How to Add Slip to Your Conditioner: 6 Ways

Last updated on May 3rd, 2024 at 08:39 am

Below are myriad of ways for how to add slip to your conditioner. By doing so you’ll improve your conditioner’s overall performance and it doesn’t take a ton of time or a ton of work to do so.

how to add slip to conditioner

It’s optimal when your favorite hair conditioner possesses slip. You may love your conditioner because of how it makes your hair feel, look or smell.

The missing slip factor may be the only thing that keeps you from rating your conditioner a five versus a three or four. You may even be prepared to do the unthinkable and toss that conditioner in the trash. Let’s not be too hasty.

Also, if you have one of the hair types that lends itself to excess tangling and shrinkage, you definitely need for your conditioners to have adequate slip.

Types of Conditioners

Before getting into how to add slip to conditioner, let’s first examine the types of hair conditioners you can use on your curly hair. These include:

– Leave-in conditioner

– Deep conditioner

– Rinse-off conditioner

– Detangling conditioner

Leave-in conditioner

The leave-in’s purpose is to add surface moisture to the hair and further protect hair from external damage.

Most leave-in conditioners will contain some combination of these key ingredients:

  • distilled water
  • Behentrimonium Methosulfate (an emulsifier and anti-static agent)
  • Cetyl Alcohol or Cetearyl Alcohol (an emulsifier and emollient)
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (in small quantities to prevent build up of bacteria)
  • Butylene Glycol (a stabilizer)
  • Behentrimonium Chloride (to reduce frizz and static)
  • essential oils
  • amino acids
  • some sort of oil like coconut oil (cocos nucifera), baobab oil, or some other fruit oil 

The brands of leave in conditioners I’ve used on my fine natural hair over the years and love include:

– Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in conditioner

– Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Water Leave-In Detangling Treatment

– Natty Naturals Leave in-conditioner (Sweet Orange)

– Ominira Naturals Honey & Watermelon Infusions Leave-in conditioner

Best ingredients in a leave-in conditioner for fine hair include: Coconut Water, Marshmallow Root, Avocado oil, Argan Oil, Essential oils, Behentrimonium Chloride

Deep conditioner

Your deep conditioner is the true work horse conditioner on wash day. It serves to penetrate the hair shaft to provide your hair strands with deep hydration and nourishment.

The key ingredients you should expect to find in a good deep conditioner include but aren’t limited to:

  • Fatty acids (stearic acid, lauric acid
  • Cetyl alcohol
  • Stearyl alcohol
  • Panthenol
  • A humectant like glycerin
  • Caprylyl glycol
  • Butylene glycol
  • a fruit oil like Olive oil
  • Behentrimonium Methosulfate and/or Behentrimonium Chloride

Hair care products designed for deep conditioning can literally transform your hair when paired with the right ingredients. 

My favorite deep conditioners to date are:

  • Ominira Naturals Honey and Watermelon Infusion Ultimate Moisture Deep Conditioner
  • Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intense Hydration Hair Masque
  • Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment
  • TGIN Honey Miracle Hair Mask

Rinse-off conditioner

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner

A rinsing conditioner’s key ingredients will include some combination of:

  • silicones (unless stated otherwisie)
  • oils
  • extracts

I’m not very partial to any specific brands of rinse out conditioners. I used Herbal Essences Hello Hydration for many years and still love it but I realize not all naturals care for using silicones in their hair.  If you don’t mind (you can always remove any silicone build up with a clay wash or a shampoo containing sulfates), this is a good one for smoothing the hair.

Detangling conditioner

best detangling conditioner for natural hair

Exactly what the name entails, a detangling conditioner has one job: To assist you with the detangling process of remove shed hair and knots. Good slip makes for easy detangling. When the detangler has enough slip, you’ll be able to detangle your hair much faster.

My favorite detangling conditioner (I’ve yet to find one better) is Ominira Naturals Tangle Slayer. It has extreme slip.

The common key ingredients you’ll find in a detangling conditioner are:

  • Distilled water
  • Panthenol
  • cetrimonium chloride
  • Cetyl esters
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Sodium lactate
  • Propylene glycol
  • Hydrolyzed proteins
  • Citric acid

The commonalities between each of these conditioners is each of them are designed to moisturize hair and smooth the hair cuticle. Ingredients will vary across brands.

