Thousands of Hair Conditioners: Which One is Right for You?


Hair Conditioners… finding your balance!


Are you finding hair in your comb/brush, on your shirt, bathroom floors or anywhere but securely on your head? Better yet, do you want to avoid this problem? There’s two primary components for hair: water, which supplies moisture and elasticity; and protein which gives strength and structure to hair. The ultimate goal in hair care is to find a moisture and protein balance.

Hair conditioners deposit protein and moisturizers, helps to restore strength, shine, manageability and luster. They are often seen as minor hair-care miracles. Beware, you can have too much of a good thing. Over-use of conditioners can lead to a build-up on the hair leaving it heavy, oily and spongy, or even worse; dry and brittle.


Let’s take a look on the types of conditioners and what they offer.


Leave-in conditioners are applied to the hair and not rinsed out. They are low in pH and are used to balance the hair after a chemical service or even swimming’ which can elevate the pH of hair. They are often used to detangle hair and add moisture. Leave-ins don’t rely on the heavy oils rather lighter moisturizers like glycerin and panthenol that are water soluble. They are best for reducing frizz and as a thermal/heat protectant. Good on most hair types.


Instant conditioners are considered instant because of their short application time (1to 5 minutes). They are water based and contain humectants to improve dry and brittle hair. They will often have heat protecting agents to reduce damage and breakage to the hair caused by heated styling tools. People with minimal dryness or fine hair may find this as a better solution than the heavier moisturizing conditioners. Instant conditioners are also used as a maintenance conditioner.


Moisturizers are heavier than instant conditioners and require a longer application time (10-20) minutes. Often moisturizers use the same ingredients as instant conditioners, but they are in heavier concentration and formulated to penetrate deep within the strand and to have a longer staying power. Because of the weight of these moisturizers, they are recommended for medium to coarse textured hair, hair that is brittle, breaks easily and lacks elasticity.


Over use of moisturizers will cause hair to feel heavy, too soft and evens causes tangling.


Protein conditioners are used to improve the strength of the hair, add volume and to temporarily close split ends. Keratin is often lost from the hair through chemical treatments and over exposure to heat. Concentrated protein (liquid) is designed to passed through the cuticle, strengthen the cortex (inner layer of hair), equalize porosity and increase elasticity. Proteins are a good for hair that feels spongy, limp and overly soft.


*Proteins require caution because while they strengthen hair, when used too often the result is improper moisture balance. It is important to note that a protein imbalance is often followed by a moisture loss of some degree. Proteins are meant to add structure, but too much structure makes the hair rigid and decreases its elasticity.


Reconstructing conditioners/ hair mask are deep penetrating conditioners that combine a concentrated protein in the heavy cream base of a moisturizer. They penetrate the cuticle layer and are the chosen therapy when both moisturizers and proteins are needed.


*Reconstructing conditioners vary in the balance of moisture and protein. As a result, they vary in effectiveness for each individual.


Hot oil treatments are used to prevent dry scalp, minimize damage from harmful styling practices such as heated tools and color, and preventing frizz. When hair is extremely porous and is hard to hold moisture, hot oils treatments are suggested to lock in moisture.


*Remember natural oils works best to provide nourishment for the hair as opposing to weighting it down and clogging pores like petroleum’s or mineral oils.


With time and patience and much attentiveness, you will learn to balance your hair care needs. Even when the hair is healthy, apply conditioner every time hair is wet. Water adds moisture, but it opens the cuticle which allows the moisture to evaporate from the hair. By applying the conditioner, the moisture is sealed in the hair. Rinse the conditioner with lukewarm water to close the cuticle and seal in moisture.


Better Hair Days!

About Kaye Flewellen

Kaye is a celebrity hair stylist with over 23 years of hair care experience. She also serves as adjunct professor at Navarro College of Cosmetology; and educator, Design Essentials. Follow Kaye on Twitter:

Follow Christelyn on Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. And if you want to be a little more about this online dating thing, InterracialDatingCentral is the official dating site for this blog.