, VP/VA Copolymer, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Panthenol, Silk Amino Acids, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract Sodium PCA, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Straw Extract, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract (Sea Kelp), Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Polyquaternium-37, Trideceth-6, Parfum, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-11, Oleth-20, DMDM Hydantoin, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Isoceteth-20, Oleyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol/Ceteareth-30, Cetrimonium Chloride, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyquaternium-7, Disodium EDTA, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Isopropyl Myristate, Benzophenone-4, Polyquaternium-10, Polyacrylamide

Description- Extenzz is the ultimate non-chemical curl styling relaxer. By using the correct combing techniques, Extenzz allows you to manipulate your curls into a looser, well defined, frizz-free curl without the look and feel of heavy oils. Benefits: * Tight curls unwind easily * Softens wiry course hair * Dries curls looser * Stops frizz in all weather conditions * Re activates with water * Styles last for days * Re groups out of control curl and wave patterns into control defined curls * Dries clean, no flaky or greasy feel

My thoughts- So the marketing team clearly struggled with this one... I'm not in favor of the 'non-chemical curl styling relaxer' phrasing and I'm assuming they must have missed the memo that there is another similarly named product on the market that touts penile enlargement benefits. At any rate, I was hoping for two things (1) stretch for my wet set two-strand twist-outs, and (2) protection from the humidity. Again, my fine, highly porous hair swells in nasty weather and leaves me with rough hair that becomes tangled and prone to damage. I need a product that will smooth and flatten my cuticle and I was hoping this was THE miracle product. Spoken like a true PJ, right?! Well, I used this over the Curly Hair Solutions Leave-in and the result? Well, I didn't love it. It did provide good definition, but my shrinkage was exactly the same and my hair had uncharacteristic spider web frizz by the end of the day. *sigh*
It was gifted from NC and I would not purchase.

Curly Hair Solutions Silk Leave-in

Ingredients- DI Water, Isopropyl Myristate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Ceteareth-33, Silk Amino Acids, Jojoba Oil, Panthenol, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Oleyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol, Glycerine, Oleth-20, Polyacrylamide, DMDM Hydantoin, Germaben II (and) Chamomilla. Paraben Free Silicone Free

Description- Curly Hair Solutions Silk Leave-in Conditioner smooths the rough cuticles that are responsible for frizzy, flyaway hair. Silk Leave-in Conditioner is non-greasy and never builds up, so you can use a generous amount against high humidity and high heat appliances (irons & blow dryers). Silk Leave-in Conditioner leaves your hair feeling clean, shiny and soft.

My thoughts- Wow, I had such high hopes. Gifted from NaturallyCurly, I was planning to use this underneath some stylers I had on hand, thinking it may be just what the doctor ordered for the summer... all glycerin free and stuff. It has a great consistency (not creamy, not runny) and goes on smooth for easy coverage. The tons of slip made styling (wet set two strand twists) a breeze but I was left with dry, dull, frizzy hair. Fail. Not purchasing but I may revisit with some other stylers.

TIGI Mega Whip

Ingredients- water, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, cetearyl alcohol, VP/VA copolymer, lithium magnesium sodium silicate, propanediol, cetyl esters, petrolatum, PVP, glyceryl stearate, synthetic beeswax, phenyl trimethicone, phenoxyethanol, fragrance, capryl glycol, PEG-100 stearate, acrylate/C10-30 alkyl acetate crosspolymer, hydroxypropyltrimonium hydrolyzed corn starch, disodium EDTA, aminomethylpropional, polyaminopropyl biguaride, laurtrimonium chloride, methylisothiazolinone, methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben, sucrose, limonene, linalool

Description- Whip into dry hair for light texture with a flexible hold. Delicious Sweet Dreams scent.

My Thoughts- Thought it'd be the cure all for my dry twist-out needs. I'm no fortune teller but even I could predict that a product I could bead up and roll off of my palms post application (think rubber cement), was gonna fail. It left my hair feeling coated and dirty. It was gifted from TIGI and I most certainly won't be purchasing this one.

*Remember, these are my experiences... you may have different results!*

Share your hits and misses below!

Any product recommendations for me?

