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View Full Version : Stupid question about use of conditioner while washing hair



biogirl87
December 18th, 2013, 08:21 PM
I realize that this may be a stupid question to ask since conventional wisdom would say to use conditioner every time you wash your hair, but the relatively small number of tangles I get after washing my hair has got me to start wondering about this.

Currently my hair is an inch below my shoulders. On wash days, I typically will brush through to loosen up the dirt/dead skin cells and detangle as best I can before washing it and when I wash my hair I use only Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly shampoo since I do not seem to notice many tangles after my hair dries. The tangles that do form while my hair is being washed or is drying seem to be able to come out with running a little mineral oil through my hair and fingercombing my hair. On non-wash days, I will typically brush my hair twice a day and it pretty much keeps the tangles away the rest of the time.

With the length that my hair is at and with how little it tangles or how easily the tangles come out, should I really be conditioning my hair every time I wash it or would I be wasting money on conditioner? Also, at what point does using a conditioner after every shampoo wash become a necessity.

Thank you for taking your time to read this thread. Any thoughts, opinions, suggestions, or help would be appreciated. Thank you.

Yozhik
December 18th, 2013, 08:46 PM
I guess it depends on hair type, porosity, etc. :shrug:

I always used conditioner, even with short hair - otherwise my hair would be dry and tangly.
If you are also using oil, too, though, maybe conditioner is overkill?

emilylightning
December 18th, 2013, 08:48 PM
You use conditioner after shampoo for the same reason you use lotion after a hot shower. If I go without lotion after a shower, my skin gets VERY dry to the point where it is painful. If you don't use conditioner after shampooing, it will dry out your hair and make it weak. If anything, you should try using SHAMPOO less and avoid spending money on it. I dilute shampoo and only apply it to my scalp, and because of that it lasts me a long time.

Almendra
December 18th, 2013, 08:53 PM
I really suggest you to use conditioner in every wash, even if it's a light or cheap one. Since you are a wavy you'll have more or less tangly hair at some point, but the use of conditioner will help you to improve the healthy of your hair in a long term.

ETA: To avoid tangles is always recommended to use a coney conditioner (All HE products have cones).

biogirl87
December 18th, 2013, 09:05 PM
Yoznik and Emily, thank you ladies.

Yoznik, I am not sure what my true porosity. I would guess medium. I just know that it takes a lot to dry out my hair and make it feel rough while it can be easily weighed down with conditioner.

Emily, when I shampoo my hair I shampoo my scalp only and typically dilute the shampoo both a bit in my hands and by putting my head under the shower head to help the shampoo suds up (letting the shampoo suds up before I start lathering helps me use less shampoo). I follow your reasoning but for whatever reason I do not regularly use lotion after a shower (I only use lotion after a shower when I feel my skin being dry, more to treat dry skin than to prevent dry skin).

biogirl87
December 18th, 2013, 09:08 PM
I really suggest you to use conditioner in every wash, even if it's a light or cheap one. Since you are a wavy you'll have more or less tangly hair at some point, but the use of conditioner will help you to improve the healthy of your hair in a long term.

ETA: To avoid tangles is always recommended to use a coney conditioner (All HE products have cones).Almendra, thank you. I may pick up Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly conditioner when I am shopping tomorrow. Hopefully starting to use conditioner again will help me to not use mineral oil anymore since putting oil in my hair is something I would like to get away from (mainly to avoid having issues with oil residue being left on my pillow).

Madora
December 18th, 2013, 09:15 PM
I realize that this may be a stupid question to ask since conventional wisdom would say to use conditioner every time you wash your hair, but the relatively small number of tangles I get after washing my hair has got me to start wondering about this.

Currently my hair is an inch below my shoulders. On wash days, I typically will brush through to loosen up the dirt/dead skin cells and detangle as best I can before washing it and when I wash my hair I use only Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly shampoo since I do not seem to notice many tangles after my hair dries. The tangles that do form while my hair is being washed or is drying seem to be able to come out with running a little mineral oil through my hair and fingercombing my hair. On non-wash days, I will typically brush my hair twice a day and it pretty much keeps the tangles away the rest of the time.

