How to Condition your Hair

The main purpose of any conditioner is to restore the electrical balance of the hair. Conditioners also smooth the scales of the cuticle, making the hair less liable to tangle, and give hair a better sheen when dry. Conditioners can bring bounce, body, shine, and manageability back to hair that would otherwise be dull. They can also help to seal each hair, guarding against water evaporation, which is the major cause of dryness.

There are conditioners in different stregths for every type of hair. The instant conditioners are massaged in and then immediately rinsed off while others are left on the hair for a longer period of time and work in conjunction with heat to provide extra help. Conditioners only provide temporary relief from dryness as the hair cannot be permanantly mended once it has grown out of the scalp, but they are a vital part of the hair care routine and should be used regularly.

Instant Conditioners

The instant conditioners, or cream rinses as they were once called, are intended to be used after every shampoo. They coat each hair with a thin film that corrects dryness and superficially mends any damage. Once the hair has been washed the conditioner is massaged in, left on for a few minutes, then rinsed off thoroughly.

Only a small amount of conditioner is needed. If you use too much conditioner or fail to rinse the hair well you may find your hair has become sticky and greasy. Don't overcondition your hair or it may become too soft and impossible to curl. If your hair is particularly dry at the ends, apply conditioner to those areas only and leave the naturally healthy hair at the roots alone.

Deep Conditioning Treatments

In addition to instant conditioners, there are deep penetrating conditioners that are meant for occasional use. These deep conditioners are especially useful for dry or processed hair or hair that has been damaged by too much time spent in the sun.

Creamy deep conditioning treatments are massaged into the hair and left on the hair from anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes; follow the manufacturer's instructions. When you are massaging the conditioner in, pay particular attention to the drier areas. To gain maximum benefit from this treatment, leave the cream on the hair after massaging, wrap the head in foil to retain heat and the treatment continue. Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water to remove all of the conditioner.

Hot oil treatments are just as efficient, and are especially good for dry hair. You can buy small tubes of oil treatment or just use almond oil. Warm the oil, then apply it to the hair. Massage it in well and wrap the head in plastic wrap or foil. Cover the head with a warm towel and leave for half an hour; the heat from the towel helps the oil to penetrate. Then shampoo the hair and rinse thoroughly. For an even better treatment, leave the oil on overnight. Then wash it out with two applications of shampoo and condition as usual. If your hair is dry or damaged, use a hot oil treatment once a week. For normal or oily hair once or twice a month should be sufficient.

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