Deep Conditioning Secrets- Getting the Most Out of Your Wash Day

There's nothing better for my curls than a good deep conditioning. I love how rich and creamy deep conditioners are, and how my hair soaks up all of its goodness as it marinates under my hooded dryer or Hot Heat Thermal Deep Conditioning Cap. Every time I deep condition with one of my favorites, my curls are shiny, soft, de-frizzed, silky, and smooth. That's because like I always say, deep conditioners can cover a multitude of hair sins. They are most widely used to restore internal hydration to the hair and provide intense moisture. They can also balance the pH of the hair, closing the cuticles which enhances shine, smooths the hair, cuts down on frizz, and helps maintain the internal moisture balance of the hair. Deep conditioners can also restore elasticity to the hair, strengthening it and preventing breakage by temporarily patching up areas of damage with proteins, amino acids, and ceramide-rich oils.

Although deep conditioning is an intense treat for your hair, it doesn't have to be an intense process at all. There's an over-abundance of information online that makes deep conditioning seem like rocket science, but it is really simple. Actually, getting the most out of your deep conditioner is really simple.

Read On!>>>

The Dos and Dont's of Deep Conditioning Natural Hair

Should you leave your conditioner on for 30 minutes, or 3 hours? Protein or moisture based? Does a $8 deep conditioner work just as well as a $38 one? Can I use food to deep condition my hair?

If your deep conditioning sessions consist of a lot of trial and even more error, then you need these no-fuss dos and don'ts of successful deep conditioning:


Keep it Regular
Hair that is deep conditioned regularly is more manageable, softer, less prone to breakage and frizz, and is able to retain length.

Remember that whatever "regularly" means is determined by you. Some naturals and transitioners deep condition their hair every 3-4 days. Some, every 2 weeks. I personally aim for once a week, twice a week if I'm lucky. My recommendation is to start out weekly - if your hair begins feeling weak and limp, lessen to every two or three weeks. If it still feels dry, pump it up to twice a week.

Heat it Up
If you want your deep conditioner to work double duty and make your hair feel super soft and smooth (or super strong if it is protein based), heat it up. According to JC of The Natural Haven, heating your deep conditioner up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) increases the amount and effectiveness of adsorption (the good stuff that sticks to the hair) of said conditioner. Long story short, warm conditioner works better.

Try heating your deep conditioner in a hot water bath instead of the microwave for best results.

Read On!>>>

The Dos & Don'ts of Deep Conditioning

If your deep conditioning sessions consist of a lot of trial and even more error, then you need these no-fuss dos and don'ts of successful deep conditioning:


Try These DIY Conditioners For Curls

by Mary Wolff

When it comes to caring for your curls, you may feel more comfortable creating your own products. Maybe you just don’t have the time to run to the store to pick up another bottle. Whatever the case, there are a ton of easy-to-make ideas for a DIY conditioner for curls. They use natural ingredients you probably already have on hand in your kitchen! Here are a few of my favorite recipes for a nourishing DIY conditioner for curls.

Continue Reading

FAQs- Deep Conditioning and Natural Hair

Hair Liberty's Nicole Harmon, our Resident Curl Chemist, is answering your most urgent hair questions. Got one for her? Email me at [email protected] using "Hair Liberty" in the subject line and she may answer your question right here on the blog.

What is deep conditioning?

“Deep Conditioning” is often suggested as a remedy for dry or damaged hair. The goal of deep conditioning is to strengthen damaged hair and prevent breakage. To deep condition you must use a conditioner that contains ingredients that can absorb into the hair strand. Examples of penetrating ingredients include hydrolyzed protein, amino acids, cetrimonium bromide, panthenol and some silicones.

Does deep conditioning require heat?

No, it’s a common myth that deep conditioning requires heat. If a conditioner works with heat, its instructions will tell you to apply heat for a specific amount of time. Heat will only increase the effect of a conditioner if it has been formulated with penetrating ingredients. Conditioners that require heat don’t work better than conditioners that tell you to apply and rinse after a few minutes. It all depends on the ingredients.

I like sitting under the dryer. Is there any harm?

