The 3 Main Types of Conditioners

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Have you ever found yourself at the conditioners isle looking at all your options and not knowing which one to buy? I’m pretty sure you have seen the variety of moisturizers, deep conditioning masks, detanglers, protein packs, keratin packs, finishing rinses, crème rinses, leave-ins and hot oil treatments. Well, before you can decide which conditioner to buy, you have to decide what type of conditioner you need to buy. You see, conditioners come in an assortment of basic formulas, each treating a specific need. There are three main types of conditioners; they are, rinse-out, deep treatments and leave-ins; each one serving a particular purpose. Let’s break them down below:

Rinse-out (or rinse-through) Conditioners

These are the most commonly used conditioners. They are creamy in texture which you work through the hair to help detangle as part of the finishing process. This type of conditioner is usually paired with a matching shampoo. After shampooing, you apply an amount of this conditioner to the hair and work it through from root to ends, leaving it there for a few minutes, before rinsing it out of the hair completely.  Rinse out conditioners work on the outer layer of the hair cuticles, giving it that silky feel and making it easier to comb or detangle. This is a good product to protect the hair from any potential heat damage, during the styling process. Rinse out conditioners work well on all hair types (oil, normal or dry).

Leave-in Conditioners

These conditioners are designed to do just that, remain in the hair after shampooing and conditioning the hair. Because of this, the texture and consistency are generally lighter with less viscosity, acting as a moisturizer that is designed to protect the hair by preventing dryness; it helps to smooth out tangles in the hair as well.  These leave-in conditioners can also be found in spray-on versions allowing you to control how much is applied and can be easily used whenever needed. Leave in conditioners are made with particular formulas, which help to form a thin layer of coating on the hair shafts. Leave in are perfect for detangling and can even be used as a styling product (I have done this many times myself).  Leave in conditioners as suitable for and available to all hair types (thick, thin, curly, kinky, wavy, oily, dry or normal).

Deep Treatment or Repair Conditioners

As the name states, this type of conditioner is meant to treat dryness and repair any damage to the hair by restoring proteins and moisture. The texture and consistency of this type of conditioner are usually thicker and creamier and should be left to penetrate the hair anywhere for about twenty to thirty minutes (if you’re using a heating cap or hair dryer). If you don’t have access to either of those, then at least an hour under the plastic shower cap should do. After steaming the hair, the product should be thoroughly rinsed out of the hair. The ingredients in this type of conditioners such as emulsifiers, oils, and waxes, help to reverse the damage done to the hair. These moisture-rich treatments come in protein packs and masks/masques which are particularly beneficial to extremely dry hair. They are formulated to smooth over the cuticles and seal in all the moisture that’s been added to the hair.  A high-protein repair conditioner can help to strengthen and rejuvenate hair that is weak and brittle; it’s suggested that these treatments be used once per week.  This type of conditioner is best for color treated hair as well.

Now that you have the basic information, I hope it will help you to make better choices from all the selection of conditioners that face you at the beauty supply store or wherever you purchase your hair products.