View Full Version : CO wash-friendly cones and the products that contain them

June 19th, 2010, 07:12 AM
Hiya fellow longhairs,

I'm a CO washer and have been for 18 months or longer, and for the most part my routine is going well. My routine is currently sulfate-free and entirely cone-free with a bit of coconut oiling once or twice a week, and never needs shampooing.

Now, I love the full benefits of conditioner throughout the washing experience - I *cannot* stand the squeaky, tangle-prone cleanliness associated with shampooing. That said, I like what cones do; I think their image as cling wrap for hair is a complete oversimplification, and I don't believe they damage your hair, or in any of the other spiels generally listed for going cone-free. They offer slip and reduce friction, which means less damage from manual manipulation. What I hate about them is that they need a good, strong surfactant to get rid of build-up.

So I want the best of both worlds: the cones that don't need to be shampooed out.

I know there's a few lists around (such as <one of LHC's own hair care articles (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/vbjournal.php?do=article&articleid=13)>, <http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curly-q-a/whats-the-scoop-on-silicones> and <http://healthycurls.awardspace.com/cones.html> - the last two are re-linked from The Beauty Brains) and the general list of cones safe for COers seems to come down to:
Cyclomethicone (highly volatile so mostly evaporates, and easily removable by gentler cationic surfactants, such as Cetrimonium Chloride and Distearyldimonium Chloride, which are found in many inexpensive conditioners)
Dimethicone Copolyol (a group of compounds, of which a full list of names can be found here (http://www.realself.com/ingredient/dimethicone-copolyol); water soluble)
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Hydroxypropyl Polysiloxane (water soluble)
Lauryl Methicone Copolyol (water soluble)
PEG-modified Dimethicone (water soluble; if you follow the link to the list of names for Dimethicone Copolyol, I suspect they're the same things)SO, my long-winded request is:
Can your name me a good CO-friendly conditioner that contains these - and only these - cones?
Can you name some leave-in conditioners (anti-frizz, curl control, shine serums, you name it) that contain these - and only these - cones?
Is there any particular product from lists 1 or 2 that you swear by?My desperate desire for this information was fuelled by my acquisition of The Body Shop's Brazil Nut Define & No Frizz (http://www.thebodyshop-usa.com/styling-products/prod6270003) leave-in (Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone Copolyol) which apart from smelling DIVINE it has reminded me of all the good things I'm missing out on with a cone-free routine. But at US$120/L (in Aussie stores, it's currently US$240/L!!) it's just not economically viable. Surely there's enough long-haired beauties that feel the same way, and amongst us there's a pool of product information waiting to be shared!

June 19th, 2010, 11:29 AM
I'm a bit confused. Do you have something against this combo:

Amodimethicone (&) Trideceth-12 (&) Cetrimonium Chloride- Cationic emulsion for hair conditioning.

also listed in the LHC cone article? It is water-soluble. If you're ok with it, I believe that is the cone combination in Loreal Nature's Therapy Mega Moisture. I LOVE this conditioner, but it is really too heavy for CO. I would only use it from the nape down as my second conditioner.

June 19th, 2010, 11:15 PM
I'm a bit confused. Do you have something against this combo:

Amodimethicone (&) Trideceth-12 (&) Cetrimonium Chloride- Cationic emulsion for hair conditioning.

also listed in the LHC cone article? It is water-soluble. If you're ok with it, I believe that is the cone combination in Loreal Nature's Therapy Mega Moisture. I LOVE this conditioner, but it is really too heavy for CO. I would only use it from the nape down as my second conditioner.

Thanks for reminding me, Kristin: in the third link I posted for cones and their solubility (http://healthycurls.awardspace.com/cones.html#Anchor-3800), there's a footnote for that specific compound that says "Amodimethicone is never water soluble after being applied to your hair. It clings like any other silicone that is not water soluble." I don't know how accurate that is and what it means in practical terms for CO-washers, but I left it out for that reason.

June 21st, 2010, 08:18 PM
Bumpity bump bump.

I'm interested in hearing what LHCers have to say about this, since I'm interested in this as well. :-)

June 21st, 2010, 11:36 PM
Yeah, I thought I'd been missing something obvious and that there would be a strong response (and a few pats on the head to the tune of "glad you could finally join us").

Haven't tried these, but I've been going through a site that's pretty good at listing ingredients and found:
L'Oreal Smooth Gloss Anti-Frizz Cream (http://www.buzzillions.com/reviews/loreal-smooth-gloss-anti-frizz-cream-5-fl-oz-reviews)
ghd Professional Thermal Protector for weak & damaged hair (http://www.buzzillions.com/reviews/ghd-professional-thermal-protector-weak-damaged-hair-5-1-fl-oz-reviews)
ghd Professional Thermal Protector for normal/fine hair (http://www.buzzillions.com/reviews/ghd-professional-thermal-protector-normal-fine-hair-5-1-fl-oz-reviews)
all of which fit the bill. Will keep looking.

