When Should You Condition Your Hair?

My strands are always thirsty as someone with naturally curly, coarse hair that I bleach and utilise heat on more than I’d like to confess. Despite the fact that my hair requires more moisture than others, I have a lot of doubts regarding how often I should condition it. When it comes to shower conditioner, deep conditioning masks, and leave-in products, how do you know when you’ve had too much (or too little) of a good thing?

I’ll be the first to say that I’ve always followed the maxim “the more conditioner, the better,” but this isn’t true for everyone—even for those with dry hair like mine. Too much conditioner might cause strands to become limp and weighted down. So I turned to famous hair stylist and owner of Mark Ryan Salon in New York City, Ryan Trygstad, for advice on how often you should condition your hair.

When it comes to conditioning your hair, how often should you do it?

““I think it’s important to condition your hair after every shampoo,” explains Trygstad.

“Conditioners restore moisture levels that have been depleted by shampoo.”

When it comes to the exact science of conditioning your hair, you must first understand your hair type and consider factors such as how frequently you use heat to style it, if you colour it, and anything else that can cause it to become dry or prone to breakage, such as sun damage and exposure to harsh weather. Anyone with longer hair, for example, should never skip conditioner because their hair is more prone to tangles and knots, which you’ll want to avoid if at all possible.

If you have thin or greasy hair, you may have heard that skipping the conditioning phase might help protect your hair from falling flat. Instead, Trygstad recommends conditioning it with every wash for the reasons stated above, but only on the ends of your hair. “I tell my thin-haired clients to merely condition the middle and ends of their hair,” he explains.

Deep-conditioning hair care suggestions

I always use masks and conditioning treatments to bring my hair back to life when it’s feeling particularly dry. When my hair isn’t stressed, on the other hand, I’m terrible about doing frequent treatments or masks. As you might imagine, this yo-yo method isn’t great. According to Trygstad, consistency is crucial when it comes to conditioning, since the more frequently you give your hair an extra-hydrating treatment, the better your results will be. “I normally use deep conditioners and masks once a week,” he explains.

He does emphasise, though, that you should always listen to your hair. “In the summer, for example, when you’re spending time outside in the sun and swimming, I’d condition more frequently to keep your hair moisturised,” explains Trygstad. When your hair seems dry, knotted, or brittle, it’s time to step up your conditioning routine. If your hair seems flat, weighed down, or oily (even when it’s clean), you should use fewer conditioning treatments or a lighter hair conditioner.

Avoid these conditioner blunders

When it comes to conditioning, even the most well-intentioned people can make some basic errors.

Isn’t this the biggest? Applying conditioner to the roots, as Trygstad advised, is not recommended unless you want oily, flat hair.

Applying too much conditioner is another blunder you’ll want to avoid. “If your hair feels heavy and weighed down after drying it, you used too much; if your hair still feels dry and scratchy, you used too little,” celebrity hairstylist Michelle Cleveland previously told Well+Good. Her advice is to start with two quarter-sized dollops and work your way up.

Once you’ve applied the perfect amount of conditioner to the right parts of your hair (read: the ends and mid-shaft), you’ll want to make sure you leave it in long enough for it to work its smoothing magic. That takes several minutes, according to Dr. Dominic Burg, trichologist and head scientist of Evolis Professional. “Most people assume they’re leaving it on that long, but they’re actually rinsing it off too quickly,” she told Well+Good earlier. So, before you start the remainder of your show regimen, shampoo your hair first, then add conditioner to give it time to sink in and work its magic.

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