An indispensable step in your weekly hair care routine, conditioning is just as important as shampooing – if not more. While the two procedures go hand-in-hand, oily scalp girls often steer clear of the latter, owing to the looming fear of a greasier scalp. We’re here to debunk this beauty myth once and for all. Adequately conditioning the hair is an integral step in your hair care routine and should be discussed at length. Because if you are unable to get the basics right, chances are, your route to healthy hair will be cut short.
While the run-of-the-mill procedure needn’t seem pressing enough to deliberate over, you’d be surprised to know that many of us commit seemingly obvious conditioning mistakes daily. But before we delve into the finer details, here’s an exhaustive lowdown on why conditioning is vital.
What Does a Conditioner Do?
Conditioning constitutes the second step in your hair care routine and helps restore any loss of moisture post-shampooing. Hair conditioning helps reinstitute moisture into your mane, making it less frizzy and more manageable. A conditioner also comes into play to limit split ends, flyaways, and unruly strands.
How to Choose a Conditioner Based on Your Hair Type and Texture
Your hair texture and type should determine the formulation best suited for your mane. Hair thickness, curl pattern, hair colour, and damage level are a few of the several deciding factors that can help ascertain your perfect product match.
- Colour-Treated Hair: Those with colour-treated hair should opt for a sulphate-free formulation that gently cleanses and nourishes the scalp and strands without stripping them of their inherent moisture. Formulations crafted with UV filters can also help protect your hair colour from fading quickly.
- Damaged Hair: If you possess processed or damaged hair, choose a formula that boasts citric acid to strengthen damaged hair bonds, often resulting from heat styling and bleaching.
- Curly and Wavy Hair: Curly or wavy hair types should reach for an ultra-moisture-boosting conditioner that effectively cleanses the scalp while lending optimal hydration for minimal frizziness. Formulations that contain hyaluronic acid would be a great place to start.
- Fine and Limp Hair: Fine and limp hair types should turn to volumising conditioners that promise a nourishment boost to amplify hair growth and limit hair loss. These formulations should also guarantee a healthy dose of moisture to retain hair health.
While oily hair types should opt for light and non-greasy formulations that don’t weigh the hair down, those with dry hair need to incorporate more rich, heavyweight conditioners that promise hydration into their hair care arsenal.
How to Apply Conditioner Correctly
You must begin your hair care routine with a suitable shampoo. Lather your formulation and deeply cleanse your scalp and strands to remove any dirt build-up or styling product residue. Once you’ve rinsed it off, apply a quarter-sized amount of your conditioner to your mid-lengths and ends. Gently detangle your mane with a wide-toothed comb and let the product sit on your hair for a few minutes before rinsing it off. After allowing it to stay on for some time, rinse off the formulation with lukewarm water.
What is a Leave-In Conditioner?
As the name suggests, a leave-in conditioner is a formulation that can remain on your strands and doesn’t have to be rinsed off after application. Leave-in conditioners hydrate the hair shaft and intensely moisturise your strands. It contains humectants and emollients, both of which work in harmony to hydrate and smoothen your mane. While humectants draw moisture into your hair, emollients help soften and smoothen the locks, making them less brittle and prone to breakage. Leave-in or no-rinse conditioners are an ideal pre-styling treatment to help hair remain soft, detangled, nourished, and more manageable.
The Most Common Conditioning Mistakes to Avoid
1. You Are Applying Conditioner From Your Roots to the Tips
A conditioner is most effective when applied on the driest patches of your hair – which are, more often than not, the mid-lengths and ends. Slathering conditioner on the roots can weigh down your hair and cause your scalp to appear greasy. Hence, it’s best to stick to your lengths and ends that deserve extra TLC.
2. You Are Rinsing Off the Product Too Early
There’s a reason why conditioners are to sit on your strands for a specified amount of time. By rinsing off the product quickly, you’re not allowing your hair to reap all its benefits. Ideally, you’d want to leave your conditioner on for as long as mentioned on the product label – which often oscillates between one to five minutes. Ensure that you detangle your hair with a wide-toothed comb in the meantime.
3. You Are Using Too Much or Too Little Conditioner
If you have fine hair, consider applying enough conditioner and avoid going overboard. A good rule of thumb is to take one or two quarter-sized dollops of the product onto your palm, depending on the volume and length of your hair.
4. You’re Skimping on Conditioning
If you’re not using a conditioner regularly, you’ll notice your strands becoming limp and dull. As per the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), one should condition their hair each time they shampoo it for adequate moisture and nourishment.
While, for the most part, you’d want to conditioner your hair after shampooing it, you can adopt reverse conditioning, too. The reverse hair-washing method will give your mane the hydration it craves before cleansing.