Monday, January 21, 2013

My Hair Routine Part 2: Conditioning!

My Hair Routine Series
Part 1: Cleansing
Part 2: Conditioning
Part 3: Styling
Part 4: Honorable Mention Products
Part 5: Styling Tools

My friends know that once you get me started talking about conditioners, you are in for an ear full! I have tried well over 100 conditioners. Some I love, some not so much, and some I don't even remember how I felt about it! That's the real sign of a product junkie right there...when you are in a store and think to yourself, "Man, I know I've used this before. But I don't know what I thought about it!" I cannot claim to have found the holy grail conditioner for me just yet. I have learned a lot about what my hair likes and what it doesn't like, though, and that helps me when I'm thinking about trying something new.

The conditioners featured in this post are my stand-bys. I know that they will work. I know I love them. But each one has one or two things I wish were different.  You'll see what I mean. So while these are definitely favorites, my search for the absolute perfect conditioner for me continues!  

I'm going to break with the usual here and not break this down based on "regular" conditioners and "deep" conditioners. I find that my hair is dry enough that I can use a so-called "deep" conditioner treatment every day without any weighing down, but sometimes what someone else calls a "regular" conditioner will be way too heavy and leave my hair very sad and limp.  A good example is that the first conditioner up, Joico K-Pak Intense Hydrator, would generally be considered a "deep" treatment. I can use it every day though. However, many curlies loves GVP Conditioning Balm from Sally's. That's too much for every day for me. 

These aren't listed in any particular order. I'm really just listing the contents of my shower caddy from left to right!

A note for those strictly following the Curly Girl Method: only two of these conditioners are CG friendly. I will list them last for clarity.  The rest contain silicone. I use a shampoo more often then not, so this isn't a problem for me, but if you are only conditioner washing, you will want to skip to the last two.

The Budget Buster: Joico Intense Hydrator

My hair is super duper fine and dry! I have learned that my hair adores protein in mass quantity (how to tell if a conditioner has protein? Look for ingredients like keratin or amino acids).  However, protein conditioners tend not to be the most moisturizing formulas.  It's like a see-saw; protein levels go up and the moisture content goes down.

This conditioner is a happy exception to that rule.  This is a very thick formula. It won't go anywhere if you have a blob on your hand and you turn your hand upside down. It smells fruity to my nose. Almost tropical. 

What I love: this gives me a punch of protein that leaves my hair quite bouncy and happy while delivering serious moisture. A perfect blend of both worlds for me.  The scent is nice but doesn't linger.  The "slip" (how easily it glides through your hair) is unreal. My minimal tangles melt away using this.

What I don't love: the price. I try to find this at TJMaxx or Marshall's. Generally there it's around $12 for the pictured size. However, at Ulta, this will run you $18.  And I need a good bit of it, even for my just past shoulder length hair. So I need to repurchase pretty often (once every 2 months or so). So for my budget, this isn't a practical every day conditioner for me.

The Penny Pincher: Suave Damage Care
Suave has really upped their game in recent years in my opinion. I love a lot of their products for styling, and this conditioner is fabulous.  

This conditioner has protein in it, which my hair loves.  It is not a thick conditioner to me.  This will slip around on your palms.  It has

What I love: The price! Under $2 at Walmart, and I can generally find a Suave coupon to get a free bottle or two. This is easy to stock up on, and you never feel guilty using bunches of it. Like the Joico, this has protein but also doesn't leave my hair feeling dry. The scent is strong and I do find that it lingers if I don't really scrub at my scalp to get all the conditioner out in the shower. I don't mind the scent though,

What I don't love: There just isn't enough moisture in this one for me. It doesn't leave my hair feeling dry, like I said, but if I use this and only this for a few weeks, then I start to notice some extra frizzies and dryness at my ends.  This is a fabulous "every day" conditioner so long as I have something more moisturizing to supplement. Sometimes, this product is hard to find because it seems that others in my area love this conditioner too. When it's out of stock, I will buy the humectant moisture conditioner as a substitute. I don't like the smell of that one as much, but I find it performs much the same.

