I was de-tangling my hair with my new found favorite conditioner and it occurred to me that conditioner is to a lot of natural women what relaxers are to chemically straightened women: CRACK! I mean lets be real about the situation, if there is one thing that most natural women can’t go without its conditioner. Whether it be a leave-in, moisturizer, or a rinse out we panic when we’re about to run out lol. So, I decided to do a little research on this product that we love so much and discover what it is really that makes this product beneficial to our hair. Here is what I found:
*Conditioner is meant to help replace the moisture that clarifying shampoos can take from the hair such as the hairs natural oil (sebum) and give strength to the hair shaft.
*All hair conditioners fall under 6 categories: re-constructors, moisturizers, acidifiers, thermal protectors, detanglers, oils and glossers.
*A good conditioner contains some variation of the following ingredients: protein, essential fatty acids (EFA), humectant, acidifiers, sequestrants, and preservatives which keep the product from spoiling rapidly.
*Most Conditioners are ph balanced and are generally acidic which provides the hair with a positive charge causing more hydrogen bonds between the keratin (protein in hair) scales thereby giving the hair a more compact structure.
*A good reference to use in case you want to check the safety of your hair products is www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. I recommend this site because some hair products contain carcinogens which have been linked to cancer.
Conditioners/moisturizers hold moisture in the hair. Usually these contain high proportions of humectants. Humectants draw moisture in to dry areas. A few natural humectants include honey, sugar, and glycerin. It is important to consider whether conditions with the use of humectants because if it is moist outside your hair will absorb some of that moisture but adversely, if it is dry outside humectants will pull moisture from your hair.
Reconstructing conditioners usually containing hydrolyzed protein. Their role is to penetrate the hair and strengthen its structure through polymer cross linking. Natural protein containing foods include milk and egg.
Acidifiers contribute to the ph balance of hair. A couple natural acidifiers include citrus fruit like oranges and lemons.
The oils (EFAs – essential fatty acids) in conditioners, can help dry/porous hair become more soft and pliable. The scalp produces a natural oil called sebum. EFAs are the closest thing to natural sebum (sebum contains EFAs). The EFA with the most likeness to our natural hair oil sebum is avocado oil.
Sequestrants in hair conditioners provide better function in hard water and serve as a preservative. A couple natural preservatives are honey and tea tree oil.
All of the above stated ingredients in conditioners and moisturizers are what gives us the “slip” (ability to comb through hair easily) that we so hungrily desire.
Earlier this summer when my favorite conditioner of a year ran out, I decided to try new conditioners. Needless to say, I am glad I did! While I still love Giovanni’s Tea Tree Triple Treat for the cool tingly feeling it gives my scalp, I can just add a few drops of tea tree oil to the Tresume Naturals conditioner and get the same results with much better “slip.”Now this is not to say that my days of trying new conditioners are over but for right now I’m content:) I wish you all well in discovering your own personal favorite conditioner and hope this post will serve as a guide for what qualities you can look for in a conditioner for your hair type. Comment and leave your favorite conditioner or products below. Cee ya in the next post!
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