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.
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 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.