The Drugstore Moisture Machine: L'Oreal EverPure Moisture Deep Restorative Masque
What a mouthful! I do not like the rest of the EverPure line. I find most of their products have awful scents that are way too overpowering, and I do not like the cleansing products one bit, as they seem to simultaneously dry out my hair while leaving a greasy residue. 

However, this product is the one exception. It is fragranced with a lighter peppermint scent which lingers a bit but I only notice it in my hair if I grab a strand and sniff it purposefully.  

What I love: This is a very thick formula that you scoop out of a jar.  It has great slip, smells spa-like, and leaves my hair feeling very moisturized without weighing it down.  It is reasonably priced and easy to find at the drugstore.

What I don't love: The packaging is annoying. I don't like jar type packaging in the shower because I feel like I always get water in there and that isn't the most sanitary.  I wish it had more natural ingredients and that L'oreal wasn't making it (I don't love their company practices) but I can't argue with the way my hair feels when using this.

Best Scent from the Drugstore: Aussie 3 Minute Moisture

I think most women have tried this conditioner at one point or another, so I won't go into detail about it. It's a good staple in my collection, and I rotate it in about once a week.  It smells fabulous to my nose, and I like the moisture content.

What I love: It's cheap, readily available, smells good, gives good slip and moisture

What I don't love: I find that I need to use a harsher shampoo with this or else I get buildup.  So it can't be an everyday conditioner for me, unfortunately.

The Best Smelling Conditioner: Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner

Please tell me that I'm not the only one who has gone back to a certain conditioner over and over mostly for the smell?  This stuff smells like happiness, joy, and world peace.

As far as I know, this is only available online.  It's a bit pricey at $20 for 16oz plus shipping, but like I said, it smells like joy. You can't put a price on that!

This is something that I treat myself to every fall/winter.  Obviously, pumpkin isn't a scent for summer, but man is it perfect in October!  The conditioner itself has good slip and delivers nice moisture content. This conditioner is CG friendly.

What I love: Obviously, the scent. The slip is good, and the packaging is nice.  This is just such a great seasonal product.

What I don't love: It's seasonal.  I can't use this year round because that would be odd to smell like pumpkin pie in June.  I also wish it were available on the ground.  My old biggest complaint was that it only came in 8oz bottles, but thankfully they have remedied that!

The Best All Around: Spiral Solutions

This was a brand that was started on by a forum member who started concocting things from home. I love every single thing from this line that I have tried. The Caitlin's conditioner is amazing, the Deeply Decadent is the perfect deep treatment, and I never get bouncier curls than when I use the Curl Enhancing Jelly. All the products are CG friendly.

What I don't love: It's never available.  I think the demand got to be a bit overwhelming, so I'm not even sure whether I should include this line in this post because I'm not sure if it will ever be available again. But the products are listed on Curl Mart so hopefully someday they will come back. And hopefully I will have a good salary. The products aren't cheap, but given all of the work that goes into this endeavor, I will gladly pay the prices. I just want them to come back in stock 

That rounds out my regulars! Are there any conditioners you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments section!

My Hair Routine Series
Part 1: Cleansing
Part 2: Conditioning
Part 3: Styling
Part 4: Honorable Mention Products
Part 5: Styling Tools


Diana @ Red Delicious Life said...

I'm really enjoying reading through all of your posts! Have you made a post about your typical week regime - how often you shampoo, condition, etc? I know everyone's timeline will be different but as a newbie CG-er I'm still very interested. Your hair looks so incredibly healthy!

Laura said...

I haven't done any posts like that, but I'm happy to share. I wash in some way everyday. I've never mastered getting my hair to look good without getting it wet everyday, and I like my morning shower too much to skip it. I would say 6 days a week I use shampoo (I have a few that I rotate through), and then one day I'll condition wash for the fun of it, usually on a weekend day when I'm planning to deep treat my hair anyway.