There’s a lot of information about hair conditioning. And it’s no surprise! Ever since dermatologists and beauty experts deemed conditioning a must in our hair care routine, we don’t skip it anymore. But how often should we apply a conditioner? Does it depend on the type of conditioner? Does it depend on your hair type? Should you condition your hair every day or with every shampooing? We tackle all & more!
Table of contents:
- How does conditioner work & why is it important?
- Types of conditioners and their frequency in your hair care regimen
- Should you condition your hair every day? Pay attention to your hair!
- Conditioners & Shampoos: do they always go together?
- Conditioning based on your hair type
- Why is it important to choose a conditioner with natural ingredients?
How does conditioner work & why is it important?
You must know by now that conditioner is associated with adding moisture to your hair. It makes the locks shiny, soft, easy to manage. Conditioners were invented to replenish the moisture hair loses during shampooing, after chemical treatments (we’re looking at you, bleached hair!), or heat damage. Shampoo and chemical treatments open the hair cuticle. When shampooing, you remove dirt and impurities. When coloring your hair, the cuticle must be open to receive color. Conditioners are needed to seal the cuticle. Conditioners flatten the hair cuticle and contain nutrients and essential ingredients to replenish the hair. To make it simpler: conditioners work as an artificial sebum after natural oils have been removed from the hair due to chemical or mechanical processes.
The science behind how conditioners work: according to studies, conditioners neutralize the negative electrical charge of the hair fiber, lubricating the cuticle. They seal the cuticle, prevent or minimize friction and frizz, enhance shine & smoothness and make the hair easy to manage.
Types of conditioners and their frequency in your hair care regimen
How many times a week should you wash and condition your hair? It depends on your hair type and the type of conditioner you apply:
- Rinse-out conditioner is the typical conditioner, applied after shampooing and rinsed out in a couple of minutes. The AAD (American Academy of Dermatology Association) recommends using a rinse-out conditioner every time you shampoo your hair. Make sure to wash two or three times a week, adjusting according to your hair type.
Leave-in conditioner is left in your tresses until your next wash. It's ideal for dry and damaged hair, and you should use it at least once a week. Depending on the damage and hair type (coarse, curly, or dry hair might need more moisture) apply it more frequently.
- Deep conditioner provides extra moisture if left on your hair for about 30 minutes. Deep conditioning helps repair damaged hair. It should be applied once a month.
- Cleansing conditioners were created to eliminate the need for a distinct shampooing. They cleanse and hydrate the hair at the same time. While deep conditioners are heavier, cleansing conditioners are lighter. Hence they can be applied as often as you’d shampoo.
Should you condition your hair every day? Pay attention to your hair!
The goal of a hair care routine is to have a healthy scalp. Shampooing every day can deplete the hair of moisture, hence it will need conditioning or it will start to produce excess sebum to prevent dryness. Imbalances are created using shampoo every day. But, it can’t be said the same if you use a conditioner every day. The secret: paying attention to how your hair looks. Do you use too much, too little, or is it just perfect? Here’s what to look out for:
How to tell if you are under-conditioning?
If your hair breaks easily due to a lack of elasticity, if it becomes dry and brittle, if it tangles more often and you notice an increase in frizz, or if your locks become dull, you must condition more often.
Signs that you are over-conditioning your hair
What happens if you use too much conditioner? Your hair gets into hygral fatigue and your locks will become greasy. They will lose body and volume, and you'll notice the hair will not bounce anymore. Your hair might be soft and silky, but it will look limp and lifeless. Its texture might become too shiny, and you'll notice it's harder to style it since it will not stay in the shape you desire.
When should you condition your hair often?
If you spend more time in the sun, if you have damaged hair, if you’ve had bleaching or coloring done, if you use heat tools or swim regularly and chlorine touches your hair, you need a boost in hydration.
What happens if you don’t apply conditioner to your hair?
