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De quoi est composé généralement un après-shampoing ?

What Are Common Conditioner Ingredients?

It is a hair care product that is used in addition to shampoo, and depending on the ingredients in hair conditioner, it can provide numerous benefits: nutrition, shine, hydration, repair. Which formula should I choose? Which compounds to avoid? We explain it to you.

Common Ingredients in Hair Conditioner.

Conditioners are most often direct emulsions (aqueous phase in the majority, fatty phase in the minority) that have a creamy, milky texture or are in the form of a transparent gel. They contain various categories of ingredients.

  • The solvent: Also called excipient, it is frequently water, most frequently present first on the INCI list. It dissolves the other compounds present in the formula.

  • Gelling agents: The consistent texture is brought to the conditioners via texturizing agents which are typically synthetic polymers like carbomers or natural like sclerotium gum (INCI name: “Sclerotium Gum”), xanthan gum (INCI name: “Xanthan Gum”) or tara gum (INCI name: “Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum”).

  • Detangling agents: The primary function of a conditioner is to detangle the hair to facilitate styling. In natural care, several detangling compounds can be added: biodegradable ingredients from plant sources such as beet and rapeseed (INCI: “Arachidyl/Behenyl Alcohol”), cetyl alcohol (INCI: “Cetyl Alcohol”), flax seed extract (INCI: “Linum Usitatissimum seed extract”).

  • The humectant compounds: The humectant character of an ingredient is based on its capacity to retain the water molecules because of its hygroscopic power (strong affinity for water). On the market, the humectant compounds potentially present in a conditioner are glycerin, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG) or pentylene glycol. As a reminder, as a precautionary principle, Typology excludes PEGs and propylene glycol from its formulas.

  • Oils and fats: Conditioners contain vegetable and mineral oils, in order to deposit a film on the surface of the hair and limit dehydration. As a reminder, Typology excludes all petrochemical oils from its formulas. The greasy conditioners also help to detangle the hair shafts. The fats frequently found in conditioners are, for example, avocado oil (INCI: “Persea Gratissima (avocado) Oil”), mango butter (INCI: “Mangifera Indica Seed Butter”), shea butter (INCI: “Butyrospermum parkii butter”).

  • The emulsifiers: The mixing of fats with water is made possible by the presence of surfactants, which disperse the oil droplets in the aqueous solution to form a stable emulsion. For example, in natural care products, the surfactants used may have the INCI names “Behenamidopropyl dimethylamine”, “Cetearyl Alcohol” and “Stearyl Alcohol”.

  • Preservatives: Conditioners generally contain a watery phase, which is conducive to the development of bacteria. In order to maintain the effectiveness and safety of the product, it is essential to include preservatives. It is possible for example to find phenoxyethanol. This compound can cause skin allergies, neurological disorders, as well as effects on reproduction. In addition, the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products attributes to this preservative side effects such as moderate to severe eye irritation. Faced with these arguments, it is preferable not to opt for a hair mask that contains phenoxyethanol. In natural care, sodium benzoate (INCI name: “Sodium Benzoate”) is often used as an antifungal preservative. Authorized in organic, it remains regulated. The maximum concentration allowed in finished preparations is 2.5% (in acid) for rinsed products, except for oral products and 0.5% (in acid) for non-rinsed products.


Note:There are other types of conditioner ingredients such as synthetic perfumes, essential oils or active ingredients. Indeed, even if the first function of a conditioner is to detangle the hair, certain care can be in more hydrating thanks to for example the hyaluronic acid or the aloe vera, or contain repairing credits like the ceramides.

Conditioner Ingredients To Avoid.

There are a few categories of ingredients in hair conditioner that should be avoided because they can damage the quality of your hair or be harmful to the planet.

  • Parabens

Used as preservatives, parabens are potential endocrine disruptors (= that disrupt hormonal balance). Since 2014, some parabens have been banned from use in cosmetics. Among the ingredients, they are easily recognized thanks to their INCI name which usually ends with paraben (Butylparaben, Propylparaben…). For information, organic hair care products do not contain parabens.

  • Silicones

Silicones are synthetic ingredients used since the 1970s. Originally, they were chosen to replace petroleum substitutes such as kerosene in cosmetic products. Their sensory qualities, difficult to match, made them widely used in the cosmetic market. Nevertheless, they have been criticized for several years because of their environmental impact, and some are suspected of being harmful to health.

Concerning their presence in some conditioners, silicones should be avoided because they are occlusive compounds. In the short term, they prevent the active ingredients in hair care products from penetrating the hair fiber. In the long term, they weigh down and grease the hair. To recognize them among the ingredients, their INCI name ends with -icone, -iconol or -xane like phenyl trimethicone, polysiloxane, etc.

  • Sulfates

These are surfactants whose role is to remove oil from the hair. Sulfates are stripping and can attack the hair fiber. They also have a drying effect on the hair. Not being a cleansing care, all conditioners do not necessarily contain sulfates.

Not all sulfates are aggressive. It all depends on how they were obtained. You should avoid sulfates from a chemical base, but you can freely use those from a vegetable base like coconut or sugar.

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