With the length that my hair is at and with how little it tangles or how easily the tangles come out, should I really be conditioning my hair every time I wash it or would I be wasting money on conditioner? Also, at what point does using a conditioner after every shampoo wash become a necessity.

Thank you for taking your time to read this thread. Any thoughts, opinions, suggestions, or help would be appreciated. Thank you.

For decades I always used diluted conditioner after shampooing (which was also diluted) (to help with combatting tangles).

I gave up using conditioner and started using a few drops of mineral oil as a conditioning agent/detangler and have been pleased with the results.

If you feel you can get away with using just mineral oil instead of conditioner to combat snarls, I'd say go for it. Sure beats the pants off having to buy conditioner every so often.

Added benefit using MO...you don't need to rinse it off like you do conditioner.

ErinLeigh
December 18th, 2013, 10:12 PM
If it weights your hair down to use conditioner then maybe just get a detangle/leave in conditioner spray for if you need the help..otherwise mineral oil on damp hair is helping you retain moisture in the hair. I always felt conditioner was more for softening, detangling and holding down the flyaways but it is not required. Lots of men skip that step.
You may need to evaluate when hair grows longer though. As long as hair isn't dry or snapping and you are happy it is up to you. Is it easy to comb or brush through or do you feel is ripping in the brush?

If you are going to stop the mineral oil though I would for sure start adding conditioner. I would want some sort of protection on hair but that is just me. I personally like the smoothness conditioner gives me.
Oh, another option would be to get a cleansing conditioner. Loreal has one, and then CVS has a knock off Wen as does Sallys. Or even better for what you seem to like, you could simply get a 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner. Herbal Essance makes one actually :) You might like that for starting out to get used to the feel. If you dont want a heavy feel on hair you could try the Suave conditioners. The are pretty light to me.

What kind of shampoo do you use? Does it have cones in it or no?

Firefox7275
December 18th, 2013, 10:30 PM
What do you mean by necessity? Hair is not a necessity, if it all snapped off an inch from the roots we'd continue to be healthy and functional individuals.

A good conditioner does far more the simply detangle. The major emollients (fatty alcohols and cationic surfactants) soften, patch repair damage, give slip to reduce all types of mechanical damage (eg. combing generally, hair rubbing on hair), act as weak humectants helping hair hold the right amount of water. To be a conditioner a product must be rich in these ingredients - many products labelled conditioner are not (eg. leave in sprays).

Other ingredients (natural oils, silicones, hydrolysed proteins, panthenol, glycerin etc) may further patch repair surface damage, bolster overall strength, increase elasticity, moisturise or many other properties. In addition the acidic pH encourages the cuticle to lie flat giving more slip, silkiness, shine and stopping them literally being ripped off during everyday activities.

Mineral oil has its uses but is not a rounded conditioner, it is a non penetrating occlusive/ sealant/ anti humectant. Do not confuse aesthetics with true health/ lack of damage to hair.

Nini
December 19th, 2013, 01:14 AM
I don't use conditioners and I hardly ever use oil. Works well for me:)

Just pointing out that there's no right or wrongs here. We're all different, so you just have to figure out what works for you!

Libbylou
December 19th, 2013, 01:43 AM
My hair care routine is the same as yours, Biogirl87. I have never noticed any residue on my pillow case though. I only use a tiny bit of toadstool soaps leave in on occasion just because I like my hair to smell good. My hair seems to be happy. I am about an inch from waist and still get very few tangles.

biogirl87
December 19th, 2013, 01:44 AM
Madora, Erin, and Firefox7275 thank you ladies.

