Let me start off this review by saying that my hair is the most obnoxious, high-maintenance diva I’ve ever encountered.
It’s fine, but I have a lot of it. It’s curly, but I have two to three different curl patterns at any given time. It’s oily at the roots, but SO dry at the ends. If I put the wrong kind of shampoo, conditioner, or styling product onto it, it immediately turns into a greasy mess that even the best dry shampoo can’t totally salvage. To say it drives me nuts would be an understatement.
About a year ago, I started following the Curly Girl Method of hair care in the hopes that I could enhance my natural curls and maybe make my hair behave a little better.
A few months into the CG method, I tried the “no-poo” cleansing method, which involves finding a lightweight, silicone-free conditioner and using it in place of shampoo to clean my hair. I attempted it a few different times, and it was an absolute disaster every time. My hair was a weighed-down mess that looked and felt totally gross. For me, hair washing is time-consuming and annoying at the best of times (seriously, I have to plan my week around wash days), so I pretty quickly gave up on the idea of cleansing with conditioner.
For me, hair washing is time-consuming and annoying at the best of times (seriously, I have to plan my week around wash days).
I’ve made a lot of progress in my CG journey, but I’ve recently been dealing with hair that’s even more dry and unruly than normal (yaaaay!). Deep conditioning helped, but it still didn’t feel like enough, so I decided to take a risk and try the Kerastase Curl Ideal Cleansing Conditioner.
Jumping In: Kerastase Curl Ideal Cleansing Conditioner
As far as I can tell, this is the only cleansing conditioner that Kerastase offers. Rather than being “no-poo,” this is a “low-poo” product.
“No-poo” vs. “Low-poo” Hair Washing
In Curly Girl vocabulary, “no-poo” essentially means that there are no detergents or surfactants in the formula, so it doesn’t lather up or feel like shampoo. Another term for this is “cowashing” (conditioner washing), and, when done correctly, it removes grime and buildup perfectly well while also adding moisture to your hair.
“Low-poo” is a little different, and I think that if I had understood the difference when I first tried switching my cleansing methods, I would have had much better results. “Low-poo” means that the product has very gentle surfactants that create a small amount of lather. These products also tend to be more lightweight than “no-poo” ones, because they’re meant for thinner or finer curls (like mine).
Like I said before, the Kerastase Cleansing Conditioner is low-poo, and I think this is the secret to my ongoing success with it!
Who Can Benefit From This Cleansing Conditioner
If you have wavy or curly hair that’s easily weighed down, or if you’ve tried CG cleansing methods in the past without success, I think that the Kerastase Curl Ideal Cleansing Conditioner might be a good fit for you!
Who can benefit: If you have wavy or curly hair that’s easily weighed down, or if you’ve tried Curly Girl cleansing methods in the past without success.
Who Should Skip This Product
Obviously, I don’t have dense coils or thick hair, but I have a feeling that this wouldn’t be moisturizing enough for anyone who typically has success with no-poo cleansing. For example, if you’ve ever used DevaCurl’s No-poo Decadence and had a good hair day afterward, I don’t think this is right for you.
(If you do have super coily or curly hair and have used this successfully, please tell me! I’d love to know. I’m just basing this off of my personal experience.)
Where This Fits Into Your Beauty Routine
Another thing I like about this cleansing conditioner is that it actually does function well as a 2-in-1 product. It replaces my shampoo completely, and most of the time I can skip my extra in-shower conditioning steps as well.
So, this could technically fit into both the shampoo and conditioning steps of your hair washing routine.
Kerastase Curl Ideal Cleansing Conditioner full ingredients:
Water, cetearyl alcohol, sodium cocoamphopropionate, hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, behentrimonium chloride, fragrance, coco-betaine, caprylyl glycol, isopropyl alcohol, glycerin, sodium chloride, benzyl salicylate, benzyl alcohol, linalool, geraniol, limonene, alpha-isomethyl ionone, arginine, serine, 2-oleamido-1,3-octadecanediol, glutamic acid, hydroxypropyltrimonium hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed elastin, phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate
Cetearyl alcohol, sodium cocoamphopropionate and coco-betaine are all gentle, sulfate-free surfactants, which means that they are mild cleansers that can also help to condition your hair.
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Cetearyl alcohol is also what’s known as a “fatty alcohol,” which basically just means that it’s softening rather than drying. You may have seen it labeled as a “good” alcohol in reviews for other skin care and hair care products, and that’s why.
It also contains hydrolyzed wheat protein and hydrolyzed elastin, both of which help your hair feel thicker, shinier, and smoother.
Possible Red Flags
Limonene, linalool, and geraniol are all well-known sensitizing ingredients. While lots of people can use products that contain any or all of these ingredients, some people have bad allergic reactions to them.
There’s also a TON of fragrance. It has a very strong “floral perfume”-type scent that really clings to your hair. While I personally like that I can smell this scent in my hair two days after washing, I know that a lot of you aren’t into that level of fragrance.
You can skim the full CosDNA analysis here.
There’s also a ton of fragrance. It has a very strong “floral perfume”-type scent that really clings to your hair.
Let’s Talk Performance
Because this is a cleanser, this part doesn’t exactly need a long, drawn-out analysis.
You’re supposed to work four to six pumps through wet hair from roots to ends and let it sit for a few minutes. I usually do three pumps, work that through my hair, and then add one to two more if I feel like I need more cleansing power. Then I just pile my hair on top of my head and do the rest of my showering routine.
When you rinse, add a little more water to create a dense, creamy foam while you’re scrubbing it off of your scalp.
Sometimes, if my hair is super tangly or dry, I’ll comb an extra pump through my lengths (it’s a fantastic detangler), and it always leaves me with that perfect, shampoo commercial “curtain of hair” afterward.
So, to answer the question of, “Does it clean your hair?” Yes! Absolutely. It also conditions my hair very well.
My only word of warning is to make sure that you really rinse it from your hair and scalp completely. If you’re lazy with the rinsing, you’ll see some residual greasiness. I prefer to use a shampoo brush for this part so that I can really get my scalp clean.
Also, unless you have super long hair, I’d recommend starting with two to three pumps and adding more as you need them instead of starting with the four to six they recommend.
Overall, I seriously love this cleansing conditioner, and I definitely plan to buy a backup as soon as I start running low. It’s not the cheapest product around, but since it can replace my shampoo AND conditioner, I think that the cost is well worth it. My hair is so much softer and more manageable now!