Yes, sitting under a bonnet dryer for long periods of time with conditioner in your hair can cause harm. The instructions on your conditioner tell you the safest way to use the product. Studies show that preservatives and other chemicals in cosmetic products can cause eczema and a type of alopecia called telogen effluvium.

We’re used to thinking of eczema as a skin condition that runs in families, but frequent exposure to cosmetic chemicals can cause a type of eczema called “acute contact dermatitis”. Symptoms of acute contact dermatitis include itching, bumps, tenderness, and dry patches. Studies show that acute contact dermatitis on the scalp leads to a form of short-term alopecia called telogen effluvium. The condition causes excess hair shedding for up to 6 months.

When you leave a conditioner on longer than the recommend time you may be increasing your exposure to cosmetic chemicals that have been linked to eczema, alopecia, and more serious health problems like cancer. Adding heat increases your exposure even more.

Can I sit under the dryer if I only use natural/organic products?

It will always be safest to follow the instructions on your conditioner. Just because a product is labeled “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean it’s safer than anything else. Some natural ingredients cause more allergy problems than synthetic ingredients. There are also loopholes in FDA guidelines that allow manufacturers to omit certain ingredients from the label. The manufacturer is the only one who knows exactly what’s in the bottle and whether it’s safe or not to use the product with heat.

I think I have contact dermatitis on my scalp and excess shedding. What do I do now?

1) Make a decision today to follow the instructions on your products. Don’t leave in rinse-off products and don’t let rinse-off products sit on your scalp for long periods of time.
2) Visit a Dermatologist or Trichologist for a scalp evaluation if possible.
3) Don’t scratch your scalp when it itches. Micro-cuts on the scalp can lead to bacterial infections.
4) Be patient. Itching, bumps, and the other symptoms of acute contact dermatitis usually go away within 4 weeks after the exposure stops. Excess shedding due to telogen effluvium should stop within 6 months.
5) For extra softness and easier detangling when you wash your hair, do a pre-shampoo oil treatment each week.


AetnaInteliHealth. Health A to Z: Eczema. Available at

Antonella Tosti; Bianca Maria Piraccini; Dominique J. J. van Neste. Telogen Effluvium After Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Scalp. Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(2):187-190.

CW Hughes, E. Telogen Effluvium. Medscape Reference. Available at

Environmental Working Group. 2008. Study: Almost Half Of All ‘Natural’ Personal Care Products Contain Known Carcinogen. Available at

Flyvholm MA, Menné T. Allergic contact dermatitis from formaldehyde. A case study focusing on sources of formaldehyde exposure. Contact Dermatitis. 1992 Jul;27(1):27-36.

Toribo, J., et al. "Allergic Contact Dermatitis In A Girl Due To Several Cosmetics Containing Diazolidinyl-Urea Or Imidazolidinyl-Urea." Contact Dermatitis (01051873) 63.1 (2010): 49-50.

Hair Liberty (def): The freedom to rock whatever style you want, whenever you want. Curly, straight, natural, relaxed, whatever! Free yourself! For more info, visit

The Secret to Super Slippery Conditioners

by Nicole Harmon of Hair Liberty

Between washes your hair gets drier each day, the strands start to wrap around each other, and the volume starts to go to “the bad place”. Your basic conditioner has one very important job to do and that’s to make your hair smooth and easy to detangle. That’s because coils and curls experience the least damage from combing when they’re wet and saturated with conditioner. Once your hair has been thoroughly combed out, it’ll be easier to achieve your final style.

Conditioners that effectively detangle coils and curls contain:

• Emollients, which are conditioning ingredients that form a protective film on the hair to help your strands slide past each other as you detangle
• Cationic ingredients to condition your hair’s cuticle

Emollients that offer good slip (the more of these in the top 5 the better):

• Dimethicone
• Cyclomethicone
• Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
• Mineral Oil
• Shea Oil
• Jojoba Oil
• Jojoba Esters
• Sorbitol Esters
• Cetyl Esters
• Cetyl Alcohol (don’t worry these are not the drying kinds of alcohol)
• Cetearyl Alcohol
• Stearyl Alcohol

Cationics Conditioners:

• Amodimethicone
• Behentrimonium Chloride
• Behentrimonium Methosulfate
• Cetrimonium Chloride
• Cetrimonium Methosulfate
• Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride
• Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine

Conditioning Do’s and Don’ts

Do saturate your hair with conditioner from root to tip.
Don’t ignore the inner layers of your hair. Distribute the conditioner as evenly as you would a relaxer.
Do comb the conditioner through before you rinse it out.
Don’t leave the conditioner on for longer than the maximum time in the instructions. The ingredients in rinse out conditioners are not meant to be left in contact with your skin for long periods of time.
Do comb out your hair by starting at the ends and working your way up to the roots. If you start from the roots, you’ll cause your ends to wrap around each other which can lead to more tangles.

