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The Big Slip

The Big Slip

What is Slip?  

Slip refers to the slippery-ness or lubrication of a detangling conditioner or leave-in.  The more slip the product has, the easier it is to detangle knots during wash day. Slip makes it easier to detangle hair with our fingers or a wide-toothed comb with less friction. Less friction, tugging and pulling equals less damage to the hair. Every curly, coily or wavy should have at least one (or two or three) amazing “slippery” products in their hair styling arsenal!  

What are the magical ingredients that give products the BEST slip?  Read on to find out.

  1. Fatty Alcohols

Fatty alcohols are the so-called “good” alcohols. They tend to be oilier and thus, more slippery and lubricating. This quality helps smooth down the cuticle thereby reducing friction and providing shine to the hair. 

Popular fatty alcohols that provide slip include:

  • Behenyl alcohol
  • Cetearyl alcohol
  • Cetyl alcohol
  • Isocetyl alcohol
  • Isostearyl alcohol
  • Lauryl alcohol
  • Myristyl alcohol
  • Stearyl alcohol
  1. Vegetable Oils  

These liquid oils are derived from plants and are often used in creams, conditioners, and detanglers because they provide excellent moisture, strength, and nourishment to hair.

Popular vegetable oils include:

  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba (“hohoba”) oil 
  • Olive oil
  1. Vegetable Butters

These butters are also derived from plants but are solid at room temperature and liquid around body temperature. They are often used in hair shampoos, conditioners, and creams because they also provide excellent moisture, strength, and nourishment to dry, coarse hair.

Popular vegetable butters include:

  • Cocoa butter
  • Mango butter
  • Shea butter
  1. Seeds / Herbs Derived From Mucilage Plants   

These ingredients tend to be so slippery they are slimy when extracted as a liquid. They promote healthy strands and are great at tackling tangles.

Popular herb-derived ingredients include:

  • Flaxseed Gel
  • Marshmallow Root
  • Okra Gel
  • Slippery Elm
  1. Hydrolyzed Proteins

These are proteins that have been split into smaller units. The hydrolyzed proteins are small enough to be easily absorbed into and onto the hair strand, where they can fill in gaps and smooth the cuticle layer.

Popular hydrolyzed proteins include:

  • Hydrolyzed silk protein
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  1. Other Surprising Ingredients

There are some unusual ingredients with odd-sounding names. They are excellent for detangling as they are designed for improving softness, manageability, reducing frizz, and static. They also smooth the cuticle layer. Some of the more popular ones include: 

  • Behentrimonium methosulfate. (Despite its name, behentrimonium methosulfate is not a sulfate. It is an oil derived from rapeseed (canola). Behentrimonium methosulfate can penetrate the hair shaft making it an excellent moisturizer and conditioner, without causing scalp buildup or irritation.) 
  • Behentrimonium chloride 
  • Cetrimonium chloride  
  • Cetrimonium bromide
  • Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (provides shine and gloss but binds tightly to hair and can lead to buildup for some)
  • Stearamidopropyl dimethylamine (helps repair damaged strands, adds shine and rinses out easily)

Here are some products that based on their First Five ingredients should have good slip. You can see the full ingredient list for each product on

4C ONLY Too Soft Leave-In Conditioner

deionized water, behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, squalane, slippery elm extract

Acure Wave & Curl Color Wellness Conditioner

Water (Eau), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Chloride, Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Stearate, Panthenol, Tocopherol, Tanacetum Annuum Flower Oil

Acure Ultra Hydrating Conditioner

Water (Eau), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearalkonium Chloride, Sorbitan Olivate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate

As I Am Leave-in Conditioner

Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Powder, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Powder, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract

Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk

Deionized Water, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice Bran) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Ricinus Communis (Castor Seed) Oil

Camille Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioning Mask Cocoa & Mango Butter

Deionized Water, Aloe Vera Juice, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol

Curls Blueberry Bliss Leave-In Conditioner

Purified Water, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Certified Organic Blueberry Fruit Extract, Certified Organic Coconut Oil

Ecoslay Banana Cream Deep Conditioner

Okra extract, Marshmallow root extract, Aloe vera juice, Coconut cream, Cetearyl Alcohol

Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner

Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Coconut Oil, Tiare Flower, Glycerin

Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment, No Fragrance

Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Behentrimonium Methosulfate

Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner/Detangler

Organic mango fruit extract, organic slippery elm, organic marshmallow root, organic lemongrass, cetyl alcohol

Raw Sugar Healing Power Hair Masque

Purified Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Steartrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Extract, *Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil

Reagan Sanai Moisturizing Leave-in Detangler

Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Honey*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Extract

Soultanicals Mango Dip Detangling Slip

Deionized Water (Aqua), Organic Aloe Juice, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Olivate/Sorbitan Olivate, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Vegetable Glycerin, Panthenol 

Soapbox Coconut Oil Moisture & Nourish Conditioner

Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Glycerin, Stearalkonium Chloride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil

For a Comprehensive List of Super Slip Conditioners & Detanglers go to SHOP to peruse the Ultimate Guides.

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