my MUA reviews: conditioner

Heh. Some of these are historically interesting–see how I bravely persist with a product that’s not working. Out of stubbornness, out of a misplaced sense of loyalty, out of grouchiness at having spent money which, as it turns out, was money down the drain. Struggle with me as I battle to love a conditioner when it’s wrecking my skin… silly foolish me. Note at which points I end up stumbling haphazardly–no Damascene drama for me–onto the Path of True Wisdom a.k.a. of “Bugger This.” Read, read between the lines, laugh, and learn…

John Masters – Bare Unscented Detangler  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 5/23/2011 3:57:00 PM

Lovely, lovely conditioner: one of the best I’ve used, and one of the best two unscented ones.
It’s a creamy-coloured medium-thick liquid.
Pro #1: it is indeed unscented. There is no scent to this stuff. There are some essential oil extracts–chamomile, calendula–but very far down the ingredient list. Worth knowing it’s there if you’re more irritable than me…
A pro for those with scent issues: be that a personal dislike, or dermatological and respiratory irritation, intolerance, and full allergies. Also a pro for anyone who might want to add scent to their haircare, for a personalised tailored version: be that with a favourite scent (if you’re OK with the alcohol in most scents), or using essential oils, and/or using hydrosols like rosewater.
Pro #2: no irritation. Irritable scalp here, with mild eczema (hence why using unscented minimalist hair stuff).
Pro #3: the cheapest of JMO’s conditioners. The formula is very like my old flame, Citrus & Neroli detangler, and like the other detangler too (ingredients at end of review for comparison).
Pro #4: packaging. I particularly love the labelling and fonts. Beautifully minimalist.
Pro #5: conditions well, and fast; can also be used as a leave-in conditioner, and on ends between washes.Lightweight but not too runny; effective at its job, without being too heavy and greasing hair (let alone roots). Usual method here: wash twice, first wash is an approximate one (to loosen dirt etc.), second wash more thorough–still being gentle though–with shampoo left on for a good 1-2 minutes; meanwhile washing rest of self in shower. Then rinse out, condition, leave in conditioner for a couple of minutes, rinse out, and a final blast of cold water to seal cuticles.
YMMV as ever: a lot will depend on individual hair and scalp. Hair here: normal, slightly dry ends, long (beyond bra), fine, dense/thick, slightly wavy, strong (doesn’t break easily) but prone to tangling. Scalp: slightly dry, prone to drying out, eczema, easily irritated, skin is also thin so easily scratched. The only post-wash stuff I use is Phytodéfrisant (also unscented), no blow-drying or other processing/interference.
Con–only one, I’m afraid: price/functional effectiveness relationship. Amongst other unscented conditioners used recently, I’ve had similarly good results from Earth Science fragrance-free. Best results of all from Avalon Organics Olive & Grapeseed fragrance-free moisturizing conditioner: which works out 1/4 of the price.
Costs CAD17.00 for 236 ml / 8 fl oz from JMO online; slightly cheaper in the US, and available in some health-food stores (WF for one) in the US. Cruelty-free, using organic, fairtrade, biodegradable ingredients where possible, recyclable packaging. Like most of the other JMO products, this one is also vegan.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera leaf juice) gel,* aqua (water), behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, panthenol, hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, sorbitol, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil,* cocos nucifera (coconut) oil,* hyaluronic acid, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil,* sulfur, linum usitatissimum (flaxseed) seed oil,* borago officinalis (borage) seed oil,* soy lecithin, soy tocopherols, citric acid, arnica montana (arnica) flower extract,* camellia sinensis (white tea) leaf extract,* chamomilla recutica (chamomile) flower extract,* calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract,* equisetum hiemale (horsetail) leaf/stem extract,* foeniculum vulgare (fennel) seed extract,* potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate
* NOP Certified Organic
INGREDIENTS: CITRUS & NEROLI DETANGLER: Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera leaf juice) gel,* aqua (water), behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, panthenol (vitamin B5), hydrolyzed soy protein, wheat amino acids, sorbitol, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil,* cocos nucifera (coconut) oil,* helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil,* lecithin, tocopherol, glycerin, citric acid, citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel oil,* citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil,* citrus aurantium dulcis (neroli) flower oil,* canarium luzonicum (elemi) gum nonvolatiles,* cymbopogon shoenanthus (lemongrass) oil,* sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, arnica montana (arnica) flower extract,* camellia sinensis (white tea) leaf extract,* chamomilla recutica (chamomile) flower extract,* calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract,* equisetum hiemale (horsetail) leaf/stem extract,* foeniculum vulgare (fennel) seed extract,* lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) flower extract, linum usitatissimum (flaxseed) seed oil,* borago officinalis (borage) seed oil,* sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), sulfur
INGREDIENTS: ROSEMARY & PEPPERMINT DETANGLER: identical except scented ingredients above (grapefruit–lemongrass) replaced by: mentha piperita (peppermint) leaf oil,* rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil,* rosa damascena (rose) flower oil,* pelargonium graveolens (geranium) flower oil,* mentha spicata (spearmint) leaf oil,* nardostachys jatamansi (spikenard) leaf oil.

Earth Science – fragrance-free conditioner for all hair types  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 11/26/2010 10:26:00 PM

Decent basic conditioner, one of the better ones available if you’re looking for fragrance-free products for skin sensitivity reasons. Not as good on my hair as Avalon Organics’ Extra Moisturising Fragrance-Free Olive & Grapseed conditioner–ES leaves hair drier–but I wouldn’t throw it out the shower.
Fragrance-free, silicone-free, based on standard coconut oil derivatives plus jojoba oil, hydrolysed soy protein, panthenol, and nettle and burdock extracts.
Satisfies my admitedly basic requirements: hair should be detangled and smooth, not dry and frizzy; hair should neither dry out nor grease up at lightening speed; it should have some bounce, and not be limp or weighed down; surrounding skin (especially neck, back, face) shouldn’t be irritated. And the stuff should either have a scent that I like and that doesn’t make me sneeze, or no scent at all. Don’t like the scent/lack? Add essential oils, shake to mix, shake again before each use.
Like I said, this isn’t an exciting conditioner. Slightly gel-like cream, easy to dispense and apply and rinse out.
Hair here: long (bra-strap length), fine, dense/thick, slightly wavy, normal to dry, untreated (not dyed, textured, etc.; left to air-dry, no other products used other than Phytodéfrisant). Scalp can be sensitive, as can the rest of my skin, so I tend to favour unscented or minimally-scented products. I spent some quality time testing out unscented conditioners recently, as my eczema returned in patches: major ones on my neck.
Other unscented conditioners that worked (and a couple that worked in the past): Avalon Organics, Urtekram, Desert Essence (OK), NatureClean (ditto); less good on my hair: Jason, Whole Foods 365.
Cheap: around CAD 5.00-7.00 for a 350 ml bottle. Good packaging: white translucent plastic with flip-top cap, lovely label. Cruelty-free, recyclable, and free of various things.
INGREDIENTS: Water, Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Urtica Dioica Nettle Extract, PEG 8 Stearate, Panthenol, Tocopherol, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Ceteareth 5, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol

Avalon Organics Botanicals – Olive & Grape Seed Conditioner Fragrance Free  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 11/26/2010 10:15:00 PM

Current favourite conditioner; can also be used as a leave-in. Satisfies my admitedly basic requirements: hair should be detangled and smooth, not dry and frizzy; hair should neither dry out nor grease up at lightening speed; it should have some bounce, and not be limp or weighed down; surrounding skin (especially neck, back, face) shouldn’t be irritated. And the stuff should either have a scent that I like and that doesn’t make me sneeze, or no scent at all.
Fragrance-free, silicone-free, main ingredients are a water, aloe vera, and standard coconut-ol-derivative base; plus sunflower, linseed, olive, babassu nut, jojoba,and grape seed oils; and hydrolyzed soy protein and panthenol.
This is a fairly dense but creamy conditioner. Easy to apply. Rinses out well. Can also be applied to the ends as a leave-in (use just a dab). Mind you, this is true of many other conditioners too… It smells clean, that’s all. If you dislike the scent, there’s always the option of adding your own essential oil blend; I’ve done this in the past, using some combination of neroli, sandalwood, chamomile, rose. (Add the oils, shake bottle well, and reshake before each use.)
Hair here: long (bra-strap length), fine, dense/thick, slightly wavy, normal to dry, untreated (not dyed, textured, etc.; left to air-dry, no other products used other than Phytodéfrisant). Scalp can be sensitive, as can the rest of my skin, so I tend to favour unscented or minimally-scented products. I spent some quality time testing out unscented conditioners recently, as my eczema returned in patches: major ones on my neck.
Other unscented conditioners that worked (and a couple that worked in the past): Earth Science (slightly less moistening, but works fine), Urtekram, Desert Essence (OK), NatureClean (ditto), John Masters Organics “Bare” (as good as Avalon, but 4x the price); less good on my hair: Jason, Whole Foods 365, and various others…
Cheap: around CAD 6.00-9.00 for a 320 ml bottle. Good packaging: green translucent plastic with flip-top cap. Cruelty-free, recyclable, and many of the ingredients are organic (worth knowing if you’re into that).
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(1), Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Polysorbate 60, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil(1), Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil(1), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil(1), Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil(1), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Citric Acid, Alcohol(1), Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.
(1)Certified Organic Ingredient

Phyto – Phytojoba – Intense Hydrating Mask  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 3/23/2010 6:27:00 PM

UPDATE (02/2011): eventually finished small tube, wouldn’t repurchase or indeed buy the full size. Weighed hair down, even if only used very rarely (every 4-6 weeks…). Also, skin now back to being more irritable, and this is one of things that irritated my neck. Switched to using jojoba oil as pre-wash scalp treatment, every week or so: much more heartily recommended.
If your hair is very dry, coarser, maybe also treated–worth a try, but buy it first in one of the mini/travel/sample tubes (ex. in Sephora trial packs). 3.5 lippies bumped up to 4, as it really is meant for drier hair–my hair isn’t dry enough for this mask, and it wasn’t right for my scalp dryness.
Excellent but expensive intensive mask / treatment. Protein-free, moisturising / hydrating: not as moistening as some more oil-heavy conditioners, but seems to help maintain non-dryness of hair (and no, it doesn’t nourish the hair, but then again nothing does or can cos hair is dead). 75% angelica extract, plus quite a lot of coconut oil-derivative, and some dimethicone, jojoba oil, and amodimethicone. Using this very infrequently–every 2 to 4 weeks (from a mini sample tube). Hair here: long, fine, thick, some waviness underneath, normal tending to dryness at the ends, can be greasy at the roots. I usually wash it every 2-3 days (currently Phytojoba shampoo and Aubrey Organics GPB conditioner).
Application: well, while the mini version (for ex. in the mini-travel-kits at Sephora) is in a handy little tube, the full-size version is not in the best ever container. A plastic tub, from which one scoops out the requisite quantity. The stuff itself is a creamy cream, not too liquid, sits in the hand and doesn’t try to run away (thank goodness for small mercies at that price). Smells lovely: citrussy, not surprising given the orange oil. Not much is needed (on me anyway); easily run through hair. Can be left on for various lengths of time, depending on hair porosity. I find 2-3 minutes is sufficient. Then rinse out.
Results: Using this occasionally, in case my usual conditioner does too much protein-depositing. Between the two, it’s happy, healthy, not breaking, not tangling, and smooth. About as much as one can hope for–the rest will be down to diet. I worried, as my hair is usually lank and skanky with heavier ‘cones. Not in this case: sufficiently small quantities, and counterbalanced by other things in the formula. Hair is soft, smooth, light, slightly flyaway, manageable, very touchable. Stays that way for 3 full days, which is a good sign–too often, I find ‘coney conditioners leave my hair looking in need of another wash by the end of day 1.
It’s certainly very good at its job, but the price alone prohibits using it as a regular conditioner (I hope that’s not the idea behind the CAD42.00-51.00 for 200ml!!!). I’ve said “yes” I’d buy it again, in that there’s nothing wrong with it and indeed everything right with it, but I’d hesitate before spending the full price on the regular-size pot. Then again, on my hair Phyto stuff works as well as Kérastase did when I last used it. Except the P works out a little cheaper, smells nicer, and comes from a good company, decent ingredients and sourcing, cruelty-free (so: a more ethical choice all-round). Haven’t met anything “greener” that works even half as well, I’m afraid, though good everyday (proteiny) conditioners from AO & JMO; alas, too many of the others contain stuff that irritates my skin (scalp, back, hands). Still looking, of course, as what’s life without a little hunting and gathering?
INGREDIENTS: Angelica Archangelica Root Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol (from coconut oil), Water/Aqua, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Dipalmitoylethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate, Decyl Glucoside, Dimethicone, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Ceteareth-20, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance/Parfum, Amodimethicone, Tetrasodium EDTA, Benzophenone-4, Citric Acid, Trideceth-12, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Benzoate.
Note that the preservatives have changed, compared to the ingredients listing at the top of this product’s MUA review page here: minus the Phenoxyethanol & Parabens (Butyl, Ethyl, Isobutyl, Methyl, Propyl); plus the Methylisothiazolinone & Sodium Benzoate.

