As an important step in the process of hair treatment, it usually is the second step after hair washing. Conditioning makes the hair softer and easier to manage. Radiant and bubbly hair requires a delicate balance of hair products, and out of a plethora of hair products comes the hair conditioners that add shine, nourish and detangle the hair. But it is important that one distinguishes which type of conditioner is best suited for their hair when to use it and the ingredients to look out for.
After applying a hair conditioner, some conditioners are “rinse-out” and others are “leave-in”. So what’s the difference?
Leave-in conditioners are majorly oil-free and leave the hair held up in position because of their light nature and hence are very well suited for thin and fine hair or very coarse and brittle hair as very potent detanglers for hair that that’s held together, hence making it more malleable to styling and shaping. They also add body to the hair.
Rinse out conditioners, these contain oils that make them thick and are meant for rinsing out of hair about 5 minutes after application. They are generally used after shampooing. For very fine hair, you may want to concentrate the “leave in” conditioner only at the ends.
Rinse-out conditioners usually treat hair by coating and filling in the hair cuticle making hair stronger and more manageable, Leave-in conditioners add shine, reduce friction and restore manageability.
The ingredient profile of a product will provide important clues on a product before one purchases it for use on their hair. It helps understand the acidity profile of the product or any important allergens most importantly for leave-in products that are meant to stay in the hair for longer periods. It is important that one picks a product that is tailored to their personal needs.
So we look at the important ingredients and their roles in the products.
- Acidity regulators: These maintain hair’s pH and help smooth and strengthen hair.
- Glossers: These are light-reflecting chemicals like silicones that add shine to the hair.
- Lubricants: These detangle hair and make it softer.
- Preservatives: These prolong the shelf life of a product.
- Moisturizers: With a high proportion of humectants that ensure adequate moisturization of hair.
- Hydrolyzed proteins: These penetrate the hair to add strength.
- Sequestrants: Are compatible with hard water.
- Sunscreens: These protect hair and prevent color loss. They include ingredients such as benzophenone-4 and Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate
- Surfactants: These can ease the washing of hair.
- Antistatic agents: These have a positive charge and attach easily to hair which is negatively charged.
- Thermal protectors: They absorb heat and protect it from excessive heat.