Indi-Curl wonders…I have just started a No-Poo hair care routine for my ultra-curly hair and I have a question about leave-in products that are compatible with the system. I know to avoid silicone, and I do, but I was wondering about products with Mineral oil in them. My favorite leave-in treatment contains Mineral oil. Is a conditioner like VO5 strong enough to cleanse hair when this type product is used? I couldn’t find any real information online about it. Everyone just says not to use Mineral oil at all, but it works great on my hair! My hair has never looked better, but I want to make sure I don’t have any buildup problems down the road. Thanks!
Left Brain explains
For the people who don’t know it, the No-Poo hair care routine is basically washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. People also call it Co-washing as in Conditioner Washing. Some say it originated with a stylist in Australia but it’s tough to know where these things actually start. The reason people do it is because they want to avoid the harsh effects of shampoo surfactants on their hair. Another strategy is to use Dry Shampoo but we’ll save that for another post.
How can conditioner wash hair?
There is some science and logic behind this hair care regime. Shampoos are typically composed of about 10-15% detergent. They use anionic surfactants like Sodium Laureth Sulfate of Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate which do an excellent job of cleaning and removing oil from hair.
Conditioners also have detergents in them but a different kind. They use cationic surfactants (or quats) which have the tendency to stick to the hair where they provide conditioning. Common ingredients are Cetrimonium Chloride or Distearyldimonium Chloride and are used at 1-5%. Although they do stick to the hair, these ingredients also have the ability to cleanse the hair. This is why the No-Poo washing system can work.
Avoid Mineral Oil?
The reason people say to avoid silicones and mineral oil is because the amount of detergent used in conditioners may not be enough. This may or may not be true. It really depends on your hair and the way it is left feeling to you. The VO5 conditioner should be enough to remove mineral oil, but you have to try it to know for sure. It may even be good enough to remove silicone!
If you are unsatisfied with the way your hair feels after trying the No-Poo method, you should consider occasionally washing your hair or trying a VO5 Hot Oil treatment. I know this might sound odd, but the Hot Oil treatment does not actually have oil in it! It is composed of a quat (like the VO5 conditioner) called Cocotrimonium Chloride. You can use this product and it will give your hair a good cleaning without using the harsh surfactants of shampoo. It even foams.
Beauty Brains bottom line
There is no scientific reason to avoid using Mineral Oil or Silicone if you are using the No-poo method of cleansing. It just depends on whether you like the way your hair feels or not.
No-poo or Co-washing is not for everyone, but some people like the way it makes their hair feel. It will be less damaging, less exposure to chemicals, and may even do a better job of protecting your hair color & shape. However, I doubt the shampoo companies are too worried about everyone switching. While it may be less damaging, it also leaves your hair feeling a bit “dirty”…and it is.
Have you tried the No-poo washing method or even the dry shampoo option? Leave a comment below and let the rest of the Beauty Brains community know what you thought.