Aubrey Organics – GPB Conditioner  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 1/31/2010 10:01:00 PM

Lovely stuff on normal, untreated hair. Fine, thick, slightly wavy in parts, long (to bra-clasp), more or less normal but with tendencies to dry ends and greasy roots. Originally bought as an experimental cheaper replacement for John Masters Organics citrus & neroli detangler. On my hair and scalp, the GPB is better and for 1/3 of the price (GPB: CAD 13/325 ml vs. JMO: CAD 24/200 ml). UPDATE [02/2011]: it’s also one of the few scented things I can currently use, as skin more sensitive with the return of eczema.
Much of the reason this stuff works well is the coconut fatty acid and aloe vera base; other useful ingredients would include the horsetail & coltsfoot (glossing, acting a little like silicones would), and nettle extracts; and the protein complex: milk protein & glycoprotein (=protein containing polysaccharide chain) from oyster shells (i.e. this isn’t vegan), and a couple of amino acids.
The bottle does need to be shookled a bit before use, and–as others below have remarked–it isn’t a practical shape, nor as squeezy as it ought to be: this stuff is thick. And the GPB does need to be rinsed out very thoroughly, and Careful only to apply from about the ears downwards as this stuff is rich, and can leave hair greasy. Needs to be rinsed out thoroughly, and I find a cool final rinse helps too. Hair feels heavy, but dries light, shiny, smooth, bouncy, and–like in the Pantene ads–feeling healthy.
Best of all: glorious smell. It’s the balsam. As another reviewer pointed out, it does indeed smell like Revlon Flex from the 1980s. Which I loved (Flex, that is, less keen on the 80s as a whole, bar goth, indie, and electro music. OK, some parts of the 80s were good things to live through.) Not so keen on the scents of the other AO hair stuff, though it gets good reviews here, especially from people with drier, curlier hair.
Sadly, while the shampoo is OK and has the same scent, it’s not as good. It’s still one of the better “green” shampoos I’ve used, but it disappears fast when double-washing each time, doesn’t actually clean the hair and scalp very well, and leaves hair somewhat tangled: a combination resulting in more hair than usual down the drain. My favourite shampoos remain ones containing SLES, though as just one detergent in a mild base, and with a more acidic pH (Phytojoba, Klorane Oat Milk, Phytoprogénium mixed with jojoba oil).
Cruelty-free company, many well-formulated products (such as this conditioner), though some weird/funky scents and some odd ideas about things. But I’m buying a conditioner that works, not an organized religion… Costs around CAD 13.00 for a 325 ml bottle, the other AO conditioners being around the same price, except for the much more expensive rose one for treated/abused hair.
INGREDIENTS: aqua, cetyl alcohol (coconut fatty alcohol), alcohol denat (38b, lavender*), aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil, lactalbumin (milk protein), glycerin, equisetum hyemale (horsetail extract) extract, tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) leaf extract, urtica dioica (nettle) leaf extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil*, myroxylon balsamum (balsam), citrus grandis (grapefruit) seed extract, brassica campestris (turnip) oil, aleurites fordi (chinawood) oil, salvia officinalis (sage) leaf oil*, glycoprotein, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), glycine soja (soybean) oil*, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, beta-carotene, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) leaf extract, cysteine, methionine, ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
*=organic; the soybeans are organic and non-GMO.

John Masters – Citrus & Neroli Detangler  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 8/24/2009 10:41:00 PM

A truly great conditioner. So long as nose/skin not irritated by the scent. On straight-forward performance, the Detangler is a 5 lippie-er; bumped down by 1 for irritation. The formula is almost identical to the Rosemary & Peppermint Detangler–different essential oils, different scent–and both are very similar to the new (2011-05) JMO Bare Unscented Detangler. If you’re irritated by the scent in the Citrus & Neroli, or would rather add your own scent to your conditioner, I’d highly recommend the Bare version.
Caveat: on this specific hair – basically normal, will swing towards dry ends/greasy roots if pushed by the wrong product. Fine but thick/dense. Wavy. Mid-back length. Untreated, and usually left to dry naturally.
Having said that: a great conditioner. Easy to use, and can be used as a rinse-out (left on the hair for a couple of minutes, whilst applying in-shower body moisturising oil), as a leave-in, and a dab added to the ends and underside if it’s very hot and drying outside. Full of the sorts of goodies my hair seems to like: aloe vera, hydrolyzed protein, panthenol, a lot of oils (jojoba, coconut, sunflower, some borage and flax), plus chamomile, calendula, and horsetail. Decent balance between moisture and protein, which is a rare thing.
Bonus: it smells gorgeous. Citrus and neroli indeed.
Best of all: it works. Hair is detangled and moisturised. In good nick, and stays that way. Feels soft and nice, like hair in good form really. No itching to the scalp or to any surrounding skin. And I’m no longer washing my hair every day to cope with grease, nor doing so or adding more moisture between washes so as to cope with dryness. Indeed, now usually washing it every 2 to 3 days.
One caveat: using this exclusively did dry my hair out after several months – resolved by swapping over to another conditioner every couple of weeks for one wash, then back again (using up old Aveda Brilliant and Phyto 7 this way).
UPDATE [12/2009]: moved over to Aubrey Organics GPB conditioner: works as well as the C&N at its best, doesn’t leave hair dry, and is 1/3 of the price. Plus has lovely nostalgic Revlon Flex Balsam smell.
UPDATE [09/2010]: tried it again for a while as a rinse-out, and as a leave-in mixed with other things; alas, skin went into eczematic mode, including over-reaction to many scented products, of this was one. No more lovely citrus and neroli for me. Though neroli oil is one of the few that’s OK on my skin…
UPDATE [05/2011]: after using various other unfragranced conditioners, back to JMO and he Bare conditioner, which is the fragrance-free version of the Citrus & Neroli, Highly recommended.
The bad news is the price: CAD 22.00 / USD / EUR 20.00 for a 236 ml bottle. It’s a lovely bottle, and not much conditioner is needed, but it is expensive.
Then again: it works, and smells lovely. I for one will pay good money for hair stuff that smells this good, having been seduced by Nexxus Phyto Organics and Aveda; I can never go back to nauseating fake-fruit-bubblegum, ambiguous plastication, and the like.
No animal testing, mostly vegetarian or even vegan products, using organically-grown plant-based ingredients as far as possible.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera leaf juice) gel,* aqua (water), behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, panthenol (vitamin B5), hydrolyzed soy protein, wheat amino acids, sorbitol, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil,* cocos nucifera (coconut) oil,* helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil,* lecithin, tocopherol, glycerin, citric acid, citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel oil,* citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil,* citrus aurantium dulcis (neroli) flower oil,* canarium luzonicum (elemi) gum nonvolatiles,* cymbopogon shoenanthus (lemongrass) oil,* sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, arnica montana (arnica) flower extract,* camellia sinensis (white tea) leaf extract,* chamomilla recutica (chamomile) flower extract,* calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract,* equisetum hiemale (horsetail) leaf/stem extract,* foeniculum vulgare (fennel) seed extract,* lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) flower extract, linum usitatissimum (flaxseed) seed oil,* borago officinalis (borage) seed oil,* sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), sulfur
*Certified Organic by EcoCert / QAI
John Masters Organics ingredients and products are never tested on animals.

