FAQs: What is "Slip"?
I'm sure you've heard this term before: "slip". What is it and why might you want a product with it?
What is slip?
Slip is the feeling you get after applying a product. If something has "great slip", it is slippery. Generally "slip" is a term applied to conditioners (regular and deep) and it will enable you to easily run your fingers, comb, or brush through your hair.
What kind of ingredients provide slip?
Conditioning ingredients are cationic, meaning they have positively charged molecules that bind to hair which is naturally negatively charged. This reminds me to reinforce that if you are told to only use water soluble ingredients because they rinse off…. Well conditioners of any quality do not fully rinse out. They are not supposed to. They form a film over your hair to smooth the cuticle!
Other ingredients provide slip as well. You can find a list below.
What ingredients should I look for, for "good slip"?
- Cetrimonium Chloride/Bromide
- Behentronim Methosulfate/Chloride
- Steartrimonium Chloride
- Behentrimonium Chloride
- Stearamidopropyl dimethylamine
- Behenamidopropyl dimethylamine
- Guar Hydroxpropyltrimonium chloride
- Poloyquaternium 6, 7, 10, 11, 28, 39, 47, 53 and 73
Fatty alcohols rare also important as they smooth the cuticle down to reduce friction:
Butters can also assist with slip:
- shea, cocoa and mango are a few common ones
Plant-based gels like flaxseed, aloe, marshmallow root, and slippery elm are great at getting into and releasing tangles.
Hydrolyzed proteins are film forming and will smooth that top layer of your hair too.
Why is slip important?
Our outer layer (the cuticle) can be like a pinecone. It might be a new fresh one that has a very smooth surface. Unless your hair is very low porosity it tends to look like the older pinecone - the kind you see off of the tree where the layers are lifted. The cuticle is the first point of contact for everything be that weather, washing, colouring etc.
The main reason slip is important is because detangling wavy or curly hair can be a lot of work. Most of us don’t brush our hair throughout the day, so the loose hairs that normally shed out can stay in your hair. The shape of our hair often means it tangles much more easily than straight hair too. Depending on the time between wash days, how much or which products you use, and if there is some/no in between detangling, you may need to spend more time on wash day to gently detangle in order to avoid breakage. Slip makes detangling easier.
Detanglers with "Great Slip"
These sprays are great for fine hair. They are very lightweight.
- Curl Keeper Slip - You can use this anytime before washing, as a light leave in and for refreshing.
- Camille Rose Coconut Water Hydrating Elixir - This spray product that will be nice and light for before cleaning, as a leave in or a refresh.
- Innersense Sweet Spirit Leave In Conditioner - This is also a spray product from Innersense, but a bit more creamy. I recommend spraying it into your hand instead of your hair first. It is a great regular leave in, use it at night to add a bit of moisture or refresh. Very concentrated so 1-3 sprays should be enough.
- Inahsi Naturals Pamper My Curls All in One Moisture Mist - This spray will also protect from heat.
- AG Coco Nut Milk Conditioning Spray - This plant-based spray from AG Hair is perfect for medium to high density hair and removing knots and tangles.
My next category is leave-in conditioners that detangle. They can also be rinsed out as some finer textures require lighter conditioners.
- Inahsi Naturals Aloe Hibiscus Leave In Conditioner
- Flora & Curl Organic Rose Honey Leave In Conditioner
- Pretty Curly Girl Bye Bye Tangles and Knots
- Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave In Conditioner - contains protein if you're looking for a bit of it in your routine.
- Jack 59 Lightweight Leave-In Conditioner - made in Alberta with an eco friendly container.
- Original Moxie Everyday Leave In - This is a moisturizing leave in, great for low porosity/coarse wavy or curly hair.
Conditioners with "Great Slip"
Last but not least, your conditioner plays the most critical role when it comes to slip. Everyone finds their favourites with some experimenting. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Verb Ghost Conditioner - this conditioner is new to us at Curl Warehouse. It will detangle and provide slip. It has a very small amount of isopropyl alcohol and that’s why it’s not marked as Curly Hair Method approved but I would still recommend it as that much ingredient won’t affect the product or your hair.
- Inahsi Naturals Soothing Mint Moisturizing Conditioner - This is a staff fave at Curl Warehouse for its slip!
Uncle Funky’s Daughter Richee Rich Moisturizing Conditioner - This one is highly recommended from our staff for drier or coarser curls. It does have silicones so if you aren’t strict with the Curly Girl / Hair Method and looking for slip this is your conditioner.
- LUS Hydrating Detangling Silicone-Free Conditioner - leaves your hair soft without weight.
- Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment - protein free.
- As I Am's Detangling Conditioner - great for curlies on a budget as it is very reasonably priced.
- Curl Junkie's Beauticurls Argan and Olive Oil Daily Hair Conditioner - not too heavy, this could be used as frequently as needed.
- R+Co's Cassette Curl Defining Masque - a rich mask that works in as little as 5 minutes!
Stylers with "Great Slip"
As we mentioned above, plant gels and proteins can create stylers that have good slip too! Here’s a few I'd recommend:
- Curls Sea Moss Moisture Magnet Curl Cream - has sea moss, cationic conditioning and fatty alcohols.
- Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic - is a curl definer that feels slippy and can be used alone or with other stylers.
- AG Re:Coil - this is a customer fave. It is a creamy curl activator that has nice slip and a soft hold.
- Shape Shifter from Original Moxie contains a small amount of jasmine wax but is great at light moisture soft hold with plant gels, fatty alcohols and conditioning ingredients.
Pulling and tugging to detangle your hair can cause breakage. With respect to technique, no matter what product you are using, remember these tips:
- When you apply your conditioner, smooth it on to as many hairs as possible without starting to detangle.
- Leave it for 3-5 minutes. These few minutes allow the conditioning ingredients to penetrate and will help reduce the amount of effort you need to detangle.
- If there is a stubborn zone/knot, get some more conditioner on it, work that in, let it sit, then detangle.
- Some hair loves finger detangling - others prefer a comb or a brush. Experiment to see what works best for you.
Hair that lays smooth and you can easily run your fingers or brush through is hair that will be easier to style. The bottom line is more slip = easier detangling = little to no breakage.