Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Weird Product Wednesday: Jane Carter Condition & Sculpt

Here we have another contender in the "I'm not sure what it's supposed to do but maybe it'll do something I didn't know I needed" category.

Just so you know what we're dealing with, here is the description of this product, taken directly from the Jane Carter Solution website: "Condition & Sculpt is a liquid sculpting lotion that is ideal for taming unruly curls. Perfect for wash and wear curly hair and curly weaves. Use a little for light hold and a lot for maximum hold. Condition & Sculpt smoothes the hair’s cuticle, providing phenomenal shine. It is a terrific product for all hair textures, and is great for those "ponytail" days!"

Well, you're thinking, sounds like a liquid with conditioning as well as holding qualities. What's the mystery?

The mystery, my friends, is that there are no conditioning properties of any real substance and the stuff doesn't hold worth a damn. Check out the ingredient label:

Deionized water, Anthemis Noblis Flower (Camomile), Symphytum Officinal Leaf (Comfrey), Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail), Urtica Dioica (Nettle), Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Humulus Lupulus (Hops), Lawsonia Inermis (Henna), Certified Organic Essential Oils: Lemon, Vanilla extract, Panthenol, Polyquaternum 11, Phenoxyethanol.

Herbs are lovely but when the first three ingredients sound more like something I'd drink than put in my hair, I have to wonder where the efficacy might lie. Horsetail is supposed to strengthen hair, and I haven't done enough hands-on research to know whether that's true, although I had a friend who swore by Mane 'N Tail. Nettle is often added to natural hair products because it supposedly adds shine (although the claims for nettle have been ranging from shine to body to even prevention of hair loss, which sounds like a bit of a stretch for a lowly little herb, don't you think?). And then we've got rosemary, another fairly innocuous addition from nature that I don't believe my hair has ever once craved.

We are now halfway through the ingredient list, which means that what we've already seen is present in higher proportions than anything that follows it. In other words, you got a whole lotta herbs, baby. And I have seen precious little research to indicate that herbs make a big difference in hair. (By all means, correct me if I'm wrong. I have a day job and so I don't research as much as I would if I had more free time.)

At the end of the list are the items many of us will recognize from other hair products we own: essential oil (lemon, which is cleansing/healing but a little astringent), panthenol (emollient/moisturizer with humectant qualities), and one of my least favorite ingredients, polyquarternium-11. (Why I dislike it: it tends to straighten my hair, make it feel artificial, and it builds up on me like crazy. Phooey.)

So, why did I buy this product? Because several people on the discussion boards at gave it a thumbs-up! One woman even said that she used it in the same manner that one would use Rockin' Ringlets or Curl Keeper -- as a kind of clumping agent. I only had about 6 months of CG under my belt and was still randomly trying products, hoping for miracles. I figured I'd try Condition & Sculpt.

It kinda almost sorta worked like a clumping agent for me. Especially if you count lifeless pieces of wavy hair as clumps.

I'm being harsh. It wasn't that bad. But it certainly wasn't good. My hair felt dry and had no bounce. Plus, the smell was a cross between medicinal and antiseptic. I shudder to think how bad it might have smelled without that lemon oil...

So, I tried mixing it with other products, thinking maybe it would enhance the performance of some of them. I tried it with Paul Brown Gelatine Goo and really liked it, but only the first time. It never worked very well alone or in conjunction with another product.

But now, let's get back to that product description. It says it's "great for those 'ponytail' days." Little did you know that Condition & Sculpt is what to buy if you want a ponytail day!

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