Phyto – Phytobaume Conditioner  rated 2 of 5 gingerrama on 7/1/2009 10:46:00 AM

[UPDATED: 06/2010] An OK simple conditioner / detangler, but not dependable. There is better and cheaper in the drugstore. And I say that as an ardent fan of some of the other Phyto products (Phytojoba shampoo, Phyto 7 leave-in conditioner, Phytodéfrisant). Hair here: untreated, more or less normal (roots can go slightly greasy, ends drier), dense, fine, slightly wavy.
Creamy, slightly liquid. Easy to apply. The smell will be a love/hate thing: I liked it at first, now can’t stand it. Definitely smell before you buy: useful as this is one of those products that does actually smell the same out the tube, in your hand, and worked through your hair, as it does just sniffed in the tube. Main actives: coconut-oil-derived fatty acid base, elderflower and mallow extracts, amodimethicone (yes, it’s a silicone – but one of the “less appalling” ones and in water-soluble form in emulsion), hydrolyzed keratin, quaternium-26. Sinks in fast, rinses out easily, hair may be more or less detangled afterwards.
I say more or less: when I first used this, all went well for a few weeks, then hair dried out. Phytobaume is basically not very moisturising. This is no faulty of the Balm, and it is meant to be just a protein-rich detangler after all. Despite thinking it might be the protein, I switched over to John Masters Organics Citrus & Neroli Detangler then Aubreys Organics GPB (both of which contain protein): all was lovely. Tried Phytobaume again a year later, and I had to return the tube: did not do its job. Zero detangling.
Much more successful–gorgeous results–and recommended instead, if your hair is even a smidgeon dry: Phyto 7.That, now, is worth every penny. And moisturising without any heaviness or greasiness.
No animal testing, not bad on the green credentials side if that’s your cup of tea, company tries to use plant-sourced ingredients as far as possible, and with good research (inc. CNRS links) behind them. Bad news is the price: even here in Europe, it’s in the region of EUR 14.00-20.00, depending. Decent packaging, in a squidgy plastic flip-top tube that stands on its head.
INGREDIENTS: Sambucus Nigra (Elder) Flower Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Stearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-33, Malva silvestrs (Mallow) Extract, Amodimethione, Propylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Quaternium-26, Octoxynol-40, Isolaureth-6, Fragrance, Methylisothiazolinone, Citric Acid.

Urtekram Camomile Conditioner  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 6/4/2009 9:17:00 AM

A plain and simple conditioner, works well on fine thick virgin hair. Claims to be meant for blonde hair, also fine on red (and not going blonde). It applies like any other conditioner – though best left on for a couple of minutes, I’ve found – and comes with a lovely chamomile-tea-like scent – and leaves hair detangled, smooth, shiny. Neither dries hair out nor greases it up. As an oil-based conditioner, using it in alternation with my protein-y regular (about every third wash).
The Urtekran range (all very organic, and no animal testing) includes shampoos, and – as well as this chamomile one – No Scent, Rose, Lavender, Aloe Vera, and Marigold. I got the Chamomile as I like the scent (and my hair seems to like the stuff), and as it’s fairly regularly available here in Ireland. Only available in Europe, I’m afraid; EUR 6.50 for a 250 ml plastic flip-top bottle.
INGREDIENTS: Water, vegetable glycerine*, coconut oil products, apricot kernel oil*, jojoba oil*, olive oil products, citrus seed extract, essential camomile* and rosemary oil*, citric acid. * = Organic farming
International list of ingredients (INCI): Aqua, glycerin*, glyceryl stearate se, prunus armeniaca kernel oil*, simmondsia chinensis cera*, cetyl alcohol, cocoglycerides, cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate, citrus grandis seed extract, ormenis multicaulis oil, rosmarinus officinalis oil*, citric acid, linalool, limonene (*= from organic farming, = from essential oil)

Aveda – Pure Abundance  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 1/10/2009 5:31:00 AM

UPDATE: Well, of course, just as soon as I move from the GWP to actually buying this stuff, hair dries out. On oilier hair this stuff may be a godsend; on “normal” hair, it may be very drying if used continuously.
This is a thick (though slightly creamy) conditioner, intended for fine and/or greasy hair. The thickening compnents would be the marshmallow, clay (aka kaolin), honey, and acacia gum: full ingredients at end of review. One of only about two Aveda conditioners that are completely silicone-free. Hair specs here: virgin, collar-bone-length, fine, thick, can go dry at the ends and greasy on top, irritable scalp (generally sensitive skin).
PA is dead easy to use. Washing hair with head upside down, shampoo hair (I didin’t use the matching shampoo, but my usual one). Rinse. Wring out ends of hair. Apply PA (head upside down, again) – one can go down to the roots, it’s non-greasing, and scalp is fine with it. Smells gorgeous, as is the case with most Aveda hair products: a slightly masculine citrus, herbal, earthy, spicy. Run hands and/or big-toothed comb through hair to distribute it – I found the PA worked very fast, no need to wait around at this stage, and hair was pretty detangled. I’ve been rinsing out immediately. No further products used afterwards, and no blow-drying.
The results: easy to comb out while damp, and once dry, hair is soft, quite smooth, and – the unexpected marvellous part – light and bouncy. It doesn’t just seem but *feels* fuller. Without any cruddy gunky stuff at the roots, nor the hair strands being sticky. Not weighed down. No residue. Also, no fluffiness, flyaways, or frizz: hair isn’t dried out. My hair got less greasy and didn’t need to be washed as often. I’ve gone from washing it every day or two, to every two or three. This is great for getting out in the morning …
Two problems:
(1) I found that after a certain time (about 2 weeks) my hair became drier and drier. Being able to have a couple of days between washes is one thing; hair being dull and definitely dry is another.
(2) it’s extraordinarily expensive. Even by Aveda standards. Sure, it’s fairly dense, so will last longer. Available in a 200 ml / 6.7 oz tube, and the biggest bottle is 473 ml / 16 fl oz, not the full litre, in a bottle than stands on its cap (I prefer a pump top, at the top…). The cheapest I’ve seen that for in Europe is about GBP 28.00 online; here in Ireland, the going rate is EUR 49.00. Meanwhile in the US I think it’s somewhere around USD 36.00-40.00-ish? Hmmmpf.
INGREDIENTS: Aqueous (Water, Aqua Purificata, Purified) Extracts: Althea Officinalis (Marshmallow), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Cetearyl Alcohol, Kaolin, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Honey (Mel), Acacia Senegal Gum, Maltodextrin, Babassuamidopropyl Betaine, Babassuamidopropyltrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Stearyl Alcohol, Fragrance (Parfum) (Aveda’s Own Pure-fume Aroma With Certified Organic Peppermint, Palmarosa, Ylang Ylang and Jasmine), Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol, Eugenol, Benzyl Benzoate, Citric Acid, Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium Gluconate, Potassium Sorbate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

Weleda – Calendula and Chamomile Conditioner  rated 2 of 5 gingerrama on 7/22/2008 7:44:00 PM

