Styling tools and daily environmental aggressors like pollution and sun damage can take a serious toll on your tresses, leaving them dry, brittle and damaged. Conditioners work to fix these issues, making your hair more shiny, smooth and healthy. Although many women use them, some are still confused as to whether they really need them, especially if they use a shampoo with moisturizing benefits. It may be an extra step in the shower, but trust us, don’t skip it.
How They Work
Each individual hair shaft has three layers: the inner layer (medulla), the second layer (cortex) and the outer layer (cuticle). “On a daily basis, we are concerned with the protective layer, the cuticle, which is where we see shine, feel softness and enjoy the look of gorgeous color,” says Ron Williams, celebrity stylist and national educator for PhytoSpecific. “When hair starts to look frizzy, rough, dull or stressed, it is a sign that the cuticle layer is being worn down.”
According to Damian Santiago, stylist and co-owner of mizu salon in New York, conditioners work by penetrating the hair shaft and depositing various proteins and oils that work in combination with each product’s unique formula. “They smooth the cuticle and protect the hair between shampoos.”
Why You Need Them
Dry, damaged hair or dull hair can make you look older or less healthy than you really are. Conditioners not only help reduce tangling, static and frizz, but they can also transform your whole look by adding volume, bounce and shine. “They change the condition of the hair from one state to another and work to make it more pliable, soft and manageable,” says Santiago. “They can have restorative, rebuilding and strengthening qualities, and each one is designed to deliver a particular result for a specific hair type.”
Williams adds that conditioners also contain ingredients like protein, omega-3 fatty acids and biotin, which keep hair soft and healthy and help replace nutrients that were lost due to heat exposure.
Inside Tip: Keep a wide-tooth comb in your shower. First, squeeze excess water from your strands, and then use the comb to evenly distribute the conditioner throughout the ends and make sure your hair is reaping the full conditioning benefits.
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