In order to have beautiful hair you need to know a few things about hair. The first of which is how to shampoo, (click on the link if you want to read my post on shampoo) and then you need to know how to condition. These are essential to healthy hair. After Shampoo I believe that Conditioner is the most important part of taking care of your hair. It is the #1 thing that protects your hair from damage. You should know what conditioner is best for you and how to apply it.
Below is a diagram of a hair. There are 3 layers to a strand of hair. The Cuticle (outer, looks like scales) the Cortex (inner) and the Medulla (center). If you have fine hair then you may not have a Medulla. Fine hair is easily damaged and should be taken care of gently.
Why is conditioner important? Everyone knows that it helps the hair to be softer and less tangled, But it does much more. The conditioner works by delivering the moisture and vitamins to the hair helping to restore lost nutrients. It will help prevent your color from fading, it will add moisture which gives your hair strength and elasticity which prevents breakage, and lays the cuticle layer down so the hair is protected from other damaging things. You encounter many outside forces of damage during the day, like the sun, wind, and heat.
The type of conditioner is very important to your hair. If you have healthy hair you need a completely different conditioner then someone who has damaged hair. If you have fine limp hair you need a weightless conditioner and only apply a small amount to the ends of your hair.
There are basically 2 types of conditioners our there. Rinse Away, which only affects the surface of the hair and Deep conditioner, which delivers moisture to the inner core of the hair. Most of us use to rinse away and that is all we need, but if you have dry or damaged hair then a deep conditioner is what you need.
For everyday conditioning you should not place the conditioner it at your scalp (or the top of your head). That will cause you to have oily hair. You can wash all you want but you will have greasy hair if you don’t know how to apply the conditioner. Place a small quarter-sized, or less if you have short hair, in your hand and start at the middle, halfway from the scalp and the ends of your hair. Smooth that conditioner down to the ends. The ends are where the conditioner needs to be. That is where the damage is.
For deep conditioning you must get the conditioning oils and vitamins into the hair shaft under the cuticle layer. (Here is a side note: Hot Oil treatments, mayonnaise, olive oil, and other home conditioning treatments do nothing to penetrate the cuticle layer of the hair the molecule size if such oils are not small enough to fit. It just sits on top of the hair. You may have shiny hair for a day but the conditioning has not been delivered to where you need it.) In order to get the vitamins from a deep conditioning treatment under the Cuticle layer you need to apply heat to the hair. The heat lifts the cuticle up just enough so those vitamins get in.
After you shampoo towel dry your hair, because hair is like a sponge you have to squeeze out all water before it can stoak up anything else. Then apply the conditioner, place a shower cap on and hold the blow dryer to your hair for the amount of time on the directions for the conditioner. Here is a good article on the difference between rinse away conditioners and deep conditioners. I recommend using a deep conditioner once a week for those of you who have dry hair, once a month for those who have healthy hair, and every three days for the chemically damaged hair.
Ask a stylist to tell you what they recommend that you use. And yes there are different quality conditioners. I have a personal favorite and that is Biolage Conditioning Balm. Try it out. Let me know what you think.
Here are some facts. You can not repair a split end. It needs to be cut off. No matter what the advertisers say about their product you can’t repair most types of damage. You can just patch it up for a while. But if you condition regularly then your hair has a fighting chance against all the insult you do to it. I love to color my hair, straighten, and curl it. But I still want my hair to be soft and shiny so I condition my hair. That way I can keep doing damaging things to it without deserting my hair. I hope you found this useful. There is so much information that it was hard for me to know what to share and what not to. I don’t want to be boring.