Why oh why did Weleda reformulate this? It’s beyond grim! The formula’s fine – not great, not bad – but this smells absolutely rank. Mouldy banana is the first and dominant note. Whoever was responsible for the essential oil spillage should be shot. What were they thinking? What were they on? Did they have no sense of smell? It’s as though someone tried to fake the bastard child of Nexxus Humectress with Aveda Shampure (which could be a beauty) when incapacitated, didn’t have half the requisite ingredients, made random substitutions, and spilled in the rest; before slipping on the kitchen floor, dropping the lot in the trash, retrieving it, and just mushing in whatever the trash bag had contributed to the concoction. Alchemy it ain’t.
With this new version, Weleda have ruined one of my all-time favourite conditioners (the old Weleda Calendula). I bought this piece of newfanglery and tried it, in case the scent changes once you’re in the shower and lathering. To be fair, it did diminish, which was a mercy, so I was at least able to test out the performative aspects of this stuff. It does do the job – no tangling, runs through hair well, that sort of thing (hence the stars it has) – but I had to rinse it out and apply another less malodorous conditioner… and leave it on and inhale for some time…
Who knows, someone out there might like this. On the other hand, the reformulated Lemon Balm & Orange Blossom smells nice (lemon and mint, little of the blossom), and the Rosemary & Ginger is a winner. Gorgeous. Recommended. Now one of my eveyday regulars (along with Lavera’s Basis conditioner).
Weleda is cruelty-free, mostly vegan, and super-duper squeaky-clean nice and good and ethical and so on; easy to get hold of in Europe, the reformulated conditioners cost around EUR 10.50-12.20, the shampoos around EUR 8.50-10.00 / GBP 7.95 is the online price for both.
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Alcohol, Glycerin, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Limonene*.
*from natural essential oils (i.e. naturally present in the essential oil).

Weleda – Rosemary and Ginger Conditioner  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 7/22/2008 6:44:00 PM

The new version of Weleda’s classic Rosemary Conditioner. Thumbs up. Great stuff: above all, leaves hair looking and feeling gorgeous; in great condition; and softer, thicker, and stronger than with any other conditioner I’d used recently. Perfect on normal, untreated, thick, fine hair. Contains lots of coconut-based cetearyl alcohol and jojoba oil (full ingredients list at end of review).
Packaging has been improved compared to Weleda’s old hair range. Smells good – mainly, unsurprisingly, of rosemary and ginger – though smells at its strongest when one sticks one’s nose at the bottle. And smell goes fast; I added rosemary oil. Texture: not too thick, not too thin, easy to apply through hair; on normal hair, I barely leave on for a minute. Hair is already well detangled while being rinsed out – generally a good indicator that a conditioner has done its job insofar as detangling hair goes. Dries (naturally) quite slowly (as seems to be usual for silicone-free conditioners, in my experience); scent is still there but very mild, and more enigmatically spicy. Nice.
Once dry, hair is soft, shiny, silky, bouncy. Very touchable, and easy to run hands through. (I have to stop myself from tossing my mane around like in the L’Oreal advertisements…) Seems thicker and more voluminous than with other conditioners. Scalp happy too: mine gets dry patches and occasionally eczematic flakes with some ingredients and conditioners, and goes super-greasy with others. It’s very definite about loving or loathing hair stuff, and loves this.
The matching shampoo’s OK – still using Aveda Shampure off and on, and I’ve found that mixing in the Weleda shampoo with the Shampure works a treat: using about 1:5 (1 part Weleda to 5 parts Shampure).
I’ve also been using the Weleda Rosemary Hair Lotion: as a pre-wash, just massaged gently into scalp at start of shower, left for a couple of minutes while I do the rest of cleaning, then rinsed out and shampoo. I then mix one drop (no more! this stuff’s intensive) with the Rosemary & Ginger Conditioner in the palm of my hand before application. Makes the scent even more rosemary-ish, and hair and scalp seem to be happy. I’ve noticed that hair seems stronger and less prone to breakage: none on pony-tail bands, and less of it down the drain and on my hair-brush; although, to be fair, I don’t know what other factors should be considered, and this is not a proper controlled experiment.
Like all Weleda products, not tested on animals; fair trade; no silicones, parabens, etc., etc. Costs around EUR 10.50-12.20; GBP 7.95; USD ??? Readily available in Europe (and very popular – Weleda’s hair stuff is classic, even – in continental Europe). The price of their conditioners has nearly doubled with this new formulation and more grown-up packaging. Sigh. Still, cheaper than many other comparable ones – in terms of green-ness, ingredients, formula, scent, and of course performance – so remains a very good deal.
And I’m comparing not only to other “green” brands (Avalon, Burt’s Bees, Faith in Nature, Giovanni, Green People, Jason, John Masters, Korres, Lavera, Shi Kai): this stuff measures up to high-end lovelies – “greener” and less so – that perfomed as well, or just about nearly as well (Aveda, Bumble & Bumble, Fekkai tho’ not so good on me, Joico, Kerastase, Kiehl’s, L’Occitane, Molton Brown, MOP not good on me, Nexxus, Ojon, Trilogy).
A word of warning: while this is lovely, and the new lemon balm and orange flower one smells nice, Chamomile & Calendula – the new version of one of my favourite conditioners of all time, ever ever ever – is grotty: sort of mouldy muddy banana. Really grim. I can’t imagine what Weleda were on when they reformulated that one. Maybe the peel of singularly skanky old bananas.
Second warning: goes “off” fast.
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Alcohol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Glycerin, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Zingiber Officinalis (Ginger) Root Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Zingiber Officinalis (Ginger) Root Oil, Citral*, Limonene*, Linalool*.
*from natural essential oils (i.e. naturally present in the essential oil)

Lavera – Basis Conditioner  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 7/13/2008 5:51:00 PM

UPDATE: Gorgeous for a longish time. Alas, hair dried out. No more. Back to Aveda Brilliant, and experimenting with Giovanni (the Direct Leave-In is a good ‘un so far, not used long enough to review properly)
Plain simple silicone-free conditioner, works well on normal hair that’s fine but thick, and untreated. Has that classic Lavera Basis scent of rose + green notes. Does what it says: hair is shiny and full-bodied. In a light and mane-tossing way. Keeps hair in prime condition: the roots don’t grease up and flatten fast, the ends aren’t dry, the slight wave is still there without going to frizz, and there’s even some bounce.
This is a creamy-coloured cream, in a squat tube that stands on its opening-end. Contains honey, soya and sweet almond oils, panthenol, and aloe vera – full ingredients follow at end of review. Best applied to hair when damp and slightly squeezed out (I use a facecloth, in shower). It’s quite thick and concentrated: a small blob is sufficient, emulsified with a little water in palm of hand. Doesn’t need to be left on for more than about a minute maximum. Rinses out easily. Hair is tangle-free and can be combed through straight away.
Scalp is in better shape than with some heavier conditioners, but without sacrificing moisture or, indeed, smoothness and sleekness in the hair itself. After all, kind of the whole point of conditioner… Hair is in good shape, bouncy, and shiny. More lively than with many oilier conditioners. Yet without the frizziness, dryness, straw-like texture, and hairs-down-drain phenomenon attached to less moisturising / nourishing / rich conditioners. A well-balanced and pleasant beast.
Costs GBP / EUR 4.50-6.00 for 150 ml, but that lasts for a good 2 to 3 months, used every day or two. Available from many health-food/eco shops, as well as online. Like the whole Lavera range, this is cruelty-free and aims to be as plant-based and organic as possible. Such sensitivities aside, their products are also – and importantly – aimed at more sensitive-skinned souls, and tested on them. The alcohol, if you’re worried about it, is partly a preservative and partly for the aloe vera juice solution (this is more explicit in the German version of the ingredient list).
I’ve actually ditched my long-beloved Aveda Brilliant for this stuff, it’s that good. Have also bought Lavera’s Basis Mild Shampoo (for when I’ve finished the Brilliant shampoo), will report back on that in due course. Lavera also make a whole hair range – much more sophisticated than the Basis (cheaper, family-orientated) one – in green bottles: of these, the Rose Milk shampoo and conditioner smell absolutely gorgeous.
INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Alcohol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Lactate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Panthenol, Honey (Mel), Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Lauroyl Sarcosine, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Limonene, Linalool

