Why You Really Need Leave-in Conditioner
There is a big difference between Leave-in conditioner and conditioner you are meant to rinse out in the shower!
Leave-in conditioner is not just an up sell...it is meant to function differently than a conditioner that you rinse out.
The conditioner you use in the shower is typically made up of
- hydrating or humectant ingredients such as aloe vera, glycerin, honey
- botanicals that have beneficial qualities for your hair
- vitamins such as panthenol which add shine and body
- fatty alcohols which help to detangle and smooth the hair. These alcohols feel more like a wax before being melted into the conditioner formula and you are applying the formula to wet hair- which gives it and additional slippery quality.
The texture of these alcohols give the conditioner it’s lotiony consistency and helps the product to cling to the hair smoothing down the cuticle and protecting the strands.
Leave In Conditioner is typically more of a liquid consistency that is sprayed on hair. If your hair needs some extra help detangling or you want to us it as a styling product to refresh or combat frizz, this is what will do it. Usually, leave in conditioner contains ingredients like:
- Hydrating and humectant ingredients but in a different ratio. Humectants draw moisture and are beneficial, but in a large amount can tend to be sticky. So you can use more when you are rinsing them out, less when you are leaving it on.
- Botanicals that have beneficial qualities for your hair
- Vitamins such as panthenol which add shine and body
The humectant ingredients and the fatty alcohol component are the real reasons why rinse out conditioner is meant to be rinsed. Conditioner is thick but liquid in the bottle and you are adding more moisture by putting it on wet hair. If you leave it to air dry it will harden as moisture evaporates. Leaving sticky or waxy textures on your hair can cause buildup leading to dull, matte hair. Dust and pollution will tend to cling. Hair that is already damaged will tend to attract the waxiness to those areas and if allowed to remain indefinitely it will begin to smother and weaken the strands (in a similar way that silicones do).
So what to do if you find your hair needs extra conditioning help?
Try the Protected Cleanse method of shampooing for thick+ dehydrated hair. It is essentially reverse washing. Wet your hair, apply a generous amount of conditioner all over your hair+scalp, comb through to be sure that you’ve removed tangles and also coated each strand of hair. Use a small amount of shampoo, rub between your hands to spread and activate the lather and then apply underneath your hair onto your scalp working up to the top of your head. Rub gently to cleanse close to the hairline where more of the oil has accumulated and when you feel you’ve massaged enough, rinse it all out. The shampoo will have done it’s work at the roots and the rest of your hair has been protected by the conditioner.