natural hair conditioner

Which Conditioner Should I Use?

Hair is all different.  Different textures, colours, wave patterns, density, and porosity.  So many variables are at play, that there is definitely no one-size-fits-all solution.

So which natural hair conditioner is right for you?

Most zero waste conditioner bars are made with a conditioning & emulsifying compound called BTMS-50 (or sometimes BTMS-25).  This is a blend of Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol and Butylene Glycol, and is a solid substitute for traditional cream conditioners in a bottle.

Conditioner is essentially lotion for your hair – the water component and the oil component are made to stick together by the addition of an emulsifier – in this case, BTMS.  This leaves hair with a silky smooth feeling.

Though claimed to be naturally-derived, BTMS is not something I feel comfortable using for myself or for my clients.  And there is no other substance that provides exactly the same properties as this ingredient.

So what do we do?  Those who love what is natural are willing to experiment and find out what works for them.  The conditioners that Au Natural stocks do NOT contain BTMS, and so need to be treated completely differently to regular conditioners.

Natural Conditioners

The most basic form of ‘conditioner’ is apple cider vinegar (ACV) – lemon juice & apple purée are effective alternatives if you do not like the smell of ACV, though the smell does not linger on the hair.  These acidic rinses make the hair cuticle lie flat, which imparts a gloss and smoothness to the hair shaft, easing knotting and preventing breakage.  They are too strong to be used neat, and should be diluted before applying to the hair.  ACV particularly can be extremely conditioning, so if you find your hair looks greasy, use less.  A teaspoonful in a jug of water is sometimes all that is needed.

Some enjoy using a little oil on their hair after washing. Fine hair needs a very light oil, like Argan oil. Coarser, dry hair may enjoy macadamia oil. Some even use coconut oil or olive oil.

If you find that these are not helping you, there are other natural alternatives.  Personally, when my hair is long it prefers the Argan Conditioner Bar, and when it is short, it prefers Shea Locks.  These are both quite rich, however, so if you are after just a light conditioner, the Conditioning Hair Oil is probably a better choice.  Applied as a leave-in treatment, just a tiny amount is needed to condition the ends of your hair.

Conditioning Shampoos

If you prefer a conditioning shampoo, then one of the Crème Shampoos might be the one for you.  Like a two-in-one treatment, they are extremely gentle and very rich, so if you want to wash your hair as little as possible, they may not be the right choice for you.  The amount of conditioning is controlled by the amount of product you use for each wash.  So if you find your hair is too dry, use less product.  If it is still greasy, use more next time.

My hair is low-porosity, oily, fine, thin, wavy and dark.   I have used every product stocked by Au Naturel, and currently my hair is enjoying the Aqua Curls more than anything else, despite my hair being oily.  I do wash it every day, though.

Get Support

If you are having difficulties, you may like to chat to the members of our Au Naturel Product Support Group, and troubleshoot with them. Just answer the 3 joining questions so we can approve your join-request.

I hope this article is helpful as you pursue your natural hair journey.  – Melissa 🌷