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Ojon's Ancient Tribal conditioner adds soft shine but there is a cost

Is a Solution for:
Dry or Brittle Hair
August 17, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 8 Comments
It has to be admitted that in the past I've been a bit snarky about Ojon. All that "ancient secrets from the Amazon" nonsense gets to me (especially when the secret is mostly coconut oil) and then there is the ridiculous Ojon Tawaka The Ball which we are supposed to believe has the antioxidant equivalent of 2,834 pounds of blueberries. But when I saw Ojon's Tawaka Ancient Tribal Rejuvenating Conditioner ($33), with what seemed to be a wealth of interesting botanicals, I thought it was time to give Ojon another chance.

My hair looked glad that I had. It was soft and hung in shiny waves. Ojon had more than redeemed itself. I sat down with the ingredients list, preparing to write a positive review and curious to know which ancient tribal ingredient was responsible for my good looking locks. The answer turned out to be a blistering disappointment. The most dominant ingredient is behentrimonium chloride. This common hair care chemical acts as an anti-static and conditioning agent. Its waxy texture also makes it a great defrizzer and emulsifier. While doubtless responsible for the shine, I was less than pleased to learn that it is toxic and concentrations of .1% and higher have been shown to damage the eyes by causing tissue death of the mucous membranes. It’s also highly flammable, irritating to the skin and kills off algae when it gets into the water system.

Perhaps this will be counteracted by what Ojon calls the "savage cacoa" that, in this case, is the "antioxidant equivalent of 125 pounds of blueberries". Not a patch on The Ball then, or perhaps Ojon's marketing dept has learned that hyperbole doesn't always pay. Of the other botanicals that could be said to hail from the Amzon, there is bixa orellana, which is particularly popular with body lotion/cream and shampoo/conditioner because it can give the skin and hair a natural “sunny” glow. In addition, it is rich in carotenoids. Paullinia Cupana is better known as guarana in Brazil where it is made into a popular drink on account of the high dose of caffiene that comes with it. Guarana is also a free radical scavenger. I haven't found any information about it in relation to hair.

With these and all sorts of other useful plant extracts, such as anti-inflammatory bamboo, perhaps I should be prepared to overlook the behentrimonium chloride. But then there is PEG-2 dimeadowfoamamidoethylmonium methosulfate to consider. The Environmental Working Group isn't very keen on this at all, warning that it shouldn't be used on damaged skin. I'm not too keen on methylchloroisothiazolinone, a potential allergen although most reactions occurred in the 1980s and 1990s with leave in products and it is now only used in much lower concentrations and in rinse off products, leading to much lower rates of allergic and irritant reactions. A similar preservative is methylisothiazolinone, an irritant unless used in minute doses.

On balance, I probably won't send Ojon's conditioner directly to the product cemetery (thank you Erin for that turn of phrase). But I will be sure to keep my eyes tightly shut if I use it again.


Aqua (Water/Eau), Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Theobroma Cacao, Elaeis Oleifera (Palm) Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Bixa Orellana Seed Extract, Paullinia Cupana Seed Extract, Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Bambusa Arudinacea Stem Extract, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Buxus Chinensis (Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil), Carica Papaya Fruit, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Sweet Almond Protein, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Peg-2 Dimeadowfoamamidoethylmonium Methosulfate, Tocopherol, Parfum (Fragrance), Ascorbyl Palmitate, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Nitrate.
  • December 3, 2012

    by Ann

    I have used Ojon products in the past, and I have found them to be overrated and overpriced, although they smell nice. Acure shampoos are the best I've used. I have the Lemongrass daily set as well as the Moroccon Argan for once or twice a week. My hair is healthy, shiny and growing like crazy.

  • December 2, 2012

    by debbie

    I am experiencing problems after using Ojon. Is anyone else? Please email me.
    Thank you

  • October 15, 2010

    by TammyF

    I have been looking for a treatment to make my hair shiny as well. I love the way Japanese women's hair looks like silk and I wanted to do the same thing without using a straightner or gels or anything.

    My salon tech recommended the Hydrate Conditioner from Shielo (called the Hydrate Vibrancy Conditioner) and it lives up to its title. It really hydrates your hair. When I finish using it, I feel and look like I have just been to the salon.

    It completely gets rid of my frizz, which I tend to get a lot. I can be confident that I will have my hair conditioned just right each time I use it. It works by itself!

    My hair looks shiny and soft. I love the way I highly recommend this product plus the price is something anyone can afford. Also, it smells really nice!

  • September 1, 2009

    by Syreeta

    Also, the cost wasnt bad... QVC had a special on the 4 piece set, Hydra Shampoo and Conditioner, some kind of spray and oil and comb - all for $60 (s&h)... Altho, I will pay for quality, especially when its about my hair, education or health. I really hope its the best thing I ever tried. I too have tried some things on my hair that should have me bald. But Organics seemed to work for me and my hair has grown so long from it, but I cant take the sticky residual feel, and the lengthy rinsing and sitting of the conditioner. I have been waiting to stumble onto something new. I hope this is it.

  • September 1, 2009

    by Syreeta

    I will be new to Ojon. I have very thick, coarse - dry, long ethnic hair.. I have been reading more good results about Ojon than bad ones. I hope this product will work for my hair. I was watching QVC and ordered from there. I was captivated by the healthiness and body that the models hair had. Also, the ingredients seemed to lack certain key ingredients that are in the product that I am currently using, Organic Root Stimulator. Silicon and other ingredients named are known to weight the hair down, and thats whats happening to me after using Organics. If I dont rinse for 10 minutes, my hair feels sticky after I blow it dry. Organics has not been all that bad to my hair, but I think its time for me to try a new conditioner. Hopefully my hair wont start to break off from this Ojon. I didnt read any breakage complaints tho... so I feel safe.

  • August 23, 2009

    by admin

    One day I am going to steal your line:

    I feel as though I should give my hair a Tums after force-feeding it so many things.

    I know just what you mean.

  • August 23, 2009

    by Jaye

    I'm snarky about Ojon, too, because the assortment of products I've tried intensify the curl/wave in my hair. My waves occur in all the wrong places so this is not a bonus for me. As for conditioning, my socks were still on when Ojon failed my 3-day test - that is, after using a new product, I go for 3 or 4 or 5 days without washing or adding any other products to see how bad my hair starts to look.

    I'm also becoming increasingly leery of mile-high ingredient lists like this one. I feel as though I should give my hair a Tums after force-feeding it so many things.

  • August 17, 2009

    by JulieK

    In the past year I've searched high and low (always preferring the "low" as in cost) for the best hair products for my hair. I've tried most that you've suggested here, but my hair is... tricky. Or just getting old and grumpy. It liked Fekkai, but that hit the wallet hard. Ojun is the same price point in stores, but I found it's also on Ebay. And I *won* the shampoo/conditioner (the deep hydrating formula) for a fraction a couple months ago. I used it solely between colorings and was totally bowled over by the difference in all ways my hair reacted over the course of, say, 7 weeks. Since running out of the conditioner I've tried others, again, to the same less than favorable results. I had turned the Ojun bottle upside down in that small hope, well, y'know- well, last washing, I picked it up and squeezed and shook and squirted the last and, man, my hair is SO satified and pleased.

    I went on Ebay that evening and found a good "buy it now" price and bought 2 conditioners immediately. I am what I am, and my hair is what it is... just saying. ~jk

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