Madora, I have to admit, I am intrigued by how you were able to go from using conditioner to using mineral oil to help detangle (you are completely right about mineral oil that when used in tiny amounts it helps detangle hair and doesn't leave hair greasy). I think I might try sticking with mineral oil during the months (as this would help my hair have more volume in it especially since I am wearing a hat that covers my head and my ears every time I am outside) and if need be switch to conditioner during the summer months when not even mineral oil can tame the frizzies.

Erin, at the moment my hair does not feel dry and the brush can go through my hair fine most of the time. If I encounter any snags with the brush I take it out of my hair and gently detangle with my fingers. I think that at this length I really only need to detangle with my fingers only right after I wash my hair - the rest of the week just using a brush from ends to roots and going slowly is fine and doesn't break or wreck my hair. I might try continuing to use the mineral oil during the winter months/until the weather warms up enough that I do not have to wear hats when I am outside to keep my hair from losing a lot of volume.

biogirl87
December 19th, 2013, 01:57 AM
Firefox7275, I am not sure how necessity would be defined in this case. I guess what I mean when I say necessity is at what point does using a conditioner after every shampoo wash become such that not using it would be detrimental to hair. Also, since is technically dead once it exits the scalp, theoratically there would not be a way to repair it. In this case, wouldn't the conditioner be serving the purpose of only helping to detangle hair? Even if the conditioner would serve all the functions you mentioned in your post, wouldn't the amount of time we (using the general we here) normally keep the conditioner in our hair be not enough for these ingredients to really work? I guess I am just a bit skeptical that hydrolyzed protein, panthenol, glycerin, fatty alcohols can really work in our hair when we condition it since most people only keep the conditioner in their hair for maybe 5-10 minutes, especially since protein has not been proved to penetrate into hair in the amount of time that shampoo or conditioner sit on the hair.

Nini, thank you. I think my hair and scalp are the unique case here since unlike many other people I tend to have oily ends and dry scalp. It is a bit odd, but I find that my scalp can go four or five days before my sebum starts turning from slightly grainy to more oily. The length of my hair on the other hand starts losing volume by the end of day 3 or day 4, so most of the time when I end up washing my hair it is not so much because my scalp is greasy as it is because the oils in the length of my hair have weighed it down enough that I do not like the decrease in volume and my scalp starts getting itchy.

biogirl87
December 19th, 2013, 01:59 AM
LibbyLou, thank you. Your reply gives me hope that I will be able to continue not using conditioner and just use a bit of mineral oil to help detangle my hair if it needs help with detangling.

LadyCelestina
December 19th, 2013, 02:57 AM
Firefox7275, I am not sure how necessity would be defined in this case. I guess what I mean when I say necessity is at what point does using a conditioner after every shampoo wash become such that not using it would be detrimental to hair. Also, since is technically dead once it exits the scalp, theoratically there would not be a way to repair it. In this case, wouldn't the conditioner be serving the purpose of only helping to detangle hair? Even if the conditioner would serve all the functions you mentioned in your post, wouldn't the amount of time we (using the general we here) normally keep the conditioner in our hair be not enough for these ingredients to really work? I guess I am just a bit skeptical that hydrolyzed protein, panthenol, glycerin, fatty alcohols can really work in our hair when we condition it since most people only keep the conditioner in their hair for maybe 5-10 minutes, especially since protein has not been proved to penetrate into hair in the amount of time that shampoo or conditioner sit on the hair.

Patch repair means,at least I believe it means,that for a short time,your hair will act like healthy or even better term - healthier hair would.This in other words could translate into "repairing" minor damage caused by shampooing,combing,brushing etc.
But yes,we can say conditioner serves the purpose of helping to detangle hair,as damaged hair often tangles more than healthy hair.

Of course I would not say conditioner is a necessity,there are many people with hair that can handle minor damage without showing obvious signs of needing a conditioner.

ladyfey
December 19th, 2013, 04:45 AM
I don't use conditioner if my hair is shorter than mid-back. At that length, I don't need it, do fine without it, and my hair would dry sooooo much faster than when I use conditioner. So I say, don't use it if you don't need it.

