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Have you ever wondered how often you should condition your hair? Most of us wash our hair regularly, but how many of us actually condition it regularly, too?
Some of you reading this might even be wondering whether conditioning your hair is all that important at all, as long as you keep it clean.
Well, although it might add a few minutes to your hair care routine, the experts will tell you that just washing your hair isn’t enough.
So, you need to condition your hair as well as wash it.
However, opinions are divided on just how often you need to condition your hair.
In the end, everyone’s hair is different, and it arguably depends on your hair type.
Join us as we discuss why you need to condition your hair, how often to do it, and how to do it.
But first, let’s look at the basics. What is conditioner?
Think of conditioner as like moisturizer but for your hair. It generally contains oils, emollients, and silicone, as well as something known as ‘catatonic surfactants.
That last one is basically just the scientific name for detergent, used to balance and wash out the oils from your hair.
A lot of the effects that moisturizer has on skin, conditioner has on your hair.
First of all, it replaces lost moisture that you will have rinsed out of your hair whilst shampooing.
It also helps your hair to recover from any treatments you might have had done to your hair, like coloring or from heat damage from straightening or curling.
There are several different types of conditioner. The most common is rinse-out conditioner- i.e. the conditioner you use in the shower after shampooing your hair.
You have cleansing conditioner along those same lines, which is something of a shampoo-conditioner hybrid.
There is also deep conditioner, designed to be left in the hair for approximately thirty minutes in order to penetrate the hair more deeply.
Similarly, you have leave-in conditioner, which is designed to be left in the hair without any rinsing.
Lastly, you also have dry conditioner these days, which is a spray-on product designed to give some of the benefits of conditioner in a fraction of the time.
The first and most obvious reason you should condition your hair is that it makes your hair look good.
In essence, it makes your hair appear shinier, smoother, and less frizzy, and also makes it softer to the touch.
It also helps to keep hair from becoming knotted and tangled, making it much easier to comb through.
Anything that keeps you from having to battle your tangled hair in the morning is a plus, right?
In all seriousness, there is a more important reason that you should condition your hair.
If your hair looks good and feels good after conditioning, there’s a reason for that.
That’s because conditioning your hair keeps both your hair and your scalp healthy.
We’ve talked about how conditioner moisturizes the hair, but it also contains vital nutrients that help repair damaged hair.
This is important since shampoos are detergents that contain powerful chemicals that can damage your hair if used regularly without conditioner.
Conditioner also forms a protective coating around the cuticle of the hair which protects it from environmental factors, which allows your hair to keep growing healthily and strong without getting damaged.
Conditioner can also help to keep your scalp healthy and hydrated too.
The scalp ages at a rate twelve times faster than body skin and is prone to drying out, which can be particularly bad if you suffer from dandruff.
A good conditioner routine is good for your scalp as well as your hair!
Most experts say that you should condition your hair at a minimum every time you shampoo it, as conditioner and shampoo are by their nature complementary products.
The shampoo cleanses the hair of any dirt but also opens the cuticle and can strip the hair of essential oils and nutrients, whilst the conditioner forms a protective layer over the hair and adds those nutrients back.
However, some experts say that it depends on your hair type and what type of conditioner you're using, too.
If you have very oily or fine hair, you may want to consider conditioning your hair less frequently, perhaps every other time you shampoo.
This is because you might notice your hair feeling ‘weighed down’ by over conditioning it.
On the flip side, people with hair that is particularly dry, or people that have colored hair, might want to condition their hair between shampooing sessions to add a little extra moisture.
People with curly or coarse hair might also find this, as these hair types tend to be dryer than others.
This advice is given on the basis of using rinse-out conditioner, which is by far the most common.
However, the advice changes slightly for the more heavy-duty products like deep conditioner and leave-in conditioner.
For leave-in conditioner, designed for people who suffer from moderately dry hair, the rule of thumb is to apply it once a week.
For very dry or damaged hair you have deep conditioner, which is recommended to be used once a month.
We’ve talked about the negative effects of under conditioning your hair, but can you over condition it too?
Yes, you can. If you notice your hair becoming particularly greasy, excessively slick and shiny, or lacking volume, then it’s probable that you are over conditioning your hair.
This is more likely to happen if you have fine or naturally oily hair. Simply condition less if you notice any of these signs.
Conditioner helps to restore your hair and protect it from the rigors of life.
Most experts say you should condition your hair every time you shampoo it, but this advice can vary slightly depending on your hair type.
If you have fine or oily hair, you might want to condition less than this.
If your hair is naturally drier, coarser, or curly, you may find you need to condition in between shampoos.