With thousands of hair conditioners on your local beauty supply store shelves, how do you decide which ones to leave the store with? Knowing which ingredients will work best for your hair type is very important in deciding which product to buy. If you have extremely dry hair, you should look for ingredients that provide moisture. But if your hair feels dull or over-moisturized, look for ingredients that strengthen the hair. It all comes down to knowing your hair's need and reading your ingredient labels.
These conditioners are used on the hair for detangling purposes. Some of them may come with a shampoo that you can use before conditioning the hair, but some don't. You may see words like volumizing, fortifying, nourishing, or hydrating on the bottles when looking for a rinse-out conditioner. Whatever word the brand uses to catch your attention, most rinse-out conditioners should be left on the hair for no more than 5 minutes because their job is to provide nourishment to the outer layer of the hair shaft. These conditioners make the hair feel silkier, shinier, or easier to comb through by smoothing the cuticle layers. Whether you have oily, dry, or normal hair, it is always recommended to use a rinse-out conditioner to restore moisture lost from the hair during shampooing. These conditioners are easy to find and they are great to have if you are on a healthy hair routine.
Repair conditioners also known as treatment conditioners, are deep conditioners formulated to penetrate the hair shaft. They are often left on the hair for 10-20 minutes to provide a more penetrating treatment. A hair dryer is sometimes used to speed up the process. The formulas used in these conditioners include ingredients that restore either protein or moisture back to the hair.
Protein packs or protein deep conditioners are formulated to gently swell the hair and allow the ingredients to pass through the hair shaft and add protein to the cortex of the hair. This process restores the strength and elasticity of the hair. Getting a protein treatment also help your hairstyles look better and last longer. Whether to get a protein treatment or not depends on you hair's needs. Severely weak and brittle hair require a high-protein repair conditioner that can strengthen the hair. Deep protein treatments should be used only once a week until the damage is repaired. Using a moisturizing rinse-out conditioner after each protein treatment, followed by your regular leave- ins will help balance your hair's protein and moisture.
Moisture rich or moisturizing deep conditioners are specially good for hair that gets dry easily. My naturally kinky, coarse, 4c hair falls into that category. These conditioners contain moisture agents that fully penetrate the hair shaft. They also contain ingredients that smooth the cuticles to lock the moisture in once it's been added.
Leave-in conditioners are designed to be added to the hair and be left alone. They provide moisture to the hair, prevent dryness, and smooth the hair without weighting it down. They also help with detangling the hair before styling. Light leave-in conditioners are great for women with low porosity hair. They are easier for the hair to absorb. But if your hair has trouble keeping moisture in, a heavy leave-in cream can help your hair retain moisture longer. A heavy leave-in cream can also be used if you have normal porosity hair.
Feeling your hair and knowing what it needs plays a big role in your decision making when buying hair products. I have used hundreds of hair products since I started my natural hair journey. I even used a volumizing conditioner once. Can you believe it? But now I listen to my hair. I buy exactly what I know it needs. It is good to experiment with different products or read reviews before buying new ones. But always go back to what your hair loves. Because at the end of the day, that's all that matters.