I'm here today to discuss a topic that you (like me, until recently), have probably never stopped to consider before: how to rinse conditioner out of your hair properly. Conditioner is a favorite topic of mine, because what other magical elixir has the power to tame frizz, hydrate strands, and add shine like conditioner? Aside from hair oils, nothing comes close. But, just as choosing the right shampoo and conditioner are critical, removing conditioner from your hair in a way appropriate to your hair type will give you the best results your product has to offer.
Conditioner is like the Winston Wolf of hair care: it exists to smooth over the damage that we do to our hair. In the words of celebrity hairstylist Philip B. to Beautylish, "Conditioners work like moisturizers do on the face. They create a seal of natural emollients that hydrate and nourish your hair throughout the day, making it healthier, shinier, and more resilient to damage." However, too much conditioner is not necessarily a good thing. "You know you've over-conditioned when your hair feels too soft and limp, or if it feels heavy, thick, and oily," Philip cautions.
If you've selected the proper conditioner for your hair's type and condition and are still encountering problems, like greasy strands or crispy ends, the fix might be as simple as rinsing your hair differently. Read on to see if you're making one of these common mistakes.
1. Apply Enough Conditioner
It seems obvious, but there's no point in rinsing conditioner out that isn't there. I, for instance, am a stingy tightwad who hates spending money on anything that isn't coffee or wine, so I skimp on conditioner. My hair is thick, medium in texture, and reaches down to my bra strap, so I need about a palmful, but my hair is lucky to get half of that. On the off day that I'm standing in the shower and get to daydreaming about coffee or wine and end up with the appropriate amount in my hand, my hair feels significantly softer and shinier than it would otherwise.
2. Rinse Thoroughly
If you've got fine, limp hair, conditioners are very likely to weigh your hair down and make it flat. Make sure you've selected a lightweight conditioner (my favorite is the equalizing detangler by Aquage) and are only applying it only to the ends of your hair. After combing it through, step under the faucet and rinse... and rinse... and rinse. The object is to rinse as much of the product out of your hair as possible while still benefitting from its magical detangling powers.
3. Don't Rinse Thoroughly
Turnabout time! If you've got thick, coarse, dry, wavy or curly hair, ignore everything I recommended in the previous tip. Yes, everything. To preserve moisture in hair that would really rather be dry, it's best to leave some conditioner in your hair, as Cosmopolitan suggests. Stick your head under the faucet just long enough to rinse some of the product out, and see how different your hair feels afterward.
4. Use a Conditioner Before You Shampoo
Some people swear that applying conditioner before you shampoo does wonders for the health of their hair. They recommend applying it to the ends of the hair and then shampooing the roots. In my opinion, this would be a great solution for gals with ultra fine hair that still need hydration in their ends: the conditioner sits long enough to work its wonders, and the shampoo gently removes the excess product.
Reversing your hair washing routine would also benefit people that use coconut oil as a deep conditioner, which includes me. I've found that after using coconut oil, no amount of rinsing in the world is going to get all that gunk out of my hair —but a good shampoo certainly will.
5. Rinse With Cold Water... Oh, Wait...
You know the old adage: rinsing with cold water will close down the cuticle of your hair, making it appear shinier. According to Refinery29, there is actually no scientific evidence to back up this claim, and CNN agrees that rinsing with cold water isn't necessarily better for you hair. So, you never have to subject yourself to an ice bath in the name of shiny hair again. I, for one, am relieved.
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Images: Getty Images, Giphy (7)