This article comes from Byrdie.
If you aren’t sold on needing a conditioner yet, I hope you’ll at least hear the arguments in favor of it. (Though there aren’t many arguments against it, really…) Oh, and one thing I hope you’ll never try is one of those 2-in-1 shampoo-conditioners. Read on to understand why conditioner must stand alone in its use—and why it must always follow shampoo, and never precede it.
Conditioner, in essence, keeps your hair soft, strong, and hydrated. It is filled with hair-strengthening vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients, all of which seep into each strand to nourish hair while reversing damage and moisture loss.
Using a conditioner prevents hair from becoming too dry and fortifies the cuticle to prevent damage and hair breakage. Conditioner also provides a protective coating to the outer layers of the hair shaft to give the hair sheen and a thicker appearance. It is especially important to apply it after shampooing (when hair, like skin, is prone to dryness).
Yes, men should absolutely use conditioner. If you have short hair, maybe you don’t need to use as much as people with longer hair. But guys with all kinds of hair can benefit from using a conditioner. Guys with any length, texture, or curl will particularly demand conditioner, as will guys whose hair is thinning rapidly and risking permanent loss. Conditioners can do so many favors in making each of these hair types healthiest, strongest, and style-ready.
Most importantly, if you overuse shampoo—which is to say, if you shampoo more than 2-3 times a week—then you definitely, 100 percent need conditioner, and possibly even daily.
You can use conditioner after shampooing, or on its own. If it’s after a wash that conditioner should be applied immediately afterward—but never before nor at the same time. Most shampoos use chemicals that are harsh on hair follicles. To counter the moisture-stripping shampoo, conditioners employ a roster of refreshing and restorative ingredients. Conditioners use fatty alcohols (derived from natural fats/oils), as well as humectants and oils to make hair soft, flexible, and less prone to static [or damage].
You can also use it on the non-shampoo days, as a standalone boost for hair—and it also helps to flush out any product or grime buildup, though not as thoroughly as a shampoo.
What role do conditioners play in maintaining a healthy, balanced scalp? Conditioners are not necessarily required for a healthy scalp. In fact, in certain situations with problematic scalps that are excessively flaky, dry, prone to ingrown hairs, it is imperative that conditioners [be avoided] without a proper understanding of the causal factors creating the problematic scalp. This is something your board-certified dermatologist can help you pinpoint (or which might be a quick fix with some good dandruff-fighting shampoo).
With that being said, a proper conditioner can assist with maintaining proper moisture levels on the scalp, and help nurture the scalp’s microbiome, [as well as] assist with hair shedding.
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