Conditioning Treatments, Leave In Or Rinse Out?

I am a naturopathic physician with nearly 20 years of experience developing breakthrough nutritional products.I also have extensive television and radio experience and have lectured widely to health professionals, the military and the public on all aspects of natural health.

Dr Myers, an expert who holds a doctorate in naturopathic medicine

Stephen Fry in my surgery during the making of the BBC TV program

Me with Lord Bragg, accepting my "Champion of the Year" award

After graduating, I was recognised as being the 'best young neurosurgeon in Britain'

When buying conditioning treatments for the hair, many people wonder if they should buy a conditioning treatment that is rinsed out of the hair after shampooing, or one that is left in the hair, and whether or not it makes any difference at all.

It really all depends on what your particular hair type is. First of all we will look at why some form of conditioning treatment is important.

During our normal daily routines our hair is naturally going to be exposed to environmental pollutants like traffic fumes, cigarette smoke and cooking smells as well as grubby fingers and along with the normal process of sweating and shedding of dead skin cells, our hair can smell less than fresh and become dirty and greasy looking.

We use shampoo on our hair to lift the dirt and grime out of our hair and shampoos contain certain raw materials that make this process easier but the down side to this is that they can also dry out our hair and strip it of its natural oils.

We use a conditioner to replace the moisture and nourish the hair. There are many different types of conditioning treatments available so if you’re on the look out for a great conditioning treatment for yourself, unless you know exactly what you are looking for, the number of brands, types and formulas can be overwhelming.

There are literally countless hair conditioning treatments on the market but we can separate them into two basic groups. These are rinse out conditioning treatments that you rinse out of your hair after using them and leave in conditioning treatments that you don’t rinse out.

Rinse Out Conditioning Treatments

A standard rinse out conditioner is generally used after shampooing. You basically apply the rinse out conditioner to your towel dried hair and work it through to the ends of your hair with your fingers. Then you leave it on your hair for a couple of minutes before rinsing it out. Easy as that!

Many people use rinse out conditioners after every shampoo, even if they wash their hair on a daily basis. If we don’t use a conditioner after shampooing, particularly if we have dry hair, the hair can become very tangled and difficult to comb and trying to tug your way through tangled wet hair only causes it to break and split and look even more damaged.

A regular conditioner that you use every time you shampoo your hair works by leaving a slight residue or coating on the outside of the individual hair fibres, which helps to separate them and will make the hair easier to comb through. This of course also helps us to avoid split ends and will provide the hair with a protective coating as well as make it feel soft to the touch.

It is also important to note that too much conditioner can weigh the hair down and will make it look flat, particularly if you have greasy or combination type hair.

If you have very dry and damaged hair then you may need a conditioning treatment that is more intense. You can purchase conditioning treatments that you leave in your hair for up to 20 minutes or so to help condition and repair damaged hair.

The more intensive conditioning treatments are designed to penetrate deeply into the hair shaft itself as opposed to just coating the outside, and will help to restore moisture, and leave your hair with a soft silky feel and a radiant shine.

Good conditioners tend to be protein enriched and will contain other ingredients to supply the hair and scalp with essential nutrients.

Really intensive conditioning treatments for the repair of damaged hair are best used on a weekly basis. The rest of the time you can just use your normal conditioner.

Leave In Conditioning Treatments

A leave in conditioning treatment is one that you apply to your hair and leave it. In other words you don’t rinse it out after a period of time. They are usually formulated to replace moisture but not to weigh the hair down and make it look flat like regular conditioners can sometimes do.

You can buy leave in conditioning treatments that you apply after washing your hair or you can buy some that you can spray on your hair as and when you need it.

What’s the best type of conditioning treatment?

The best type of conditioning treatment is one that suits your hair and your hair type. The first thing to do is to identify what your particular hair type so that you can buy a hair conditioning treatment and use it in such a way that is most appropriate for your hair type.

For example, if your hair is particularly dry, damaged, colour treated or frizzy, then you should consider a weekly conditioning and repair treatment for hair repair as well as a conditioner for after shampooing.

On the other hand if your hair is particularly greasy, then using a conditioner after every wash may make it appear even greasier. In this case, or if you have hair that is dry at the ends but greasy at the scalp then a leave on conditioner may be the solution but try to apply the conditioner only to the parts of your hair that need it.

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