MY HAIR TYPE
Natural, totally chemical-virgin spiral curls a la Scary Spice. Looks like the American Idol Jordin Sparks might have the same curl pattern (3B-3C according to Oprah's hair stylist/curly.com?). Don't know about theirs, but the texture of mine is actually pretty fine and fragile. It's easy to weigh it down with a lot of product, and when it's saturated with water in the shower, it looks much longer and straighter--with large loopy wet curls the circumferance of a hot dog and flowing down to the band of the bra. The curls gradually shorten over the day they've been washed, until the second day, when they reach their final (shoulder-length) length.
My search for the perfect hair product has been a 20 year saga. I will spare you most of it. Just know that I had years of crunchy curls from the misguided mousse and gel fads of the early and later 90s, respectively. But on the other hand, my problem with the African-ancestry hair section of U.S. stores has been that the products are far too heavy and emollient and greasy on my hair texture/weight. I used the brown gel (Ampro) for a while in undergrad, but it was a sticky brown mess that did not give a good texture, either.
What I have been using for the past 3-4 years is the boutique line, Wen, by Chaz Dean (I use the Fig cleansing conditioner as a leave-in product, right after stepping out of the shower). The results have been pretty good (non-crunchy curls that are neither dried out nor too greasy). But, I accidentally bought this Pantene product when someone put it on the same shelf as the Relaxed & Natural conditioner...so here's my review....
This is a very emollient, oil-heavy lotion (fairly drippy). I was scared when I encountered this, thinking I should just return it for the regular conditioner I meant to buy. It reminded me too much of the activators and lotions and creams from the African-marketed part of the store (see above).
The smell is quite strong, and I find it unpleasant (it has a strong whiff of watermelon about it, which I hate, plus an oil-undertone).
Now, this is very strange on my hair when applied (to wet, just out of the shower, almost dripping hair). It goes on normally, but after a few minutes, the oils in the cream cause it to bead up on the wet strands and drop down in white-colored droplets. I recommend sleeping with a satin cap on to avoid an oily pillow.
After a few hours, when the hair has dried, though, is where the surprise occurs. It has defined the curls, weighed them down enough without being too much, and made them look moisturized. I will be honest with you: it eers towards looking like there is oil in the curls, there is no denying that. BUT, it doesn't look bad; just like lightly oiled, defined curls.
The next day, when the hair is dry, it will never look "DRY, dry." It will still have a sheen of oil on it and discernible curl pattern.
There's just one problem with this: the oiliness continues. So, even 3 days after you first applied it to wet hair, you will touch your hair and take your fingers away, and you WILL see and feel a sheen on them! I mean, enough that you would not want to touch a glossy magazine cover or pristine silk dress after. For that reason, I have taken off a star and warn you: this is an OIL cream moisturizer, and not for those who hate oil's characteristics.
If you have acne-prone skin, be careful to keep your wet hair off your face with this product on it. The label includes several ingredients that may cause breakouts--and for me, personally, Cetearyl Alcohol is the number one cause of product-triggered pimples on my face. I avoid this ingredient in skincare like it's plagued, so it gave me a chill to see it listed, and high up on the label! Your skin might tolerate it though; each of us is sensitive to different ingredients.