Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cheap Trick: Alternative Uses for Hair Conditioner

I love a product I can use for multiple purposes. A while back I wrote about how I use Carmex to perform double duty -- both to moisturize my lips and my cuticles. It might sound strange, but it works. That got me thinking, what other everyday products do we have that aren't limited to their intended use? And what are the chances some of us never even thought about these alternative uses?

Chances are, many of us haven't thought about how some of our products could work double (or more) duty. And I bet knowing some of these things might just change our lives (or more likely help us out in a pinch).

Case in point: Conditioner.

Did you know how many different uses it has? Plenty. Today, I'll be sharing some of its other practical uses that are related to your beauty regimen.

Use it as shaving cream for soft, smooth, touchable legs

I learned this little trick from an exotic dancer (don't judge!). To be accurate, I learned it from a coworker who was dating an exotic dancer. I was bemoaning a recent conditioner purchase that had been a complete flop on my hair. And this guy pipes in and told me, "You know, my girlfriend uses conditioner as shaving cream and it works really well."

After taking a second to process that, I thought, "That's genius!" After all, exotic dancers need to have soft, smooth skin, right? I'm assuming that's a job requirement along with impressive pole skills (don't judge, that's challenging). She must know what she's talking about.

As it turns out, it works quite well. First, it's a great lubricant on your legs and barrier between your skin and your razor. And while it's doing that, it's moisturizing your skin! Makes sense, right? After all, conditioner is meant to moisturize your hair. Why wouldn't it work on your skin? Turns out, it does.

After trying it, I was quite impressed. My legs were soft, smooth, and irresistibly touchable. Plus, I didn't end up tossing my money in the trash because I was able to use up that bottle of conditioner on my legs.  Major bonus. The only caveat: be careful in the shower, conditioner can make the shower/tub floor a little slippery.

The next time you go on a trip and forget to pack shaving cream, reach for your conditioner instead. Or you can just replace your shaving cream altogether if you'd like.

When in a pinch, use it to remove your makeup

I'd never thought to use conditioner as a makeup remover before. Whenever I run out of makeup removing wipes or eye make up remover, I tend to reach for my facial moisturizer (How's that for a second use for your moisturizer too?) since it loosens up makeup and glides over your skin without tugging. It's especially good when removing pesky eye makeup.

Turns out, the same can be done with conditioner. Just moisten a cotton swab with it and remove away. It will dissolve makeup and soften your skin without being greasy. Make sure not to get it in your eyes, especially if your conditioner has a lot of fragrance.

Condition scratchy makeup brushes

By now most of us know that you can use baby shampoo (because it's gentle) and even some dish soap to clean all the makeup out of your makeup brushes. Here's hoping you're doing it because a lot of bacteria can build up in your brushes and you're rubbing them all over your face (yuck!). But enough of the lecture. 

If you find that your brushes are feeling a bit rough and scratchy after you wash them, try conditioning. It's simple. After you cleanse your brushes, make sure you rinse them thoroughly. Then work a little conditioner (not a lot) into the bristles, let it sit for 10-20 minutes then rinse it out. Voila! Soft brushes! 

Use it as a makeshift cuticle cream (and even lotion)

The same concept that worked for Carmex holds true for your conditioner. If your cuticles are in need of a little love, try rubbing some conditioner on them while you're in the shower. 

Similarly, you can use your conditioner to moisturize your skin if you're in a pinch. 

Use conditioner to wash your hair

We've all seen the Wen cleansing conditioner commercials and probably marveled at how nice, shiny, healthy, and manageable the model's hair looked. Well, I'm here to tell you that you don't necessarily have to splurge on a fancy cleansing conditioner to achieve similar results. If you want to give your hair a break from harsh suds (or if you're running late and need to wash your hair in a hurry), just "wash" your hair with your conditioner. 

Dampen your hair, generously apply conditioner to your tresses, let it sit for 3-5 minutes while you shower, then rinse out. If you have thin or limp locks, make sure not to use too much conditioner and rinse thoroughly to try to keep it from weighing down your hair. 

Well, there you have it, five new ways you can use your conditioner to enhance your beauty routine. Some of my favorite non-beauty related uses include: using conditioner to hand wash delicates like lingerie (skip the pricey specialty detergents), rubbing conditioner on zippers that tend to stick, and applying conditioner around a band-aid to make removal less painful. 

Have you tried any of these alternative uses for your conditioner? Are there any uses you love that I missed? 


  1. Oh my gosh, why hadn't I thought to use conditioner on my makeup brushes before?!?! I am definitely going to do that when I wash my brushes today: perfect timing! ;)

  2. Girly Things by *e*August 1, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    I know what you mean. Sometimes we just get stuck on the products intended purpose. Like, how did I not think to use my conditioner as a cleansing conditioner instead of going out and buying Wen? I mean duh!!

    Which gets me to thinking, perhaps I should buy a bunch of cheap conditioner (you know the one you find on the bottom shelf at some stores) and just repackage it and sell it as brush conditioner. I bet if there's a brush conditioner out there, that's probably all it is. Hahaha!

    PS - After reading your comment I wondered if spray-on leave-in conditioners might also work well on brushes. The formulas are usually lighter so they don't weigh hair down. You could probably lightly mist your brushes and be done (well, as long as they're clean when you do).