What is a Natural Conditioner?

Vanessa Harvey

A natural conditioner is a plant or animal substance that maintains or improves the condition of the skin or hair and that has not been altered to a form in which it does not exist in nature and to which no man-made chemicals have been added. The term frequently is also used to refer to products that contain unnatural or man-made chemicals in addition to one or more all-natural ingredients. There are various types of conditioners from which people can choose, depending on the results they wish to obtain for their skin or hair. For example, a hair conditioner might be formulated to hydrate dry hair or a dry scalp, to strengthen hair that has been weakened, to stimulate the growth of weakened hair and to thicken individual strands if it is a volumizing conditioner.

Olive oil is a healthy, natural conditioner that will not irritate skin or the scalp.
Olive oil is a healthy, natural conditioner that will not irritate skin or the scalp.

Many herbs, fats, and oils are used as a homemade, standalone natural conditioner for the skin or hair or as an ingredient in a commercially manufactured cosmetic. Among some of the most widely used herbs are chamomile flowers, mullein leaves, jaborandi leaves and dandelion root, but there are many others. Chamomile is one of the most chosen herbs for keeping the hair light while helping it to maintain its suppleness. People with dark hair might be able to add some dark brown highlights over a long period of time of rinsing the hair with a chamomile infusion. A strong infusion of mullein leaves poured over the hair as a leave-in conditioner is one of the most effective moisturizers for the problem of dry hair.

An infusion of mullein leaves for an extremely effective leave-in conditioner.
An infusion of mullein leaves for an extremely effective leave-in conditioner.

An infusion of jaborandi leaves poured over the hair daily has been known to stimulate growth and add luster, and a decoction of dandelion root applied to the hair and scalp is a natural conditioner that also is very nourishing because it provides organic B vitamins, vitamin E and some minerals required for healthy hair. Dandelion root decoction also can serve as a natural conditioner for the skin, including the face. Natural and potentially harmful chemical extracts of chamomile often are added to commercial hair conditioners; extracts of mullein, jaborandi, and dandelion root are seen less often, but they do appear as ingredients in conditioners sold as natural cosmetics.

Fats and oils commonly used as a natural conditioner, particularly for dry scalp, hair and skin, include extra virgin olive oil, almond oil and shea butter. The skin can present many problems; it can be too dry, oily or sensitive and prone to acne, breakouts and eczema. A natural conditioner that can be a mixture of oils and herbs often is chosen to alleviate these problems without causing skin damage or allergic reactions.

Dandelion roots are rich in vitamins.
Dandelion roots are rich in vitamins.

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Discussion Comments


Unfortunately, skin moisturizers with natural oils don't work too well for acne prone skin. Natural oils are usually comedogenic, meaning that they clog pores. So moisturizers with oils can actually trigger an acne breakout, so it's not the best choice for moisturizing acne prone skin.

I used to actually breakout on my forehead and neck due to a natural hair conditioner! The oils from the conditioner would get on my face and neck and cause a breakout. It took me a while to figure out that my hair conditioner is the problem. I switched to a different hair conditioner and the problem disappeared. So people with acne prone skin can't use every product out there.


@SarahGen-- Have you tried argan oil? It's wonderful.

I don't use pure argan oil buy both my shampoo and conditioner have argan oil as an ingredient.


Coconut oil is another natural oil that can be used to condition scalp and hair. I personally use it as a scalp and hair mask several times a week. Not only does it get rid of dandruff but it also nourishes my hair. My hair used to be very brittle with split ends. It's looking much stronger nowadays and also very shiny.

I have tried olive oil and mineral oil on my hair and scalp as well, but coconut oil works best. The type I use is 100% pure coconut oil. So there are no additives or chemicals.

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