Conditioners: what, why, how

plastic bottles on shelf
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

If you have been in curly girl world long enough, you know that we love conditioner. Really love it. In fact, love is probably not a strong enough word for how we feel about conditioner. I believe “worship” is a better word for it.

Why is this? Well, curly hair tends to be dryer than our straight-haired friends because it takes longer for the oil produced on our scalps to move down the hair shaft. It’s like driving over lots and lots of hills. Some curly haired folks can get away with only washing their hair once a week because of this.

Also, depending on how quickly and easily your hair absorbs moisture (porosity), it can be harder to keep curls moisturized. High porosity hair likes to chug all the moisture at once and can’t seem to get enough. Low porosity hair has a harder time absorbing the moisture initially, but tends to hold onto it longer. I have high porosity hair myself and sometimes joke that it has a drinking problem, which is ironic because I myself do not drink.

More than one kind?

Did you know there are different types of conditioner? It’s true. Rinse out conditioners, leave-in conditioners, pre-poos, co-washes, deep conditioners….wait, there’s a difference? Yup!

Like I said, curly girls LOVE their conditioners.

What’s the difference between rinse out, leave-in, pre-poo conditioners, and deep conditioners?

Get yourself comfortable, this may take a bit. I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible.

Rinse out conditioners

This is self explanatory. You apply conditioner, detangle, leave it in for a few minutes, and rinse it out. Basically, conditioner.

Rinse out conditioners help restore any moisture lost while shampooing and can help in the detangling process. Some curly girls don’t rinse out their conditioners, but I only do this if the product says it can be left in. I’m kind of weird like that, I guess.

Leave-in conditioners

Conditioner you leave in. I like to think of it like facial moisturizer or makeup primer–it gets your hair ready for styling products. Curly girls tend to use more than one styling product, and I’ve found for myself that if I don’t apply leave-in conditioner before my stylers, the stylers will dry my hair out. Some folks (especially those with fine and/or low porosity hair) can skip leave-in conditioners. I am not someone who can skip leave-in conditioner. My hair is dry and thirsty.

Conditioner Washing

Also known as “co-washing”.

Back in the dark ages when curly hair products were not really available, Lorraine Massey came along with her Curly Girl Handbook and suggested using silicone free conditioner instead of traditional shampoo to cleanse the scalp and hair. For best results, you massage your scalp for several minutes to get the dirt and oil off.

Now that it’s 2020, curly girl products are much more accessible and it’s pretty normal to see products with “co-wash” and “cleansing conditioner” on the label. We also have access to sulfate free shampoos (also called “low poos”)

I tend to use sulfate free shampoos because while my hair is dry, my scalp is fussy. I have scalp psoriasis and dandruff, so I need something a little more cleansing than a co-wash. However, I make an exception for this hair cleanser.

Deep Conditioner

Deep conditioners are designed to penetrate deeper into your hair to moisturize and hydrate. These are not meant to be used every day or else your hair will get moisture overload (yes, that is a thing). The general recommendation is once a week, but everyone’s hair is different.

Are you still confused?

I hope my explanation didn’t confuse you too much! Learning how to manage your curly/wavy hair is super intimidating at first. But if you learn nothing else, learn to love conditioner. Here are some of my personal favorites and what I use them for:

Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk 3-in-1 Conditioner–I use this after I shampoo and just leave it in. You can find this at Walmart, Target, and Ulta.

Tresemme Botanique Nourish and Replenish Conditioner–I rinse this out. It’s also cheap and you can find it just about everywhere. Tresemme has recently come out with a sulfate and silicone free line called Pro Pure that may be worth checking out.

Kinky Curly Knot Today–Leave In Conditioner that can be rinsed out

Jessicurl Deep Conditioner Treatment–deep conditioner, but you can leave it in (I haven’t)

Pacifica Pineapple Curls Conditioner–I rinse this out, but some leave it in (not marketed as a leave-in) There is also a Deep Conditioner from the Pineapple Curls line as well that I like.

