Conditioners are supposed to have a positive effect on hair. They add shine, make it soft and easier to brush and make it stronger. However, conditioner can also be damaging to hair, partly due to the chemicals that compose it. Some conditioners have no positive effect on hair at all, even if their label claims otherwise, promising an instant visible effect after using it. Conditioner helps protect hair by restoring its natural oils, which shampoo strips of hair.
According to an article from "Science Daily," although conditioners promise much, some conditioners fail at interacting with hair, and don't cover the surface of the hair to restore its natural oils. Studies were done at Ohio State University during which conditioner was tested for how soft it makes hair, and in terms of adhesion, friction and weight. Some conditioners failed the test by resting at the bottom of the hair cuticles, rather than evenly throughout, from root to end. Experts say that hair requires conditioner as a lubricant to restore its natural oils. Conditioners protect hair only if they chemically attach to it and interact with it.
It is important to use a type of conditioner created for your type of hair. When using the wrong conditioner, not only will it not help your hair, but it will make it worse. For example; if you have oily hair and use a conditioner for dry hair, as a result, your hair will be weighed down and even more greasy. Likewise, if you have dry hair and use a conditioner for oily hair, it may make your hair too dry or frizzy.
Conditioners, those which aren't organic, contain harmful chemicals which you may be allergic, or which may be damaging to your hair over time. Such chemicals include sodium laureth sulfate and sodium laurel sulfate. Although these chemicals aren't a cause of cancer, they do irritate skin, especially sensitive skin. These chemicals are included in many conditioners, except for those made from organic or all-natural ingredients. Conditioners may also contain benzophenone, centrimonium chloride, ceteareth-12 or -20, diazolidynil urea, DMDM hydatoin or isopropanol. All of these chemicals can be irritating to skin, carcinogens and can be toxic to the liver and kidneys.
When applying conditioner, cover every strand with it evenly from root to tip. This involves some pulling, and de-tangling since hair is most likely tangled after being washed with shampoo. Then, rinse the conditioner off completely. This results in hair shedding. Conditioners do make hair more manageable and easier to brush, which doesn't mean that hair isn't at all tangled from washing. When using conditioner, be careful with applying it and rinsing it, or you may find more lost hairs in your drain.
Aleksandra Ozimek has been writing professionally since 2007 for a fashion blog, various online media and the "Queens Courier," in addition to interning at "Cosmopolitan" magazine. She completed her Bachelor of Science in journalism and photography from St. John's University, where she is completing her master's degree.