For a frizz monster like me the idea of a moisturizing conditioner that cleanses hair without stripping it of moisture sounds like a dream come true. I've been on a hunt for a perfect cleansing conditioner for almost two years now, and I think I found the ultimate (and quite affordable) winner.
I have very thick, coarse, and wavy hair. It is long and I have a lot of it. Last time I got a haircut it took the master 20 minutes to wash it. No, it's not a typo. 20 minutes. Sometimes I feel guilty walking into a salon - I feel like hairdressers want to run for the hills at the sight of an updo of my scale and texture.
Handling it myself is also a challenge. I used to straighten my hair 3-4 times a week, which damaged it quite a bit and made it even more unruly than it already was. This is why about about two years ago I decided to change up my routine and start looking for products that would nourish and tame my curls with minimal heat styling. The first step I decided to take was switch from using a shampoo to using a cleansing conditioner.
The concept of cleansing conditioners is very interesting. Who would say no to a conditioner that cleans your hair, but doesn't strip it of your natural oils and moisture? It is supposed to keep your hair moisturized, soft, and clean.
The first cleansing conditioner I tried was WEN. No combination of shampoo+conditioner has ever made my hair this soft. My waves were shiny and very manageable with no additional products... but this effect only lasted for about 3 washes. My hair got used to WEN very quickly, so after the 3rd wash, the effects were not as strong as when I first started using it. I noticed my hair would get frizzy, and it took me about 5 washes to run out of a $32 bottle as my hair is long and I had to use quite a bit of product.
And so my journey to find the perfect cleansing conditioner began. In the last two years I've tried a dozen of different brands, until I finally stumbled upon Matrix Biolage Cleansing Conditioners. My mom loves Matrix products as they are sulfate- and paraben-free. They are available in most drugstores, so when I saw that they released a cleansing conditioner, I knew it is worth a shot.
The line has 5 different conditioners for various hair types - fine, medium, coarse, damaged, and curly - all retailing for around $26. I started out with Biolage Cleansing Conditioner For Medium Hair, going through three bottles of it (including the 33oz one), after which I decided to experiment a little and try out the rest of the line.
FOR MEDIUM HAIR
This was the first conditioner I've tried and I instantly fell in love with it (hence why I repurchased it so many times). It made my hair look very shiny, lightweight and did a stellar job at cleaning my scalp with one wash. I loved the smell of it as well. I found that it does not eliminate frizz completely on my hair, but compared to how my hair is after normal shampooing, this conditioner worked wonders. I instantly recommended it to all of my friends. Unless you have kinky curly hair, I feel like this shampoo is a good starting point to try out this line as it would work for most hair types.
FOR COARSE HAIR
Of all of the Biolage cleansing conditioners, this one is my least favorite, mainly, because I find the smell of it very off-putting. It contains avocado oil which is very good for smoothing out frizz and moisturizing coarse hair, but the conditioner smells nothing like avocado. The formula is thicker than in the previous conditioner, and while it does smooth out the hair, I found that it made my hair get oily much quicker than usual. The consistency of this conditioner is quite thick, so my hair was weighted down and I still had some frizz.This product is not bad and could definitely work on some hair, but, compared to the rest, it performed the worst on my hair.
FOR DAMAGED HAIR
This conditioner is the newest addition to the line, and it is incredible. You'll instantly feel how smooth your hair becomes once you apply this bad boy. It lathers a little bit, so this conditioner is the easiest one to work into the hair. The formula is still silicone-, paraben-, sulfate-free. Because it was so easy to apply, I feel like I used less of the product than with the other conditioners, and it lasted me the longest of all four. In terms of healing properties, I did not see a drastic difference. My ends are color treated (from an old balayage that grew out), and while this product smoothed out the hair throughout, I wouldn't say that it sealed any split ends of anything of that sort. Nonetheless, after one wash my hair felt very clean, soft, and it eliminated the frizz better than the previous two. I will definitely repurchase this one!
FOR CURLY HAIR
Last, but not least, we have this god-sent conditioner. After I air-dried my hair, it made my waves the most defined and frizz-free of anything I have ever used in my L I F E. It literally looked like I just got a blow out. I could not believe it. No other product has ever made my waves look and feel this soft, shiny, and frizz-free, and when I say frizz-free, I mean I had 0 frizz for 3 days straight. The only down side to this product is that I did make my hair feel a little bit heavy. That being said, I still had a lot of volume, and I have no problem sacrificing the feeling of added weight for my waves looking this moisturized and luscious.
Currently, I alternate between two conditioners: FOR CURLY HAIR and FOR DAMAGED HAIR. I could not recommend them enough. The formula of these two is similar, so your hair is not going to overreact as if these were two different products. Alternating two products allows my hair to not get used to any particular product as it did with WEN, and rip the benefits of both.
Ever since I switched up my method and started using MATRIX BIOLAGE CLEANSING CONDITIONERS, my hair has been on its best behavior. My waves are less frizzy, more defined, moisturized, and healthy. I use heat on my hair rarely, and when I do, I simply curl up my front layers to make my hair look more neat. These bad boys are definitely responsible for the increased manageability of my locks.
If you are someone who is looking to start using cleansing conditioners - MATRIX is your new favorite brand. All BIOLAGE products are actually on sale at Ulta at $11 a bottle instead of $26! Be sure to snatch a bottle or maybe even a couple. You can thank me later ;)