The Conditioner Chronicles
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Friday, November 24, 2006 at 11:28PM
Welcome to the long-awaited, much-anticipated, all-invested...
THE CONDITIONER CHRONICLES
Detailing the Good, the Bad, and the Frizzy (and those rare gems of conditioners that make it all worthwhileÖ)
I used the scientific method in testing these conditioners to rule out other variablesí influence. Therefore, I used the same products (all the way down to the same stylers) and same technique every single day to have standardized results so that the conditioner was the only change each day. That way, when my hair was better or worse day to day, I knew the conditioner was the only variable. Some conditioners were tested additional times (on top of the standard test) with changes in technique or usage based on the input of others. For example, several shared that Suave Professionals Humectant Conditioner worked well for them only when a generous amount was left in. Therefore, I tested it with my standardized rinse-it-all-out method and, on another test day, rinsed sparingly to leave a substantial amount in my hair. Observations with special usage conditions are noted in the review specifically. With the Suave Professionals Humectant Conditioner, I added my comments with the varied technique with a notation as to what that change in method was since it yielded different results.
Conditioners with poor or fair ratings were tested for one to two days. If uncontrollable variables gave me reason to doubt my resultsí validity (like a rainy day or a particularly humid one), I tested more than the standard number of days to ensure that my observations were valid, especially before giving a less desireable rating. Any conditioners with ratings that are good were tested, on average, between three days and a week. For a conditioner to earn a very good or excellent rating, it had to consistantly perform to that standard for over a week of testing. Many of the conditioners rated as good, especially the ones that are at the top of the good rating, were potentially very good but didnít perform consistantly well in the multiple, consecutive day testing so they may work better in a conditioner rotation than as a regularly used product.
As for my curl specifications, I have both 2b and 3a curls. My climate is hot and humid in summer and mild and moderate in fall and winter. I am extremely prone to buildup, often exhibiting signs of buildup long before others. Therefore, some conditioners that demonstrated buildup indicators might perform better in rotation with other conditioners. I also sent samples to others in different climates (usually drier ones) to test theories, as well as testing samples on myself when traveling (a plane is a wonderful test of a dry climate).
Obviously, different curlies in different climates with different water mineralization and different degrees of dryness who have different goals for their curls and different curl types will have different results than me. (Whew! I think that covers the bulk of the differences!) Therefore, I can imagine that someoneís HG may be rated as poor and a product one person may hate could be rated very good. Iíve tried to figure in two factors into every rating. (A) Iíve considered my experiences and observations during my trial. (B) Iíve reviewed othersí postings and experiences detailed on the boards. If I could find some trend in who preferred a product that was a love-hate conditioner, Iíve noted my theory in the review. For example, there were a few conditioners that were frequently loved in drier climates but mainly disliked or hated in more humid ones. So, while Iíve tried to be objective and comparative of one conditioner to another and one userís experiences to another, Iíve had to look for a consensus with which to rate these conditioners, and I hope that I have interpretted the results as objectively as possible. Itís also worth mentioning that quite a few of the poor and fair-rated conditioners didnít even encourage curl definition/shape for me (and some others I surveyed) which would be a problem for those much curlier than me as well because definition and shape keep the 3b+ curls looking neat rather than like an 1980s perm thatís been ďpickedĒ to fluffy, big-hair-ness.
Iíve also considered seasons within these rating levels. If a conditioner performed consistantly excellent in one season, it may obtain an excellent rating with a season preference listed. Therefore, just because a conditioner is rated excellent does not mean it is the right choice for use tomorrow if its season-strength was not tomorrowís season.
More than anything, Iíve created these Conditioner Chronicles to serve in conditioner selection and suggest some comparison between some better choices (so the best one for each individual may be selected). I expect that some wavies and curlies will have had different results than my observations and theories. All of the conditioners listed have been entered in the CurlProducts Product Reviews Database so that you may enter your reviews there and promote similar or alternate opinions. Please take this opportunity to add your reviews in agreement or disagreement as this can take the Conditioner Chronicles to a whole new level where curl-twins everywhere can determine even more so what conditioners will best meet there needs. Prices, when known, are listed in the Product Reviews Database as well.
Finally, let me thank those generous curlies who donated samples of conditioners or my standardized styling products to make the Conditioner Chronicles possible. I hope these reviews serve you well.