Conditioners should typically be applied to wet hair or damp hair to allow for the conditioner to bind with the hair.

When used on dry hair, conditioners aren’t as effective, especially if you have low porosity hair. The exception is detangling conditioners which only deals with the softening of hair so that tangles can be removed.

In some instances, you may still need to mist your hair with water before application.

How to add slip to your conditioner

All of the brands I mentioned have more than enough slip for my fine natural hair. If you find that your conditioners don’t have the slip you would like, below you’ll find a number of ways to remedy that.

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater as grandma used to say.

Try one of these hair conditioner hacks for more slip.

1. Add Natural Oils

natural oils

By adding just a few drops of natural oil like:

  • Olive oil
  • Castor seed oil
  • Coconut
  • Jojoba Oil 

You can add adequate slip to your conditioner with just a bit of oil. But, it doesn’t just end with slip. These oils will also encourage your conditioners to be more moisturizing (retention wise) and can even encourage the stimulation of hair growth.

For example, castor oil is famous for encouraging growth when applying it to the scalp regularly while coconut is known to reduce hygral fatigue.

Another option is to melt some Shea Butter and add a table spoon to your conditioner. You’ll notice that some of your conditioners that already have a good amount of slip, contain Shea Butter. This is likely due to it’s high content of fatty acids.

Another name for Shea Butter is butyrospermum parkii. This is what you’ll see on ingredient labels.

2. Mix in some Slippery Elm Bark

slippery elm bark

The inner bark of the Slippery Elm tree is not only very moisturizing, it’s super slippery. It also helps to soften the hair since it is water based. When adding it to your conditioner, which is also water based, it turns into a very slippery substance. It’s no wonder it can add slip to your conditioner!

Check out this article from Strands of Faith: 5 Amazing Benefits of Slippery Elm

3. Then, There is Marshmallow Root

marshmallow root

A close cousin to slippery elm bark, you’ll find scores of DIY recipes that use marshmallow root either in conjunction with slippery elm bark or all by its lonesome. Marshmallow root is very slippery in its own right and can add tons of slip to your conditioner.

An added benefit is marshmallow root can make your hair appear thicker. While it’s actually a plant native to Africa, it’s available in herbal form.

4. Add a Little Glycerin


While glycerin is typically best used in the hair when the air is moderately humid as it will pull moisture from the air into your hair, it can also be used in small amounts to add slip to your conditioner. The very consistency of glycerin is slippery and since you’ll be rinsing your conditioner out (thoroughly), there’s no risk of the presence of glycerin pulling moisture from your hair during lower environmental temperatures.

5. DIY It with Guar Gum

guar gum

Guar gum is used to add thickness to products. In fact, I use it with my DIY Goat’s Milk Hair Treatment which was initially introduced to me by Shelli from Hairsapades. I’ve changed the recipe a little as of late and will share it very soon.

What I noticed however is that, the guar gum adds tons of slip to this DIY hair conditioner. So, while it’s typically more common to use it when DIYing, you can certainly add a little to a commercial conditioner for a little more slip. Just be careful not to put too much (especially if your conditioner is already pretty thick). Guar gum thickens liquid based products pretty rapidly.

If you decide to DIY a conditioner with natural ingredients, make sure to add a little vitamin E to it extend it’s “shelf” life. You’ll still need to refrigerate it but you’ll be able to store it for a few extra days. 

6. Make it Sweet

hone or agave

With honey or agave that is! Both honey and agave are natural humectants which will not only boost your conditioner’s ability to moisturize your hair. They both have tons of slip to add to your conditioner.

Once you’ve brought your conditioning hair products to the level they should be, you should be able to easily work them through your hair with your fingers and/or a wide-toothed comb. Conditioners with slip make your detangling process go much easier.

There you have it. Easy ways for how to add slip to your conditioner so that it is much easier to work it through your hair. Epecially, , if you plan to detangle your hair with it. No more tossing a perfectly good bottle of hair conditioner. You spent money on that!

Use one of these hair conditioner hacks for adding slip to your conditioner for just a few cents per use. These hacks will improve your hair care routine when you need them.

hacks for conditioning hair

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