Shea Moisture Sacha Inchi Conditioner

HAIRBALL

My poor, poor battered hair. So much bleaching! So much hairspray! So much inability to settle on one (or two, or three) shampoo and conditioner products and use them consistently! (But you know, the next thing I try might be better.) And so today, we have Yet Another One.

WHAT THAT IS :

It’s hair glop with a really long name : Shea Moisture Sacha Inchi Oil Omega-3-6-9 Rescue + Repair Conditioner (w/ Quinoa & Rose of Jericho Extracts). Specifically, it’s normal ol’ conditioner, not a masque or a leave-in. Let’s look at what’s in there …

Ingredients : Water, Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter**, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin (Vegetable), Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Hydrolyzed Keratin, Selaginella Lepidophylla (Jericho) Extract, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Urtica Dioica Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Virola Sebifera Nut Oil, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Brassica Oleracea Italic (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol

So we’ve got [in addition to the usual assortment of emulsifiers and slip agents and texturizers yet no silicones] coconut oil triglycerides, shea butter, glycerin, rose of jericho extract (which, my cursory research tells me that it contains trehalose, a disaccharide that’s adept at retaining moisture), aloe, Urtica Dioica (stinging nettle; promotes hair growth, may also help control oil production), panthenol aka B5, virola (seeds contain a lot of nice fatty acids), quinoa extract (not seeing a lot of legit info on this one), broccoli seed oil, (fatty acids), tea tree oil, and the namesake Sacha Inchi, Latin binomal “Plukenetia Volubilis” which 100% sounds like a Terry Pratchett character name. Incidentally, “volubilis” here means “volume” and is the same root of our word “voluble” which means “talks a whole fucking lot,” so, RELEVANT.

I’d never heard of a Sacha Inchi before picking up this product, and if you’d asked me what it was I would’ve said “isn’t she an eastern European gymnast?” and I would’ve been super wrong. It’s actually a South American plant and not any kind of athlete at all, so I would’ve been wrong in a minimum of two different ways, which is basically par for me. Adorably, this plant is also known as the Inca Peanut. More germanely*, the oil from the seeds (or nuts, I guess) is full of omega-3, 6, and 9 linoleic acids. So that’s nice!

Omg they’re like an alive foulard pattern! Image credit Michael Hermann, CropsForTheFuture.

STOP BLATHERING, WHAT’S IT LIKE

First off, this shit is thiiiiiccckk, my friends. It comes in a pump-top dispenser, much like a hand lotion, only with the consistency of a super heavy cream — more like a very dense body butter. That’s great for me, because it means I’m less likely to spill it / drop it / accidentally rinse it off my hand before I can apply it. (Greetings from Struggletown, USA.)

The scent is … medium-strong? It’s definitely more intense than many shampoo/conditioner fragrances, but I don’t think it’s strong enough to classify as “shouty.” And, greatly to my liking, it’s a very clean scent. In fact if you blindfolded me and shoved a blorp of this under my nose and asked me what it was, first I would accidentally bend over too far toward your hand and get it on my face because that’s how I roll even when not blindfolded, and then I’d say “that is definitely Fancy Soap.” You know what I mean — not drugstore soaps, but the kind you’d find in the candle section of Saks or Nordstrom and there are four of them wrapped in pleated tissue and gold-printed paper bands in a very elegant box and for some mad reason they’re thirty-five dollars. It’s a tiny bit floral/botanical on top, a tiny bit warm/ambery on the bottom, but the dominant impression is SOAP. So that’s nice.

Thiiiiccccck. Look at it holding onto its ribbony shape from the pump!

HOW DOES IT DO THO?

Listen, my expectations here were not high. I got this at Walgreens; it’s like $10.99 at Ulta and $10.19 at Target for 13oz. My only prior experience with this brand was a Frankincense shampoo thing that I wasn’t super jazzed about and ended up using as body wash. But this stuff? WHOAAAAA.

I used four pumps of this after shampooing (less than I use for the Acure conditioner which is nice but not stellar for very dry damaged hair, or the Verb Hydrating conditioner which after purchasing a large bottle of I might have to revise my favorable opinion on) and mashed it into the length of my hair and then rubbed the little bit left on my hands through the upper part. During/after rinsing, I was unsure — my hair definitely felt conditioned, but it also felt slightly coated, and a little “heavier” than usual? But lo, I towel dried it, and the brush went right through like WOOSH. Whaaaat. Upon drying (mostly air-dry, finish with blow dryer) it is SMOOTH and SOFT and FEELS LIKE ACTUAL HUMAN HAIR. You cannot know what an accomplishment this is : I mean I recently chopped off three or four inches that just felt unsalvageably ruinated. Seriously, the change has been absolutely glorious. My hair feels uncharacteristically silky, yet it’s not at all weighed down. And despite the heavy presence of shea butter and coconut oil stuff, it doesn’t feel dirty or oily at all, nor does it feel oilier on day two after washing. WOO. Also of note : the scent does linger after drying, but it’s quite light and low key.

THE VERDICT : SO FREAKING GOOD. I will almost definitely repurchase this. It’s having a fantastic effect on my wrecked hair, and after using it 4-5 times so far I just keep liking it more. The line also includes a deep conditioning masque (might try), a shampoo (hrm, it’s “deep cleansing” so idk about that) and a number of leave-in and styling products, as well as a body lotion and scrub. Should you try this? If you have very fine straight hair that’s in great condition, this might be too heavy for you. If you have very dry or damaged hair, I’d say an unqualified yes. I mean, it’s rich as hell, silicone-free, doesn’t stank, and it’s about ten bucks. WINNER.

*I was disappointed to learn that “germane” and “germinate” do not share a root (heh) because I was all excited to call out my hilarious “relevant/seed” pun. :(

HAVE YOU TRIED THIS? Would you? Well, WOULD YOU?