Not Martha

thing I like: Tea Tree Tingle conditioner from Trader Joe’s

Trader Joes Tea Tree Tingle shampoo, conditioner and body wash

Last year I started washing my wavy hair using a modified Curly Girl method*. In short: I avoid harsh shampoos that contain sulfates as well as conditioners that contain silicones, which can be too heavy for my hair type. I wash my hair with conditioner on a daily basis and only shampoo about once a week. It’s been remarkably great for my hair.

When I started researching appropriate shampoos and conditioners the Tea Tree Tingle line from Trader Joe’s was one that came recommended in the Naturally Curly forums. I have been using them ever since. Apparently they are made by a famous salon (I have no idea which) and are just as good as their pricey counterparts.

I had read about people not shampooing their hair for years but I have oily hair and didn’t pay much attention because I figured that wouldn’t be an option for me. It turns out that you can scrub your hair and scalp using conditioner, rather than shampoo, and get everything clean without drying out your hair because conditioners have enough surfectants in them to carry away oils and dirt. This technique has been especially great when I shower in the morning and work out in the afternoon and need to wash my hair again, my hair emerges clean and nice smelling and I don’t have to worry about it drying out. And, I have to admit, there is something very freeing about being able to pile my head full of stuff and massage away like I’m an Herbal Essences commercial. It’s so anti all the “use a very little shampoo and only at the roots of the hair and only a little conditioner but for the love of all that is holy only at the ends of your hair or dire consequences!!!1!” that I was taught in the 90s.

I do use a good amount of conditioner to work through my scalp and down to the ends of my (currently too long) hair so I buy half a dozen bottles at a time but at $4 each it works out to the same amount as a fancy product. Yay!

I’ve included the Tea Tree Tingle body wash in the photo above because it is really easy to confuse the bottle with the other two because, you know, Trader Joe’s is bustling and crowded and it can means you grab what you think is the thing and just want and get the hell outta there without noting that the transparent color of the top of the bottle is slightly less transparent than the bottle you meant to buy. I bought this bottle of body wash by mistake but I have to admit it’s made a great hand soap when diluted and put into a foaming hand soap bottle.

* (To read more about the Curly Girl method read this great wrap up by Laura Lee as well as this list of introductory articles and this recap of method and terms at the Naturally Curly forums.)

Do you have an curly/wavy hair tips? Any products that work great? Please do share, I can use the help!

· comments [39] · 07-16-2012 · categories:beauty · shopping ·

39 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Melanie // Jul 16, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Drew uses this shampoo and conditioner. I think I’m going to have to steal some of it.

  • 2 Paula // Jul 16, 2012 at 5:11 am

    I have straight as a pin hair, however, my daughter has curly, frizzy hair. I was at a loss as to how to keep it under wraps until a friend of mine told me how she has gone ‘poo-less! She only uses conditioner! So, even though I still use shampoo on my daughter (John Frieda’s Frizz Ease works wonders on her), we’ve gone to using just conditioner when her hair begins to get unruly. We love TJ’s, so I’ll have to check out this as well! Thanks!

  • 3 Katie Lynn // Jul 16, 2012 at 6:53 am

    I use the Body Shop’s Rainforest line. Both the Shine and Moisture shampoos and conditioners are amazing. Unfortunately I have super soft well water and VERY THICK hair. There is no way I would ever put conditioner on my scalp, in a million years. It’s hard enough to get it out of the ends! I do use TBS Ginger Root Scalp Treatment shampoo, which does have SLS in it, but only on my scalp. I use the other shampoos on the ends (though very little of the Shine, as it contains olive oil and can be difficult for me to wash out over time).

    As for product I use TBS Cottonseed Curl Boost and Catwalk Curls Rock mixed together (3:1 ratio) on my shoulder length hair. I twist sections of it right out of the shower as the to crown of my head is more wavy, and then let it air dry for a while before using the diffuser to dry it more. Sometimes I quickly take the curling iron (1 1/4″) and fix any odd sections I can see. I finish off with a quick spray of John Frieda Frizz Ease hairspray.

