We have all been there. You have finally decide to purchase that new leave-in conditioner everyone has been raving about and decide to use it to create your signature wash and go or twist out.
You apply the leave-in and then grab your favorite gel making sure every curl is covered because you cannot have any mistakes today, it’s late and you have to get to the office.
As you apply the gel, you notice little white balls appearing all over your hair, on every strand in every area. Uh Oh! You try to fix it by rubbing in the white balls but you notice that they are firm and are not melting into your strands.
It’s that new leave-in conditioner you think, how is everyone raving about it when it clearly doesn’t work on your hair? What’s going on? And more importantly, what do you do now? It’s not like you can even cover it up, your hair is officially a mess.
We totally feel your pain, many of us have been through this once or twice, and let me tell you, picking out the balls is not an option because there are just too many. A puff or bun won’t work either because they’ll still be visible.
Honestly, the best thing you can do is go ahead and make the call, tell your boss the dog ate your homework because unfortunately, work will not be an option today. Alternatively, slap on a wig* and deal with the situation when you get back home from work.
I know I am not alone when I say, that I really had no clue what caused the white balls. When I got them with a new product, more than likely it would end up in the trash with me declaring that it does not work for MY hair when the truth is actually a little more nuanced than that.
The thing is, it’s all about chemistry. When it comes to a leave-in conditioner*, or in fact any conditioner and gel, sometimes the two products just don’t well, gel… pun intended. This situation can happen between a gel you have been using for years and a new leave-in conditioner or a new gel and an old leave-in conditioner.
It can also happen between your normal deep conditioner* that you didn’t rinse out well enough and the gel you decide to use that day. And twist-outs are not safe either, especially if like me, you favor the use of gel in your twist-outs instead of twisting creams. You may not notice straight away but once your hair is dry, you will be met with what looks like large flakes of dandruff while you unravel the twists. Argh.
Essentially, it is caused by ingredients in the two products you used that just don’t mix well together allowing for some of the properties of the product that would typically behave one way to behave in an entirely different and unexpected way.
For example, gel flaking is caused by polymer molecules that are found in gels that are responsible for clumping our hair and giving us that hold we all know and love. In some cases, if you even attempt to scrunch or touch your hair when it is dry, the molecules will shatter leaving you with literal flakes of gel all over your head.
This isn’t a chemistry class however so I won’t bore you with any more details however there is a foolproof way of making sure you figure out what products work well together before you add them to your hair and create an unholy mess.
The test is simple; just place a little of your leave-in conditioner* in the palm of your hand along with a little of your gel. Rub them together and see how they behave. You will see one of 3 results:
1. You get a creamy consistency with no clumps, that’s great and you have a winning product combo. Carry on with your styling session as usual.
2. If you get cream plus a few clumps that disappear with more rubbing then your products are having a hard time combining but they may do so if you really work them into your hair, proceed with caution but allow enough time to back out if things get hairy.
3. If you get just plain old clumps, abort mission and run for the hills. Make a mental note to NEVER mix those products in your hair and give yourself a pat on the back for sidestepping that particular disaster.
That’s it, I hope you find this tip helpful for avoiding disaster in your next wash & go or twist out.
Do you test new product combos before using them in your hair or do you just chance it? Let us know in the comments and as always, all the best in your hair journey
The lovely NaturalMe4C tested a few of her own products doing the same thing we just described. Check out her video below!
Do you ladies test your product combos before trying them on your hair?