Today, I’m reviewing the Hair Detangling Green Tea & Coconut Conditioner Bar from Tree Naturals because what could be better than plastic-free conditioner from a Black-owned brand? Like the NBA knows, we gotta leverage that group economics by spending money within the Black community! But of course, quality matters too, so let’s dive into this Tree Naturals conditioner bar review!
About the company
Tree Naturals is a small, Black woman-owned business out of Virginia. They specialize in all-natural hair care with the philosophy of doing the right thing. They use fair trade shea butter and cocoa butter and their hair products are handmade.
Are they really a sustainable brand though? I saw a post recently on Instagram about how to tell if a brand is sustainable. One of the criteria they proposed was to ask yourself if their sustainability efforts are reactive or proactive. One way you can do this is to look at all of a company’s products. Lush selling unpackaged soaps and implementing a plastic jar take-back program? Proactive. H&M coming out with a couple clothing lines that use organic cotton while continuing to push fast fashion? Definitely reactive. The difference is that from the start Lush has been committed to sustainable practices whereas H&M has always been an exploitative fast fashion company and they’re only now responding to consumer pressure to make more sustainable choices. At their core, H&M and companies that are making similar reactive choices are focused primarily on profit, not sustainability.
How does Tree Naturals fit into this equation? When we look at the whole line of products they offer, most of their hair care products (11 out of 13 available) come in plastic tubs and bottles, with only one shampoo bar and one conditioner bar available plastic-free. In a large company, this would definitely be a red flag, and it does signal that the shampoo and conditioner bars are more reactive than proactive. However, given how small the company is, it’s pretty cool that they have plastic-free options at all. Personally, I’m giving them a pass for the reactive product line because they’re a small, Black-owned business.
(Aside: They also have chosen to differentiate their products as “women’s hair care” for the stuff used on the top of your head and “men’s beard care.” I see no reason why a man couldn’t use their conditioners and creams though, so why they’ve chosen to impose gender is beyond my comprehension.)
About the bar
The bar has a fairly simple ingredient list, featuring fair trade shea butter and fair trade cocoa butter. It does have Behentrimonium Methosulfate (aka BMS or BTMS), however this is not a stripping sulfate. It’s purpose is to help with slip and detangling. Charlene of Textured Talk has a good blog post with a quick overview of BTMS.
The bar comes packaged in a light, tissue paper inside a recyclable paper clamshell. Tree Naturals says you can use the clamshell for storage, but I’m a little skeptical of how the paper would do with a wet bar. Instead, I’m using the clamshell for my solid face moisturizer bars that don’t get wet, and I’m using a repurposed plastic deep conditioner tub. I think this works much better since I can store it in my shower and don’t have to worry about bringing it in when I want to wash my hair.
Let’s talk cost. It’s hard to compare conditioner bars to liquid conditioner, since it’s hard to know how many uses you’ll get out of a bar. Compared to other popular conditioner bars, the Tree Naturals conditioner bar comes out pretty good when considering price per ounce:
|Bar None: $12 per 3.52 ounces||$3.41/oz|
|Tree Naturals: $15.99 per 4.5 ounces||$3.55/oz|
|HiBar: $12.95 per 2.9 ounces||$4.48/oz|
|Lush: $12.95-13.95 per 1.9 to 2.4 oz||$5.81 to 7.34/oz|
|Meow Meow Tweet: $15.99 per 2.5 ounces||$6.40/oz|
|Ethique: $17 per 2.12 ounces||$8.02/oz|
The Tree Naturals bar is also the largest bar I’ve seen available. If you’re looking for something that’ll last a while, this is a good option.
Using the bar
I used the bar as my deep conditioner after shampooing my hair. The bar shape was a bit awkward to hold at first, but as I use it, I expect it will conform to my hand better. With my hair split into four sections, I worked the conditioner bar into my ends, and then used my Tangle Teezer to brush the product throughout my hair. Then I twisted up each section, put on a shower cap, and let the conditioner sit for 15-20 minutes.
The conditioner bar glides really nicely on hair and distributes product easily. Compared to Lush’s American Cream that I was using before, it took much less effort to get the conditioner onto my hair. One of my biggest concerns with conditioner bars in general is that they’re more time consuming to apply than liquid conditioner, but the Tree Naturals bar was fairly quick and easy to use!
I had mixed results when using this conditioner bar. The first two times I used it, it was pretty meh. In other words, not good and not bad. After I washed my hair, it felt fine. Nothing special.
Until the third time I used it! I’m not sure what changed here, but the results were much better! My hair was noticeably softer and felt well moisturized. I did do an apple cider vinegar rinse before shampooing (blog post on that coming soon!) but I don’t think that could’ve caused the change. Likely, I let the conditioner sit a little bit longer during this shower than I had the first two times, and I ended up liking it a lot more.
- Black woman-owned small business
- Plastic-free packaging
- Good ingredients
- Good price per ounce
- Somewhat weird shape to hold
- Mixed results wrt moisturizing
Overall, I think this is a pretty good conditioner bar and I’m fairly certain I’ll be purchasing it again when I use this one up. It’s awesome to have a plastic-free option specifically formulated for natural curly hair!
I definitely recommend the Tree Naturals Hair Detangling conditioner bar!