Now this is just me, but, in my opinion, nothing is as important as a step in hair care regimens that many naturals rush through. No, it’s not detangling (although that is über important) and it’s not necessarily moisturizing the hair (also important). It’s the step that makes a lot of those other aspects of your regimen a lot easier.
I find it interesting that oftentimes women purchase cheap, inferior quality conditioners that do nothing good for their hair, and then wonder why their curls and coils feel dry, why their hair looks dull and why their hair is breaking. I will say that more expensive conditioners don’t necessarily work “better”. The point is that this is one product that you want to really invest in if necessary, for your hair to look and feel its best.
There are a few things conditioners should do without compromise.
Conditioners are meant to do a lot:
- Restore lost moisture
- Seal the cuticle
- Provide emollients and oils
- Soften the hair
- Make it easier to comb
- Improve manageability
- Strengthen the hair
How Conditioners Work
Conditioners basically work on the outside of the hair. They usually contain ingredients that don’t penetrate into the hair but sit on the surface of the hair. And depending on which ingredients are used in the conditioner, those ingredients can be removed easily or not. With hair that is more damaged or chemically treated, conditioning ingredients will cling to hair more than they will on natural hair or healthier strands.
So why DO we use conditioners? A few months ago, I was speaking to a cosmetic chemist about various hair care ingredients. We were discussing dry, brittle hair and she mentioned that when people speak about wanting their hair to be softer, they really need CONDITIONING.
It turns out that conditioning is a huge factor in achieving soft hair. Soft hair is typcially more flexible and easily combed and manipulated. Often hair that is softer and moisturized experiences less breakage than dry brittle hair. Conditioning also helps water stay in the cortex of the hair which is important for the hair to remain moisturized. If the conditioner is rinsed off, some conditioning agents do remain on the hair to keep the hair feeling soft.