By Jc of The Natural Haven
It can take a long time to search and find your perfect staple conditioner and becoming a product junkie is very easy especially in the first two years of being natural. This is a trial and error process and you can end up with many products in the ‘do not work’ section. You could choose to re-purpose them as a softening cream for shaving your legs (seriously!) or you could choose to discard them. However, before you choose the discard option, you could try to fix the conditioner using products that are easily found. This would help you to use the product up instead of letting it gather dust in a corner and can reduce the pain of disappointment if the product was purchased as a splurge. Here are a few tips and tricks.
If a conditioner that you bought is not moisturising enough, humectants such as honey or glycerin may help fix this. The ideal process is to place the conditioner you want to use into a separate jar and then add 2 tablespoons of honey or 1–2 teaspoons of glycerin. You can add both honey and glycerin but be aware that if you keep it on the hair for long it can be overly softening (some will not mind this but others will). If this does not fix the conditioner and you still have more, then attempt to add a penetrating oil (for example coconut oil or olive oil) in addition the next time. Moisture is not just about water and humectants, oils also have a key role in enabling the water to be trapped within the hair shaft.
2. Not enough slip: Coconut oil, jojoba or olive oil fix
If the conditioner does not have enough slip (i.e hair strands do not easily separate when coated with conditioner and combed ), the ideal fix is a light oil that flows easily. Melted coconut oil, jojoba oil (which is a liquid wax) and olive oil are good options. The amount you add depends on how much slip you would like. As a general guide 1–2 teaspoons added to a portion that you intend to use should suffice. You can test the slip by applying a small amount of the mixed up conditioner to your hair and seeing how well the strands separate when finger combed. Add more oil (teaspoon wise) to the mix and test again until you get to your ideal level.
3. Not thick enough: Shea butter or castor oil fix
If your preference is for a thick consistency but the product you bought is quite light, you can fix this by adding medium to high density oils such as shea butter or castor oil. The fact that shea butter and castor oil are more viscous (i.e do not easily spread) allows them to adjust the thickness but bear in mind that this will come with additional oiliness. If you do not wish to have additional oil in the product, you could attempt to add raw honey (which is thicker than processed honey used on bread).
4. Overly moisturizing/not strengthening enough: Hydrolysed protein fix
If the product makes hair overly soft or if your hair is in need of strengthening (heat damage/bleach damage/breaking hair), the perfect fix is adding hydrolysed protein. This can also be a way to use up a protein treatment that you may not have liked on its own (for example what people refer to as hard protein eg Aphogee, Komaza). You can add a half a teaspoon or less to the moisturizing conditioner. Hydrolysed proteins do have a fairly strange smell but if you warm up the conditioner (i.e place the pot that you are going to use into a warm bath for a few minutes until it is warm to the touch but not hot), the scent of the conditioner will generally over-ride that of the hydrolysed protein. Hydrolysed proteins and a few amino acids (glutamic acid) can be absorbed quite well into the hair when in a conditioner as opposed to in water alone. This is good for internally damaged hair such as bleached hair. In order to fix damage on the surface of the hair, hydrolysed proteins are preferred over amino acids.
Ladies, what are your homemade conditioner fixes and mixes?