Hair Conditioning Treatments
Do They Work?
By David McEvoy
This is a good question but one that doesn't have a straightforward yes or no answer. Basically, some hair conditioning treatments will work and will work extremely well if they are used on the hair type that they were created for but others will do nothing at all other than weigh your hair down and make it look oily.
The secret to success as far as hair conditioning treatments is concerned is to know your own hair type and to know what you are looking for in a hair conditioner or conditioning treatment. So first of all we will look at what the difference is between a hair conditioner and hair conditioning treatment and how they each do their job.
What is hair conditioner and how does it work?
We use hair conditioner regularly as part of our hair care routine in order to protect the hair, to make it feel soft and silky and to make combing the tangles out easier. We apply this type of conditioner to towel dried hair after shampooing our hair and after a couple of minutes we rinse it out again.
Most regular hair conditioners like this work on the surface of the hair only and do not penetrate deeply into the hair shaft itself. In other words, they merely coat the outside of the hair leaving a fine but temporary film around each hair shaft.
One of the main problems surrounding hair care is replacing the moisture in the hair as without moisture the hair will become dry, damaged and will lack a healthy shine. Greasy hair doesn't have the same need for a conditioner as dry or frizzy hair. It's important to purchase a conditioner that is suitable for your hair type in order to get the best results. For example if your hair is dry, fine and flyaway, chemically treated with bleaches or perms or colours, you should purchase a hair conditioner designed to treat this type of hair.
If your hair is dry, prone to damage or is already damaged then using a conditioner regularly is more important than for any other hair type. This kind of hair will also benefit from a deep conditioning treatment on a regular basis.
What is a deep hair conditioning treatment and how does it work?
A deep hair conditioning treatment doesn't just act on the surface and coat the hair as a normal conditioner does; instead it penetrates deeply into the hair shaft itself in order to help restore moisture and attempt to repair some of the damage. We can leave deep hair conditioning treatments on our hair for up to 20 minutes or even longer before rinsing them out.
We don't apply a hair conditioning treatment every time we shampoo our hair but usually once a week if our hair is particularly dry or damaged or perhaps once a month just to keep it in good condition.
With deep hair conditioning treatments follow the instructions on the packaging but in general we can apply them after shampooing our hair in the normal way and after applying the conditioning treatment we might wrap our hair in a towel or a cap to hold the heat in and allow the conditioner to penetrate as deeply as possible for a set period of time before gently rinsing it out.
Most hair conditioning treatments work by helping to smooth down the cuticle (the outer layer of the hair) in order to make the hair appear smooth, shiny and feel soft and silky to the touch. If the cuticles are raised then the hair will appear dry and frizzy. A good hair conditioning treatment will also contain natural ingredients and oils that will help to provide your hair with moisture as well as deliver important nutrients to help repair the hair.
You could also try making your own hot oil deep conditioning treatment at home using vegetable oils such as olive oil, jojoba, coconut or sunflower oil and adding a few drops of essential oils to the vegetable oil. Simply warm the oil, test the temperature, apply the oil to your hair and scalp, massage it in, wrap your hair in a towel, leave it for as long as you care to and then wash it out.
Another type of conditioning treatment you can use if your hair needs something in between regular shampooing is a leave in conditioner. When choosing a leave in conditioner, again you must ensure that you opt for one that suits your hair type. These can be applied on dry hair in order to make your hair easier to comb and to make it feel softer and easier to manage.
In a nutshell, if you get it right, hair conditioning treatments can do wonders for tired, dull and lifeless looking hair but if your hair is already naturally healthy then you won't see much difference with a conditioning treatment.
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