July 31, 2013

Conditioning Natural Hair for Moisture & Strength

by Susan Walker of Earthtones Naturals 

Nothing is as important as your conditioner in the care of your hair. I find it interesting that many women purchase an inferior quality shampoo and conditioner that does nothing good for their hair, and then wonder why their curls and coils feel dry, why their hair looks dull and why their hair is breaking.

Conditioners are meant to do a lot:
•Restore lost moisture
•Seal the cuticle
•Provide emollients and oils
•Soften the hair
•Make it easier to comb
•Improve manageability
•Strengthen the hair

Read On>>>

How Conditioners Work

This section is a little technical but it’s important. Conditioning agents are typically cationic quaternary compounds. A cation is a positively charged molecule. This is important when it comes to conditioners because it is attracted to the negatively charged hair fiber and adsorbs (not absorbs) to the surface of the hair. Conditioners don’t penetrate into the hair but sit on the surface of the hair. Once the conditioner is on our hair, it’s not going anywhere. It’s resistant to being rinsed off by just water alone. Natural, unprocessed hair typically has an acidic pH and is negatively charged. The more damaged or chemically treated, the higher the pH and the more negatively charged it is. As a result, conditioners will cling to hair that is more damaged and in need of condition and repair, than healthier strands.

Conditioners play the most important role in maintaining the delicate balance between protein and moisture in the hair.

Deconstructing Conditioners

Textured hair requires adequate conditioning regularly and we need to invest in a high quality (and not necessarily a high cost) conditioner. The main types of conditioner agents used in products for curly hair are cationic surfactants and polymers. They work together to improve hair softness and manageability, enhance shine and seal the cuticle. You may also find silicones (another topic for another day), emollients and oils that may either penetrate into the hair shaft and add “slip” to the hair, proteins, vitamins and botanicals that improve the health of the hair. We’ll examine these ingredients in more detail in subsequent posts.

A great conditioner should leave your hair feeling soft, detangled and moisturized. That feeling should remain well after the conditioner is washed off and while the hair is styled.

How does your hair feel after it’s conditioned?

CN Says:

For more reading on conditioners and ingredients, check out the below:


For my favorite, slippery and moisturizing conditioners, CLICK HERE

14 Weigh in!:

Nikell said...

My hair usually feels soft and manageable but after a day or two it's back brittle again. I didn't know that conditioner was THAT important. Thank you so much for sharing this useful info...I learned something(^_^)

Anonymous said...

I've just recently found two conditioners that finally leave my hair feeling soft & supple after washing/drying. It's funny because one of the conditioners was a revisit from when I first did my big chop 2 years ago. I don't know why I got away from it, but I'm glad I found my way back.

Brooke B.

Sawah said...

I just had a major breakthrough in the conditioning step of my hair regimen. I do co-wash with Tresemme Natural and then use a leave in- Generic Paul Mitchell Leave In Conditioner. I find that if I put the leave in conditioner in my wet hair after basing my scalp with castor oil, and putting castor oil on my ends, my hair retains moisture for a longer period than if I just did it on damp hair without the castor oil. -discoveringnatural.blogspot.com

Katrina H said...

Shea Moisture's Conditioners work. My hair feels great even week after I wash it! Thanks for the info

Katrina H said...

Shea Moisture's Conditioners work. My hair feels great even week after I wash it! Thanks for the info

Anonymous said...

Wow I did not know that conditioner clings to damage hair more than to healthy strands. This explains why I keep adding conditioner to the crown and other parts and the conditioner does not stick. Or disappear before I am done putting it over my whole head and stays on my heat damaged ends more that is strange.this is when I do deep conditioners on dry hair.

Megan Montgomery

Dada said...

I use conditionner as a my leave in, it has no silicones, no parabens, and no sulfates and I love it. I'm about to have a baby and I need to keep my hair moisturized for at least 4-5 days at a time. Conditionner works for me better than oils.

Anonymous said...

I cannot go a week without deep conditioning my hair. The most I've gone once or twice in my three years of being natural is two weeks. It makes my hair feel soft days after. If I do nothing else, I will treat my hair to 15-30 minute deep conditioning treatments with heat. It helps with breakage, dryness, and it truly conditons my hair from the inside.

The Hair Care Store said...

I really Liked your blog and it is very useful for me because in this i like the most that how hair conditioner will work on our hairs, thanks again and keep sharing this kind of information.

Anonymous said...

My hair actually loves cheap conditioner. I use V05 Moisture Milk ($0.80) or Suave Naturals ($1). I deep condition once a week with Aussie Moist 3 minute miracle ($3). My hair is very moisturized, easy to detangle, and overall healthy. I tried some of the more pricier conditioners but the results did not justify the price. My hair has a mind of its own. It hates butters and oils. It sits on my hair and makes it real greasy.

Viviask said...

Thanks for the post! My hair is thick and curly and the best product I've used to take care of dryness is Pro Naturals Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner, my hair is hydrated and healthy now, plus it's shinier than before :)

Karo said...

thank you so much for the info, very useful, I use a great conditioner that has helped me a lot, it's Pro Naturals Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Conditioner which restores moisture to hair, safe for color-treated hair, conditions hair back to its natural health. I luv it ^_^

Eyvarnar Rorberts said...

i want to know how to make my hair more curly,as well as how to care for it properly

B. Humphrey said...

I a firm believer in the protein- moisture balance; my loves the combination, probably because hair is made up of keratin (dead, hard protein) in three distinct layers the inner layer, cortex and cuticle (outer layer). The out layer is most affected by conditioning products. But that isn't the case for every woman, so find what works for you and stick with it. Also focus on your entire hair care regime, from the washing to the styling to everything in between. Our hair is fragile and needs to be handled and loved.

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