Is your conditioner a keeper? If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions after using a conditioner, go ahead and buy the largest bottle you can find. Conditioner is the product you will go through the fastest.

1) Did the comb glide through your hair as you detangled? You haven’t found your conditioner match until you can comb through all of your hair within 5 minutes.
2) Was the conditioner easy to apply? You have to condition every inch of every hair to get the best results. Choose a product that comes out of the bottle easily because that’s a good indication that it’ll be easy to spread and distribute.

Recommended Conditioners

BARGAIN BUY – Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner, $6 for 25 oz.
Available at drugstores
You read that right, $6 for 25 ounces of conditioner. This conditioner has good slip, it spreads easily, and it contains a special “copolymer” that will help your hair retain moisture. It’s a great place to start if you’re on a tight budget.

Dove Damage Therapy Nourishing Oil Care Daily Treatment Conditioner, $6 for 8 oz.
Available at drugstores
Dove’s Damage Therapy conditioner is filled with ingredients that will help you detangle. It’s relatively thick, so an 8 oz. bottle may not last very long.

John Frieda Full Repair Full Body Conditioner, $6 for 8.45 oz.
Available at drugstores
This product smoothes and detangles the hair without being too heavy. That’s a difficult combination to find in a drugstore conditioner. Some stores also sell a 20 oz. size that comes with a pump, which is helpful when you have a lot of hair to work through.

Free Your Mane Daily Detangling Conditioner, $16 for 10.14 oz.
Available at
This conditioner spreads easily and has enough slip to get through stubborn tangles. It also has extra ingredients that give lasting shine and smoothness to the hair.

Joico Smooth Cure Conditioner, $14 for 10.1 oz.
Available at beauty supply stores and online
The Joico Smooth Cure conditioner and the matching shampoo make a worthwhile combo for coils and curls that get heat-styled every week. The conditioner has a combination of emollients, cationics, and hydrolyzed keratin, so it also qualifies as a deep treatment.

Nicole Harmon is a Cosmetic Chemist and the Founder of She has received rave reviews for her seminars on ethnic hair education and science. She's on a mission to help the Product Junkies of the world save MONEY, sort through marketing HYPE and buy SMARTER! 
Hair Liberty (def.): The freedom to rock whatever style you want, whenever you want. Curly, straight, natural, relaxed, whatever! Free yourself!

What’s your favorite slippery conditioner?

The MOST Important Step in Your Hair Care Regimen

by Susan Walker of DrWalkerWellness

Now this is just me; but in my opinion nothing is as important as a step in hair care regimens that many naturals rush through. No, it’s not detangling (although that is uber important) and it’s not necessarily moisturizing the hair (also important). It’s the step that makes a lot of those other aspects of your regimen a lot easier.

Read On!>>>

Back to School on a Budget!

by Elle of Party Over Hair

Unfortunately the summer is almost over, and now it's time for many college students to head back to campus and prepare for yet another academic year. During my college years, I attended the University of Connecticut, in which I lived on campus. Although I wasn't natural yet, it was usually around this time that I would start preparing a list of all the things I needed to get before heading back. I basically spent my college years wearing weaves, so I never really had to incorporate buying hair products into my list. Now we all know buying hair products eventually can become a little costly, and being a college student, that can pose as a major problem. Well, good news. I'm here to help. I figured I would compose a Back to School List of hair products for my college girls on a budget. The last thing you want to do is spend over $50 for hair products when you know you're going to have to buy textbooks soon. So hopefully this little list helps, I'd love to hear from some of college naturals and what they think should be added to the list.

