All of Your Questions About Hair Conditioning, Answered

Get well acquainted with shampoo's sidekick, conditioner

These days, with our schedules being so jampacked, we’re often forced to take a more streamlined approach to hair care. Because of this, a lot of us have taken to only using those products which are absolutely essential (i.e. shampoo/dry shampoo to combat obvious issues, like greasiness), with hair conditioning often falling to the wayside. But how important is it really?

Find out the answer to this, plus more commonly asked conditioner questions and how to best use it for maximum hair benefits, below.

hair conditioning brunette
Get to grips with the basics of hair conditioning & you’ll soon be on your way to healthier strands. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

1. What is hair conditioner?

Don’t worry, it’s not a trick question. We’ve all used it but what actually is it? Well, conditioner is a hair care product that instantly conditions the hair follicle, providing added moisture and smoothing down the hair.

But if you’re asking yourself “is conditioner good for your hair?”, then you may be interested to know that it’s this smoothing effect that helps to keep flyaways and static under control, and generally makes the hair more manageable. So if that appeals to you, then the answer is yes!

2. Okay, so how do I use it?

Everyone uses too much conditioner! Including hairdressers–everyone does it! You won’t condition your hair anymore by using more conditioner. Unilever Creative Director & Head Stylist, Dan Lynes

If you’ve had a bad experience with conditioner in the past that’s made you question “is conditioner bad for hair?”, you may not be using it to its best ability. As a general rule, we recommend only applying conditioner to your mid-lengths and ends, as for the majority of people these are the driest areas.

While it’s tempting to pile on the conditioner if your hair is dry or damaged, try not to overdo it, as it won’t actually provide any additional benefits. And in terms of how regularly you should use them, if your hair is super thick or coarse, you’ll need to condition more regularly than someone with fine or oily locks, so play it by ear and see what your hair responds best to.

3. Are there different types of conditioner?

How many types of conditioner have you tried? If you’ve only ever used the classic post-shampoo conditioners, then you might not know that hair conditioning products come in a variety of different forms to suit your hair’s individual needs. Here are the 3 most common types of hair conditioner:

Daily conditioners: These are the basic conditioners you’ll probably be most familiar with. Light enough to be used regularly (every day if needed), they help to protect the hair between washes and can be washed off straight away.

Dove Smoothing Ritual Conditioner is a great example of a good everyday conditioner, as it contains a pro-moisture complex to smooth the outside of the hair’s surface and leave it feeling touchably soft.

Best for: Everyone!

Deep conditioners: A more intensive version of your everyday conditioner, hair masks are a great way to give dry or damaged hair an extra boost of TLC. Use Suave Professionals Coconut Milk Infusion Intense Moisture Mask once a week and leave on for the instructed amount of time before rinsing.

This mask will penetrate deeper into the hair fiber than a regular conditioner, leaving your hair feeling especially soft and luscious. So close your eyes and you’ll soon be transported to the salon!

Best for: Dry and damaged hair (i.e. heat damaged or color processed hair)

Leave-in conditioners: Leave-in conditioners can be either light spray or rich lotion formats and, as the name suggests, they don’t need to be rinsed off after application, making them perfect for a post-shower boost of moisture or for on-the-go hydration.

Suave Professionals Honey Infusion 10-in-1 Leave-In Conditioner is infused with pure honey, to reduce frizz, tame flyaways and serve as a heat protectant.

Best for: Frizzy and Natural Hair