2 Ingredients To Look For In Your Conditioners

2 Ingredients To Look For In Your Conditioners

Detangling is such an important part of any natural or transitioning hair regimen that we spend a significant part of our washing hair routine dedicated to it. The fact is that this task can be made easier or more difficult depending on the conditioner we use. I’m sure we can all relate to having our hopes raised high only to be crushed within the first minute of trying a new miracle conditioner. However, I have come to notice that when it comes to conditioners there are two ingredients to look for as they seem to work wonders on our tangled curls.



Behentrimonium Methosulphate

If you normally read the list of ingredients on your hair products I’m sure you’ve seen this ingredient many times before. It is a cationic surfactant, which means that it can work as a “detergent” on formulations to clean your hair, albeit a very mild one due to its long number of carbons. Contrary to anionic surfactants such as SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) which has a negative charge, behentrimonium methosulphate (BTMS) has a positive charge and a long tail. This simply means that it will be attracted to the negative charge of your hair penetrating and working as a conditioning and anti-static agent. Once the charge on the surface of the hair is balanced the cuticle layers of the hair remain flat, the hair becomes easier to detangle and your washing routine becomes much shorter.


Here are a few products with behentrimonium methosulphate in their formula:

Camille Rose Jansyn’s Moisture Max Conditioner, 2 Kinky Curly Knot Today, 3 As I Am Detangling Conditioner, 4 Big Hair Soft Curls Conditioner.

Conditioners with Behentrimonium Methosulphate


Behentrimonium Chloride

This is another cationic surfactant very similar to BTMS although not as mild. It can serve many purposes in a formula such as a preservative, a conditioning, anti-static or cleaning agent. Its long positive tail means that it will spread well along the negative surface of the hair surface, decreasing frizz and making your tresses glide off each other allowing you to detangle your hair without much resistance. You can also expect softer hair as it penetrates the hair shaft for increased conditioning effects.


Here are a few products with behentrimonium chloride in them.

1 Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner, 2 Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturising Conditioner, 3 OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Conditioner, 4 Deva Curl One Conditioner


Behentrimonium Chloride



When looking for these cationic surfactants on your products check to see if they are paired with cetearyl alcohol or another fatty alcohol, they will lend any conditioner enhanced detangling properties. As with many other substances present in hair and skin products, some people can develop sensitivity to some ingredients which can result in allergies. According to the Environmental Working Group, as long as the ingredient concentration is respected there are no concerns. However, these ingredients can be naturally derived, in fact, you’ll see that these ingredients are present in some known brands that pride themselves on being natural and/or organic.


Note! The OGX conditioner contains two silicones, to know how to use them effectively and avoid problems associated with them read this post. Herbal Essences contains a modified silicone created not to accumulate on the hair strand, so a sulphate free shampoo will remove it.



What do you look for in your hair products?

4 thoughts on “2 Ingredients To Look For In Your Conditioners

  1. I am using the Acure conditioners as leave ins and have these “chemicals” or nature derived “substances”, can these substances be left in the hair being used as a curl cream when they are really just conditioners meant to use after the shampoo and then rinsed out? All the other organic name brands do not detangle my hair and the shea butter is way too heavy for it. However, as a 2c wavy, course, yet limp/low density hair I really need a styler with light hold but not greasy, such as Acure. Cantu, Shea Moisture and the mainstream natural hair movement name brands are way too heavy and don’t detangle.

    1. Hi Jannette,

      I don’t see a problem with using conditioners as leave-ins, I do that a and so do a lot of people. Preferably you want the ingredients in it to be good ones and don’t apply on the scalp and close to roots. I had a look at some of Acure conditioners and their ingredients are good. The ingredients mentioned in this post only show up in the middle of the ingredient’s list.

      As for products being too heavy, shy away from products/brands that have in their 1st ingredients butters and oils. As you can see Acure doesn’t have much of these.

  2. I am a bit confused here, I just read another post where you explain the bad consequences of silicones in hair products and all the natural orientated blog and now I see this post where you suggest some products with a lot of them in their formulation, like the OGX or the herbal essences ones…

    1. Hi Jose,

      Yes, silicones can have bad consequences if you don’t know how to use them. When I started my natural hair journey I stayed away from them but as I got more knowledgeable about ingredients and product formulation I changed my approach. In this post, also located on the blog’s sidebar, I also explain how silicones can be great and the differences between them. I do have an approach that favours products are based in natural and naturally derived ingredients. However, sometimes I may use a product with a silicone or other film-forming ingredient in it depending on what I want to achieve (protection, longevity for hairstyles). OGX does have two silicones in it but Herbal Essences has a special silicone formulated not to accumulate on the hair and most sulphate free shampoo will remove it, plus if you’re clarifying your hair they’re okay. However, you are right in that it may cause confusion so I will add a note/warning in relation to OGX. Thanks, I do need to revisit some of these older posts.

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