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Don’t Even Think About Conditioning Your Hair Again Until You’ve Read This

It’s peak conditioner season (read: winter), and for a seemingly simple staple product, the rules of conditioner can actually get kind of tricky. In fact, it seems it’s not as much of a staple as one might think—on a recent trip to freezing cold Quebec with Pantene, I was shocked (nay, bewildered) to find out that 55% of Canadian households don’t even purchase conditioner!

We sat down with Dr. Jeni Thomas, Principal Scientist for Pantene, to talk about some of the myths floating around about conditioner. Prepare for some jaw-dropping knowledge.

And if you happen to be part of the 55% of households that don’t “do” conditioner, we’ll kindly direct you here, because there’s a conditioner for everyone, even those who think they don’t need it.

Myth: You should rinse your hair with cold water to “lock in moisture”

“We’ve done some studies recently and seen that it’s actually better to rinse it in warm water. Conditioner needs water to help it release the things that need to be released and rinse away the things that don’t need to stay behind. Cold water doesn’t do that as well. The other issue if you only use cold water for the end rinse…there are minerals in water that aren’t as soluble in cold water. They can be deposited on your hair if you turn the water down. What may have been soluble and rinsed down the drain can now deposit on your hair and can have dulling effects.”

Myth: You should only use conditioner your ends

“To get the full protective benefits out of a conditioner, you’ll want to use it on as much of the lengths of your hair as possible. I’d stop shy of the scalp.”

Myth: Your hair gets “used to” a conditioner, so you should switch it up regularly

“I know people think that your hair gets used to a product, but from the technical side, there’s nothing to say your hair gets used to a conditioner. However, there can be changes that mean your hair’s needs have changed. Going from extreme dryness to high humidity, you might want to change your products because the world around you has changed. We also go through different life stages, like pregnancy, that warrant a change in product. You might have some internal issues that change your hair properties. That can call for a change. I look at it as understanding what your hair type is and what it needs and where you want to go with it. To me, that’s the biggest driver to change up your products or not.”

Myth: You should only use conditioner following shampoo

“Co-washing took off as a way to moisturize hair that tends to be really dry. What you once found just in certain aisles in the grocery store has really expanded to a lot of options. There’s a realization that for any curl pattern, there’s a lot of value and benefit to this. You get a little bit of cleansing through the like-dissolves-like approach. If you’re someone who isn’t using a lot of styling products or doesn’t have dirt and grime buildup on your hair, that can be enough if you just want to rebalance the oil on your hair and get some extra moisture. For someone with fine hair, they probably wouldn’t like the outcome. But for someone with a wave or curl, it’s a really good thing to do.”

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