Mop Top Leave-in Conditioner–it smells absolutely divine and I love using it in the summer. It’s available on Amazon (it’s an authorized Mop Top distributor)

SheaMoisture Manuka Honey and Yogurt Hydrate and Repair Treatment: this is technically a protein treatment with moisturizing properties. I like using it when my curls are losing a bit of their spring.

My Soigne Hair Cleanser–possibly the only co-wash I have ever liked. Most co-washes aggravate my scalp, but not this one!

 

Do you have a favorite conditioner that you don’t see listed? What conditioner(s) do you use?

Roots and Boots Review

This was my first time receiving a hair product free for review, and yet my original interactions with the people behind Roots and Boots LLC were not hair related at all. I met Katie in a Facebook group completely unrelated to haircare, but the topic of curly hair came up and she offered to send me some of her products to try out.

Roots and Boots does not exclusively sell hair care products. In fact, it’s only a small part of what they sell. They sell handmade soaps, skincare products, lotion bars, pain relief lotions/oils, bath bombs, etc. They even have a section called “Jacob Friendly”; these particular products are safe for those who have allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, soy, and melons. As the mother of a child with food allergies, I think this is extremely thoughtful.

The women behind Roots and Boots are Anna and Katie: two moms who struggle with chronic health conditions. They started Roots and Boots to help other people like them. Their philosophy behind their products: if they won’t use the products on their families, they won’t sell it.

I chose to try out the Lemon and Lavender Shampoo, Lemon and Lavender Conditioner, and Lemongrass and Ginger Detangler.

First off, I want to rave about the customer service. When my products arrived, the conditioner pump did not work and they sent me a new pump right away! There is even an option when you are ordering to let them know if you have any sensitivities or allergies so they can accommodate you. I had questions about the ingredients in the detangling spray and they answered them right away. Also, the products came wrapped in pretty fabric rather than paper and plastic! I love me some pretty fabric.

Katie told me that she loved how lightweight the products were on her hair. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical of this because I normally want ALL THE MOISTURE. My hair is naturally dry, after all. I also don’t normally use detangling sprays.

The shampoo and conditioner both smell lovely: citrusy and floral. Nothing too overwhelming. The shampoo has a liquid gel consistency while the conditioner is very liquidy.

I felt like the shampoo cleaned my scalp enough without drying me out, and it didn’t seem to aggravate my flaky scalp issues. It lathered up pretty nicely too.

As I previously said, the conditioner is very liquidy. Normally, the conditioners I use are super creamy, so this was a new experience for me *laughs*. I had to use a fair bit to get the right amount of slip, but this is par for the course for curly haired folks. But the nice thing about this conditioner is that if you have dry hair (like me), you don’t have to rinse it out completely.

I mentioned above that I don’t normally use detangling sprays because they tend to be too light for me.

The spray has kind of a spicy citrus smell that I didn’t care for at first, but it has grown on me. I tried using this on my daughters’ hair, but neither of them liked the fragrance. Otherwise, the detangler worked great in their hair.

The slip isn’t amazing in my own hair, but since I do almost all my detangling in the shower, I don’t need a ton of slip in my leave-in conditioners

For my first time using the Roots and Boots line, I decided to use just the shampoo, conditioner, and detangling spray without any other stylers just to get a baseline for how my hair would look. I was expecting my hair to be completely frizzy by day three with no styling products. Remember my skepticism about how “lightweight” the products were?

These pictures are how my hair looked for three days without any styling products besides the detanger. I was pleasantly surprised. While yes, my hair was on the frizzy side by the third day…it was the voluminous, beachy waves kind of frizz.

I admit that volume wasn’t a big priority for me when I first started embracing my curls fully. In fact, I wanted nothing to do with volume. Because to me, volume meant frizz and frizz was to be avoided at all costs.

But thanks to these products, I am starting to embrace my volume as a natural part of my texture. Even if there’s a little frizz.

