Most of us will have a conditioner in our haircare routines, but do we really know the difference between the myriad formulas on offer? And how do we know which one is really right for our hair type?
Essentially, a good conditioner is the backbone of your routine. "Exposure to pollution, UV rays, air conditioning and heating means the hair cuticles get damaged, leading to porosity and breakage," says hair stylist Charlotte Mensah.
A conditioner, she explains, fills in those ‘wounds’, coating the hair and smoothing the cuticle. It’s akin to cement-filling a pothole.
If you're religiously conditioning and still ending up with dull, dry or frizzy hair, you may be using the wrong formula. To find out which one you need, here's an easy test.
How to find out which conditioner you should use
Take a strand of your hair and drop it into a glass of water.
If it floats...
It has low porosity, while strands that sink slowly have normal porosity. For either, "opt for lightweight conditioners, as strands are likely to be fine," says Antony Rawlings of London’s Lockonego salon.
This conditioner is silicone-free, so won't coat the hair and make it heavy. It's also bursting with hydrating jojoba, which is unable to penetrate and weigh down the hair strand, but coats and seals the cuticle with a light touch.
If it sinks...
Hair that drops straight to the bottom is highly porous, meaning you'll have a lot of pot-holes to fill. "Highly porous hair has generally been dyed or chemically relaxed," adds Rawlings. "Aside from lubricating the outer cuticle, your conditioner needs to strengthen the bonds found in the inner core."
This mask contains hero ingredient erythritol, which carries water into the hair fibre and, once there, binds with proteins. It improves the flow of water in and out of the shaft so that hair stays hydrated. Added monoi oil also coats each strand to form a seal, preventing moisture from escaping.
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