Also, I'm a big fan of Target & Walgreens. So I tried to get the best value price between both stores, as well as helping you get more bang for your buck! You can follow this list for the best prices, or just go to either store because both of them do carry all the products I will be listing!
A cheap conditioner for co-washing can go a long way. Plus, you can always add some oils & other natural ingredients to your own deep condition treatment!
  • Clairol Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Moisturizing Conditioners, 23.7oz - $3.89 [Walgreens]
  • Aussie Moist Conditioner, 33.8oz - $6.49 [Walgreens]
  • Suave Professionals Moisturizing Conditioner - Almond & Shea Butter, 28.0 oz - $3.49 [Walgreens]

A cheap alternative to leave-in conditioners is just using the conditioners you co-wash with. Some people may question this method, but I assure you it's perfectly fine.
  • Giovanni Direct Leave In Conditioner, 8.5 oz - $7.99 [Target]
  • Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream, 16 oz - $4.99 [Walgreens]

For deep conditioners, to be cost efficient, I'd recommend just using your current conditioner & add some ingredients, such as EVOO & honey. No need to go out in purchase anything!


You really don't need to purchase any products for a pre-poo treatment. You're better off using some of your conditioner or oils, or both as a pre-poo.


For the first four months of my natural hair journey, I didn't use shampoo at all. Instead of using shampoo at the time, I just purchased the cheapest bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar I found & called it a day. Whenever my scalp felt like I had build up, I just did a ACV wash. You obviously know your hair better than I do, so this can act as another cost efficient substitute.
  • Suave Professionals Moisturizing Shampoo - Almond & Shea Butter, 28 oz - $3.49 [Walgreens]

For styling, I personally think you can't go wrong if you use either Eco Styler or Shea Moisture. EcoStyler works amazing for TWAs, as well as long hair & Shea Moisture is just all around a great product to have.
  • EcoStyler Gel w. Olive Oil, 16 oz - $2.99 [Walgreens]
  • Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Conditioning Milk, 8 oz. $9.99
  • Shea Moisture Organic Curl Enhancing Smooth, 12.oz $9.99
Aside from your conditioner, I think Oils are one of the essential products you'll want to have available at all times. Oils can be added to any of your products to give it an extra HUMPH and they work great for DC & Pre-Poos. Plus, if you have access to a microwave, you can warm oil up for about 12-15 seconds & give yourself a nice oil massage!
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Look for the cheapest, biggest bottle you can find at your local grocery store!
  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
There may be times when you want to give your hair a special treatment without going broke. I personally like walking around my kitchen finding ingredients that I can throw in my hair, so I feel you'll never go wrong if you have some everyday kitchen ingredients around. These are some basic ingredients that can help spice up your DCs or when used together work great as Protein Treatments.
  • Honey
  • Mayonnaise
  • Bananas or Organic Banana Baby Food
  • Eggs

These are things that you definitely will need to have, along with all your products!
  • Satin Scarf, Bonnet or Pillowcase
  • Wide Tooth Comb
  • Sheer Stockings [To use as hair ties]
  • Plastics Caps
  • Hard Bristle Brush

Is there anything you'd add to the list?

Common Hair Conditioner Ingredients

I received a few questions yesterday about ingredients in conditioners, especially alcohols.  Remember alcohols like Cetearyl, Cetyl and Stearyl are fatty and act as softeners or emollients.  They're not drying like SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, Alcohol denat, Propanol, Propyl alcohol and Isopropyl alcohol. Check out this re-post for clarification! 

Most of us with curly hair are pretty well-versed now in the need for our hair to be very well hydrated and conditioned. But what exactly does this mean? There are so many products on the market that claim to be the solution for our dry, frizzy tresses, but which do we really need? Also plentiful are the words used by marketers and hair care experts when telling us what we need for our hair to be healthy and beautiful. Among these are humectant, moisturizer, emollient, detangler, reconstruct/repair, and color protecting. What do these terms really mean, and what ingredients should we be looking for if we desire some of these properties?

Read On!>>>

The Best Way to Deep Condition for Maximum Moisture

by Susan Walker of Earthtone Naturals

Deep conditioning is an extremely important practice for many naturals and as a result there are various ways women deep condition their hair. But what is the proper way to deep condition the hair? Why are some methods more important than others and what is a complete waste of time. The purpose of this article is to sift through all of the information to give the real truth about this process, and how to get the results your looking for.

