Hair Skin Care Hair Conditioning

As part of our normal hair care routines, many of us follow our shampoo with a conditioner. Conditioner helps restore essential moisture and nutrients to hair, making it moisturized, shiny and more manageable.

While conditioner can offer great benefits to your hair, if you choose the wrong conditioner, you could end up with limp, lifeless hair. Knowing how to choose the proper conditioner and how to properly apply conditioner is essential to hair health.

Choosing a Hair Conditioner

You should choose a hair conditioner based on your hair’s unique needs. Hair conditioners can be categorized according to the job they perform. Choose from the following:

  • Acidifiers: These conditioners put acid into your hair, which helps to close the cuticle of the hair. This produces shiny hair that is bouncy and flexible. Acidifiers are good for people with fine hair.
  • Conditioning Oils: Oil conditioners add essential oils back to the hair. They are best for people who have very dry hair.
  • Detanglers: Most detangling conditioners are also acidifiers (see above). They shield the hair shaft and close the cuticle to prevent tangles.
  • Glossers: Glossers contain oils derived from silicone. These oils coat your hair and reflect light, making it shine. They are also useful in controlling frizz.
  • Moisturizers: Hair conditioners marketed as moisturizers contain humectants, compounds that attract and hold moisture in the hair. Often, moisturizers contain protein and botanicals. Moisturizing conditioners are good for people with dry, coarse hair.
  • Reconstructing Conditioners: Reconstructing conditioners usually contain protein to strengthen the hair. These conditioners are good for people with thinning hair or hair prone to breakage.
  • Thermal Protectors: These conditioners protect hair from heat. Thermal conditioners are great for people who use blow dryers, curling irons, straightening irons, etc.

You should be able to find all of these conditioners at your local drug store or at a beauty supply store.

How to Apply Hair Conditioner

Once you’ve found the right conditioner for your hair type, you need to know how to properly apply it. Follow these simple steps:

  1. After shampooing your hair, gently squeeze the excess water from your hair. This will allow your hair to better absorb the conditioner.
  2. Apply the conditioner to the palm of your hand. The amount you will need will vary depending on the length and thickness of your hair. If your hair is long and thick, you will likely need at least a quarter-sized dollop of conditioner. If your hair is thin and short, however, use significantly less. Using too much conditioner can weigh-down your hair.
  3. Rub your palms together to distribute the conditioner.
  4. Using your fingers, gently coat your hair with the conditioner, starting at your forehead and working to the ends. Let the conditioner sit for a few seconds.
  5. With your fingers or a wide-toothed comb, gently pull the conditioner through your hair, carefully working to remove tangles.
  6. Using warm water, rinse all the conditioner from your hair. Do not use hot water, as it can cause excessive drying of the hair. Rinse for at least one minute to ensure all the conditioner is removed from your hair.
  7. After rinsing, gently squeeze the excess water from your hair. Use a towel to gently blot moisture from your hair. To prevent breakage, do not rub your hair vigorously with the towel.

Resources (1997-2005). Hair Conditioners. Retrieved October 31, 2007, from the Web site: (2006). Hair Conditioner