Firefox7275
December 19th, 2013, 05:34 AM
There is plenty of published scientific research on the actions and benefits of many different conditioning agents for different hair types. Hair is indeed dead and is subject to normal 'weathering' (damage occurring during washing, styling, day to day activities not just chemicals etc): damage can be reduced or patch repaired (temporary or short term so lasting through one or a number of washes). Hydrolysed protein is capable of both penetrating the cuticle and patch repairing the surface, both can be beneficial depending on your hair properties.

I highly recommend you check out the 'curl chemist' series of articles on Naturallycurly, the Natural Haven blog and Sciencey Hairblog. These cover the use of various haircare ingredients and are based on published research. There are other studies or topics that are not covered but they are an excellent foundation. The Natural Haven also has a series on deep conditioning generally which covers aspects like how time and temperature affect substantivity (how easily a conditioning agent attaches to hair and how enduring that is).

dianahottie
December 19th, 2013, 08:53 AM
I don't think there is such a thing as a stupid question, if you don't know the answer to a question and you are brave enough to ask no matter what it is, then how can it be stupid??

meteor
December 19th, 2013, 10:12 AM
I realize that this may be a stupid question to ask since conventional wisdom would say to use conditioner every time you wash your hair, but the relatively small number of tangles I get after washing my hair has got me to start wondering about this.

Currently my hair is an inch below my shoulders. On wash days, I typically will brush through to loosen up the dirt/dead skin cells and detangle as best I can before washing it and when I wash my hair I use only Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly shampoo since I do not seem to notice many tangles after my hair dries. The tangles that do form while my hair is being washed or is drying seem to be able to come out with running a little mineral oil through my hair and fingercombing my hair. On non-wash days, I will typically brush my hair twice a day and it pretty much keeps the tangles away the rest of the time.

With the length that my hair is at and with how little it tangles or how easily the tangles come out, should I really be conditioning my hair every time I wash it or would I be wasting money on conditioner? Also, at what point does using a conditioner after every shampoo wash become a necessity.

Thank you for taking your time to read this thread. Any thoughts, opinions, suggestions, or help would be appreciated. Thank you.

First of all, it's not a stupid question! It's a very good one. I think how much conditioner one needs to use is as individual as the kind of conditioner one needs.

If you can detangle without a conditioner and the hair feels and looks good, count yourself lucky! Conditioner really attracts dust, lint, makes clarifying sometimes necessary, makes it harder to stretch washes, weighs down hair... but it patches problems temporarily and helps to detangle.
Many people only apply conditioner from shoulders down anyway, so at your length you can probably skip it unless your hair is dry, damaged or porous.

If your hair is virgin and problem-free, by all means you can skip the conditioner, especially since you already use mineral oil.

I just wanted to point out that you can have an effective and healthy hair routine without a conditioner. Lots of people around the world just apply oil and then light shampoo or herbs and grow long, thick, shiny hair.

This girl (http://comments.ua/life/223682-odessitka-polutorametrovoy.html - with I believe the longest hair in Ukraine), doesn't use anything other than shampoo on her hair. She doesn't even bother with oils or conditioners and manages to keep silky hair and never trim. Maybe keeping it simple / benign neglect is part of the secret?

Have you ever tried light conditioning liquids like catnip or diluted lemon/vinegar rinse? Maybe something light like that is all you need at the moment?

meteor
December 19th, 2013, 10:33 AM
Even if the conditioner would serve all the functions you mentioned in your post, wouldn't the amount of time we (using the general we here) normally keep the conditioner in our hair be not enough for these ingredients to really work? I guess I am just a bit skeptical that hydrolyzed protein, panthenol, glycerin, fatty alcohols can really work in our hair when we condition it since most people only keep the conditioner in their hair for maybe 5-10 minutes, especially since protein has not been proved to penetrate into hair in the amount of time that shampoo or conditioner sit on the hair.