    I get A LOT of compliments about my hair. Everyone’s surprised that it is so soft when they touch it (it feels like baby hair, even though I have course texture naturally) and how shiny and healthy it is.

  • 4 Megan // Jul 16, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Oh yes! A Tea Tree conditioner that costs under $10? Thank you! I’m a Curly Girl, too, haven’t used shampoo in a couple of years. But, my scalp dries out quickly, especially in the winter, so I have to use a Tea Tree conditioner to keep it itch-free.

    Going to TJ’s today for this, thank you!!

  • 5 elaine // Jul 16, 2012 at 7:27 am

    i have wavy/curly hair and recently started to use deva curl no-poo (foamless shampoo) once a week. it’s been GREAT! my hair has more body and feels wonderful. i’m sure there are other brand of no-poo, i just haven’t looked around much for them yet.

    i will try out the trader joes stuff next time i’m there…

  • 6 Ashley // Jul 16, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Fellow Curly-Girler who LOVES the Tea Tree Tingle stuff here! I randomly picked up some of their Nourish conditioner last month and have been loving that too although it is a bit richer so may weigh your hair down a bit more. Still, may be worth a shot; my hair seems happier when I alternate products from time to time.

  • 7 Connie // Jul 16, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I dry my very curly hair with a tshirt! Less frizz… I also do the curly girl method. Now I need to try Teatree tingle. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • 8 julie.k. // Jul 16, 2012 at 7:51 am

    oooo, I love tea tree shampoos/conditioners. I’m using the Giovanni one at the moment. I wonder what “famous” salon makes the TJ one? I’m thinking Paul Mitchell.
    Have never tried just washing with conditoner – will do tomorrow!

  • 9 Ketra // Jul 16, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I also follow a modified Curly Girl regimen. For me, the best product is the one I use after the shower: flax seed gel. It gives great non-frizzy, non-crunchy definition to curls & waves. You can make your own (in my experience it’s hard to get a consistent result) or do what I do and buy this woman’s excellent product:

  • 10 maggie // Jul 16, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I have wavy hair with dry ends, and I’ve been using just a drop or two of argan oil (the Moroccan oil in the Moroccan oil products, but that brand contains a bunch of other crap including silicone so I like to just use the straight oil) on damp hair. It really seems to keep my waves defined all day. I also swear by the “plopping method” of drying your hair on top of your head under an old t-shirt.

  • 11 deb // Jul 16, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I used to use the TJ green tea shampoo/conditioner religiously, but after time I found it dried out my hair (I’ve got the straight asian stuff, though). But I’m now a religious user of the body wash. Love that stuff! I find most other body washes to be too…heavy/thick/hard to wash off. I go to TJ just to buy 4 bottles of the body wash at a time.

  • 12 April // Jul 16, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I love that stuff! The body wash is so nice and cool. When it’s hot I love taking a shower with it before bed.

    I’ll have to try the conditioner-only method. Like Deb, this has started to dry out my ends. My hair is fine and oily, so it may not work but I’ll try it!

  • 13 Amy in StL // Jul 16, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I don’t have curly hair but I do have really fine straight hair. I’ve been only using sulfate free shampoos and only a couple times a week…for a couple years. It’s really helped the frizzies which fine hair gets, even if it’s straight. My second and third day hair always look better. I’ll have to try using a lighter conditioner like that’s mentioned in the articles. Maybe I can cut out another shampooing.

  • 14 Tracy // Jul 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I’ve used all of the DevaCurl products for a long time now. Love their NoPoo shampoo and their One Condition conditioner. I have oily hair, too. I do wash it every day with their shampoo and use their conditioner. It doesn’t dry it out.

