FAQs: What is "Slip"?

FAQs: What is "Slip"?

Posted by Lisa C. on

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.

curly haired woman looking at a bottle of product

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:

  • Behenyl
  • Cetearyl/Cetyl
  • Isocetyl/Isostearyl
  • Myristyl
  • Stearyl

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"

leave-in moisture mist from inahsi

These sprays are great for fine hair. They are very lightweight.

My next category is leave-in conditioners that detangle.  They can also be rinsed out as some finer textures require lighter conditioners.

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:

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:

  • 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.

Detangling Tips

Pulling and tugging to detangle your hair can cause breakage.  With respect to technique, no matter what product you are using, remember these tips:

  1. When you apply your conditioner, smooth it on to as many hairs as possible without starting to detangle.
  2. 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.
  3. If there is a stubborn zone/knot, get some more conditioner on it, work that in, let it sit, then detangle.
  4. 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.


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