Why Deep Condition?
What you’re trying to accomplish with conditioning is to restore or maintain the elasticity of the hair so that it’s better able to withstand combing, brushing, cleansing etc. without too much damage. Conditioning can also improve the appearance of the hair causing it to appear healthy.  Conditioning in general should accomplish the following:
  • Ease combing (both wet and dry)
  • Increase softness to the hair
  • Minimize flyaways
  • Reduce the porosity of the hair
  • Improve the manageability of the hair

My Products

Since March of this year, I've only used conditioners and all natural butters for moisture and styling. In years past, I've used everything from Sebastian Potion 9 to Fantasia IC to 'define' my hair, but it seemed that I was sacrificing health for beauty. My hair never grew past shoulder length, and my ends were snapping and popping all over the place. After reading Teri's blog- which is all about leaving in conditioner after detangling, I decided to give it a try.

All I can say is WOW. My hair has made a complete 360 since 2005. It stays hydrated and the shine is brilliant. I leave in one conditioner, one deep conditioner (yes, my hair is that dry), and shea butter. Below, you can find each of my current faves, along with ingredients and a pic, if available. Check out My Regimen for details on how I use each one.

Giovanni 50/50 Shampoo- I purchase this at Target for 8 dollars and some change.
I'm loving this! I use it once a week for the most part, prior to detangling and DTing. It doesn't contain sulfates, but it still gets my hair clean (removes the amodimethicone in my DevaCare). It leaves my hair soft, not stripped.

Water, Extracts of Rosemary Oil, Nettle Oil, Thyme Oil, Birch Leaf Oil, Chamomile Oil, Clary, Lavender, Coltsfoot Leaf, Yarrow Oil, Mallow, Horssetail, Oil, Soybean Protein, C12-14 Oletin Sulfonate (coconut derived), Cocamiddopropyl Betaine,Vitamin E, Trace Minerals, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxymethdyl glycinate, Sodium Chloride (sea Salt) And Grapefruit seed * Certified Organic

Co-Wash Conditioner:
Herbal Essence Hello Hydration- You can find this at almost any grocery or drugstore.
Check out my description in this post.

I can't find the re-formulated ingredients. Just know that this one doesn't contain cyclopentasiloxane.
Leave-in Conditioners:
DevaCare One Condition- Get it here or ULTA
Words cannot express how much I love this conditioner. It is ultra moisturizing, provides great slip and smells great (if you don't mind an orange-cream smell)! It has a slight hold, which is why it is the perfect leave-in. I highly rec' this one must try it :D I give it 11 stars out of 10.

Ingredients: Aqueos Extracts of: Achilea Millefolium, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Cymbopogon Schoenanthus, Humulus Lupulus (Hops), Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel; Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Choloride, Amodimethicone, Centrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Esters, Orange Peel Wax, Olive Oil, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Trideceth-12, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ascorbic Acid, Fragrance, Red 40, Yellow 5.

Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment- Purchase here.
According to the Jessicurl site: "Weekly deep treatments with heat really moisturize and strengthen the hair, and they're just plain fun to do. This treatment works best with a plastic cap and left on for 20 minutes. This thick conditioner uses cocoa butter and shea butter to add some serious moisture to your hair." This stuff is simply amazing. I use it as a DT and a leave-in.

Ingredients: Water infused with Lemongrass, Nettle, Burdock, Kelp, Marshmallow Root, Horsetail, Basil, Bay Leaf, Oregano, Rosemary, Peppermint, Sage and Thyme, Aloe Vera Juice, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Glycerin, Lecithin, Fragrance,Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.