  • 15 just barrie // Jul 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I use my Apple Cider Vinegar/Water/Essential Oil combo daily. When I run out and am too lazy to make up another batch, I have on hand my Dessert Essence conditioner. A little pricey but I trust them and their product is great.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t found a single curly styling product that beats Aveda (nothing completely wrong with Aveda, but there are some ingredients that I couldn’t pay someone to pronounce and that usually scares me). I’ve tried every single thing at Whole Foods and they’re all crap (for me, at least). I can’t seem to find a good DIY version either, so alas I’ve just sucked it up and stuck with my Aveda–and hey, whenever I go in they give me a hand massage. I don’t think they do that at Trader Joe’s ;-)

  • 16 Jen // Jul 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I always a little skeptical of specific hair and skin recommendations translating from person to person, but I definitely subscribe to the general idea of figuring out what works for you individually to cleanse without stripping, and disliking the feeling of excessive residues. I also have the additional theory that if I can find the right balance, I should need to wash my hair less frequently. I kind of hate having wet hair more frequently than absolutely necessary. I’ve been using my current shampoo/conditioner combo for over a year now and it allows my hair to look and feel clean and comfortable for 3 or 4 days between washes.

  • 17 Lynn in Tucson // Jul 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    We have very hard water and the family finds the lack of lather in the above pretty unsatisfying. I do use the shampoo as body wash occasionally, though, and I like it.

  • 18 Kim // Jul 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I’ve stayed away from the curly-girl method, mostly because I’m not awake enough to have to think about it when I shower in the mornings, but I do use low sulfate, silicone free shampoo and conditioner which has helped a lot. The best think for my extremely dry hair has been Moroccan Argan Oil. I’ve been using just the straight oil everyday, but I started using a curl cream today. The Argan Oil has worked wonders. I can actually stand to touch my hair since I started using the stuff.

  • 19 Manta // Jul 16, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks. Because of your post & links I figured out why my hair has been a little greasy lately. I’ve been following a modified CG for a long time and didn’t know it. (I have wavy hair and severe sulfur and preservative allergies).

    I “low poo” and condition my hair every day or two, use a wide tooth comb in the shower, don’t brush, blow dry or add anything to my hair and it usually looks great. Being sulfur and silica free for 16 years might have a lot to do with it. My hair did not look this good in my early twenties.

  • 20 nazila // Jul 16, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    oh this seems really weird, but I might try it. As you know, I have some pretty curly hair and I love and hate it for the fact it really needs to be cut every five weeks. I love two things right now to tame the frizz of summer – one is moroccan oil mousse, the other is coy curl cream. Coy is made here in Seattle, so its great. The Moroccan oil takes a while to get used to.

  • 21 Tammy // Jul 17, 2012 at 6:34 am

    I’ve used this shampoo for quite a while now. It’s an exact duplicate (both in smell and ingredient list, as far as I can remember) for the “giovanni” Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo, which sells for $10 or more.

  • 22 The Gastrognome // Jul 17, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I’ll second whoever suggested the Deva Curl products. Love them for my wavy hair that I’m desperately trying to coax into being full on curly. The No-Poo is great and the name makes me giggle. Because it says ‘POO!”

  • 23 sprizee // Jul 17, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I wonder if the famous brand is Aveda’s Rosemary Mint? I use to buy this all the time until I finally gave up on paying $40 a bottle for anything I wasn’t putting directly in my mouth.

  • 24 Shelly // Jul 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I’ve got lots and lots of thick curly hair. I’ve used DevaCurl products in the past and have loved them. I even found a hair stylist in my area that does the Deva Cut … which means she cuts my hair dry and it comes out fabulous. I play around with different products, but always seem to return to Sally Salon’s “Noodle Head.” My advice to anyone with curly hair is to just apply product when wet and let it air dry. Do NOT brush it. That just causes frizz.

  • 25 Colleen // Jul 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    But Megan, is your hair curly? It doesn’t look it in the photos I’ve seen of you. Does this method work on straight hair as well? I have slightly wavy hair and would like to reduce the amount of shampooing I subject it to. I guess I could try and see if it works for me.

  • 26 megan // Jul 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Colleen – My hair is wavy, I’m a type 2A (the least curly sort) on the Naturally Curly forums scale. But my hair looks much better if I treat it with a curly girl method, if I treat it like straight hair all I get is flat and frizzy. That said it doesn’t magically make me photogenic.

    If you’d like to try to use conditioner to wash make sure to look for a conditioner without silicones, they are heavy and require a harsher shampoo to remove. Good luck!