Burt’s Bees – Color Keeper Green Tea and Fennel Seed Conditioner  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 3/28/2008 12:12:00 PM

Fabulous light no-silicone conditioner that works well on *untreated* normal hair (slightly dry ends / slightly oily roots).
Reasonable plastic bottle, no practical issues. Good texture of product, neither too thin/slippy nor too thick. About two inches’ dollop is plenty for shoulder-length hair. A major factor is the scent: as other reviewers have noted, this is a true green tea. I liked it, but scent’s always a matter of taste, so sniff before you buy in case it’s not your cup of tea. Work through hair (avoiding the roots), then rinse. I didn’t wait around – I find that it takes me a minute or so to comb conditioner through anyway. Rinse, blot dry, and go. The smell only lingers a little (a shame, methinks).
The hair is happy with this conditioner. Absolutely perfect, and leaves my hair smooth, shiny, bouncy, wavy in a good way. Like in commercials. The only other completely cone-free conditioner that’s made it as happy in the last couple of years was the Weleda Calendula (in process of discontinuation, and has the flaw of going off very fast).
The bottle claims to be for coloured hair. So I’m not using it for what it’s meant for. My hair is virgin and fairly innocent of all treatment – blow-dried 2-3 times a year at the hairdressers’ – but I’ve found that shampoo and conditioner for coloured hair tend to be gentler (avoiding those targeted at specific tints, obv., and the very heavily moisturising ones).
Loving it. Now using this in alternation with Aveda Brilliant, in my quest to get unhooked from silicones (the Brilliant has a small quantity of a lighter ‘cone, way down the list) – moving from 1:1 to Brilliant only at weekends. And in an attempt to save money without sacrificing quality. Bliss – I’d nearly resigned myself to a lifetime of poverty to subsidise my Aveda habit, as it’s shockingly expensive here in Ireland. Above all, the hair must be happy – and it is.
Costs EUR 11.00 for 12 fl.oz / 354 ml.
INGREDIENTS: water, centrimonium bromide, cetearyl alcohol, sucrose laurate, betaine, glycerin, honey, sclerocarya birrea (marula) seed oil, glucose, foeniculum vulgare (fennel) fruit extract, impatiens balsamina (jewelweed) extract, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit oil, myristica fragrans (nutmeg) kernel oil, citrus aurantifolia (lime) oil, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil, thymus vulgaris (thyme) oil, ribes nigrum (black currant) seed oil, polysorbate 60, fragrance, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase

L’Occitane – Angelica Lavender Geranium  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 2/28/2008 1:07:00 PM

UPDATE: Hmmm, going off this – hair is becoming a bit weighed-down with siliconey conditioners, now onto no- or low-cone with better results – still the shine, but less of the flat and greasy, more of the bounce, and not needing to wash every day.
Great stuff. Just realised I’ve been using this for a while and haven’t reviewed it. I’m currently using this in alternation with Weleda Calendula and L’Occitane Olive Harvest (which is proving a little heavy for everyday use). Excellent for normal to slightly dry hair that’s fine but thick, shoulder-length, sensitive skin including scalp, can be irritated. Not coloured or otherwise treated, and dried naturally.
The conditioner is concentrated, so only a small amount is needed: in this case, a blob about 2.5 cm/1″ across in the palm of the hand. It is easy to smooth into the hair, and barely needs to be combed through. Doesn’t need to be left on, due to the slinky silicones and sweet almond oil. It rinsed out well and left the hair sleek but light. The end result is soft, supple, silky, strong, smooth, shiny hair. I found it works well with the matching shampoo (and that’s coming from someone who’s usually skeptical of the whole matchy-matchy business as a gimmicky money-spinner). Double shampoo before – one with small amount, low lather, rapid rinse; second with a little more, properly massaged around, and left on for a few minutes. Then this lovely conditioner.
Ravishing scent: very like the herbal aspect of Neutrogena Rainbath (old 1980s/early 90s formula, before they were taken over and products changed). Also smells like linden tea, which I associate with tea and cake at the end of weekend walks when a child. As linden leaf is one of the first ingredients, I guess it all makes sense. The scent, as others have said, does linger on your hair.
This does contain a lot of silicones, so be warned, if you don’t like them. I’ve found that they don’t weigh my hair down so long as I condition hair upside down, not letting any of it near the roots, and rinse out a.s.a.p. – as soon as I’ve distributed this through hair. I also alternate with a non-silicone conditioner, currently the Weleda Calendula. I had noticed a certain limpness and buildup happening, so have gone from 2 Angelica: 1 Weleda, to alternating between them.
Costs about EUR 17.00 for 250 ml, but as one doesn’t need much, it lasts for a reasonable time. Yes, it *is* comparatively more expensive in the US; but then, Aveda is comparatively more expensive here in Europe. I got hooked on Aveda while living in the states, and have spent the last year un-hooking myself from Shampure and Brilliant. If you’re in the US and find L’Occitane prohibitively expensive and/or hard to get hold of, I’d say that Shampure shampoo (double-lather, again) + Brilliant conditioner produces a similar effect.
INGREDIENTS: AQUA/WATER, CYCLOMETHICONE, DIMETHICONE, GLYCERIN, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, PRUNUS AMYGDALUS DULCIS (SWEET ALMOND) OIL, TILIA PLATYPHYLLOS EXTRACT, BEHENTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, PARFUM/FRAGRANCE, TOCOPHEROL, PANTHENOL, LIMONENE, LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA (LAVENDER) OIL, LINALOOL, ANGELICA ARCHANGELICA ROOT OIL, PELARGONIUM GRAVEOLENS FLOWER OIL, CITRIC ACID, METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE.

