How Do Hair Conditioning Products Work?

Just because the cold, dry air of winter is gone doesn't mean that hair isn't still prone to damage. Exposure to sun, humidity and chlorine can strip hair of moisture, leaving it dry and damaged. There are plenty of treatment products that claim to quench dry locks, but do they really work better than your regular conditioner? 

Deep conditioners don't use different technology than regular conditioners, but they do use higher levels of hair-helping ingredients. Let's take a look at the three most common hair treatments and how they work:

Rinse-out conditioning treatments: These products are often referred to as intensive treatments, hydrating masks or restorative treatments. While they may have different names, they are all basically heavy duty versions of your regular rinse out conditioner. They tend to use higher levels of fatty alcohols (like stearyl or cetyl alcohol) which are the conditioning agents that make these products work. Since they're heavier, they could weigh hair down if used daily (unless you have really coarse, dry hair).

Leave-in conditioning treatments: These products are often called intensive leave-in treatments or overnight serums or treatments. Again, they're heavy-duty versions of regular leave-in conditioners. They tend to use higher levels of silicones (like dimethicone), which often makes them too heavy for daily use. 

Hot oil treatments: You remember hot oil, right? They've been around for decades, but that's because they work! Hot oil treatments are applied before you shampoo. Surprisingly, hot oil treatments don't contain oil. They have conditioning agents like cocotrimonium chloride. The technology is different then the deep conditioning treatments above, but the end result is the same--soft, hydrated hair.

A deep conditioner may be too heavy to replace your regular conditioner, so only use one when your hair is feeling extra parched. 

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