Many people have the misconception that conditioner weighs down their hair, leaving it limp and lifeless. Often, when shampooing, these people skip the conditioner. But using conditioner is essential for having healthy, shiny hair. Here's the answer to 'why should you condition your hair?'
What is hair conditioner?
First of all, let's talk about what conditioner is exactly. Think of conditioner like moisturizer for your hair. Some shampoos that contain harsh chemicals and surfactants (soaps and detergents, which are an essential ingredient in the right proportion) strip the hair of its natural oils (not ours, though, take a list atour high-quality ingredients). Conditioner is designed to help replenish and nourish the hair after it has been cleansed.
That fact alone is why you should use a conditioner after washing your hair! You definitely want to replace lost moisture to ensure your hair is as healthy as it can be.
But on a scientific level, the hair is made of overlapping cuticle 'flakes' with a cuticle layer, protecting the fragile inner layers. Light reflects off the cuticle layer and gives a natural shine to hair, but the hair looks best when the cuticle flakes lay flat against one another. That's what conditioner does. It smooths down that flaky layer to keep the hair healthier.
Without conditioner, though, your hair might resemble a 'frayed rope.' In the frayed rope state, the cells become loose and snag against other cells, causing tangles and breakage. Conditioner acts like a 'hair envelope' for the cuticle, which is made of cationic surfactants and other ingredients to provide added benefits.
Conditioner smooths down the cuticle
As the paragraph above explains, the ingredients in conditioner smooth down the flakes in your hair, known as cuticles. It adds a protective coating to the hair. When smoothed down and with your added 'coat of arms', your hair will be healthier and less prone to breakage, damage, and thinning because conditioner fills in the gaps that breakage leaves behind. That, ultimately, keeps your hair from further damage and allows it to grow out.
Conditioner improves the health and condition of the hair overall, which reduces thinning and shedding, but, keep in mind, that shedding is part of the hair's natural growth cycle too but you do want to prevent excess shedding and hair loss.
Conditioner makes your hair softer, less frizzy and detangles it
Overall, conditioner smooths the hair and makes it easier to comb and look after, which prevents damage. Conditioner softens the hair, replenishes nutrients, and detangles the hair. With flatter cuticles, your hair will look shinier, be less frizzy, and have fewer split ends (the enemy of hair).
Conditioner helps lock in moisture
Since shampoo opens the hair cuticle in order to wash your strands, conditioner closes that cuticle and locks in essential moisture. Without conditioner, the oils stripped from your hair during cleansing could be lost. When that cuticle isn't smoothed down and protected, it could lead to breakage. But, more than that, conditioner is an opportunity to add moisture and repair the hair before you exit the shower (or bath). Missing this essential step could spell doom for your hair!
What type of conditioner should I use?
Even though there are formulas that are for 'curly' hair, 'damaged' hair, 'colored' hair and everything in between, the makeup of most conditioners is relatively the same. But where the difference comes in is the quality and the added ingredients. Think about quality when you see a product on the shelves for under $5. What is in that product to make it so inexpensive? How much does it cost the manufacturer to make (consider that all businesses are in the business of profits)? And can it possibly be good for your hair? You don't necessarily have to spend hundreds for good-quality products, but a good product will be at a mid-price point at the minimum.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you don't need globs of product for it to be effective. Since you don't need to use a lot of product, it's worth investing in a good quality conditioner with healthy ingredients. After all, your conditioner will last months even if you only wash your hair once or twice a week.
We also have an amazing new product, our Daily shield conditioner. This conditioner is designed for those who live in busy urban environments and need additional anti-pollution treatment. This superfood formula shields the hair using its patented anti-pollution formula. It’s clinically proven to provide instant effects, long-term results, and it protects and conditions the hair and scalp whilst keeping your hair healthy and shiny.
How do I use conditioner properly?
You'll want to squeeze out some excess moisture after shampooing. Then, you can apply the conditioner in long strokes from root to end. Extra water on your hair will dilute the conditioner, making it less effective. Leave your conditioner on for a minimum of two minutes, which is the time it takes to adhere to the hair. For deep conditioners, leave on for three to five minutes. Finally, rinse your hair well until you've removed all excess product and you're good to go.
As always, stay safe, take care, and stay home if you are able.
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Photo credits: Giphy, Mady,@Abyssian, Pinterest
For more lockdown and post-lockdown reading material, check out our past blogs.
- Should you pre-poo? The benefits of pre-shampoo pre-wash treatment
- Haircare tips for winter
- How to prioritize self-care while social distancing
- Fun hairstyles to do in quarantine
- How to get your hair ready for summer
- How to prepare for your first hairstyling appointment post lockdown
- What is Abyssinian oil and what are the benefits?
- The five uses of specialty Abyssinian oil hair serum
- The benefits of air drying your hair