The only improvement I would suggest is a wider range of scents and maybe some thicker, creamier products for those who want extra moisture.

All in all, I enjoyed trying the Roots and Boots hair products out and I learned even more how to embrace my waves. If you’re looking for sulfate free, silicone free, natural hair products that are reasonably priced AND you want to support a small business, then you want to try out Roots and Boots.

Sample Saturday: Sashapure

sashapure product samples

I recently started doing Sample Saturday on my Instagram page because I have a bunch of samples that I received from Curl Mart purchases (three samples in every order) and I needed to use them. Sample Saturday is my way of using them up and trying something new without buying more stuff.

Wait, I got most of the samples from buying stuff to begin with…

But the point is that I’m not spending more money, at least right now.

The Brand

For this Sample Saturday review, I used samples from Sashapure. The brand boasts of using Certified Peruvian Sacha Inchii Oil, which is an oil that is rich in protein, omegas 3-6-9, and vitamins A and E. It comes from the Sacha Inchii plant in South America that can also be eaten and is claimed to be a superfood.  On their website Sashapure says that they are the first haircare brand to use USDA-certified organic and sustainably harvested Sacha Inchii Oil.

On the main Sashpure website, there are six products: Healing Shampoo, Healing Conditioner, Restorative Conditioning Mask, Re-hydrating Cleansing Conditioner, Perfectly Defining Curl Cream, Smoothing & Shine Hair Treatment, and Deeply Therapeutic Hair, Scalp, and Skin Elixir. The prices range from $11.99 to $15.99. So, they are about mid-range in cost. You can purchase from the website, or you can order them from Curl Mart.

I got three samples in a past Curl Mart delivery: Healing Shampoo, Healing Conditioner, and the Hair Elixir.

First Impressions

I was pretty happy with the shampoo and conditioner, though I wish there had been more product in the little packets. I was able to squeeze out just enough of the shampoo to work through my thick hair, but there wasn’t nearly enough conditioner for my liking. Of course, is there ever enough conditioner in Curly Girl World? I managed to get just enough conditioner to detangle, but I did not have high hopes for how my hair would turn out.

I used the elixir after I applied my Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in conditioner and before gel. For Sampe Saturdays, I like to keep styling product usage to a minimum so I can see how much the samples work. My first impression of the elixir was that it STINKS! It smelled really, really grassy. It smelled like fresh cut grass with a touch of gasoline. At first I was just going to stop after the elixir, but I HAD to put something else in my hair to cancel out the smell because I couldn’t stand it. So, I scrunched in some LA Looks gel.

Looking at some online reviews, the fragrance is the most commonly disliked part of the elixir. If Sashapure could do something about that, that would be great.

I should add that the fragrance in the shampoo and conditioner was mild and actually quite pleasant. I was really disappointed in how the elxir smelled.

Would I buy the product?

All in all, I wasn’t expecting much out of this experiment, but once my hair dried, I was pleasantly surprised. I had nice, beachy waves. Normally, I focus on curl definition, but I actually kind of liked the looser look. I am on Day Three hair as I write this, and the look has been holding.

 

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Day 1 after air drying completely
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Day 2 and feeling a little lazy. Refreshed with leave-in conditioner
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Day Three and refreshed with leave-in conditioner and spray gel

However, my scalp is a little itchy on Day Three, but that’s kind of normal for me when it’s getting close to my next wash day. I’m just prone to having an itchy scalp because of some scalp psoriasis

Would I buy these products in full size? I might buy the shampoo and conditioner to try out in the larger bottles. I would not get the elixir again based on the smell alone. There have got to be just as good products on the market that don’t smell so bad. I am interested in trying the hair mask and the curl cream (voted Best Curl Cream 2017 in People Magazine!)

The product designs are nice too–not at all fancy, but attractive nonetheless. As far as I can tell, most of the products are curly girl friendly, except for the Smoothing and Shine Treatment, which does contain silicones.

Have you heard of Sashapure hair products? Have you tried them? Let me know in the comments below!