What is the difference between a conditioner and a moisturizer?
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 09:14PM
: What is the difference between a conditioner and a moisturizer?
Fair warning, this is long and in-depth and is probably going to get sciency
Okay, I read the Curly Girl book and the live curly, live free book and a few others I found on Amazon but I obviously am still confused about which ingredients do what.
I know 'most' oils can act as sealers /anti-humectants.
At some point I looked up some of the fatty alcohols and they were listed as emollients.
I realize some oils can absorb into the hair shaft and aren't really sealers.
I know that every product I've tried with more then 1-2 oils/butters has weighed down my hair.
I thought I understood all this; water equals moisture, emollients are moisturizers, oils and butters are sealers with limited moisturizing abilities, humectants are moisturizers but can cause issues.
But over the last week or so I've read a bunch of posts that lead me to question whether I 'knew' correctly so I did a search for emollients:
Emollients are oils and butters, fatty alcohols are mentioned as an afterthought. ?????
I tried searching for 'moisturizer' and ' conditioning ' but the results aren't what I'm looking for.
I did find this list of ingredient types.
Ingredients Commonly Found in Hair Care Products
but it still doesn't clarify the terminology:
What does an emollient DO? What properties make it emollient?
What does it mean when it says a group of ingredients 'conditions' the hair?
I always thought a conditioner was used to provide moisture but moisturizing ingredients are humectants and emollients that pull in or help the hair to hold water/moisture,..... right?
So how is a conditioner different from a moisturizer, what does each actually DO?
The list of humectants is mindboggling and at least four hydrolised ingredients I thought would be proteins are listed as humectants, huh?
I know I don't absolutely have to know all this to do CG or have 'good' hair but I kind of feel like I've been giving confusing if not blatantly incorrect advice because I'm using vague terminology, or at least terms that I and those I'm talking to don't fully understand.
I guess what I'm trying to understand is how various helpful ingredients actually help. I 'get' the broad ideas of cleanser, emulsifier, slip, film forming agent .... But those have fairly clear definitions, but the humectant-moisturizer-conditioner thing seems to be three separate yet overlapping categories.
I'm gonna stop talking myself in circles now and hope someone understands this well enough to explain it. Thanks for reading
2A / F / MD / LP / ?E / BSL --- CG since Dec. 2012
This is what I'm happiest with right now.
Co-wash: CJ DailyFix
Lo-poo: DermOrganic low-poo
RO: SS Caitlin's co
Leave-in: SheScentIt Okra Repair condish
PT: SS Caitlin's + SS PT
Stylers: Volumax Mega Gel, Max Green Styling Gel, DermOrganics Spray Gel
Techniques: Plopping & Pixie Diffusing.
glycerin, honey, oils & butters