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Summer is in full bloom. With temperatures rising, we indulge ourselves with day-outs, fun-filled activities, beach parties… the list goes on. As the warm sunny days arrive, we need to take care of our skin and hair to protect it from the heat and humidity. Most of us manage to keep our skin moisturized but often forget to moisturize our hair. We frequently face problems like dry, dull hair with split ends and frizz. All of these make it hard to comb, causing tangles and hair loss. Nowadays, our hair confronts a lot of physical and chemical stress. So, shampooing is not enough — it needs to be conditioned as well! Good hair conditioner provides you with the bliss of healthy and shiny hair. As a cosmetic researcher, I will explain to you how hair conditioner works and what are some of the best products available on the market.
What Is Hair Conditioner?
Conditioners are an emulsion-based formulation, which alters the texture, appearance and feel of your hair. It has been designed to reduce the forces associated with combing. Therefore, conditioners make your hair smooth, soft, more manageable and easy to style.
Photo Courtesy of preciouscurls.com
Hair Structure, Damages And Possible Causes:
First, we must know a little bit about hair structure: Hair is composed majorly of keratin protein, some lipids and water. We can see from the picture that the hair shaft is composed of three components with the cuticle being the outermost layer. The condition and orientation of cuticles majorly contribute to the appearance and feel of hair.
Hair stress can be categorized into two kinds: physical damage may be due to excessive shampooing (harsh shampoos), rough combing and heat styling (including blow drying, flat/curling iron); on the other hand, chemical stress on the hair includes highlighting, coloring, bleaching and relaxing — where chemical bonds of the hair are broken and reformed again, which lead to severe hair damage. Sun exposure is also a kind of chemical damage. Too much heat and chemical treatments lead to cracking and blistering in the hair at microscopic levels, which on the surface level appears rough, dull and dry. In a word: ‘unmanageable’ hair.
Common Conditioning Agents:
Conditioning agents improve the condition of the hair. Some of the most used conditioning agents are Quats (e.g. Behentriamonium chloride), cationic polymers (e.g. Polyquaternium-10, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride), silicones (e.g. dimethicone) and humectants (e.g. glycerin)
How Does Hair Conditioner Work?
Damaged hair is negatively charged. Quats (also known as cationic surfactants) and cationic polymers stick to the hair via electrostatic interactions. These ingredients are positively charged when placed in a solution of water. They are attracted to the negatively charged, damaged protein sites on the hair. This electrostatic bond prevents them from being removed. On hair, they coat the fibers and counteract the problem characteristics. Silicone works on a water insolubility principle, providing a coating to your hair shaft — smoothing unruly, chapped cuticles and offering more shine to the hair. Hair conditioners are acidic in pH in contrast to shampoo; any ideal hair conditioner is composed of the combination of these raw materials.
Best Hair Conditioners On The Market:
Hair conditioner is the third largest category in the worldwide hair care market (next to shampoo and hair colorant) with 14% of the share. Apart from the major players (e.g., Unilever and Procter & Gamble), private label brands also enjoy a big share in overall sales volume of the conditioner market in U.S. Almost all shampoo lines include a respective conditioner to follow. Some of the other successful hair conditioners are: Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner ($10.93), Neutrogena Triple Moisture Daily Deep Conditioner ($5.99), Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep Conditioner, It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product, Kérastase Nutritive Serum Oleo-Relax ($39.00), Johnson’s No More Tangles Detangler Spray, Infusium 23 Repair & Renew Leave-In Treatment, Acure Organics Stem Cell Leave-in Conditioner ($9.99), Gud Orange Petalooza Natural Softening Conditioner ($7.99) and Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Moisture Mist.
So, ladies, choose your perfect conditioner and say ‘hello’ to healthy, beautiful hair. What are some of your favorite hair conditioners? Did any of your favorites make the list? Let us know by commenting below, which will automatically be posted to our Community Forum (click here to check it out!) where you can find other beauty related discussions! Don’t forget to also submit a photo to our Photo Of The Day (click here!) feature, where a new photo will be picked daily. Your photo just might be selected, so get going!
-Rinki Pramanik, biotechnologist & cosmetic researcher
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