Cheap Conditioner: Yes Or No?

This conditioner cost 75p.

Blog post ended.

I kid. But seriously 75p. If it does what it says on the tin, I’m all in…for life. I’ve embarked on a healthy hair journey so you’re probably wondering why I’m using supermarket bottom of the range value products. This is because I am impulsive sometimes when I buy stuff and I’m cheap. It’s a problem.

In the run up to shaving my head I started reading articles, watching YouTube videos to educate myself and I suppose I missed all of the pertinent information and just heard “washing with conditioner is the answer.” What I missed is that there are certain ingredients that you should stay as far away from as possible. I looked at all the conditioners I’d bought and started scribbling out the ingredients on the list on the back that I should not be using. I’ve learnt about some more bad ingredients since so it goes to show how important research is.

This particular one, the Sainsbury’s Apple Conditioner, fared quite well compared to some, where basically everything except water was left on the label after my scribbling. I Googled ways to use up unwanted conditioner so they didn’t at least go to waste and it turned into a shaving lotion (just add some oil). Why not?!

The ingredients that are bad in this conditioner that I know of are the PEG-1OO Stearate and parfum. I can’t remember why the PEG is bad, I think its petroleum which is a massive no-no. The other concern was “parfum” not only being there but being so high up the list. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that high. It’s hard to find products without it but in my limited experience it’s hard to find products where it’s in the top 5. Negative score for me! I suppose this accounts for why it smells so apple-y, that artificial fragrance is doing its job.

I basically forgot about this conditioner because I was using such things as the As I Am Cleansing Co-Wash, Palmer’s Replenishing Conditioner, Shea Moisture 10-In-1 Renewal Complex Conditioner, all that good stuff that you are supposed to use. Until one week recently, I looked at my kid’s hair and realised that their hair been completely ignored for far too long. They could almost have been confused with having starter locs. I’m not sure how it all got so bad but I realised I needed to get back on track with their hair journey. I told myself that the next wash day was going to include the detangling session to end all detangling sessions.

There wasn’t a lot of the Palmer’s Manuka Honey Conditioner that we were using left and I knew what my plan was. I was going to saturate those kids hair in so much conditioner that they would have more product than hair. I wanted the detangling to be as painless as possible, therefore as much slip as possible was needed. I filled one of my trusty spray bottles with a little water and a whole lot of conditioner (which had been pre-mixed with a little Rapeseed Oil as it was my shaving lotion combo) and got to work. Between the 3 kids I was probably at it for 4 hours as I did a strand by strand detangle on all 3 of them. Then before the detangled section was twisted up, we used the Denman brush to finally smooth out each part. It is such a joy to be able to pull a brush through their hair and not meet a tangle. I was seriously impressed with my work and my soggy, raisin fingers were completely glad it was over.

Obviously after that I was in no rush to actually wash their hair so I left it damp for a while and went about the rest of our day, dinner, some intense playing until I basically couldn’t procrastinate anymore. I rinsed out the conditioner while their hair was still in twists which I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of. Hair rinsed out, dried mostly with a t-shirt and my little balls of fluff were sent to bed, hair ready for cornrowing in the morning. This is where wash day starts to eat up your whole weekend.

They woke up with mostly dry hair, how can it take so long for your hair to dry? I mean, seriously. Anyway, I started taking out the twists on my boy and I was so shocked at how soft, light and defined his curls looked and felt and this was with only the conditioner (and the little bit of oil in it). I’ve never felt their hair feel so good. I was shocked. This 75p conditioner had their hair feeling like how hair looks on YouTubers. Had I finally found the formula to perfect hair?

So why did the hair feel so good? Well here’s what I think –

  1. it was detangled within an inch of its life
  2. the conditioner was in their hair for quite a long time
  3. there was some oil in from that time I was using it as a shaving lotion
  4. maybe the little bit of oil in the mix was made of magic
  5. the conditioner was rinsed out while the hair was still in twists so not all of it was washed out and I suppose it acted like a leave-in
  6. maybe this cheap s**t works!

Now of all the conditioners that I hastily bought, this one is pretty harmless in regards to nasties on the ingredient list that I know about now. I’m sure I’ll look at the label in a few months after I’ve learnt more about hair care and be horrified that I let this product near my children. But I can’t deny how good their hair felt.

Ultimately, is it going to be nourishing in the same way as a conditioner that is made specifically for their hair type that is  filled with oils and butters? Maybe or maybe not but this seems to work too. I think HOW I used it is part of why their hair felt so great. I’ve made the promise to keep on top of the tangles by making sure I very rarely (why lie and say never) let their hair get into the state where I have to basically lose a day of my life fixing my neglect. I’ll keep using the conditioner and see where it gets us. 75p, I said, 75p!

There are healthy hair and natural hair rules which I use as my guide but they are not my rules and I’m learning that. What works for one curl may not work for another and that even goes for curls that occupy the same head. Maybe this isn’t the best product to use long-term but it really seemed to work at its goals of leaving “hair feeling soft, shiny and manageable with a [artificial but oddly satisfying] apple fragrance.”

Let’s keep growing together!

xx Lee xx

Comments welcome below. What cheap products do you swear by?

2 thoughts on “Cheap Conditioner: Yes Or No?

  1. Cheap products can actually surprise you, at a desperate time I bought the Wilko conditioner and i was pleasantly surprised by how good it was, it wasnt drying at all the shampoo wasnt quite there but when I have no other products it my go to.


    1. it’s funny you mention the Wilkos conditioner, I’ve got some ready to try. Saw in a Curly Girl Method group loads of people loving it and it’s recommended even with its ingredients for a healthy hair journey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *