By Jc of The Nat­ur­al Haven Bloom

Should you real­ly leave con­di­tion­er in your hair?

This is a ques­tion that I have been asked sev­er­al times. I must clar­i­fy first and say that when you wash your hair, you should rinse out all the con­di­tion­er thor­ough­ly (for rea­sons known as poten­tial itch­i­ness, per­son­al expe­ri­ence here, some sci­ence to fol­low). The ques­tion posed here is whether you can then use a lit­tle bit of con­di­tion­er after­wards as a mois­turis­er or on a dai­ly basis. The answer to this ques­tion is yes you can use con­di­tion­er as a mois­turis­er but with cau­tion.

So there are two main types of con­di­tion­er
1. Rinse out con­di­tion­ers (heav­ier type that is used after sham­poo­ing to add soft­ness — typ­i­cal ingre­di­ents include fat­ty acids, sur­fac­tants and oils)
2. Leave in con­di­tion­ers (much thin­ner and lighter, typ­i­cal­ly con­tain humec­tants such as glyc­er­ine to help mois­turise hair )

Now, leave in con­di­tion­ers are a no brain­er, they are designed to be left in. The heav­ier rinse out con­di­tion­ers are a lit­tle more tricky. They can be used but be aware

1. Using a sil­i­cone heavy con­di­tion­er (sil­i­cone in one of the first 5 ingre­di­ents) is not ide­al unless you sham­poo your hair. Co-wash­ing your hair will sim­ply not do.
2. Con­di­tion­ers which con­tain pro­tein (hydrol­ysed pro­tein or amino acids) have been shown to cause irri­ta­tion and itch­i­ness in some peo­ple (con­tact urticaria is the med­ical term). (Aller­gy. 53(11):1078–1082, 1998).
3. Hair con­di­tion­er can con­tribute to build up. This was explained in a very intri­cate study (Jour­nal of the Soci­ety of Cos­met­ic Chemists, pg 205–214,1989). The sci­ence behind this is that the hair con­di­tion­er has pos­i­tive charges and the sham­poo has neg­a­tive charges. Depend­ing on the amount and type of sham­poo, the hair con­di­tion­er can either be removed or the sham­poo can sim­ply attach to the hair con­di­tion­er and cause build up. Nat­u­ral­ly if you have been apply­ing hair con­di­tion­er to your hair on a dai­ly basis, then you will have much more of the pos­i­tive charge.

So what pre­cau­tions can you take if you want to use heav­ier con­di­tion­er as a dai­ly mois­turis­er?

1. Don’t put the con­di­tion­er on your scalp, try as much as pos­si­ble to tar­get the ends of your hair (leave the scalp and the first 1–2 inch­es alone).
2. Read the ingre­di­ent list and if you are a no sham­poo per­son, avoid sil­i­cones in the top 5 list of your con­di­tion­er. If you sham­poo, then no wor­ries here.
3. Pick a con­di­tion­er with­out pro­teins.
4. Rinse your hair thor­ough­ly on your wash day.
5. Use a con­di­tion­ing sham­poo on your wash day if you are not anti-poo.

What is your expe­ri­ence with leav­ing con­di­tion­er in hair? Have you got the itchies or have you had a pleas­ant expe­ri­ence?

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102 Comments on "3 Dangers of Leaving Conditioner in Your Hair"

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Areille
Obvi­ous­ly this isn’t true for every­one because everyone’s hair is dif­fer­ent. I cow­ash only and if I am twist­ing my hair right after I don’t rinse out all of my con­di­tion­er. Also, before I untwist them in the morn­ing I mois­tur­ize with my con­di­tion­er. Leave in con­di­tion­er is glo­ri­fied water to me so I use a heavy con­di­tion­er. My hair is super dry and sucks up any­thing I put on it so I nev­er have an issue with buildup even when I place it on my scalp. The only time my head itch­es is when I straight­en it for some… Read more »
Char

I agree! I always leave in my heavy con­di­tion­er. And it’s a Pro­tein con­di­tion­er. I don’t have the itchies and my hair feels very soft and looks alive! My hair is nor­mal­ly super-DRY so it loves the con­di­tion­er. I tried the “Leave-Ins” and all they do is well — noth­ing. A waste of mon­ey. Both my sham­poo and con­di­tion­ers are free from all sul­fates and cones and most­ly pro­tein. After wash­ing I either use coconut oil or argan oil (some­times both) for mois­ture. My hair loves them. Everyone’s hair is dif­fer­ent.

