How do I Choose the Best Conditioner for Damaged Hair?

Henry Gaudet

All too often, hair damage often is the price to be paid for fashion. Heavy styling from blow dryers, curling irons, chemical perms and dyes can strip away moisture and vital oils, making hair dull or frizzy. Even shampoo strips away vital oils, leaving hair dry and dull. Finding the right conditioner for damaged hair can undo some of the harm done by styling techniques, restoring luster and sheen. To choose the best conditioner for damaged hair, you will need to know which ingredients to look for, what type of conditioner to use and the correct way to use the conditioner.

A bottle of conditioner for damaged hair.
A bottle of conditioner for damaged hair.

When looking for a conditioner for damaged hair, it can be helpful to take a look at the ingredients. Many of the more expensive conditioners are likely to include polymers that target and restore damaged hair, but even some economy brands have helpful ingredients. Key ingredients such as glycerin or panthenol or oils such lanolin or olive oil will help hold moisture in the follicle. Many conditioners for damaged hair also include citrus extracts for improved shine.

Some homemade conditioners include mayonnaise to add moisture and shine to the hair.
Some homemade conditioners include mayonnaise to add moisture and shine to the hair.

Depending on your hair’s condition, you also might wish to consider a leave-in conditioner for damaged hair, in addition to your regular conditioner. A weekly treatment with a leave-in conditioner will provide the deep conditioning needed by hair with severe damage. For some people, such as those with fine hair, leave-in conditioners should be rinsed out just like a normal conditioner.

Apple cider vinegar can help treat damaged hair.
Apple cider vinegar can help treat damaged hair.

You also might find a good conditioner for damaged hair right in your kitchen. Mayonnaise is known to restore vital oils and is a very effective conditioner. Egg yolk, avocado, olive oil and apple cider vinegar can be used as conditioners as well. Apply the desired treatment to the hair for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing. For deeper conditioning, the hair can be wrapped with cellophane or a warm towel.

Avocado may be used as a conditioner for damaged hair.
Avocado may be used as a conditioner for damaged hair.

Many people apply conditioner by massaging it into the scalp, in the same way that shampoo is used. Hair is strongest at the scalp, though, and it needs the least attention near the roots. For the best results, a conditioner for damaged hair should be worked through the tips. This will reduce split ends, help control frizz and restore the hair’s sheen.

Olive oil can help moisturize damaged hair and stimulate hair follicles.
Olive oil can help moisturize damaged hair and stimulate hair follicles.

A conditioner for damaged hair will work best when you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If the conditioner is not given enough time to work into the follicles before rinsing, it is unlikely have any noticeable effect on hair damage. On the other hand, a conditioner for damaged hair can make hair look oily and stringy if it is left in longer than recommended, and regular conditioners should not be used as leave-in treatments.

Excessive use of hair dryers can permanently damage hair and cause breakage.
Excessive use of hair dryers can permanently damage hair and cause breakage.
Leave-in conditioner can help manage dry, damaged hair.
Leave-in conditioner can help manage dry, damaged hair.

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