What Is a Conditioner?
- We unravel a hair care mystery and make you an expert in hair conditioning
- © iStockphoto
What are conditioners and what are their benefits? What is the difference between shampoos and conditioners? Why use hair treatments as well as conditioners? We explain why conditioners alone cannot provide all the care your hair needs and how to use hair treatments for your complete hair care
To condition something means to bring this something into its proper state. This state or condition is not necessarily the optimal state for objects like hair, leather, water, etc. On the practical side, why would anyone need to condition hair? If shampoo would leave your hair in perfect condition why would there be any need for a conditioner to bring the hair into its proper state? What is this 'state' anyway?
As a matter of fact, shampoo only cleanses hair, while a conditioner provides compounds, which protect and beautify hair.
When shampoo is applied to remove sebum, residual styling products, dead cells, and dirt from hair and scalp it also leads to slight swelling of the cuticle layer. The cuticles, which normally cover the hair shafts in tight, even formation like shingles on a roof top, slightly lift away from the hair shaft. In this state, hair is more vulnerable to damaging environmental influences and heat. This is where conditioners show their benefits. They reduce the cuticle swelling, which once again form a tight layer with no gaps or raised cuticles. The hair is now ready for styling and will make it through the day without serious damage. Properly conditioned hair is supple and holds on to its moisture for dazzling shimmer.
Hair Treatment – a Regular Part of Your Hair Care Regimen
As a matter of fact, conditioners do not eliminate the need for regular hair treatments.
Conditioners protect the hair until the next shampoo but they hardly provide any long-term hair care benefits. Additional hair treatments may therefore be necessary.
Day in, day out, our hair is exposed to potentially damaging influences. Aside from hot styling without heat protectant, environmental factors like hot or cold weather, heated indoor air, wind, and UV rays take their toll. Damaged hair does not repair itself. For repair and maintenance it needs help in the form of hair treatments. These treatments are designed to repair damages to the core and cuticles of the hair. As a result your hair will feel silky and look healthy.
Tip: For better results, apply hair treatments to towel-dry rather than to wet hair.