Conditioners do a great job of softening the hair and should definitely form part of your hair care routine, however you ought to be mindful of their use. Understanding what the product does, is the first step in deciding if your hair needs it and when. Look at our post here for more about conditioners. Ok, let’s discuss the different types of conditioners and when to use them.
Rinse Out Hair Conditioner
Rinse out Conditioners are generally used after a shampoo. This type of conditioner is usually laced with silicones and quaternary agents to condition the hair. The general idea of this type of conditioner is to help replace lipids lost in shampooing with harsh detergents, and to seal the hair cuticles for glossy hair. It is best for hair types that require daily washing, as the conditioner deposits are washed out and replaced daily.
Tip: This type of conditioner is for the hair, not the scalp. Ensure it is fully washed out and washed off the scalp.
Deep Conditioners are conditioners used for repairing and restoring dry and damaged hair. They can be used by all hair types, it usually consists of a high oil content that penetrates the hair shaft, giving it a deep moisture treatment. Afro hair types benefit from and can use this more frequently unless they are laden with proteins, then every six to eight weeks would be ideal. Other hair types may use this to aid hair damage, they may use it less frequently.
This conditioner is left on the hair for 5-20 minutes, then rinsed out prior to styling.
Leave In Conditioner
Generally used in Afro or other curly hair to aid moisture retention. Afro and other curly types have a hard time retaining moisture because their curls make it difficult for the natural oils from the sebum to coat the hair shaft, protecting it from the elements, this is why a leave-in conditioner is essential. A Leave-in conditioner does the job the sebum cannot, moisturising and protecting the hair from environmental elements.
Leave-in conditioners range from light sprayable versions to thick creams. the version you use will be dependent on your hair porosity and density.
Bonus – Co-Wash
Conditioner wash or Co-Wash as it’s so lovingly called, started out with many of us using a normal rinse out conditioner to wash the hair. This all sprung from people being fed up with the dryness and other hair issues experienced after using certain shampoo. Unfortunately, these conditioners weren’t actually cleansing the hair, yes they kept the hair feeling moist, but that is what rinse out conditioner is designed to do, not cleanse.
Co-Wash has evolved over the years and is now being formulated with mild cleansing agents such as coco glucoside and decyl glucoside. These very mild cleansers give the co wash a boost of actual cleansing instead of just coating the hair. Whilst co-washing doesn’t fully cleanse the hair, it is a nice alternative for daily or weekly washing and helps the hair retain its moisture balance as it doesn’t strip the natural, beneficial lipids on the hair and scalp.
This type of conditioner can be used by any hair type and highly recommended for Afro hair for the weekly wash. If your hair tends to be oily, this type of conditioner can help balance the oils over time and instead of a daily washing, you could do a bi-weekly or tri-weekly wash.
This may be controversial, and go against everything you think you know, however, I am of the opinion that Afro and other curly types do not need a rinse out conditioner if they use a deep conditioner or a leave-in conditioner. It is even less required if you use natural shampoos that do not strip the hair of their natural oils.
Shock! Horror! I know, but when you read what each product does, you can see that it isn’t necessary to use them all. As a matter of fact, using them all could be a major cause of product build up on our already fragile hair shaft. Think about it, what does a rinse out conditioner do that a deep conditioner or leave in conditioner doesn’t?
You don’t have to agree with me, I am open to discussion, talk to me in the comments or over on our Instagram and Facebook pages.
Be great x.