Weleda – Calendula Conditioner  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 2/28/2008 12:44:00 PM

UPDATE: discontinued – now replaced by new Calendula & Chamomile (which, to my nose, is rank). New Rosemary & Ginger highly recommended, also Lemon Balm & Orange Blossom is pleasant (but better on oilier hair). Hence why I won’t be buying this again – cos it doesn’t exist. The new formulae are not very different in terms of main active ingredients, but repackaged, and twice the price.
The good old Calendula and its current replacements are first-class basic cheap silicone-free conditioner; main ingredients being coconut-based fatty acids and jojoba oil.
It’s a very simple and straight-forward conditioner, mild, non-irritating to scalp and skin, and works well on hair that is more or less normal (slightly dry), fine, but thick. Not coloured or treated or blow-dried. So not terribly demanding. This might, therefore, not be sufficiently moisturizing for hair that is longer, drier, more treated/tamed, etc. Or you could add more oil to the ends.
One shampoos, rinses, squeezes excess water out of hair, and applies this lovely stuff. Pale/white-ish and intermediate texture, not too thick, not too thin. About a quarter/10p/EUR1.00 size amount suffices for shoulder-length hair. One puts this on, anyway, concentrating on ends; and combs through; leaves for a moment (maybe a minute? not more, I bore rapidly with leaving on conditioners). Rinse, towel-dry, comb through again, leave to dry.
Hair is left smooth, tangle-free, shiny, etc.; all the things one requires of a decent conditioner.
It smells very pleasant in the shower: herbal, not too sweet, with elements of citrus, verbena, rosemary, sage, and ylang-ylang. A little like Aveda Shampure. The Man has taken to this enthusiastically and commented on the scent; he has fine hair, very sensitive skin, and delicate scalp. The scent only lingers very slightly afterwards.
Two notes of warning. I was not impressed by the matching shampoo, as it didn’t clean my hair. And the conditioner goes off very fast, I think (I may be wrong!) because there’s little in the way of preservatives, as is often the case with natural cosmetic products: here, ex. grapefruit seed extract and citric acid. You’ll know if it’s off – it smells funky in the bottle, funkier still on application. So sniff before you buy. Current last stock – i.e. as far as I can tell, the last batch manufactured and that’s still on shop shelves – is dated for 06/2010; I found some older stock, for 10/2008, that was Not Good. So be ye warned.
It’s mercifully cheap here in Europe: around the EUR 5.00-7.00 mark, for 250 ml.
INGREDIENTS: water – cetearyl alcohol – cetrimonium chloride – jojoba oil (jojoba esters) – calendula officinalis tincture – grapefruit seed extract – alcohol denat. – citric acid – essential oils of lavender, ylang ylang, orange, Spanish rosemary, litsea cubeba/verbena tropicalis, clary sage, sage, Peruvian balsam.

L’Occitane – Olive Harvest Daily Conditioner  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 10/25/2007 7:36:00 AM

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: tried newer version (creamy-white bottle, gold lettering, “le rameau d’or”). Less siliconey, otherwise much the same; I can’t compare the two–errm, at four years distance and with one discontinued–but the current version feels even heavier. Not as rich as L’Occitane’s She conditioner though. Which is stonking stuff on seriously needy hair (mine ain’t).
UPDATE: Hmmm, going off this – hair is becoming a bit weighed-down with siliconey conditioners, now onto no- or low-cone with better results – still the shine, but less of the flat and greasy, more of the bounce, and not needing to wash every day.
Full product name: Olive Daily Conditioner – in the Olive Harvest range. Just moved over to this and its matching shampoo from the Jason Hemp Moisturising pair, which in turn replaced Aveda Brilliant. Excellent for normal to slightly dry hair that’s fine but thick, and shortish -chin-length growing out towards shoulders; this particular hair alternates a gentle moisturising S+C with a mild protein-rich pair (Shampure, every third wash now). Washed every day or two. Sensitive skin including scalp, can be irritated.
The Olive comes in a plastic bottle with flip-top lid. No disasters here; if you don’t like it, decant it – Muji do lovely clear plastic bottles with pump dispensers. The conditioner is more fluid than the shampoo, which is slightly disconcerting. It’s concentrated, so only a small amount is needed: in this case, a blob about 2.5 cm/1″ across in the palm of the hand. It is easy to smooth into the hair. I didn’t follow the label and rinse it out immediately, but left on for only a minute or so. It rinsed out well and left the hair sleek but light. The end result is soft, supple, silky, strong, smooth, shiny hair. Fantastic.
Smells lovely, if you like earthy, spicy smells. There’s citrus in there, and maybe cedar/sandalwood, and that olive-greenness. More peppery than the matching shampoo. It smells as it does in the bottle, but stronger, so sniffing it in a shop before you buy it is probably a good idea. The scent stays on hair (subtly, mind you) through the day.
It is expensive, and prices seem to vary depending on your country: here in Ireland you’re looking at EUR35.00 for the pair, elsewhere in Europe it’s around EUR20.00-25.00, the same number of pounds sterling, and USD34.00 online. This is cheaper (other than in the US) than Aveda Brilliant, whose performance is comparable. And it’s concentrated…
For this type of hair, and for drier hair that’s still quite fine, it would seem to be an idea to try the Aromachology S+C for Dry and Damaged Hair with Angelica, Lavender, and Geranium (replacement for the Angelica pair). For very dry and thick curly hair, I am told that the Ultra Rich shea butter range is good.
INGREDIENTS: AQUA/WATER, CYCLOMETHICONE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, DIMETHICONE, OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) FRUIT OIL, GLYCERIN, ACETUM/VINEGAR, BEHENTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, RICINUS COMMUNIS (CASTOR) SEED OIL, OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) FRUIT EXTRACT, PARFUM/FRAGRANCE, CETYL ALCOHOL, TOCOPHEROL, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, LIMONENE, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, LINALOOL, GERANIOL, CITRONELLOL, ALPHA-ISOMETHYL IONONE, CITRIC ACID, CITRUS MEDICA LIMONUM (LEMON) FRUIT EXTRACT, CITRUS GRANDIS (GRAPEFRUIT) PEEL EXTRACT. 

Conditioner -Aveda – Shampure  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 10/7/2007 12:48:00 PM