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

Well said

Desiree

This is my pri­ma­ry go-to hair style.. I rinse, con­di­tion, and de-tan­gle my hair every morn­ing with Organix Moroc­can Argan Oil Con­di­tion­er. The dif­fer­ence is that my curls dry with more def­i­n­i­tion, I even vary the amount of prod­uct used depend­ing on how much vol­ume I want. I do not get the itchies from build up. On a pos­i­tive note over time I reap the ben­e­fits of deep con­di­tion­ing so on the rare occa­sion that I straight­en my hair it is much soft­er than it was before I start­ed doing this.
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Bridget

Love your hair!

Rhonea

Gor­geous!

Desiree

Thanks

Desiree

This is my pri­ma­ry go-to hair style.. I rinse, con­di­tion, and de-tan­gle my hair every morn­ing with Organix Moroc­can Argan Oil Con­di­tion­er. The dif­fer­ence is that my curls dry with more def­i­n­i­tion. I do not get the itchies from build up. On a pos­i­tive note over time I reap the ben­e­fits of deep con­di­tion­ing so on the rare occa­sion that I straight­en my hair it is much soft­er than it was before I start­ed doing this. I includ­ed a link to my fb page in case any­one want­ed to see my hair type.

BeckyT

Does any­one know if Ter­re­sen­tials remove Sil­i­cones? My hair is too thick and curly, so I have to use a sil­i­cone based con­di­tion­er in order to detan­gle it. I had to leave the curly girl method alone, too much buildup. But I use Ter­re­sen­tials not sham­poo. I wash every two weeks now.

Tyler

With Ter­essen­tials you’re sup­posed to do an ini­tial detox and then not use any com­mer­cial prod­ucts except for theirs or nat­ur­al home­made prod­ucts. The web­site lit­er­al­ly says in bold ” Do not use any oth­er sham­poos, con­di­tion­ers or styling prod­ucts as they are not com­pat­i­ble with the mud cleanser and will add plas­tics back to your hair, tak­ing you right back where you start­ed.” I found that to be too demand­ing which is why I nev­er bought it. You may just want to keep it around as a clar­i­fi­er and find a gen­tle sham­poo to use.

fluffy-in-flight

Just read the instruc­tions that comes with the ter­ressen­tials. From what I do remem­ber they give you spe­cif­ic instruc­tions as to how to remove what­ev­er buildup you may have from your hair. In fact to be on the safe side go on their web­site and it should let you know. I remem­ber that when I did my hair, i had to leave it in for a while and what­ev­er buildup was on my hair, it left my hair feel­ing gooey and waxy, so the ter­ressen­tials was grad­u­al­ly remov­ing what­ev­er it was, then after a while I had no prob­lems.

Stephanie O

What if you are using the Curly Girl Method? Does this apply since you are wash­ing your hair so often?

Candice

If you’re doing the curly girl method you shouldn’t be using a con­di­tion with sil­i­cone peri­od. If you are, switch to tre­semme nat­u­rals or some­thing like that.

Lauren

I’ve been using Herbal Essences Total­ly Twist­ed as a leave-in con­di­tion­er, and have seen a huge improve­ment in tex­ture and mois­ture reten­tion. No itchy scalp for me! The curl acti­vat­ing for­mu­la has worked won­ders as well. My curls are always intact (and not frizzy!) at the end of the day :)

LBell

Co-sign…HE TT worked much bet­ter for me as a leave-in than as a co-wash con­di­tion­er.

I used to make a leave-in con­sist­ing of HE HH plus some oth­er ingre­di­ents (water, olive oil, a drop of hon­ey, some oth­ers I for­got). Best leave-in ever…in fact I should try it again with AVJ and sun­flower oil instead of water and olive oil.

Jamzie

I have to agree Lau­ren. I use the HE Herbal Hydra­tion as a leave in tho (blue bot­tle) and my hair loves it! But, as they said, i put it on my ends, not my scalp n i’ve had no prob­lems, n I use sham­poo…

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