Friday, May 29, 2009

Homemade Detangler and Leave-In Conditioner

Allow me to begin by explaining my qualifications for this post: as a pre-schooler, my mom kept my hair cut short but I grew it out long in elementary school. In fifth grade, I cut it short and while it was cute enough, it was during that awkward stage so nothing looked quite right. From the seventh grade on, I only trimmed my hair and grew it out to all one length, until it was well past my waist last year. I then had my mom cut off about a foot total over a few months, but it's still pretty long.

All this time, I believed what I read - that I needed to buy a leave-in conditioner to help protect my long hair. I still protect it, but for a few pennies per bottle versus three or four bucks! Here's how to do it:

I use water from my filtered pitcher in the theory that it won't get icky. I haven't had any problems so far, but if it started smelling funky before I could get it used up, I'd probably add a few drops of tea tree oil the next time. Or, make a half-batch!

You can use any regular ol' hair conditioner - whatever is on sale (or free for you lucky CVSers and Walgreens people), or this would be a good way to use up those little bottles from hotels. Just make sure it's straight conditioner and not a shampoo-conditioner combo! You'll also need an empty spray bottle such as your former boughten leave-in conditioner or detangler, or hair spray. Just rinse it out.

I don't measure how much conditioner I squeeze in - it's probably close to the amount I use on my hair when I wash it, although in this picture, it sure looks like more than that. I usually squeeze it right in the bottle, but if you want to measure it on your hand like this, just scrape it in the bottle from your hand. I'd recommend erring on the low side, then adding water so the bottle is about half full (or half empty, if you're a pessimist) and testing it out to see how the proportion is. If your hair feels too greasy or heavy, add more water. If it doesn't seem to do anything but get it wet, add more conditioner. After a few times, you'll get a feel for about how much you need.

For this 10.5 ounce bottle, I added about a cup of water to fill it. I warm my water a bit in the microwave to make it easier to combine, but it isn't necessary. Just shake it and use it! I use it after showering - I brush the tangles out, squeeze out as much water as I can, and spray it on. (This is in addition to regular conditioning, mind you.) It also works well on static hair during the winter! Finally, I use it on Goose's hair for detangling, although if you're going to use it on a very active little girl, or one with thick or curly hair, I'd definitely up the amount of conditioner. Goose doesn't get too many tangles yet, so I just use the same proportion as for my hair.

Isn't that easy?!? For more frugal ideas, visit Life As Mom.

(EDIT: I initially saw this idea at Delighting in the Days but when I went to make it, I couldn't find the link *anywhere*. So I made up my own recipe. But I found it after cleaning out my favorites folders and I wanted to give credit where it was due.)


Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

This looks really simple and quite frugal, indeed. Can't wait to try... thanks!

Alea Milham said...

I have buying detangler for my horses' manes (it is cheaper than the horse products), but I am definately going to try this instead. Thanks for the tip.

Kim said...

This definitely looks like a money-saving idea! I used to buy detangler for the girls' hair (ugh, the tangles!), but I found that water worked better. I think your tip would be even better as it would smooth the hair.

Tankees for the idear!

Unknown said...

This is a great idea. My hair is very fine and tangles easily. This sounds like it would help. Thanks!

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