Posted in Beauty & Style

DIY “Natural” vs Store Bought “Chemical” Conditioners

We often faced with a plethora of “right” choices for almost everything, so I understand the difficulty with choosing the right conditioner. When I started this blog in 2014, I raved about DIY natural mixtures for my hair and skin care. For my skin, I still use plant oils and black soap, and black soap is still my shampoo. DIY is great but it involves a lot of research and work. Also, DIY doesn’t always mean safe or natural or organic.

As a minimalist, I want to keep everything I use simple. That is my guiding principle for hair and skin care.


• One of the most common misconceptions about DIY is that it is all-natural, safe and better than anything store-bought.

• Natural can be a loose term and sometimes when people say natural, they mean organic. For example, for orange to be natural, it has to be grown with manure, free from any pesticides or fertilizer.

• It takes a lot to mix any two ingredients. 1 teaspoon of sugar + 1 teaspoon of water is different from 1 teaspoon of sugar + 2 teaspoons of water.

• How well are the mixing equipment sterilised to prevent the spread of bacteria?

•What is the shelf life of what you are mixing, especially if you plan to leave it for a while?

• For any protein to actually penetrate your hair, it needs to be hydrolyzed. Unless your DIY incorporates things like this into the mix, it may not be essentially better than a store-bought conditioner.

• However, DIY is fun and gives you control over what you use, so I feel you.

It takes a lot to mix any two ingredients.


• There is no denying that some products have questionable and sometimes potentially harmful ingredients.

• Some claims even end up being untrue, for example – an apple conditioner having an apple as the last ingredient instead of the first three.

• Unlike when you make for yourself, realistically most companies make products with profit in mind.

• Sometimes it is just simply hard to find that product that caters to your specific hair concerns.

• However, store-bought is convenient and most companies have specialists formulating these products, the shelf life is accurate and will not have moulds before then.

Most companies make products with profit in mind.

My Conclusion

Now, the big question – what is good enough for use?

Here are my recommendations

• Buying certified ethical, natural or organic products that use safe and science-backed ingredients and have been specially formulated for the concerns you have. Not all store-bought products should be avoided.

Ensuring I use organic (or safe, at least) products is very key to me, whether I make it or buy it. Read the label carefully and understand the product before buying. A common tip is to look at the first five or six ingredients.

• That a product has chemicals doesn’t necessarily mean it is unsafe. Water is a chemical, H20.

• If you do decide to mix like I do for my body oils, here are some tips.

  • Ensure that the ingredients go well together and please use a proper preservative if necessary.
  • Research the ratio or how much is best together and test patch.
  • Try not to use more than 3 ingredients, 4 at most. Less is more.
  • Are they actually doing what they claim they are supposed to do? Does mixing it with any other thing increase or decrease efficiency?

• You can also try alternating DIY and store-bought. For example, one-use DIY leave-in conditioner with a store-bought deep conditioner.


I'm OnyinyeOlufunmi, a visual artist, writer and psychologist from Lagos, Nigeria.

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