Bluecatbaby says…For a long time I have used a leave-in conditioner, and then a styling cream, before either heat styling or air-drying. But it occurred to me that they look and feel almost the same in my hand, maybe the styling cream is redundant. Do they each have different benefits? My conditioner is Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Leave-In conditioner. My styling cream is either Sebastian Potion 9, Beyond the Zone Gettin’ Creamed, or Kinky-Curly Curling Custard (say THAT five times fast!)
The Right Brain responds:
BCB, this question was harder to answer than I’d expected because I couldn’t find complete ingredient lists for the Beyond the Zone product or the Kinky Curly Custard. So I’m only able to to compare the Fructis product to Sebastian’s Potion 9. The quick answer is that they’re very similar but there is one important difference.
The main ingredients in the Fructis product are Cetearyl Alcohol , Amodimethicone , Cetyl Esters , Behentrimonium Chloride , Cetrimonium Chloride while Sebastian is based primarily on Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Stearalkonium Chloride, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Choride, Cetearyl Alcohol, PVP, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, and Methyl Gluceth 10. What does all this chemical mumbo jumbo mean?
How is a leave in similar to a styling cream?
Both products are made with fatty alcohols (which provide a rich, creamy consistency), both contain a chloride-based cationic which will provide conditioning, and both contain a conditioning silicone that has been chemically modified to stick to hair. So both products will function as a leave in conditioner.
How is a leave in different than a styling cream?
In addition the Sebastian product contains PVP which is a classic hair holding polymer. It’s not a particularly good one because it will easily absorb moisture on a humid day but when used at high enough levels it does provide nice crispy hold. Depending on how much PVP is used in this formula, I’d expect Potion 9 to do a better job of styling your hair compared to the Fructis product which will only condition.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
You can’t always tell how a product will perform just based on the name/description. That’s because there are no standard definitions and companies can call their product pretty much whatever they want. Traditionally leave in conditioners have emollients/conditioning agents which smooth hair and perhaps some antistat agents, usually in a light, easily spreadable cream or liquid base. Styling creams typically have polymers which help hold hair in place and may or may not include conditioning/anti-stat ingredients. So, you have to look at it on a product by product basis.
Garnier Fructis Style Fructis Sleek & Shine Conditioning Cream
Water , Cetearyl Alcohol , Amodimethicone , Cetyl Esters , Behentrimonium Chloride , Pyrus Malus Extract/Apple Fruit Extract , Fragrance , Isopropyl Alcohol, Trideceth 6 , Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil , Niacinamide , Pyridoxine HCI , Prunus Armeniana (Apricot) Kernel Oil , Citric Acid , Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract , Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride , Benzyl Alcohol , Cetrimonium Chloride , Linalool , Butylphenyl Methlypropronial , Citronellol , CI 19140 , Yellow 5 , Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract , CI 15985 , Yellow 6 , Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract , F.I.L. D46895/1
Sebastion Potion 9
Water/Aqua, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Stearalkonium Chloride, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Choride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, PVP, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Silk, Cetyl Alcohol, Methyl Gluceth 10, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Oenothra Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Propylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pimenta Dioca Leaf Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Hydroxyethylcellolose, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Annatto (Cl 75120), Est. Violet 2 (Cl 60730), Orange 4 (Cl 15510), Red 40 (Cl 16035).,
Beyond the Zone Gettin’ Creamed
Can’t find this one anywhere.
Kinky-Curly Curling Custard (these are the ingredients listed on their website but you can’t make a good gel or cream from these ingredients alone so clearly they’re not being transparent about what’s really in this product. I HATE THAT!)
Botanical infusion of water, horsetail, chamomile, nettle and marshmallow, organic aloe vera juice, agave nectar extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin e), pectin, citric acid, potassium sorbate and natural fragrance.
Image credit: http://www.haroldolsen.com/