July 30th, 2010, 11:54 AM
BitterSweet, have you tried using a coney shampoo and a cone-free conditioner? I'm currently trying that, and I have to tell you, it's working pretty nicely. I'm getting the benefits of cones without overdosing on them, and at the same time, my hair feels nice like it does after CO-washing, but without that waxy feel, and with the benefits of cones.

And, I'm sorry to say that I haven't been able to find much in terms of water-soluble cones only in conditioners apart from Dove's Go Fresh Nectarine and white ginger (i think?) conditioner.

Cinnamon Hair
July 30th, 2010, 06:55 PM
Okay, you're probably not going to like my answer, but I speak from experience as a many-year CO'er. Of course, it's just my experience, and all hair types are different / different things work for different people, etc. etc. *insert disclaimer here*.

Yes I know some cones are water soluble which should mean they won't build up. But that has not been my experience. Any and all coney conditioners I have ever tried build up eventually, causing tangles, and need shampoo to be removed. When you start getting frustrated with your hair while trying to detangle, combing takes longer than usual, you find lots of fuzz stuck in your hair causing tangles, or it feels crunchy, or you get those nasty spider web matts at your nape, that means it is time to haul out the :guns: shampoo. :scared:

Again though, it is a personal matter, and you have to learn what works for you so it's good that you are asking for conditioner recommendations with those ingredients and trying them for yourself. For me though, what works is to CO my scalp daily with non-cone conditioner (White Rain or VO5) and either use a coney conditioner on the length or a non-cone conditioner, then shampoo it out weekly and start over fresh. My favorite coney conditioners are the heavy ones that have lottsa cones and make the shower floor slick they are so effective. L'Oreal Mega Moisture is one. Otherwise, if I just use a puny light coney conditioner it's like I didn't use anything, or maybe even worse than not using anything. It doesn't help at all with detangling, and well for me that's the whole point of a conditioner. :twocents:

August 2nd, 2010, 12:48 PM
In my opinion and experience, the idea that a strong, harsh surfactant is needed to prevent 'cones (water-soluble or not) from building up is just as much a myth as all of the others you mentioned. There is some research to back this up; see the following links, articles:


I've been using several coney conditioners containing dimethicone, bisaminopropyl dimethicone, and amodimethicone (these are the cones that seem to give me the best results; none are water-soluble) for quite some time. I CO most of the time (with a non-cone conditioner for the washing step). I do use a non-sulfate shampoo less than weekly (usually scalp/roots only), but it is not 'cone buildup that leads me to do so, rather my scalp does better with an occasional shampoo.

IME, all of the conditioning agents that double as surfactants remove cones. I use a wide variety of CO conditioners containing, among others, cetrimonium chloride, stearalkonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, behentrimonium chloride, behentrimonium methosulfate, dicetyldimonium chloride, etc. All of these conditioning agents are mild surfactants that behave similarly. When I CO with a product containing one or more of these, my hair feels and looks like it no longer has cones on it...unless of course I do a 2nd C with a coney conditioner.

As a CO-washer, it's not whether or not a 'cone is water-soluble that is the issue, but whether it is conditioner soluble. IME, they all are, with the right conditioners.

The only 'cones I avoid are cyclomethicone and cyclopentasiloxane. They don't build-up, they evaporate off as the hair dries. This causes major frizz for me. It was these 'cones that led me to believe (for awhile) that 'cones were bad for my hair.

ETA: added link

August 24th, 2010, 07:09 PM
This is turning into a really interesting thread. I've read the Beauty Brains blog on whether no-poo is for you. They maintain that a cone-free condish like v05 MAY be enough to remove cones from your hair, but they don't say at what concentration or whether it'll work on everyone's hair or not.

More and more, I'm beginning to see that although I enjoy CO-washing for the way it makes my hair appear, it's definitely not doing enough to cleanse my scalp as well as I wish. I've been getting an itchy scalp recently when CO-washing and eliminating cones. It also irritates me that it takes 30 minutes for me to do a CO-wash when I can shampoo with a coney poo and condition with a cone-free condish in 5 minutes.

I know that convenience isn't meant to be the be-all and end-all of beauty routines. But at what point does one sacrifice practicality at the altar of beautiful hair fairly? For me, I'm enjoying the benefits of cones through a cleansing poo every other day to every 2 days with the same feel and look as CO-washing without all the effort.