My Favorite Green Conditioner

Does your child ever suck on your hair?  My first baby did all the time.  And so one of the first ingredient lists I scrutinized was the one on my bottle of conditioner. 

I have thick curly hair.  My conditioner is important to me.  When I decided that I cared enough about its ingredients to switch to a more natural one, I dreaded the trial-and-error that would inevitably be involved in finding a new conditioner that would work for me.  A lot of the conditioners at Whole Foods just were not goopy enough for me.  The thing is, the only time I ever comb out my hair is in the shower, with the conditioner in, with a very wide-tooth comb.  It's always a somewhat agonizing process, but some of the natural conditioners I tried offered so little help that it was nearly impossible.  Finally, I happened upon Avalon Organics Lemon Clarifying Conditioner.  I used it and it was a winner.  We've been friends ever since.

For those of you wondering why anyone should concern themselves with the ingredients of her conditioner, check out these 8 myths about cosmetics safety (Preview: Myth #3 -  The government prohibits dangerous chemicals in personal care products, and companies wouldn't risk using them).

So how "natural" is my conditioner?

Well, here's the deal.  If you want to evaluate the ingredients of your conditioner, you'll want to look at the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database published by Environmental Working Group.  This awesome resource evaluates every ingredient based on research regarding known and probable carcinogens, reproductive and developmental toxicants.  The higher the score, the more potential toxins your product contains.  Sadly, sometimes the information is not as completely as up-to-date as we would like.  The information for my conditioner, for example, uses an ingredient list from an earlier formulation. So I found a current ingredient list here, and looked up the weirder ingredients (cyclopentasiloxane, for example), and decided that this conditioner was good enough for me.
I also use this leave-in conditionerHere is its Skin Deep page.  It earns a 2 (low hazard). 

Once you enter the magical world of the Skin Deep Database, you may be tempted to strive for only the safest, most natural products out there.  But be warned that unless you are prepared to wash your hair with vinegar and moisturize with olive oil, your personal products will seldom earn the sought-after score of "0."  My sister was surprised to learn that some of the products she purchased at Whole Foods were not even within the "low hazard" range of 0-2.   You could also take EWG's shopper's guide to safe cosmetics with you to the store to help you avoid the worst of the undesirable ingredients.

One more resource to simplify your quest for less toxic personal products:  This online store only sells products that are certified low hazard (score = 0-2) by EWG's Skin Deep Database.

What's in your conditioner?   
If you have an awesome natural conditioner, please share it below!

This post is part of Things I Love Thursday.

P.S.  I have no affiliation with any of the products/companies/organizations mentioned in this post.


  1. I love this post. I actually have a post in my cue about to publish on natural skin care. :)

    Just stopping by from TILT. Nice to find you on line sharing your knowledge.

    My next step is learning how to make some shampoo and conditioner. :)

  2. I was seriously maybe a little bit too excited when I saw this post. I've been looking for a new conditioner for some time. I just bought this today so I'm excited to try it out! Thanks also for the site recommendation. Trying to find something at Whole Foods without some outside guidance is so overwhelming. It's nice to have some ways to narrow down the choices.

  3. I use Whole Foods 365 everyday value mint shampoo/conditioner. I used to get oily hair after just one day with no shower (with regular products) but now I can go 3 days without washing my hair. My kids love the smell of it too. I use Jason hair gel to keep those crazy hairs back where they need to be but only on special days. Thats the only thing we use in our hair.
    I once used a regular shampoo/conditioner just to see how my hair would react, and it was oily that first day. I will never use any regular products again.

  4. Hope you love it as I do, Megan!

    Surviving, I tried some of the WF brand ones and the conditioner especially was not goopy enough for me. Since I was a teenager, I have only washed my hair every 5-8 days -- my stylists have always told me that that's what curly-haired gals should do. But most of my friends tell me that would be completely impossible for them. Maybe it's partly the product, partly one's hair just adjusting to the new schedule. I mean, there's no way folks washed their hair daily before running water and bottled shampoo. I've heard of using vinegar (my sister tried apple cider vinegar), but I'm not quite THAT au-natural.

  5. Are there any other conditioners that work for you? For the last two winters my hair decided it hates my hippy shampoo and conditioner in the winter. I'm using a leave in conditioner as I need it. It scores a 4, pretty good but not great.

  6. I have tried other Avalon Organics ones (ylang ylang, orange something, lavender), but I like the lemon the best. My conditioner absolutely has to be thick and goopy. I also liked this ginger and apple one by Desert Essence, but it was more expensive I think. Smelled great, though. I liked Burt's Bees too, but, once again, not as goopy.

  7. I like those brands, too, but my favorite hair conditioner is apple cider vinegar mixed in water. Seriously the best I've ever had. And totally edible!


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