When it comes to hair treatments the conditioner we choose can really impact not only how our hair holds a style but it’s overall health and appearance. Most people feel overwhelmed by the number of conditioners available. Do I leave in or rinse out? Which conditioner is right for my hair type? How long do I leave it in for? How much should I use? To help us crack the code on hair conditioners we connected with Maya Smith, International Master of Natural Curls and founder of The Doux®, a haircare line created specifically for naturally curly hair which includes The Fresh Rinse® conditioner.
Below are the most common questions about hair conditioners with awesome insights and tips from Maya, where she lends over 2 decades of hands on experience as a stylist.
What are the benefits of a conditioner?
Conditioners help protect the hair from dryness and breakage by coating the hair shaft to help it retain moisture and softness. People tend to use it mainly for the added benefit of detangling hair however, it’s important to choose a conditioner that won’t weigh your hair down.
What are the benefits of a rinse?
A rinse unlike a conditioner doesn’t coat the cuticle of the hair. A rinse has a much thinner consistency and is in actuality a detangler.
Do I use a leave in conditioner or a conditioning rinse?
You can use both if your hair is dry, course, or color treated, however, fine hair or hair that tends to be porous should stick to conditioner only.
Should everyone with curly or kinky hair use a conditioner?
Yes. Conditioners help maintain the hair’s elasticity, or its ability to stretch and expand without breaking, which is essential for curly hair.
How long do I leave in a conditioning rinse?
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions start there. Every formula is different, so you want to be sure to use the product as directed to avoid under or over-conditioning. You can always leave it in a bit longer or switch to another conditioner specifically for the result you want to achieve.
What’s the best water temperature to use when rinsing it?
I prefer luke-warm to cool water, because it help the cuticle of the hair close during the rinse, which makes the hair shiny and sleek.
How much conditioner should be used for every inch of hair?
It depends on the density, or thickness of the hair. Again, follow the manufacturer’s directions on how much to apply. Many suggest the amount of a quarter however if hair is thinner or really thick you may need more or less.
What are some ingredients that can weigh hair down?
Oils and certain types of silicones can weigh hair down. However, some formulas include these ingredients intentionally, because of the smoothing effect that they create on the hair. This is why it’s important not to leave it in too long and to make sure to get it all out unless it’s a leave in conditioner.
What ingredients should be avoided?
I’m not a fan of petroleum jelly, or mineral oil. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding silicone, but what most people don’t know is that silicones get a really bad rap because they’re commonly associated with silicones found in products that aren’t made for your hair. Cosmetic-grade silicones like dimethicone actually creates slip, protects the hair from breakage, and helps the hair shaft retain moisture during the styling process.
What about conditioners for color-treated hair?
Some ingredients can break down artificial pigment in the hair, causing it to fade, look dull, or turn brassy. Make sure that the label says that the product is color-safe. You certainly want to switch to products formulated for color treated hair.
Can I dilute a regular conditioner with water and use it as a detangler?
You can, however, I recommend opting for a product that was intended to be a leave-in conditioner. This will help you avoid unnecessary build-up. Some people like to put a leave in conditioner mixed with water in a spray bottle and add it to their beach bag. After swimming they spray it in to make hair easier to comb through.
What are some mistakes people make when using a leave in or a rise out conditioner?
Over-conditioning is the most common mistake, because too much coating on the hair can cause dryness, brittleness, and ultimately breakage. Make sure you’re not leaving a conditioner in longer than 3 minutes unless the manufacturer instructs you to do so.
The Doux’s Fresh Rinse Conditioner, sold at Target for $12.99, addresses the need for deep nourishment for wavy, curly or kinky hair without heaviness or build up.