I think you might find this article interesting: http://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/2012/10/deep-conditioning-what-ingredients-in.html
It looks like the longer you keep conditioners rich in hydrolyzed protein in your hair, the more hydrolyzed protein adsorbs to hair. But it's a story of diminishing returns for most conditioning ingredients after the first 30 minutes at 35 C.
Penetrating ingredients:
"Natural Hair - No Processing
-water
-hydrolysed wheat protein
-coconut oil
-cetrimonium bromide
-caffeine
-panthenol

Bleached Hair, Relaxed Hair or Damaged Hair (i.e cuticle damage)
- everything in the unprocessed natural hair list above
-some amino acids enhanced by being in a creamy conditioner (arginine, glycine, glutamic acid, phenylalanine, histidine)
-artificial peptides (similar to hydrolysed protein)
-some silicones or amodimethicones (Trimethylsilylamodimethicone)
-hydrolysed palm oil
-18MEA"


I think my hair and scalp are the unique case here since unlike many other people I tend to have oily ends and dry scalp. It is a bit odd, but I find that my scalp can go four or five days before my sebum starts turning from slightly grainy to more oily. The length of my hair on the other hand starts losing volume by the end of day 3 or day 4, so most of the time when I end up washing my hair it is not so much because my scalp is greasy as it is because the oils in the length of my hair have weighed it down enough that I do not like the decrease in volume and my scalp starts getting itchy.
Wow, you are very lucky! Am I understanding correctly that your hair is all virgin and low porosity? Are you using moisturizing/gentle shampoos? Some shampoos are so gentle that some people can get away with using no conditioner after.
Personally, I definitely benefit from conditioner but my hair has some old damage and is dry. It's visibly and tangibly better off with conditioner. If your hair looks and feels clearly better after just shampoo + mineral oil, then you found your routine!

PurplePenguin
December 19th, 2013, 11:06 AM
I would also like to point out that there are no stupid questions, ever.
Secondly, LHC is all about loving your hair. Many of us practice benign neglect, like another poster mentioned (I am one of them) and you may be one as well. The thing is, you have to go through different routines to figure out what works for YOUR hair. I have learned during my time at LHC (and my many years with my obstinate hair) that hair can be very picky. Yours may be very picky. It may not like conditioner. Some hair likes cones, some does not. There are people who say that curlies can only do this with their hair (insert a routine), but they are wrong. All hair is different. And even better, some people have hair that is mixed so it needs a mixture of routines. You may have very well found a routine that your hair likes. Now, is there a chance that that routine may change as your hair grows to greater lengths...maybe. Hair can become more demanding as it grows longer. Then again, your hair may become even easier to take care of as it grows out. It is all about trial and error.
There are some beautiful women on here that took years to find their routines. I am still finding what makes my hair the happiest. There is a phrase that my sister says 'you do you'. Do what makes you and your hair happy. If that means only using mineral oil and not conditioner then do that.
Have a great hair journey sweetie!

biogirl87
December 19th, 2013, 02:21 PM
I think you might find this article interesting: http://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/2012/10/deep-conditioning-what-ingredients-in.html
It looks like the longer you keep conditioners rich in hydrolyzed protein in your hair, the more hydrolyzed protein adsorbs to hair. But it's a story of diminishing returns for most conditioning ingredients after the first 30 minutes at 35 C.
Penetrating ingredients:
"Natural Hair - No Processing
-water
-hydrolysed wheat protein
-coconut oil
-cetrimonium bromide
-caffeine
-panthenol

Bleached Hair, Relaxed Hair or Damaged Hair (i.e cuticle damage)
- everything in the unprocessed natural hair list above
-some amino acids enhanced by being in a creamy conditioner (arginine, glycine, glutamic acid, phenylalanine, histidine)
-artificial peptides (similar to hydrolysed protein)
-some silicones or amodimethicones (Trimethylsilylamodimethicone)
-hydrolysed palm oil
-18MEA"