UPDATE: works well so long as you alternate with another conditioner – as is the case for any heavily protein-y thing; used daily, hair gets out of condition (and uncontrollable, and dried out) fast.
Good news if you’re looking for a more basic conditioner that works (depending on hair type of course), is quite mild, smells good, has no silicones or parabens, is cruelty-free. Suitable for hair that is slightly dry, fine but lots of it, untreated, left to dry naturally rather than blow-dried, and so probably already in better condition and less needy. Scalp on the dry and slightly sensitive side (i.e. gets irritated by some things). I’m using this occasionally, my daily usual conditioner is the (much cheaper) Burt’s Bees Green Tea and Fennel (says it’s for coloured hair, fine on non-coloured).
I have shortish dryish hair, below the chin and growing out to shoulder-length. Never coloured or otherwise treated. It’s fine but thick, and gets fussy with stuff that’s too greasy or not greasy enough. It’s wavy in many places, and at a length where it can flip out comically (hence growing it out so that the weight controls perpendicularity). Scalp can be dry and is easily irritated. Probably therefore vaguely “normal.”
Shampure’s formula has been changed since I last used it some years ago. Smells fabulous – like the matching shampoo: fresh, herby (rosemary and lavender as listed, also hints of marjoram and something greener like cut grass), ylang ylang, and flowers, there’s rose and lily in there. I had moved away from it because it (the old version) only had a hint of the shampoo’s gorgeous scent, and then after that first whiff it smelt funny and slightly rank. That problem seems to have been solved in the new formula.
Smell aside: it’s light but concentrated, so a blob about an inch / 3 cm across suffices. More hair? Bigger blob. It’s quite dense, so one doesn’t have the problem of most of it falling off your hand and down the drain, accompanied by wailing and gnashing of teeth. I shampoo, then use a washcloth to squeeze out water and blot hair gently, prior to conditioning. I don’t leave the Shampure on for very long: maybe 2 minutes max. Thicker, drier hair? Leave it on longer. It rinses out easily. The old trick of giving hair a final rinse with cold water seems to help. After being left to dry naturally, the result is clean hair, smelling pleasant, that is smooth, tangle-free, shiny, very soft, and bouncy. Maybe stronger.
As you’ll see from the ingredients, this is essentially a protein cream rinse type of conditioner; but does not weigh hair down, partly as it’s not too dependent on straightforward wheat protein, and partly as it has enough coconut-oil based waxy stuff to emulsify nicely and be moisturizing. No ‘cones, and no parabens. Can be used frequently, at least on hair that is slightly dry, thick, fine, and wavy.
Can only be recommended for average hair, that isn’t treated or styled, dried, etc., and thus has simpler needs. Any other hair will probably need “more” in its products, and more products. But this is the joy of MUA and its boards – somewhere, here, your perfect potions are waiting for you!
It is expensive, but concentrated, so a bottle does last for a long time. I found one way around the funny-smell issue was to buy a litre bottle online (ones in shops have often been sitting around for a long time) and decant it to a smaller bottle for in-shower use. This means the big bottle is kept closed most of the time, which helps.
INGREDIENTS: aqueous (water/aqua/eau) extracts/extraits aqueux: mentha piperita (peppermint) leaf, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower extract, cetyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, stearalkonium chloride, hydrolyzed brazil nut protein, hydroxypropyltrimonium hydrolyzed wheat protein, wheat amino acids, hydrolyzed wheat protein pg-propyl silanetriol, panthenol, fragrance (parfum)*, geraniol, linalool, benzyl benzoate, citronellol, limonene, cetrimonium chloride, distearyldimonium chloride, peg-100 stearate, polyquaternium-4, glycerin, citric acid, sodium gluconate, sorbic acid, phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin

Aveda – Pure-Fume Brilliant conditioner  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 8/24/2007 5:38:00 PM

(Several updates later… 09/2008 through 12/2009): OK, I admit defeat. My hair loves this and the matching shampoo. Resistance is futile.
Great low-cone conditioner on this hair – fine but thick, mixed wavy and straight (i.e. some bits are the one and others are t’other), and currently shoulder-length. Never coloured or otherwise treated. I have used this conditioner for about two years, along with the matching shampoo, on the advice of my hairdresser. The Brilliant conditioner is one of the best I have ever used. Its smell is a particular draw: rose, black pepper, green tea (possibly a touch of black tea in the conditioner, the shampoo’s greener), jasmine, and ylang ylang.
It’s an odd creature, as it works well, in different ways, on quite different sorts of hair. You’ll see reviews here from an extraordinary range. The Brilliant range is targeted at “textured and treated” hair: this translates as being mild (so OK on dyed etc. hair), but smoothing and glossing (good on wavy to curly hair), and detangling whilst being light.
On this particular hair, it works very well and fast, leaving hair lovely and shiny, sleek, and smelling scrumptious. On thicker and/or coarser hair, can be left on for a minute or two. On finer (but thick, i.e. many-stranded and densely growing) hair, simply distribute through the hair and rinse out immediately. Probably not recommended on fine thin hair. Leaves hair smooth, no tangles, shiny. Most of this is plant oils, though there is a touch of the ‘cone (cetyl dimethicone at no. 10 – NB one of the lighter ones that rinses out well, and way less of it than in many “even greener” brands).
Brilliant by name, brilliant by nature. Tip: try out the travel sample; that should last you at least a week (a little of this stuff goes a long way). The litre bottle lasted me over a year, washing my hair daily. So that’s 1 litre for about 18 months; currently at $56 in the US (but the Aveda site doesn’t ship abroad) or EUR 64; so about $3/EUR 3.50 per month. I think this would pass my mother’s “beware false economy” test.
It is considerably cheaper in the US. On moving back to Europe, I tried to give it up, and ended up spending a fortune on lesser conditioners. Some of which were more expensive than this. High-silicone ones – hair got flat. Good results with some of the completely cone-free conditioners, although they’re heavier than the Brilliant so being kept for weekly and/or swimming deep conditioning.
The Brilliant is more of a detangler than a conditioner / re-moisturiser proper, in that it doesn’t deposit loads of stuff on the hair. Can certainly be recommended for average hair, that isn’t treated or styled, dried, etc., and thus has simpler needs. Any other hair may need “more” in its products, more stuff to be deposited on the hair itself, and more products. But this is the joy of MUA and its boards – somewhere, here, your perfect potions are waiting for you!
INGREDIENTS: Aqueous extracts: chamomile flower extract, calendula/marigold flower extract, aloe barbadensis leaf, camellia oleifera (green tea) leaf extract, glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, dipalmitoylethyl hydroxyethylmonium methosulfate, behentrimonium methosulfate, cetyl dimethicone, meadowfoam seed oil, dicaprylyl maleate, jojoba seed oil, babassu seed oil, shea butter extract, oat kernel extract, rice bran oryzanol, tocopherol, distearyldimonium chloride, cetrimonium chloride, cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose, fragrance, limonene, eugenol, linalool, hydroxycitronellal, geraniol, citronellol, maltodextrin, sodium gluconate, phenoxyethanol.

Jason Natural Cosmetics – Aloe Vera 84% Conditioner – Hair Nourishing Formula  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 8/24/2007 12:39:00 PM

I have shortish dryish hair, that’s fine but thick, and gets fussy with stuff that’s too greasy or not greasy enough. Never coloured or otherwise treated. Scalp can be dry and is easily irritated. Probably therefore vaguely “normal.” I was looking for a replacement for Aveda Brilliant, which is exorbitantly expensive in Ireland. Alas, long-term use of Aveda hair products leaves one with an addiction to hair products that smell nice, and a distaste for those that smell otherwise (i.e. most drugstore staples). I used this with the matching shampoo; I have since changed to the Jason Hemp shampoo, which is much richer and more moisturising. I left the conditioner on for about a minute or so, then massaged the scalp a little bit, then rinsed well. I did notice a need for more rinsing than with other conditioners. It smells a little weird in the hand, but lightly herbal once in the hair. So far, it works well.
UPDATE – it’s good, but I’ve found better (Burt’s Bees Green Tea and Fennel)!!!

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