Thursday, November 21, 2013

Turn a Nightmare Product into a Dream

Oh the fortune I've spent on hair products that failed! Like the ones that left my hair dry, or distorted my curl pattern; the concoctions that weighed down my curls, leaving them with a waxy or greasy film, or limp! 

It still happens, of course. Sometimes the ingredients just aren't compatible with my particular head of curls. But sometimes a failed hair product is actually a good or Heavenly product in disguise. It depends on when or how that product is used.  


In dry weather, a conditioner or styling product may be very drying or may distort a curl pattern because of certain ingredients (like glycerin), but work perfectly in a more humid season, or climate. I find that a lot of glycerin-heavy products make a tumbleweed out of me in dry weather but work quite well when the humidity is moderately high. Google something like “curly hair products and dew points” for helpful info on climate and appropriate ingredients.

The Dilution Solution

Hybrid Cleansers

Sulfate-based shampoo can be diluted with water (I used distilled, as explained below), or with cheap conditioner, for a more gentle cleansing session. When a non-sulfate shampoo isn't available, a shampoo/conditioner combo might be the perfect solution for hair that gets too oily without shampoo, but too weighed down by co-washing only. 

Conditioners & Stylers

I have a copious medium-textured mane of 3b/c/a curls; normal elasticity, porosity ranges right now from normal to low … so it didn't surprise me when my hair was stiff, greasy and weighed down after using a conditioner and a styler from the SheaMoisture line - Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Souffle. The ingredients are quite rich with oil. Because I liked the natural ingredients listed and it was an expensive purchase, I decided to experiment with it. (The type of experiment below might also work with Kinky Curly Curling Custard, another rich, heavy styler.)


Mixed some of the smoothie w/distilled H20 – 1:1 ratio (half and half). Apply.


Mixed some of the gel w/distilled H20 - 4:1 ratio (¾ gel to ¼ H20). Apply.

I mostly choose distilled water because it's more gentle on my hair than my shower water, which contains a lot of minerals. When experimenting, I only use a few ounces of product at a time. I lucked out with my first formula (above).

Result: perfectly accentuated ringlets, shine, body and perfect hold. It was a little crunchy as it dried but once dry, it was soft, not stiff, limp or greasy. In fact, last week after using this mixture, I got caught outside in the rain with my hair exposed. Still, my hair held up beautifully.

Some benefits of diluting a heavy conditioner or styler:

1. Less is more, and can help delay or prevent product buildup.
2. You keep what you paid for.
3. Your purchase lasts longer, which means you save money.
4. Diluting products is great if you're heavy-handed when applying stuff (which leads back to benefit #1).
5. Diluting can reduce drying time. 

Have you experimented with your products to improve them? What were your results?   


  1. Yes I love Shea Moisture's smoothie and I tend to use it sparingly but I stepped it up a notch and my porous hair is loving it. He eats the coconut and hibiscus right up ;)

  2. Nice! Happy you have found what works for you.

  3. Do you dilute in your hand or mix the water & product together in a bottle?