For people who want to save some money, want to have fewer bottles laying around, or simply have a big bottle of conditioner that they’d like to get more use out of, can rinse-out conditioner be used as a leave-in? I did a bit of reading online to find the answer.
While there doesn’t seem to be a universal answer, being that what works for some people may not work for others, here are some guidelines:
1. The consistency is not too thick
2. No silicones to build up on hair
3. No quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs or “quats”) to irritate scalp. Some common quats include behentrimonium chloride, steartrimonium chloride, stearalkonium chloride, cetrimonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, and distearyldimonium chloride.
Since I don’t use conditioner on my scalp, I’m not sure if I’d need to worry so much about quats, but I’d rather not take the chance. As for silicones, I cut them out of my routine a long time ago, except for the occasional hair serum and my Göt2b curl cream I’ve had for a while and still use from time to time.
So back in May, when I started this blog and was going crazy buying new hair products for a while, I got a big bottle of Suave Essentials Aloe & Waterlily conditioner. (I really wanted that particular scent, which apparently is only sold in the family size bottles, and in my area, only sold at Walmart.) It works great as a rinse-out conditioner, but since I have such a huge bottle of it, I would like to be able to use it as a leave-in as well, if possible. Luckily, after checking the ingredients list, I see that it contains no quats, and of course I already knew it had no silicones. Nothing else in it appears that it would harm my hair if left on.
Here’s a closer look at the ingredients:
Since this conditioner is quite thick (I tried co-washing with it once and it left my roots flat and super oily), I diluted it with water in a small bottle. I thought a 50/50 mixture would suffice, but I ended up needing only 25% conditioner and 75% water to get my desired consistency! (Good thing I only filled up the bottle with conditioner 25% of the way to start.)
Wow, such fancy, professional-looking labeling!
I actually just tried it out about two hours ago, since my hair was feeling quite dry despite just washing it last night. I did a modified version of the curl refreshing method described in my previous blog post, of wetting my hair, then applying leave-in conditioner and gel. Now that my hair is dry, while my waves do look defined, my hair feels like it has a bit too much product in it, particularly on the ends. (I used LA Looks Define & Shine gel after the conditioner.) I put some more water on my hair while it was still drying and scrunched it, and it helped a little.
In short, I would recommend that if you need a new leave-in conditioner, you might as well buy one made especially for that purpose. But, if you already happen to have a suitable rinse-out conditioner at home, give it a try! Of course, if you need to water it down or want to add anything to it, put some in a separate little bottle at least for your first batch.