Does your hair conditioner contain wax, and is it a problem?

Bun

It’s safe to say that your hair conditioner probably contains wax, which begs the question, what is a wax? In conditioners, it’s basically a fatty alcohol like cetyl alcohol or cetearyl alcohol that, once mixed with liquids, thickens a product, allows oils and water to stay mixed and adds softness to hair and skin. Without these ingredients, your conditioner would separate.

This isn't your typical paraffin wax which is made from petroleum. The waxes found in your hair conditioner most likely come from plants. These waxes don't bond to the hair like quaternary cationic conditioners do (i.e. cetrimonium bromide, behehtrimonium methosulfate). As a result, they are usually easier to remove and less likely to cause build-up. Bottom line, don’t worry about these wax-like ingredients in your hair conditioner. After all, you’ve been using them already. In fact, conditioners with “emulsifying waxes” and less quaternary cationic conditioners can be a person’s best friend.