Un-refined Shea Butter- I use shea butter on my skin at night, my hands, my feet and everywhere else!!!! For my hair, I use it like a pomade. It holds my curls together really well and protects it without a greasy or gunky feel. I'm in love with shea butter and I'm contemplating leaving my husband for it :D

Benefits of Shea Butter:
-Daily skin moisturizer (face and body)
-Dry skin relief
-Dry scalp
-Skin rash- including diaper rash
-Skin peeling, after tanning
-Blemishes and wrinkles
-Itching skin due to dryness
-Stretch mark prevention during pregnancy
-Sun and wind protection
-Even skin tone
-Reduce blemishes and scarring
-Absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue
-Helps restore elasticity to skin
-Restores luster to hair

Occasionally, I still use DevaCurl Set it Free- purchase here or ULTA.
I use it to smooth frizzies on second and third day hair. It works like a charm every time, and also aids in locking in moisture. A little goes a looooong way. Shea butter has almost replaced the need for this product, but it still has its place.

Ingredients:Aqueous Extracts of: Achilea Millefolium, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Cymbopogon Schoenanthus, Humulus Lupulus (Hops), Melissa Offcinalis (Balm Mint), Rosmarinus Offcinalis (Rosemary), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Acrylates/C12-22 Alkylmethacrylate Copolymer, Ceteareth-20, PVP, Beeswax, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Lipids, Sodium Hydroxide, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance.

Find Your Perfect Deep Conditioner - The Ultimate Guide

by Nicole Harmon of Hair Liberty

Do you remember when you were a kid and you had your favorite shirt? I do. It was pink with purple flowers and it could actually glow in the dark-pretty much the coolest thing EVER to a kindergartner. I wore the darn thing every chance I got and I remember being heartbroken when I found it had a hole. I was sure my mother was going to make me throw it away but to my surprise, she patched it right up, good as new and I wore it until the seams were stretched and I just couldn't fit it anymore.

So let’s pretend you love your hair just as much I loved my tee (okay you probably love it a bit more.) Well there are so many factors that damage our fragile tresses that it’s important that you patch up the holes regularly so you can keep it looking beautiful instead of cutting it off. Deep conditioning does exactly that. You will retain the most length by using a high-quality deep conditioning treatment at least once a month.

The most effective deep conditioning treatments contain:

• Hydrolyzed protein to make your hair less breakage prone
• Conditioners to make your hair easier to comb
• Sealing ingredients that help moisture stay inside your hair between washes

Hydrolyzed Protein

Look at a strand of your hair. 90% of what you’re looking at is keratin protein. Your body uses the protein you eat to create keratin protein for your hair and skin. Once a hair emerges from its follicle, your health and what you eat doesn’t affect its appearance anymore. Your hair’s at your mercy and daily combing and styling chip away tiny pieces of keratin from each strand. It’s up to you to replace those lost pieces with protein from hair products; otherwise your hair will break just as fast as it grows. Using hair products that contain hydrolyzed protein are one of the best ways to improve your length retention.

In cosmetic labs, scientists “hydrolyze” proteins from plants and animals to make them more compatible with your hair’s keratin. The term “hydrolyzed” means the protein has been made small enough to fit in the spaces between your hair’s cuticles and absorb into the cortex. When you read a product’s ingredient list, the ingredients that are used in the highest amounts are listed at the top and the ingredients used in the lowest amounts are at the bottom. Usually, you get the most benefit from an ingredient if it’s at the top of the list, but hydrolyzed protein is a little bit different. Cosmetic chemists often add “helper” ingredients to make low amounts of protein more effective, so don’t rule out a product just because hydrolyzed protein isn’t one of the first 5 ingredients.

Examples of hydrolyzed protein:

• Hydrolyzed Keratin (from wool)
• Hydrolyzed Oat Protein
• Hydrolyzed Silk Protein
• Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
• Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein


Deep conditioning treatments need to perform double duty. You can make your hair stronger, but it will still be vulnerable. Well-formulated treatments also condition your hair leaving it easier to comb so you don’t lose precious strands from trying to break through tangles. In the world of cosmetic chemistry, opposites attract. Our hair has a negative charge and responds well to conditioning ingredients that have a positive charge. The ingredients listed here are called “cationics” and they stay on your hair even after you do your final rinse.

