Saturday, February 22, 2014

Product Review: She Scent It Banana Brulee Moisturizing Deep Conditioner (The Deep Conditioner Files #3)

Price:  $12.50 for 9 oz.

Ingredients:  Water infused with Aloe Leaf Juice, Black Willow Bark, Roman Chamomile, Rose Hip Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Banana Extract, Emulsifying wax, Castor Oil, Vegetable glycerin, Coconut oil, Avocado oil, Honey, Hydrolyzed Cotton Seed Protein, Cocoa Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Babassu Oil, Silk Amino Acids, Panthenol, Silica, Germall Plus, Fragrance

Promise:  From the jar - “Want soft, bouncy beautiful hair?  Banana Burlee Moisturizing Conditioner adds moisture and nourishment to create soft, silky tresses.  This rich formula drenches hair with hydration to give dry hair the moisture boost it needs.”

Scent:  Like floral soap mixed with chamomile tea

Consistency:  Light and creamy, like body lotion.

Results:  I liked this conditioner.  My hair felt moisturized and strong after using it.  Plus, the scent is lighter than the Moisture Riche deep conditioner that I previously reviewed; however, it is still not a scent that I would want to have on my head for long periods of time. 

Love it, Like it or Leave It:  Leave it.  If I had to pick a deep conditioner from She Scent It, this would be it, but the scent still bothers me enough to leave it alone.  Don’t worry, I promise that I don’t hate the scent of all She Scent It products.  Next week, I review one of my two favorite products from this line.
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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cleansing Agents Part 2

Hey, HHJs!  In my last post, I talked about the three types of surfactants usually used in cleansers:  anionic surfactants (negative charge), zwitterionic / amphoteric surfactants (hybrid charge), and nonionic surfactants (no charge).

This post is about some of the cleansing agents in these three categories to look for.  Based on what I’ve read, here is a list of some cleansing agents to look for in a cleansing conditioner or a shampoo:

Anionic surfactant-based products include:

Zwitterionic / Amphoteric surfactant-based products include:
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine aka cocobetaine or cocabetaine (used in Burts Bees Baby Shampoo and Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream)
  • Sodium lauroamphoacetate (used in Ouidad Curl Co-wash)

Nonionic surfactant-based products:

Some cleansing products may also contain citrus fruits, such as lemon or orange extract, or contain apple cider vinegar, which break up oil.  Also, some cleansing products may contain plant-based ingredients that are high in saponins.  For example, SheScentIt’s Blueberry Co-wash Conditioner contains yucca root.  Wikipedia has a long list of plant-based soap substitutes, which can be found here.  I know that yucca root is a surfactant, but I’m not sure what kind.  I’ve seen some articles refer to it as anionic and some refer to it as non-ionic. 

Finally, some cleansing conditioners may contain clays that have cleansing properties, such as kaolin, bentonite, rhassoul (also called ghassoul), or green clay.  While it is not marketed as a cleansing conditioner, I’ve found that Shea Moisture’s Purification Mask feels like it cleanses my hair.  It contains both African black soap and kaolin clay.

Based on personal experience, I can’t use shampoos containing sodium laurel sulfate, olefin sulfate or sodium lauroamphoacetate.  These cleansers are too harsh for my hair, so I avoid them.  Thus far, my hair seems to like sodium cocoyl isethionate; cocamidopropyl betaine; decyl glucoside; and PEG-40 castor oil, which are all mild cleansers.

If you can’t figure out the cleansers in your product, look for the INCI name, which may give you a clue.  SwiftCraftMonkey also has a wonderful chart of surfactants and a 17-page document walking through some of the key ones.

What are some of your favorite surfactants for cleansing your hair?

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cleansing Agents In Shampoos And Cleansing Conditioners

Hey fellow HHJs!  I recently finished up all of the shampoo that I have in my stash, but I still have a number of cleansing conditioners.  Since I’m on a no buy challenge, my dilemma has been whether to borrow some of my hubby’s stripping shampoo or just stick to these cleansing conditioners.  My concern with cleansing conditioner has always been whether it would be cleansing enough.  I have always loved the As I Am Coconut Co-wash, which feels like it cleanses.  I also tried the Ouidad Curl Co-wash, which was a little too stripping for my hair.  However, I've heard rumors that some of the other co-washes are basically the same as regular conditioner.  So, I decided to do a little research to figure out what makes a cleansing conditioner different from a regular, rinse out conditioner.  To avoid making the post on my research too long, I’m going to break it out into two parts.  This part will talk foundation for what makes a great cleanser.  The second part will talk about specific cleansing ingredients to look for.