Wow, you are very lucky! Am I understanding correctly that your hair is all virgin and low porosity? Are you using moisturizing/gentle shampoos? Some shampoos are so gentle that some people can get away with using no conditioner after.
Personally, I definitely benefit from conditioner but my hair has some old damage and is dry. It's visibly and tangibly better off with conditioner. If your hair looks and feels clearly better after just shampoo + mineral oil, then you found your routine!meteor, thank you. Yes, my hair is mostly virgin. I have not colored it and the only times in the last couple of years that I have used heat on my hair was when the stylist would blow dry my hair after a trim. If I slide my fingers down a strand of hair, it feels very much low porosity but going up the strand, I can feel a few bumps but not many. So maybe I have low to medium porosity hair? Also, I have tried vinegar rinses several times and they work okay for my hair but I have to be really careful not to get them on my scalp since I get itchiness if I get vinegar on my scalp.

bunnylake
December 19th, 2013, 02:24 PM
I don't need to use conditioner frequently, and I only ever need to use lotion after a hot shower in the winter. When my hair was tailbone length, I only needed to use a small amount of conditioner on the last two or three inches of my hair! Now that my hair is much shorter, I really don't need it at all. Sometimes I use it anyway out of habit, other times I just use it once a week or so instead of after every wash. My hair has always been very soft, smooth, and healthy.
Everyone's body is different, we all have different needs and preferences. There is hardly ever a one-size-fits-all answer. I would suggest that you use a gentle moisturizing shampoo each time you wash, and either skip conditioner altogether or just use it once a week or so, depending on how often you shampoo your hair. Listen to what your hair tells you. If it feels and looks good, keep up whatever you're doing!

biogirl87
December 19th, 2013, 02:28 PM
Firefox, thank you. I will keep the sites you mentioned in mind and have already spent quite a bit of time on there. I guess though when it comes to conditioner I am a bit skeptical about how much it is really helping since most people keep it on their hair for 5-10 minutes unless they are doing a deep conditioning treatment.

PurplePenguin, thank you for your encouragement.

It seems that the last time I washed my hair I got a bit of diluted apple cider vinegar on my scalp (as my hair is starting to itch today and it is day 3 after a wash and normally it takes longer for my scalp to start to itch), so as much I do not like this, I will have to wash my hair tonight or tomorrow morning. So far the plan is to just use mineral oil after getting out of the shower to help with detangling but I'll try to pick up conditioner tonight in case mineral oil is not enough to help detangle. I'll keep everyone posted.

biogirl87
December 19th, 2013, 02:32 PM
Bunnylake, thank you. As I mentioned in the post above, I will try to keep to what I did last time I washed my hair (I am going to shampoo my hair and then when I get out of the shower I will put a bit of mineral oil in the lengths of my hair) and will let my hair fully dry before detangling it and then brushing it. I will try to pick up conditioner tonight in case mineral oil is not enough to help detangle my hair.

meteor
December 19th, 2013, 02:42 PM
It seems that the last time I washed my hair I got a bit of diluted apple cider vinegar on my scalp (as my hair is starting to itch today and it is day 3 after a wash and normally it takes longer for my scalp to start to itch), so as much I do not like this, I will have to wash my hair tonight or tomorrow morning.

Hmm, ideally ACV is actually good for scalp and relieves itches rather than causes them. Your comments on ACV make me suspect that you either have some bad reaction/sensitivity to ACV or you don't dilute it heavily enough. Have you tried heavily diluted ACV on your skin as a toner? Does it cause irritation/itches too? Regardless, if you don't see it working for you, ditch it.

And since your hair is undamaged, unprocessed, probably low-porosity, it makes sense that you don't need as much conditioning.

GetMeToWaist
July 7th, 2014, 12:35 PM
Hmm. For me i would always always use conditioner as its protecting your hair that will soon become your enda as your hair grows longer.

Hrtchoco
July 7th, 2014, 01:50 PM
How about using a more gentle shampoo instead? Something that is sulfate free. I think beauty brands and ulta both have their liter sale right now.

furnival
July 7th, 2014, 02:20 PM
This thread is six months old and the OP has left the forum.