How to choose the best hair conditioner

How to choose the best hair conditioner

Author: Canadian Living


How to choose the best hair conditioner

Do you know why hair conditioners are an important part of your daily routine? Or what happens if you don't use conditioner? We checked in with Lisa K. Bremner, master colorist and director of education at Toronto Barber and Beauty Services to find out how to choose a hair conditioner.

Why is hair conditioner so important?
"Conditioner is how you will prepare your hair before you go out," says Bremner. "Think of it this way: Would you wash your face and not put on a face cream or treatment? I look at conditioners the same way.

They have the ability to not only add either moisture or proteins, but they can also protect your hair with sunscreens that would typically be removed when shampooing.

Detangling is also a big factor, as conditioners contain ingredients to give slip to your hair in order to help in the combing-out process."

How often should you use hair conditioner?
"In a lot of cases, conditioners are designed to help repair and protect the hair from the stress we do to it every day, from blow-drying, curling and straightening with hot tools. Our hair is like a fabric and every time we change that fabric we need to reinforce it – the easiest way is with conditioners. How often depends on what you're using. If it's a daily conditioner, then use as directed or each time you shampoo. If you have gone to the next level and have invested in either a moisture or protein treatment, consider using it once a week, if you shampoo every other day, or twice a week if you shampoo daily."

What happens if hair is not conditioned?
If you don't use conditioner, Bremner says the first thing you'll notice is that your hair will have a lot of static. "This is caused because there's not enough moisture in the hair and it develops a mind of its own (this is seen mostly in the winter once the heat comes on). More drastically, hair that's not conditioned may become brittle and dry," she says.

What are your tips for conditioning hair?
"When using a treatment, leave it in for a minimum of five minutes; leaving it much longer will do nothing for the hair. Daily conditioners are good to leave in for roughly one minute. Most importantly, make sure you saturate the hair with conditioner, being careful to get it all the way to the ends."

Bremner's 5 dos and don'ts
Do use a wide-tooth comb to comb the conditioner or treatment through to the ends of your hair for better saturation.
Do include a treatment even when you condition regularly.
Don't try to fix everything you don’t like about your hair with one conditioner.
Don't forget that for long hair you may need to use a conditioner in the shower and then add a leave-in for combing out your hair. Remember: Just apply the leave-in conditioner from the middle to the end of your hair.
Do remember it's okay to change your conditioner with the seasons. Use something lighter in the summer and spring and something more hydrating in the fall and winter months once the heat comes on.

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Natalie Bahadur is a regular contributor to and is the senior editor of


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How to choose the best hair conditioner