Why does one conditioner work better than another?

Can you answer yes to any of the following questions:

1.Have you ever tried a conditioner and loved it the first time but hated it the second time? (or the reverse - hated it the first time but loved it the second time?
2. Have you ever had a staple conditioner which just suddenly stopped working for you?
3. Have you ever loved one particular conditoner, decided to adventure and try other conditioners from the same brand but then realised that the one that you love is actually the only one that works?
4. Have you ever wondered how come some conditioners within a brand have virtually identical labels but for some reason are sold as different products?

If you can answer yes then you have experienced what we are going to talk about all this week - product formulation. It is a bit of a mouthful but the concept is really simple!

Here is an analogy - recipes! Assume you give the exact same ingredients for a black forest cake to 4 different bakers and request them to create the cake for you. Each one will have their own special way of making the cake, for example

1. Preparation - some will separate the eggs while others won't
2. Method - The order and quantity of the ingredients used will vary
3. Decoration - Probably each baker will have their own finishing touch

The final result of all these minor tweaks and changes is that you will get 4 black forest cakes but they may vary in texture and taste. This is why some cakes are quite boozy, chocolatey, moist, creamy............it depends on the recipe.

The people who make hair conditioners are essentially chefs. Each one will have a preference for ingredient choices, quantities and order in which the ingredients should be added.

I will go further in depth as to how product formulation affects you. Do you now understand what it means?


  1. Jc, you have simply succeed in making me very hungry!The work 'cake' was repeated just too many time in your article! Cake..........cake.........moist creamy chocolatey black forest cake....... (off to find a 24hr Asda!)

  2. Great analogy and i understand what you mean. I guess sticking to what works for you is key.The same applies to all other hair products.

  3. I definitely understand. It makes so much sense with the cake analogy.

  4. I really enjoy the information on this website. Thanks for doing the research for us!

    Could you recommend a similar website about African American skincare?

  5. Sorry anon, no I can't maybe someone else will chip in.

  6. Yes, yes, yes, to all ;) You should be a teacher, JC, or write a book! If some 20 years ago I'd had a chemistry teacher like you, I would never have (mis-)taken chemistry as something dull and remote from life.

  7. 1) Rofl @ boozy cake
    2) How does product formulation explain why a condish that was working for me suddenly doesn't work anymore? The ingredients on the label stay the same. Or do the proportions/quantities change from batch to batch?
    3)Thank you so much for all the wonderful info you have on here. I always go away feeling educated

  8. Yes, I can definitely identify with conditioners within the same brand listing the same ingredients but the company decides to label it a different product. Take Direct Giovanni for an example. For both leave-in and smooth as silk conditioners, they start with the same top ingredients: Aqua (purified water), *aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, *helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, *glycine soja (soybean) seed extract, *betula alba (birch) extract


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