Common conditioning ingredients in deep treatments:

• Amodimethicone
• Behentrimonium Chloride
• Behentrimonium Methosulfate
• Cetrimonium Chloride
• Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine
• Stearalkonium Chloride

Sealing ingredients

You don’t want to spend the extra time and money to deep condition your hair if the results aren’t going to last. Even the best conditioning treatments are only semi-permanent, not permanent. A deep conditioner that contains good sealants will help your hair stay strong and moisturized for days at a time. Cosmetic scientists perform tests to see which ingredients do the best job at sealing porous hair like ours. You will get the most value out of your deep conditioning treatment if it contains at least 1 of these very effective sealants:

Ingredients for sealing:

• Petrolatum
• Mineral Oil
• Lanolin
• Dimethicone
• Phenyl Trimethicone
• Shea Butter
• Soybean Oil

Key Tips for Deep Conditioning

• Shampoo your hair before applying a deep conditioner. If you only co-wash or rinse before you apply the product, your hair won’t be able to absorb as much protein.

• Follow the instructions on your product. The best deep conditioning treatments contain a careful blend of ingredients that will give you maximum benefits in 3 to 15 minutes. Don’t put off deep conditioning because you feel like you don’t have time to sit under the dryer. That’s usually unnecessary and you’ll end up deep conditioning your hair less often.

• Only condition the hair you want to keep! Choose a deep conditioning treatment that you can afford to use generously. It won’t matter if your product is filled with great ingredients if you don’t apply it to every inch of your hair.

Have you found a deep conditioner match?

Reading the ingredients list will help you choose which product to buy, but only you can decide if a product is a home run. If you can answer yes to all 3 of these questions, you’ve found a staple.

1) Was the product easy to apply? There’s no reason that a deep conditioning treatment has to be very thick. It’s easier to control the amount you use if the product spreads easily.

2) Could you at least finger comb your hair after rinsing the treatment out? The most efficient products don’t require you to follow-up with a separate conditioner. If you can do your full detangling routine, you’ve really got a winner.

3) After your shower, detangle your most breakage prone (shortest) section with your fingers. Do you see significantly less broken hair than usual? If you’ve found the right product for your hair, breakage should drastically decrease after one use and continue to improve. You’ll have to keep using the product regularly to keep breakage at bay.

Recommended Deep Conditioning Treatments

Your deep conditioning treatment should be the most expensive product in your arsenal. You can keep your beauty budget in check by choosing less expensive shampoos and leave-ins.

BEST BU Y – ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment, $9 for 4 oz. (Step 1) and ApHogee Balancing Moisturizer, $6 for 8 oz. (Step 2)
Available at Sally Beauty

ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment has been around for years. This is an effective and affordable treatment but it has an unpleasant smell and the protein step can get messy. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s the definitely the best way to go. This product requires 5-10 minutes under a hooded dryer. Make sure to follow the instructions exactly as written or you could end up with unnecessary breakage.

Joico K-PAK RevitaLuxe Bio-Advanced Restorative Treatment, $23 for 5.1 oz.
Available at drugstores and beauty supply stores

This is Joico’s newest product for breakage prone hair. The “bio-advanced” part of the name refers to peptides (similar to proteins) that are used to help decrease inflammation on the scalp and promote hair growth. There is good scientific evidence for the effect of peptides on the skin, so this product is worth a try if you’ve had a history of scalp problems. The other ingredients in the product are similar to Joico K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor. Both are great choices for a staple deep conditioner.

Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask, $29 for 7 oz.
Available at Sephora and

This product contains all the requisite ingredients for a good deep conditioning treatment. If you enjoy sitting under the dryer as a time to sit back and relax, you’ll enjoy this product because maximum results require 10 to 15 minutes of heat.

Age Beautiful Strengthening Treatment, $10 for 5.1 oz.
Available at Sally Beauty

This treatment won the Good Housekeeping Research Institute’s highest award for deep conditioners. It’s best for color-treated and relaxed hair because it contains a special ingredient that helps repair cuticle damage from chemical treatments. Even if you don’t make it your staple, it’s a good product to keep around for immediately after touch-ups.

Nicole Harmon is a Cosmetic Chemist and the Founder of She has received rave reviews for her seminars on ethnic hair education and science. She's on a mission to help the Product Junkies of the world save MONEY, sort through marketing HYPE and buy SMARTER!
Hair Liberty (def.): The freedom to rock whatever style you want, whenever you want. Curly, straight, natural, relaxed, whatever! Free yourself!

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