I feel like I haven’t written a product roundup in five moons. What better way to jump back into it than with a zillion conditioners that will give you sexual hair days forever and ever?
A great conditioner has what beauty folks like to call “slip” -- that instantaneously smooth, silky, and buttery feeling you get seconds after applying conditioner to your freshly shampooed ends. You know, when your fingers just “slip” through knots and tangles? Do you get it? Huh? Shampoos strip my hair and give it the flattering consistency of a pterodactyl’s nest, so I need an effective detangling conditioner if I ever want to brush it again.
Silicones are an inexpensive solution for hair brands (usually drug store – sorry for the subtle shade) to add slip to their conditioners. While the silky effect silicones provide may feel like your hair is extremely moisturized, that’s not really the case. Womp womp…
This same substance included in conditioners can also be found among the ingredient list of anti-frizz serums. So, while silicones can temporarily lock moisture into the hair follicle, long-term use will also lock moisture out. Think of it as laminating your hair -- the moisture retention is not sustainable.
For example, after using a silicone based serum, smoothing a few drops of oil onto your split ends before bed will not nourish them, but instead sit on top of the hair. Ew!
Through sheer persistence, trial and error, and relentless e-mails to beauty PR reps, I’ve found seven rinse-out and leave-in hair conditioners sans silicones that provide slip and moisture:
1. Davines Absolute Beautifying OI/Conditioner
Remember when Cat and Annie used to write about their Davines love affair back in the early XO days? This conditioner is the GOAT. “GOAT” means “Greatest Of All Time” by the way; I’m not talking about literal goats. You could also call it BAE, or baby daddy, wifey, or whatever you want. Just know that I love this shit, because it the epitome of “slip,” but also has the longest-lasting moisturizing effects.
When using this product, my hair feels soft and shiny for days after heat styling, and actually feels clean longer as well. The consistency is similar to a mask until you rub the product between your palms, causing it to thin out a bit. It’s ultimately light enough to be used daily.
Davines conditioners typically smell super strong, but this has a very subtle herbal scent. The first time I rinsed out this conditioner, my hair was so soft I couldn’t tell if I had completely rinsed out the product. Spoiler alert, I had! I was just used to my hair feeling gross.
Key Ingredients: Apricot butter, roucou oil, angel tears
2. Living Proof Restore Conditioner
I could sing the praises of the Living Proof Restore line until my lips fell off. This conditioner in combination with the Restore Instant Repair Cream helped to revive my curl pattern, and eliminated the crispy crunch of my ends after two weeks of consistent use.
Key ingredient: Living Proof’s signature OFPMA molecule which is very science-y
3. Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Conditioner
Slip slip slipp-iddy slip. Are you sick of this word yet? I like this conditioner better than its shampoo counterpart, and almost as much as the original Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Serum – which I’m on my second bottle of. Bumble and Bumble also make a really great protein hair mask you might want to try out.
Key Ingredients: shea butter, grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, safflower seed oil, a million other cool oils
4. Rich Pure Luxury Intense Moisture Conditioner
I’ll be perfectly honest – this is the conditioner I use when I’m running out of other more expensive conditioners that I want to make last. I wanted to include an affordable option for you guys, and at $11 this is a great moisturizing and detangling option for dry hair. However, this will not restructure your strands like the others I’ve mentioned so far.
Key ingredients: hydrolyzed keratin, some other stuff I can’t pronounce
5. U Luxury Intense Mask
OK, so honestly I didn’t realize how expensive this hair mask was until I looked up the price for this article. My jaw is scraping the floor, but I DIGRESS. I received this mask in a gift bag at the Jenny Packham show during fashion week, causing my whole life to change. The consistency of this mask is similar to the Davines OI/Conditioner (albeit a little bit heavier and oily), but it has a much more pleasant scent – it’s kind of fruity. My only qualm is that there are tiny grainy seed looking things throughout which feel weird, but whatever. They rinse out very easily so it doesn’t matter.
Key ingredients: pearl powder, amber extract, shea butter, castor bean oil, hydrolyzed keratin, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed soy proteins, walnut shell powder –
Ooooooh maybe that explains the seed things?
6. Miss Jessie’s Leave-In Condish
Where my curly girls at? Whenever I let my hair air dry and want a more defined texture PLUS smooth baby hairs, I use this leave-in conditioner. At first it kind of smells like men’s deodorant, but the scent fades after about 20 minutes or so.
Key ingredients: aloe leaf juice, certified organic pumpkin seed extract, certified organic soybean seed extract, certified organic hope that you will find a man because your hair looks really nice
7. Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Milk
As you can see, I’ve used up half of this leave-in conditioner. I’m panicking a little. Even though this is meant to spray evenly throughout your hair, I find it takes a few thick streams to seem remotely misty. Avoid wasting product or accidentally creating a greasy patch in your hair by spraying this into your palms first before smoothing it through your hair. Mentally prepare yourself for the softest blowout ever.
Key ingredients: caviar extract, sunflower seed oil, algae extract, your mom lol just kidding!
Sometimes silicones seem like a necessary evil for those with unmanageable hair, I get that. However, like drugs and hot rebounds, silicones are only a quick fix, and do not improve your quality of life. If you’re a perpetually tangled mess like me, these conditioners should make your life easier.
Oh, and as always, if you have any more dope conditioner recommendations -- let a homie know.
Follow Courtney and her hair on Twitter and Instagram @courtneypizza