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Breaking my conditioning

So, I fully appreciate that this post is a bit loser-ish, but here I go anyway.

My last bottle of the conditioner I like (Garner Fructis Sleek 'n' Shine, pictured below left) has just run out. I've been using it for a good ten years, I'd say, but over the last three years it has gradually and steadily been disappearing from every shop where I used to buy it. We're now at the point where the only place I know of that I can reliably get it is a large edge-of-town supermarket (the Asda at Holt Park, for locals), but that isn't where I shop normally, so it means a special journey out there just for this one item. And given past form I wouldn't be surprised to see it disappear from there soon enough too.

So it is time to explore other options. Earlier this week, I popped into my local Superdrug, and bought one each of every one of their little travel-sized conditioners. Or at least, one each of the ones which didn't claim to be completely unsuitable for my hair-type - so I left behind the ones for dyed hair, blond hair, frizzy hair, and the ones which claim to produce 'volume' (or, as I like to call it 'tangles'). These are the results:

Conditioner line-up

I'm now going to work my way through each one sequentially, and - this is the really loser-ish bit - write a quick review of each one here when I get to the end of the bottle. I apologise in advance for becoming The Girl Who Blogs About Conditioners, especially since my findings probably won't be readily applicable to anyone else. I don't think very many of my friends share my very fine fly-away hair-type, which is so ultra-sensitive to any kind of residue left on it - be that conditioner, limescale in the water, or just sweat - that different products can genuinely make a huge difference to its appearance and manageability. But I promise they won't be very long. It is just my way of ensuring that I systematically write down a few notes about each one before I forget and move on to the next, so that I can compare them at the end and choose the best one to stick with.

For the sake of science, I will ensure comparability by continuing to use the same shampoo throughout: the matching Garnier Fructis one, which I get through much more slowly than the conditioner, and therefore still have two and a half bottles of. I also won't take these conditioners with me when I travel anywhere other than Leeds, in spite of their temptingly handy size, so that my observations are not skewed by different water types. (This is what I mean about my hair being ultra-sensitive - I barely need conditioner at all in Birmingham, which is supplied by pure spring water from the Welsh valleys, but need a ton of it and a lot of patience in Oxford, where the water is so hard when it comes out of the tap that you have to break it up with a hammer before you can use it.)

First exciting results on this journal in just a few short days - woo-hoo! Betcha can't wait.

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Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
kernowgirl
Jan. 26th, 2013 09:02 pm (UTC)
You forgot Johnson and Johnson no more tears de-tangling spray for children. I started buying that for the kids and have been using it as my conditioner ever since.

Granted, I don't think I have the patience for the sort of systematic approach you're doing! Good luck!
strange_complex
Jan. 26th, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC)
I don't think that one was available in a trial size, but if I don't like any of the ones in the picture above I'm happy to buy a full-size bottle and give it a go!
keris
Jan. 26th, 2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
I'm using the herbal essences beautiful ends one at the moment. My hair needs a lot of conditioner so I'm using that and the mask in a pot from the same range too. I quite like it - it's not as good as the yellow topped Elvive, but I can't find that now...
strange_complex
Jan. 26th, 2013 09:53 pm (UTC)
I find the fake-orgasming in the Herbal Essences adverts so annoying that I'm pre-disposed to dislike that one. But I will try to give it a fair trial just for you! :-)
katsmeat
Jan. 26th, 2013 10:13 pm (UTC)
Systematically searching for the product that suits best, and then sticking with it is laudable surely, not loserish? Though I can see why society in general might like to dismiss it in those terms - it shows a dangerous lack of susceptibility to advertising. :)

But I await your reviews with interest - sometimes getting the small things absolutely right is so.... very very important.
strange_complex
Jan. 26th, 2013 10:36 pm (UTC)
I think it is the writing reviews bit that strikes me as particularly loser-ish. You know, giving that sort of attention to conditioner, as opposed to interesting books, films and TV. But hey, as you say, it may be a small thing, but actually it is pretty important to me with the hair-type I have!
ladyguinevere83
Jan. 26th, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
Doesn't sound loser-ish to me! I'm actually rather interested to see how it compares, as I've been using Herbla Essences Beautiful Ends for some time now (I still have long hair that I rarely cut, and therefore need to keep in good condition), though I used to switch all the time.
foxy76
Jan. 26th, 2013 10:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, I hate it when things are discontinued! I'll be interested to hear how you get on :-)
kissmeforlonger
Jan. 26th, 2013 11:57 pm (UTC)
Sorry, that does sound interesting :-)

I used to use Herbal Essences (in part because I liked the scent, and also because the conditioner really seemed to work with my hair) but my hairdresser told me it was as bad as Pantene and to use a better one. So now I have 'random' more expensive argan oil hair conditioner thanks to TK Maxx and cover the ends in argan oil too. Seems to work well.

I'll be interested to see whether the Aussie stuff works for you as it might be a bit heavy on fine hair.
ms_siobhan
Jan. 28th, 2013 05:26 pm (UTC)
I use Pantene shampoo, I know it's supposed to be dreadful but I like it plus I can get away with it as my hair is so short :-)
firefish
Jan. 27th, 2013 06:01 pm (UTC)
My 1st thought here would have been to go to Asda and buy it in bulk well of course it's better to prepare now for when the product will no longer be in the shop. I am actually interested to read about the results of your experiments. This may make me a loser as well but I'm happy enough with that! :)
strange_complex
Jan. 27th, 2013 07:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I have already been buying it in bulk (for values of bulk which = three bottles at a time) for a while. But I've also gone through two previous shops using that same approach, and there's come a time with each one when I showed up to get my conditioner and they didn't stock it any more. I am getting ahead of the game this time!
venta
Jan. 27th, 2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
I shall read your reviews with interest, since I'm also considering seeking new conditioner at present :) Although my hair isn't as fine as yours, I think it'll still be useful reading...

By the way, do not on any account ever purchase the Boots Botanicals conditioner-for-brunettes. Do not believe its talk of glossiness and optimistic pictures of horse chestnuts. It is gritty, grainy, lumpy and in all ways reminiscent of cow pat. Not that I've ever tried conditioning my hair with a cow pat, I'm just guessing. When the stuff dribbles everywhere all over the shower (which it will, due to the consistency) some kind of vile chromatography takes place and the dribbles split into a repellent series of greens and browns.

Edited at 2013-01-27 07:01 pm (UTC)
strange_complex
Jan. 27th, 2013 07:39 pm (UTC)
Well, I hope my findings are some use to you. Your hair is certainly closer to mine than most people's, although I agree a bit thicker. As for the Boots Botanicals, I consider myself well warned! The effects you describe when it separates are quite enough to put me off.
glitzfrau
Jan. 28th, 2013 08:45 am (UTC)
As a fellow fine-hairer, I can only laud the Aussie volumising shampoo. Either that or Tresemme work miracles on my hair.
the_lady_lily
Jan. 28th, 2013 09:59 am (UTC)
I was thinking about this in the shower washing my own hair this morning - isn't it odd how your hair seems to behave better in the water that it grew up in? Mine is semi-compliant in Brum, but much better behaved in London!
strange_complex
Jan. 28th, 2013 10:21 am (UTC)
Gosh, really? London water is anathema to my hair, and B'ham the elixir of life. I think it's because my hair is so fine that any limescale residue has a disproportionate effect on it. So B'ham's very soft water is just what it needs.
the_lady_lily
Jan. 28th, 2013 10:23 am (UTC)
I think the problem is that my hair is quite greasy at the roots, and Brum's soft water doesn't quite rinse off the shampoo enough to get it feeling really clean. I never put conditioner on mine for the simple reason that it feels like far more than it needs, and my hair is thick enough not to go fly-away.
strange_complex
Jan. 28th, 2013 10:27 am (UTC)
Ah, true, that is the downside of soft water.
aliceinfinland
Jan. 30th, 2013 06:30 pm (UTC)
I will also follow with interest. For years I used to come back from each trip to the UK with another bottle of shampoo, whatever was in a friend's shower and seemed to work wonders there. Back home it would not work. Only after moving here, and becoming encrusted with limescale in Ipswich, did I realize how variable the water hardness factor is.

(Seriously, what is with this water? Even the soap looks like pumice once it's gotten wet and dried. Why is it not centrally filtered or at least tap filtered?)
strange_complex
Jan. 30th, 2013 07:07 pm (UTC)
I guess filtering must be too expensive and / or slow to do on a large scale, as it is a huge problem for loads of areas in the UK which no-one really seems to be trying to solve. I used to use a filter jug in Oxford, but thankfully no longer need to bother in Leeds.
a_d_medievalist
Feb. 16th, 2013 06:11 am (UTC)
just caught up on this...

I know this will sound odd, but have you tried vinegar?

I ask, because I have been trying to move to using as many non-toxic, environmentally safer products. A little over a year ago, I think, I started ordering shampoo bars online after looking at the safe cosmetics.org site. I've found a few I really like for my hair, and love not having to deal with the empty bottles. At the same time, I started using a vinegar rinse. I occasionally still use a conditioner -- maybe once or twice a month -- usually Alba Botanicals. There are fewer toxic chemicals used in the EU, but there are still some (although if I were buying regular hair care stuff, I have to say that I find Sainsbury's coconut shampoo and conditioner (I think they are no more than a pound each) work really well).

One of the nice things about the vinegar rinse is that it also seems to strip the film from really hard water. It's also cheap, and does smooth the hair shaft.

strange_complex
Feb. 18th, 2013 10:06 am (UTC)
Oh, thanks. Have just looked up a few recipes and it sounds really easy. I will give that a try as well when I get to the end of the row of shop-bought conditioners.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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