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  5. Hair Conditioner: When, How, and Why Should Use It

Despite the extra five minutes it takes while showering, conditioners are something we have all been told to use. Most of us have incorporated it in our hairwash routines.

But do you wonder why a conditioner is important? What does it really do to your hair? And is it worth the investment? Here is all you need to know about conditioners and why it should be a vital part of your hair care regimen.

What Is A Conditioner & What Does It Do?

A conditioner is a mask-like creamy product, used to improve the texture of your hair. It is meant to hydrate and replenish your hair to make it appear softer. It also reduces friction between your strands of hair and makes it easier for you to brush it, post your hair wash.

Every time you condition your hair, a layer is formed along your hair shaft, making it easier for you to manage and style it. Your conditioner is what gives your hair its shine post a hair-wash.

How To Apply Hair Conditioner: 6 Steps

1. Rinse out all your shampoo thoroughly in the shower.

2. Every brand recommends a specific amount to be used. Use the recommended amount that is given on the bottle.

3. Don’t apply conditioner on your scalp. Start applying the product from the shaft all the way down to the edges.

4. Use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers and run them all the way down through your hair.

5. Leave the conditioner on for 1-2 minutes.

6. Rinse off completely. Don’t leave any product on.

How Long Should You Leave Your Conditioner On For?

If you’re using a rinse-off conditioner, it should typically be left on for 2-3 minutes while you’re in the shower. However, read the instructions given on the bottle of your conditioner for a better idea. Some conditioners may take longer to get completely absorbed into your hair.

How Much Conditioner Should You Use?

Different brands recommend different quantities to be used, which is generally specified on the label. The amount of conditioner you use largely depends upon the thickness and length of your hair. Make sure that you don’t miss out on any part of your hair, chin-down.

    • If you have short hair (above shoulder-length), use one dab of conditioner that typically is about the size of one blueberry.
    • If you have shoulder-length hair, use an amount that is equivalent to the size of two blueberries.
    • If you have long hair, depending on how long and thick your hair is, you should typically use an amount that is equivalent to the size of three blueberries.
    • Types Of Conditioners

1. Rinse-out conditioners

This is the most common type, which most people use on a regular basis.

Rinse-out conditioners are typically applied to damp hair (usually after shampooing). The product is left on for a few minutes, following which it is rinsed off thoroughly.

Purpose:

They help you achieve hair that can be easily managed and appears to be softer and more lustrous than it otherwise would. Rinse-out conditioners protect your hair cuticles from damage caused by heat as well.

2. Deep conditioners

Packed with hydrating properties, deep conditioners can be used to treat dry and damaged hair. Essential oils,butters and other moisturizing ingredients that help repair damaged and dry hair are popular options while making these conditioners.

Deep conditioners are typically left on for about 30 minutes (more like a hair mask) and rinsed off thoroughly.

Purpose:

They aim at hydrating and repairing damaged hair. In case you have normal or oily hair, these aren’t the best option for you. They can make your hair feel more greasy and add weight to it.

3. Leave-in conditioners

Leave-in conditioners don’t weigh too much and form a protective layer on your hair. They are applied to your hair after showering and help in keeping your hair soft. They also detangle the hair easily, making it easier for you to style it.

Purpose:

These conditioners work as moisturizers while protecting your hair from other aggressors as well.

4. Hair masks

These are more like a face mask, meant to hydrate and nourish your hair. The product penetrates through the hair cuticles, nourishing it with protein and hydrating ingredients. Different masks are available for different hair types. A hair mask can be applied to your hair twice a week, for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off.

Purpose:

The purpose of a hair mask is to provide nourishment to your hair. These masks moisturize and repair your hair, making it healthier and voluminous in the long run.

Homemade Hair Conditioners

In case you prefer using natural ingredients on your skin and hair, consider using these natural sources to condition your hair. These DIY hair conditioners can prove to be effective in helping you achieve healthy and lustrous hair:

1. DIY egg and vinegar conditioner

Egg is a conditioning agent that nourishes and adds shine to your hair. Honey is a natural moisturizing agent and vinegar adds strength to your hair. This paste can be applied once or twice a week for effective results.

Process:

      • Mix 2-3 eggs and add a tablespoon of vinegar to it.
      • Add a teaspoon of olive oil to the mixture and whisk.
      • Add about a tablespoon of lemon juice and honey each.
      • Blend the ingredients together.
      • Apply the paste to the tips of your hair (chin down) for 15 minutes.

2. Banana hair mask

Banana helps in giving you frizz-free hair.

Process:

      • Take one banana and mash it well.
      • Add 3 tablespoons each of honey, olive oil and milk.
      • Mix well and add an egg to the mixture.
      • Blend the ingredients together to form a paste.
      • Apply the paste to the tips of your hair (chin down).
      • Leave it on for 20-30 minutes.

3. DIY yoghurt and egg conditioner

Packed with protein and lactic acid, yoghurt makes for a good scalp cleanser and nourishes your hair to make it softer.

Process:

      • Add 6 tablespoons of yoghurt to one beaten egg.
      • Take the mixture and gently massage it into your scalp and hair.
      • Leave it on for about 20 minutes.

4. Coconut oil and honey conditioner

Coconut oil is a natural emollient that moisturizes your hair. It helps keep your hair soft and shiny.

Process:

      • Take one tablespoon each of coconut oil, honey and lemon juice.
      • Add 2 tablespoons of curd to the mixture.
      • Leave the mixture on for 15 minutes and rinse off.

Is Conditioning Necessary?

Look at it like this - your shampoo does for your scalp what your cleanser does for your face; while your conditioner is the moisturizer. Your conditioner is important to keep your hair hydrated and soft. It prevents dry, dull hair that is prone to breakage.

However, choosing the right conditioner for your hair type is equally important. Your hair care products should suit your hair in order to strengthen it and improve its texture in the long-run.

Your hair’s average pH levels are weakly acidic. Your conditioner’s pH value should range between 4.5-7. This will prevent it from causing any long-term damage.

Is Over-Conditioning Your Hair Bad?

When you condition your hair, a layer is formed along your hair shaft. This is what gives your hair its shine and makes it manageable and easy to brush through. However, over-conditioning your hair is as bad as not conditioning it at all.

This build-up may weaken the efficacy of other products. It happens because this layer blocks other products like essential oils and serums from penetrating through your hair shaft.

      • If you notice the following signs, you’ve probably over-conditioned your hair.
      • Less volume and heavy hair
      • Difficult to manage and style
      • Hair sliding off from under pins every time you tie it up

How To Get Rid Of Over-conditioned Hair?

      • Start by using less conditioner for the first few washes.
      • Rinse your hair with a diluted apple cider vinegar solution once a month. This should ideally be one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water.
      • Use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of the extra layers of conditioner.
      • Avoid using too much conditioner till you get rid of all the extra layers.

Wrapping Up

Hair conditioners nourish and replenish your hair to make it appear soft and shiny. Different types of conditioners include rinse-out, deep, rinse-in conditioners and hair masks. You should purchase a conditioner that suits your hair type with pH levels ranging between 4.5-7. Over-conditioning your hair can be as bad as not conditioning it at all.

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