  • 27 Brianna // Jul 18, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I’m a wavy 2bish : ) I love love love the Kinky Curly leave-in conditioner. The other products in their line are too heavy for my hair, but the conditioner acts almost like a gel or something and gives me nice totally soft (not cruchy) waves and I can get it at Whole Foods. I actually washed my hair at the gym yesterday and didn’t have it with me and WOW the frizz! I really love it more now haha.
    That’s all I use really. Oh, and I use whatever sulfate free shampoo I find on sale and then a ton of Suave Naturals Coconut Conditioner (no sulfates) that stuff is amazing and super cheap too!

  • 28 nazila // Jul 18, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I just wanna say that @sprizee comment is the best thing I have read in weeks.

  • 29 kickpleat // Jul 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I use this exact shampoo & conditioner too (& I’m from Vancouver and I have to cross the border to get the stuff). I’ve also purchased the body wash by accident (but a what a lovely accident it was – I love it too). I don’t have curly hair but instead suffer from fine hair and this stuff works wonders (no sulfates!)

  • 30 Stef // Jul 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I have pretty straight hair and have been dealing with oily scalp issues. Sometimes the more i shampoo, the more oily it seems to get. I was using Peter Lamas Chinese Herbs shampoo for a while and it was good for me but it’s pricey! I should go and get some of this shampoo and conditioner. I considered the apple cider vinegar and baking soda rinse method but I cannot tolerate oily hair for more than a day. :-/ Thanks for the recommendation, Megan!

  • 31 suzanne // Jul 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I have a head of crazy thick curly hair that tends to frizz and the conditioner only wash works well for me. I also really like Jessicurl products:, especially the Rockin Ringlets styling potion.

  • 32 Andie Miller // Jul 25, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I originally looked into the information in this article because a niece who has an African American father struggles with her curly hair. No one in our family has been able to help her love her look. The rest of us are largely stick, straight fine haired folk. Now I think I might have information to help guide this youngster to a love of her natural look and I’ve solved my own hair care problems. Even though I have fine, straight hair, I’ve been using a slight modification to your modified curly girl method for the last week. My hair is already responding and feeling better! Thank you once again for insightful information. You’re one of my favorite blogs!

  • 33 Amy (One Day Closer) // Aug 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I have been using Ouidad. It works, but about as far from natural as you can get and I find it pricey.

    I’d like to branch out and try something else. I was just at Trader Joe’s yesterday, I wish I would have read this earlier! :o) (It’s an hour from my house.)

    Thanks for the recommendation!

  • 34 Jess F. // Aug 8, 2012 at 8:34 am

    You have CHANGED MY LIFE! Thank you for opening my eyes to a new world of curlie/wavy hair care. This summer I had resorted to only using shampoo because the combination of both poo/co was making my fragile curls hang wimpily in summer heat. I’ve been co-washing since you posted this and cannot believe my hair.
    Thank you for this site and its many wonderful insights!

  • 35 Julie M // Aug 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks so much for the tips & input. This post gave me the push I needed to go curly again. :)

  • 36 Janet // Aug 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    I love this line of shampoo and conditioner. The nearest Trader Joes’s is about an hour away, so I always stock up when I go.

  • 37 Elizabeth // Oct 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I too have fine, oily, 2A type hair and I have *always* thought that I could never get away with not shampooing every day. I have been using TJ’s tea tree tingle shampoo for about a year now. I always diluted it quite a bit, so I thought it wasn’t too drying for my hair and scalp. On a whim yesterday I decided to wash my hair with conditioner only and was amazed and pleased at the results! I decided to google it to find out if other 2Aers had similar experiences and was brought here. I’m glad to hear that this works for you too!

  • 38 Laura Lee // Feb 4, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Thanks for the mention! Love your site!

  • 39 Super Natural Body: A roundup – Kiriko Kikuchi // May 1, 2013 at 5:09 am

    […] Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Oil Conditioner: This stuff is super cheap, like $4, is made entirely of organic plants and oils, and smells great. I use it on my hair, avoiding the scalp, and then use heavier-duty stuff, like argan oil or coconut oil, for the ends once it’s dry. By the way, *don’t* get the shampoo, it has some sketchy ingredients. […]

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