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I am still searching for the Holy Grail of the perfect conditioner for my head of wavy, fairly unruly, fine (in terms of each individual strand), thick (the overall amount) and chemically colored hair. I may not be there yet, but I am on the way with Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Conditioner ($15). It leaves my hair soft and shiny, without being at all heavy. And the price tag of $14 for high quality organic ingredients makes it a veritable bargain.
This is a great conditioner if you have been experiencing product build-up as it doesn't have any silicones or waxes and there are soothing ingredients such as tea tree to calm an itchy scalp. The scalp also benefits from licorice, which keeps it hydrated. With REN's moringa shampoo (moringa is a wonderful natural cleanser) to precede it, gunk will be a thing of the past.
I was interested to know more about some of the botanicals used in Scalp Rescue Conditioner. Coltsfoot is a roadside weed that is a great free radical scavenger, according to a Korean study. All sorts of claims are made for yarrow: it promotes hair growth, stops hair falling out, imparts shine and detangles. I have no idea whether any of this is true as I couldn't find any substantiating research. Still, as a focus group of one, I can testify that this product makes my hair nicely shiny and yarrow may be able to take the credit.
Tabebuia impetiginosa is an Argentinian tree that has been touted as a miracle cure all. Unfortunately, it is toxic if taken orally in high doses. Topically, it seems to be an antibacterial. Nettles have been used for centuries to treat and wash hair and now I know why. They are brimming with calcium, which is, of course, just the ticket for healthy hair (as well as teeth and nails).
Hydrolized soy protein is claimed by Max Alchemy to be a hair strengthener. I think that it doesn't intrinsically strengthen the hair, but provides a protective sheath the way that silicone does, and prevents tangling and split-ends. The soy protein is, in all likelihood, helping to add sheen.
Purified Water, Aqueous Herbal Extract (Glycyrrhiza Glabra* (licorice) Root, Tussilago Farfara+ (coltsfoot) Leaf, Achillea Millefolium* (yarrow), Salix Alba+ (willow), Tabebuia Impetiginosa+ (pau d arco), Arctium Lappa* (burdock) Root, Berberis Aquifolium (mahonia), Calendula Officinalis* (calendula), Equisetum Arvense* (horsetail), Urtica Dioica* (nettles)), Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate (coconut derived surfactant), Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine (coconut derived surfactant), Sucrose Cocoate (sugar/coconut emulsifier), Coco-Betaine (coconut derived surfactant), Leptospermum Petersonii (lemon tea tree), Melaleuca Alternifolia* (tea tree), Lavandula Angustifolia* (lavender), Pelargonium Capitatum* (geranium), Rosemarinus Officinalis* (rosemary), Oryzanol (rice extract), Hydrolysed Soy Protein, Glycerine (vegetable source), Panthenol (pro vitamin B5), Sodium Chloride (solar sea salt), Macadamia* Ternifolia (macadamia) Seed Oil, Parfum (fragrance of plant origin), Alcohol (from sugar cane), Xanthan Gum, Ascorbyl Palmitate (vitamin C ester), Aloe Barbadensis* (aloe vera) Leaf, Mixed Tocopherols (plant derived GMO-free vitamin E). *Organic + Wild Crafted