Conditioner is something that wavy friends (and curly hair friends!) need a LOT of. And we go through it…..except when one doesn’t work. I have a post about how I use the Pink NYMN as a Deep Conditioner because it’s too thick/rich for my 2a/2b coarse wavy hair. And I really think that method works well for most conditioners that are “too much.” But what about when a conditioner is not hydrating enough? Or is “too thin,” “too runny,” or otherwise just doesn’t work for you? Here are a few tips to use up that conditioner without wasting the product.
Tip 1: Try it as a leave-in
A lot of wavies, including myself, will use a “regular” conditioner as a leave-in conditioner. I do this in my normal hair routine by not fully rinsing out the product. But if I’ve got one that’s too thin, this is a great way to add in moisture. My biggest tip is to not go above your ears because that can cause build-up/grease FAST. I tried out the Maui Moisture Lightweight Hydration + Hibiscus Water Conditioner this way. The product was okay, but just didn’t give my hair enough moisture (the name suggests this so that’s totally on me). But I used it as a leave-in with good results!
Tip 2: Use in a Refreshing Spray
Okay it will take a LONG time to use up a conditioner this way, but it’s still worth mentioning. Sometimes I refresh my hair with a water spray bottle that has about a tablespoon of conditioner and then filled the remainder of water (for this one, it’s a little less than 8oz of water). I then use my 2 minute refresh method to scrunch and do the refreshing, just with the mixture instead of plain water.
Tip 3: Use as a Shaving Cream
I cannot remember the last time I bought shaving cream. In fact, I refuse to for specifically this tip. Conditioner makes an excellent shaving cream for many people (note I am NOT a dermatologist so if you have skin issues/concerns ask them please!). I have somewhat sensitive skin and unless something is extremely fragranced, doesn’t make a difference for me. I particularly did this with a Vo5 conditioner after I tested out an Under $5 FULL hair routine. The conditioner wasn’t bad, but I had others at the time that I was using more.
Tip 4: Add a bit to gel for a hydrating styler
Usually, I’m not a huge fan of gel. You can read about my thoughts and tips on using gel in wavy hair to learn more about that. BUT, if you like gel, or at least have one lying around the house, you can also try to add in a few drops of a “too thin” conditioner to it. This turns the gel into more of a custard. Again, this isn’t going to use up your conditioner very fast, but it’s another way to experiment if you’re feeling bored!
Tip 5: Leave it in longer
In case you haven’t yet try this I had to quickly mention to leave the product in longer. Almost like how you would a deep treatment, but with your not-as-hydrating conditioner. This doesn’t always fix the problem, but if you’re in a pinch, don’t want to create waste, or don’t have the means to simply throw out a product…then it’s worth trying. Let the conditioner sit in your hair for at least five minutes, but preferably 10 minutes. Basically, try this on a shaving day! Worst case, you can also use tip 2 at the same time.
Tip 6: Have a family member/roomate try it out
My daughter has very fine wavy hair, and this is my favorite way to use up my conditioners that are a bit too thin. She is only 4 so I’m extremely careful because I don’t want her to get any in her eyes. But she feels SO grown up using an “adult conditioner,” and her waves love the hydration! Before she was old enough, I would give them to my husband. He’d protest sometimes but for the most part didn’t care. Worst case if you’ve got a guy that’s being picky: refill another conditioner bottle with this. I’m not saying to be deceptive, but my husband would occassionally not want to use a bright pink conditioner bottle. He didn’t care if I put that exact same product into another bottle….. *men*.
Tip 7: Donate to a shelter
I’m not advocating to only donate “subpar” items to shelters. The reality is that other women/people have different hair types. Some hair types (finer typically), simply need less conditioner, or thinner conditioner such as what I’ve described at the beginning. Others are in a position where any conditioner is a good conditioner. I would also only advocate doing this if the product is at least 3/4 full, and check with the shelter to see if opened products are accepted.
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Hope that makes it a bit easier to finish up a conditioner that you don’t love! If you want a suggestion for an amazing conditioner, check out this one! -Rachel