Conditioner is used to add shine to your hair by coating the hair shafts in chemicals that mimic the keratin, filling in broken parts of the shafts and making them reflect light. When a hair shaft is damaged it can be fractured and small bits of protein can be broken off revealing the rougher un-reflective layers of the hair shaft.
By coating the hair shafts in conditioner you can create the illusion of strong, healthy, undamaged hair. So by leaving a small amount of conditioner on your hair all day you can protect the hair and make it look shiny.
But can Leaving Conditioner on your Hair be Bad for your Hair?
I must say that when you wash your hair, you should rinse out all the conditioner thoroughly. The question posed here is whether you can then use a little bit of conditioner afterwards as a moisturizer or on a daily basis. The answer to this question is yes you can use conditioner as a moisturizer but with caution.
There are Two Main Types of Conditioner :
- Rinse-out Conditioners – (heavier type that is used after shampooing to add softness – typical ingredients include fatty acids, surfactants and oils)
- Leave-in Conditioners – (much thinner and lighter, typically contain humectants such as glycerine to help moisturise hair).
- Using a silicone heavy conditioner (silicone in one of the first 5 ingredients) is not ideal unless you shampoo your hair. Co-washing your hair will simply not do.
- Conditioners which contain protein (hydrolysed protein or amino acids) have been shown to cause irritation and itchiness in some people.
- Hair conditioner can contribute to build up. This was explained in a very intricate study (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, pg 205-214,1989). The science behind this is that the hair conditioner has positive charges and the shampoo has negative charges.
Depending on the amount and type of shampoo, the hair conditioner can either be removed or the shampoo can simply attach to the hair conditioner and cause build up. Naturally if you have been applying hair conditioner to your hair on a daily basis, then you will have much more of the positive charge.
Precautions You Need to Consider when Using Heavier Conditioner as a Daily Moisturizer
- Don’t put the conditioner on your scalp, try as much as possible to target the ends of your hair (leave the scalp and the first 1-2 inches alone).
- If you are a no shampoo person, avoid silicones in the top 5 list of your conditioner. If you shampoo, then no worries here.
- Pick a conditioner without proteins.
- Rinse your hair thoroughly on your wash day.
- Use a conditioning shampoo on your wash day if you are not anti-poo.