Beauty experts and hair care specialists recommend using a conditioner every time you shampoo your hair to minimize wear and tear. If you do not use a conditioner, the cuticle will remain open, leaving the hair prone to damage. Imagine tiny holes in the cuticles. In those holes, chemicals, heat, moisture, chlorine, sunlight, coloring can enter more profusely and produce damage.
Hair conditioning and its importance to your scalp
On the days you don't shampoo, you can wash your hair just with some conditioner diluted with water. Just make sure you rinse it off properly. Experts also recommend you add conditioner to your scalp before you get chemical treatments such as coloring. This way, you create a protective barrier between your scalp and the harsh substances.
The connection between conditioner & hair damage
The same experts from the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology Association) underline the connection between conditioner and hair damage prevention. Coating your strands with conditioner after every wash helps reduce split ends and breakage, reduces tangles, and makes the hair manageable and pliable. They also suggest a different usage in conditioning according to hair damage. Find the recommendations below.
Conditioners & Shampoos: do they always go together?
Should you condition every time you shampoo? Yes, to seal the cuticle. Do you need to condition your hair every time you wash it? Yes, to prevent dryness and damage. Can you just wash your hair with conditioner? Yes, in between washes conditioning nourishes and leaves the hair smooth, slick and tangle-free.
Don’t do it daily! versus Do it daily!
Does using conditioner every day damage hair? Only if your hair is fine or greasy, since it weighs it down.
Extra info: pay attention to your hair and its needs. Sometimes, exposing your hair to water stretches out the hair fiber. Water saturation increases if you condition daily since you need to rinse, so make sure to pay attention to the damage or breakage that may appear.
Conditioning based on your hair type
No hair and scalp are the same. They are of different types and have different needs. When it comes to moisturization, no less:
How often to condition if you have dry hair
With dry hair, outer cuticle layers are dehydrated, frizzy, and more vulnerable to breakage. You need a potent moisturizer to lock in natural oils and your hair’s moisture. Leave-in conditioners are your best friends. Also, applying a light conditioner every other day, when you don’t shampoo, may benefit your hair.
How often to condition if you have oily hair
DO NOT condition every day since it will make your hair even greasier. Extra tip: use a clarifying shampoo to remove excess buildup.
How often to condition if you have thin hair
This one can be tricky. On the one hand, thin hair needs a conditioner since it's more susceptible to breakage and damage. On the other hand, conditioners can be too heavy and make the strands look greasy. The solution is a natural conditioner used with every wash. And a keen eye on noticing when you need a moisture boost.
How often to condition if you have thick hair
Thick hair needs hydration to be smooth. Conditioners are miracle-workers for thick hair since they reduce frizz. Use light products and stay away from your scalp to prevent buildup. If you’ve applied conditioner a bit too close to your hair follicles, make sure to rinse if off thoroughly.
How often to condition if you have damaged hair
Conditioners are your best friends. Don't skip them after shampooing. Also, use leave-in conditioners on non-washing days to create a barrier on your locks. This prevents extra dryness and damage. Also, if you have damaged hair, choose a protein treatment once in a while.
How often to condition if you have frizzy hair
Hair that is prone to frizz is more porous in structure and tends to dry up. It needs a moisturizing treatment more often than other types of hair.
How often to condition if you have colored hair
Colored hair needs a protective layer since it’s more susceptible to damage and breakage. It also needs special conditioning to protect the color as well.
How often to condition if you have curly hair
Curly hair needs extra moisture since the natural oils find it harder to travel down the hair shaft from the root. This leaves the hair dry. If you notice your curls are frizzy, lack definition, or have a mind of their own, they are thirsty for some conditioner.
Why is it important to choose a conditioner with natural ingredients?
The most important thing is to find the right product for your hair type and its specific needs. It’s recommended you stay away from parabens, alcohol, silicones, and harsh substances when it comes to hair care. The more your hair is abused, the more it will need replenishing. We recommend the usage of plant-based conditioners since they do not contain any of the surfactants that harm the hair. They are also filled with nutritive ingredients to nurture and heal the hair shaft. The same is to be said about leave-in conditioners (the perfect solution for damaged hair) and hair oils (your go-to solution for thin hair).
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