I do tend to find a few products I love, and then stop looking. Lately I've been trying out different combing/ leave in conditioners so that I could offer a wider range of conditioners I recommend. Before I recommend a conditioner, I check out the ingredients several times. If there aren't ingredients I know to be bad in the product, I look to see if it has ingredients that look moisturizing, will give my hair weight, and seem like they will help me comb through with my Denman with little friction. If the conditioner seems to pass these hurdles, it's only then that I'll use it. I comb it through my hair after washing, use it to define my curls, and use it to smooth my hair every day for a week, until it's time to wash my hair again. The conditioners that work, I recommend on the site.
I often get asked about what I think of other conditioners that didn't make the cut. So I decided I would write about the ones that seemed like they would work, but for one reason or another didn't.
The first one I tried was Alba Botanica's coconut milk extra-rich hair conditioner. I have a special weakness for tropical flavors like coconut and mango. On looking at the ingredients, it seemed to have good weight ingredients, good moisturizing ingredients, and lots of slip ingredients. I don't have a very sensitive scalp, so I generally don't worry about extracts and essential oils. Everything seemed good to go. I figured it would be a bit light, going by the ingredients, but that just means I'd use a bit more. Sometimes I wait until my hair is dry, then go back over the ends, putting in more product to keep my ends together.
The combing went well. I was feeling excited I'd be able to recommend another conditioner that I found at the health food store. The clumping action also seemed to go well. So far, so good. As I suspected, it dried a bit light. No big thing, I'd just add more to the ends to keep my curls together. It was at this point the conditioner started to go a bit wrong for me.
When I added more, it started drying up as a rolly white film that flaked out of my hair. Instead of keeping my ends together, it seemed to ball up in confused little particles. Not a good sign.
I tried for a couple more days to smooth water and this conditioner on my ends, but my ends ended up looking dry and covered in little flaky globs. I finally stopped using it and switched to smoothing a tried and true on my ends.
So then I was puzzled. What ingredient caused this product to gunk up? The next week I used one of my regular conditioners I love to give my hair a rest. The week after that I tried Shikai Natural Everyday Conditioner. It was wonderful. And it's basic working ingredients were similar to the Alba. What gives?
After comparing the ingredients of lots of products that worked, I saw a few things that this conditioner had that others didn't. One was guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride. My research of as many objective sources as I could find all seemed to agree that this was used to condition hair, and so far, I haven't found anything to say this is a problem ingredient. Which makes sense, because if I were to rinse it out, this wouldn't have been a problem. It's just that I leave good products in.
So to experiment, I decided to try another Alba conditioner that didn't have this ingredient, but was basically similar otherwise. In this way, I could see if this ingredient was the culprit, or if there was another ingredient in there that was making my hair feel so dry. I wanted to get to the bottom of the flaky bits that occurred if I used enough product to keep my ends together.
To be continued on the next post...
*Note: I understand that this product (as are nearly all the conditioners I review) is meant to be rinsed out. And there are plenty of wonderful reviews for how this product works when it's rinsed out. However, since my method involves leaving the product in our hair, I review how a product functions this way.