First off, let’s start with two basic concepts.  The purpose of a shampoo is to cleanse, which includes binding to dirt and oil to remove it.  The purpose of a rinse out conditioner is to balance ph levels and coat the hair cuticles to make it easier to detangle the hair.  In other words, while shampoo binds to oil, conditioner binds to hair.  I assume that the goal of an effective co-wash / cleansing conditioner is be a hybrid of the two.  With that in mind, I’m not as concerned with the conditioning portion of a cleansing conditioner, as I am about the cleansing portion.

In terms of cleansers, the active ingredient for removing dirt and oil from the hair is a surfactant.  Surfactants are great for two reasons.  First, they are great because they have two parts, one part that is water loving (hydrophilic) and one part that loves fat (lipophilic) and fears water (hydrophobic).  The fat-loving part is what binds to oil to remove it.  If you really want to know more about the structure of surfactants, the Natural Haven has two really great articles on this (here and here), so I’m not going to get more complex than that.  The important thing to know, for purposes of finding a proper cleanser, is that surfactants bind to oil and carry it away.

The second reason that surfactants are great is that many of them have a negative charge, which means that hair strands repel them, rather than holding on to them, because hair also has a slightly negative charge.  Remember that old saying that opposites attract?  It applies to hair too. 

Thus, there are three types of surfactants usually used in cleansers:  anionic surfactants (negative charge), zwitterionic / amphoteric surfactants (hybrid charge), and nonionic surfactants (no charge).  The stronger the negative charge, the better for cleansing hair.  Thus, anionic surfactants are the strongest cleansers, followed by zwitterionic, and then nonionic.  Positively charged (cationic) surfactants are almost never used as cleansers because they bind to the hair, rather than being repelled.  Have you guessed yet what kind of surfactant the conditioning agent BTMS contains?

In my next post, I will run through some common anionic, zwitterionic, and nonionic surfactants to look for in cleansers.

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

The LOC Method and Low Porosity Hair

Hey, HHJs!  One technique frequently talked about in the natural hair community is the LOC method.  For those, who don’t know what the LOC method is, it is a method of moisturizing and sealing hair.  In short, you layer products as follows:

  • Liquid (water or water-based liquid)
  • Oil, water-less butter, or pomade
  • Cream, wax or other emulsified product (liquid and oil suspended together with an emulsifier)

If you think about oil and water normally, oil sits on top of the water, which is why oil makes a great sealant.  Thus, it makes sense that you should layer oil on top of water to minimize the amount of water being lost to the air (I previously talked about water loss in my deciphering glycerin post).  The cream adds an extra, safeguard layer of moisture and sealing.

Some HHJs I know have changed the steps to better suit their hair, such as doing LCO or LOCO.  If you are not using an oil that penetrates the hair strand, like avocado or olive oil, it may be better to use LCO so that the oil is not blocking the moisture in the cream from getting to the hair.

If you are high porosity, then layering is particularly important because water evaporates easily from your strands.  However, for low porosity ladies, like me, you may want to combine or eliminate steps.  You may also wish to combine or eliminate steps if, like me, you have fine strands that are easily weighed down.  As I have mentioned in other posts, I don’t really use straight oil because my low porosity, fine strands don’t need or like it.  One of the benefits of low porosity hair is that, once water is in the hair, it stays in fairly well because of the tight cuticles.  The trick is getting water in.  Thus, rather than using straight oil, I combine the L and O steps, using an oil and water mix made with hair-penetrating oils.  Then, I layer on my cream, which is usually one of the Purabody moisturizers or Oyin Hair Dew.  I personally avoid emulsifying wax because my hair doesn't like it.

Here are rough estimates of my oil/water spritz.  I use a 4 oz spray bottle, add the following, and then fill it to the top with water:
  • 1.5 teaspoons of Oil (I usually use a mix of Castor Oil, Grapeseed Oil and Avocado Oil; but, sometimes, I use olive oil or double-up on avocado oil.  It is important for my main oil to be one that can penetrate the hair strand.)
  • 5 drops of Rosemary essential oil
  • 10-15 drops of Peppermint essential oil
  • 10-15 drops of Lavender Tea Tree essential oil
  • In the summer, 1-2 teaspoons of glycerin

What is your experience with the LOC method?  Do you use it?  If so, how?

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