Hair Conditioning 101: How to Do It Right

It seems easy enough, right? Conditioner on, conditioner off. But there are rules you should follow when it comes to conditioning your hair, especially if you want to strut away with the kind of coiffure that’ll have Kim Kardashian envying you. Adhere to this list of hair conditioning dos and don’ts and you’ll be on your way to the softest, lushes, most beautiful hair on whatever side of the Mississippi you happen to land.


Do Condition Every Time You Wash

Conditioning your hair each and every time you wash may seem a waste of time, but trust us on this one. That little extra step, which takes you no more than five minutes tops, can make all the difference in the quality of your hair. You see, shampooing is essential, but it can remove the protective oils that keep your hair looking shiny, healthy and strong. Conditioning hair consistently after each shampoo is a must if you want to keep your hair in tip top shape. We recommend using a shampoo and then conditioner versus an all-in-one.

Don’t Over Condition

On that same note, you don’t want to over condition your hair. We know, we know. It’s a fine line to walk. However, too much conditioner can lead to product buildup in your hair, leaving you with a heavy, greasy and unruly mane. To prevent over conditioning, limit yourself to a  quarter-sized amount of conditioner on your hair every time you shampoo (bonus: you’ll save money, too!). Additionally, you don’t want to deep condition every single day. Two to three times a week is plenty. Finally, make sure you follow the rules on the back of the product when it comes to setting times.

Do Use Hair-Specific Products

Seems a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people use the wrong kind of products for their hair type. Making that switch can result in hair that’s easier on the eyes and, more importantly, far more manageable. For example, if you have fine or thin hair, choose a conditioner that’s volumizing. If you’ve got curly hair, grab the bottle that nurtures that texture. If you have thick or frizz-prone hair, you’ll want a formula dedicated to smoothing the shaft and nixing all those flyaways. You get the idea.

You can get even more niche with your conditioner, too. For example, some products are made for color-treated hair, for blondes, for aging hair, and beyond. Really make an effort to use a product that addresses your specific needs, and you’ll reap the glorious hair rewards.

Don’t Get Too Repetitive

Have you ever noticed how brilliant your hair looks after switching to a new product? We’re not saying you should use something new every single time you wash and condition, but changing things up every once in a while can give your hair a reboot in the shine department. A switch every month or two is plenty.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to alternate between a protein-rich conditioner and one that’s ultra moisturizing. The key to super gorgeous, healthy hair is a balance between the two, so alternating gives your mane the best of both worlds. Moisture-rich products contain oils, butters and humectants, as well as fatty alcohols such as cetyl and stearyl. Protein-rich conditioners are, you guessed it, bolstered with proteins such as keratin and amino acids.

Do Wear a Shower Cap

If you’re deep hair conditioning, opt for a shower cap on your mop while you wait for time to elapse. This is particularly effective if you’re already in the shower, as the steamy, warm water will warm up the air within the cap and help the deep conditioner penetrate to the center of the shaft. It also keeps water from washing your conditioner away before you’re ready to rinse.

Don’t Put Oil on Your Scalp

Whether you’re DIY-ing a treatment or using a purchased product, keep oil away from your scalp. Your scalp already produces oil, so adding extra to this area can leave you feeling greasy. It’s also difficult to remove oil from your scalp completely. If you do make the mistake, use a clarifying shampoo as needed until you remove as much as possible. All this is not to say that oil treatments are bad. On the contrary, they’re quite effective. However, when applying an oil treatment, or even a deep conditioner, focus on the mid shaft to the ends.

Do Try Multi Masking

Keeping in the same line of thought, not all parts of the shaft are created equally. As you now know, you want to keep oil away from your scalp, but the mid-shaft and ends, which are particularly dry, need extra love. Multi-masking your hair involves putting different products on different parts of your hair, but all at the same time.

At the scalp, for example, you could place a volumizing conditioner, then on the mid-shaft a conditioner for color-treated hair (should you need it), and on the very bottom a very rich and oil-laden deep conditioner to revitalize crunchy-looking ends.

Don’t Use DIY Goods Past Their Expiration Date

You wouldn’t drink off milk, would you? Follow the same protocol for your beauty, skin and hair, including deep conditioners. This doesn’t really apply to store-bought hair conditioners, which contain ingredients that keep mold and bacteria at bay. However, if you’re mixing up your own DIY hair conditioners, especially those containing edibles such as avocado, eggs, or yogurt, it’s best to only make enough for one or two uses, max.