I believe congratulations are in order. From you to me, that is, as I’ve finally committed to my conditioner soulmate. It’s Dizziak’s Deep Conditioner and, not that you asked, but it finally broke the on-and-off relationship streak I’ve had with conditioner for… a while. A therapist might have said we had communication issues: the hair I wanted was healthy-looking, voluminous and swishy, and the hair I had was straight and sat close to my skull. It seemed to do that no matter what I used. I didn’t even notice much of a difference when I started skipping conditioner altogether, per the advice of a stylist—my first major breakup with conditioner.
It wasn’t until I started learning about curly hair that I really started to understand how to condition my own straight hair. Let me explain.
Haircare, to me at least, has always seemed shrouded in an impenetrable haze of marketing mumbo-jumbo. But lo and behold! If you actually understand the ingredients, it becomes a lot easier to parse through. This is something folks with curly hair already knew long before I stumbled upon their wisdom. And by curly hair, what I really mean is natural hair—it was Black women transitioning their natural hair who did the majority of the work educating themselves and the internet about haircare ingredients. (While I could limply cede to marketing, it had historically been a malicious agent against Black hair. Not to be trusted.)
So, a quick crash course in hair science to bring everyone up to speed: All conditioners work to smooth hair’s outer cuticle, tiny shingle-like pieces of keratin. The cuticle is the bouncer that keeps the right amount of water in the party—too little and it’s dry, too much and, because the cuticle can’t expand to hold it all, you’ll get breakage. Natural hair YouTube stresses a routine rich in moisture because Black hair is usually pretty porous. But frequent washing without using a conditioner can make straight hair porous, too. Hair needs that security detail of healthy oils.
Oils and silicones, the backbone of conditioner, are meant to sit on top of hair and fortify the cuticle. But, for all their effective smoothing and shining, they also weigh hair down and make it look greasy. HOWEVER!!! Certain oils can actually slip right through the cuticle to form a second line of defense from the inside. To reiterate for the people in the back, Black women have known about this hair magic for practically ever. It makes sense then that Dizziak’s founder is a Black woman, former beauty editor Loretta De Feo who filled her conditioner with oils rich in the triglycerides that can penetrate the hair shaft, like coconut oil, babassu oil, and castor oil. Though it’s made with Afro hair in mind, it can also make straight hair like mine feel softer without compromising how it looks.
What I really love about Dizziak’s Deep Conditioner though? It’s modest. The virtue is truly overlooked nowadays. First of all, it’s really more of a mask than a conditioner—in the five minutes I keep it in my wet, freshly washed hair, it does more repair than any tub-bound mask I have to keep on for hours. And, though the thick-as-butter cream is one of those products that does a lot with a little, I prefer to use a lot. Because I can! At a frankly undervalued $28 per 200mL tube, I don’t know how I got so lucky.
Photo via ITG