4 Types of Conditioners

A woman applying hair conditioner to her wet hair

When it comes to hair care, people just think that having a lather of white fluffiness on their head will remove all contaminants from their scalp while providing their hair with the utmost nourishment it requires. This common misconception among the majority leads to damaged, broken, dry, and unhealthy hair. Moreover, many people are unaware of the fact that applying shampoo often to hair can strip away all the natural oils that are present in the hair, leaving your hair feeling rough and tangled.

On the other hand, there are a few individuals that are aware of the concept of hair conditioning. Despite this, they tend to choose the wrong hair conditioner. Believe it or not, is crucial for individuals to know the different types of conditioners so they can choose one that suits the requirements of their hair. An individual with thick hair will need a different kind of conditioner as compared to an individual with fine hair.

To make things easier, here is everything you could need to know about conditioners. Read this article thoroughly so you can get your hands on the right kind of hair conditioner that can hydrate your hair and educate yourself on how conditioning your hair is actually more beneficial than you could have imagined.

Difference between Shampoo and Conditioner

Bottle of shampoo and conditioner

The biggest difference between shampoo and conditioner is the purpose both these products are used for on the human head. Both shampoos and conditioners are used to make sure the hair is in good health, and it is manageable (free from tangles). For the individuals that are unaware of what the main purpose of these hair care products are, shampoos and conditioners seem like the same thing, which is why they do not bother using a conditioner. The common thought is that both will clean the hair while providing it with a refreshing scent.

Shampoos were introduced first to the hair care world. The main intent behind them was to take good care of human hair and make sure it was clean from any sort of debris and dirt. Later on, the same shampoo-making companies introduced conditioners. The reason why they created conditioners was so the hair could feel silky, soft, and smooth after washing it with shampoo.

Read on to grasp a better understanding of both these products.

What is Shampoo?

Woman applying shampoo

The purpose of a shampoo is much different than the purpose of a conditioner. A shampoo is supposed to clean the hair, that’s it. In other words, shampoos are used to do the outer cleansing of your scalp and hair. The ingredients that are used in shampoos are very similar to the ingredients used in soaps. The

commonly used ingredients in shampoos are glycol, sulfate, ammonium chloride, citric acid, panthenol, glycerin, and there are more. Glycol and sulfate are the most common and strongest chemicals in a shampoo, and sometimes they can cause irritations as well. This is why shampoos without sulfates are considered to being good shampoos.

Although the ingredients are quite similar, the ingredients used in shampoos are gentler compared to the ingredients in soaps. Shampoos make sure the outer protective layer of the hair does not get stripped away completely. To make this idea clearer and to notice a legitimate difference, try washing your hair with soap once. The hair becomes extremely rough and unmanageable.

The pH value of shampoo is kept at 5.5 with the help of the citric acid.

What is Conditioner?

Woman applying conditioner

The purpose of a conditioner is to make sure your clean –freshly shampooed- hair is smooth, soft, and easy to manage. Conditioners are meant to be extremely gentle for your hair as they contain proteins and moisturizers that should make your hair bouncy, voluminous, and healthy. This hair care product should have a lower pH level compared to shampoos. When compared to shampoos, conditioners work on the internal health of your hair, which is why they have lower pH levels so amino acids can be produced and improve the hair’s health (including outlook). Moreover, if you pay close attention, you will notice how conditioners do not create a thick lather as shampoos do.

Shampoo vs. Conditioners

Bottle of shampoo and conditioner


  • Shampoos only clean the hair and the scalp.
  • Conditioners are supposed to make clean hair smooth, soft, and manageable.

pH Levels

  • Conditioners should have a smaller pH level compared to shampoos, but both the products are acidic naturally.


  • Shampoos produce a thick lather because their sole aim is to clean the hair thoroughly. However, now more and more companies are producing sulfate-free shampoo that does not lather like traditional shampoo.
  • Conditioners do not produce any kind of lather as they are supposed to provide nourishment instead of cleaning the hair.


  • Sometimes, shampoos can be rough on the hair as they can strip away natural oils from your hair.
  • Conditioners are gentle on the hair as they provide moisture to the hair.

How to Use

  • Wash the roots of your hair with shampoo, massage it gently, and then rinse it off properly.
  • Conditioner should only be applied to the tips of your hair after the shampoo has been removed completely.


  • The ingredients that are commonly used in shampoos are glycol, sulfate, citric acid, glycerin, ammonium chloride, panthenol, and more. Glycol and sulfate are the strongest ingredients.
  • The commonly used ingredients in conditioners would be moisturizers, re-constructors that have hydrolyzed protein in them, lubricants, seed and nut oils, sunscreen, and more.

Types of Conditioners

Rinse out Conditioners

Woman rinsing out conditioner

Rinse out (also known as a rinse through) conditioners are the most common kind of conditioners. The application and rinsing process of a rinse-out conditioner is extremely as well. What you have to do is, apply a sufficient amount of conditioner to damp hair, leave it in for a few minutes, and then wash it out. The purpose of a rinse out product is to protect the hair cuticles while making them smooth and protecting them from heat damage. Ideally, a rinse-out conditioner can be used when you apply shampoo to your hair. This conditioner is the best choice for almost every hair type including, dry, normal, and oily hair.

Deep Conditioners

As the name suggests, a deep conditioner is meant to provide your hair with deeper conditioning compared to traditional conditioners. These conditioners are ideal for damaged and dry hair. The ingredients that are in deep conditioners are incorporated so they can lessen dryness and reverse the harsh effects of damage that has already been done to the hair. The common ingredients in deep conditioners would include emulsifiers, waxes, and oils. Keep in mind, deep conditioners are not the ideal choice for normal and oily hair as they can make these hair types greasier and weigh them down.

Deep conditioners are supposed to be applied to the hair and left in for at least 30 minutes. Once that time is over, the conditioner is supposed to be washed out of the hair properly. The hair shaft tends to get temporary conditioning, but for consistent and best results, deep condition the hair at least once a week or once a month. If you are thinking about changing the color of your hair, consider deep conditioning before.

Although, deep conditioning the hair can be a long, tedious task if you want your hair to look and feel good, go for it. It will make your dry, damaged hair look healthy while providing it with a natural shine.

Leave-in Conditioners

Hair styling with leave-in conditioner

Leave-in conditioners have a lighter weight, lesser viscosity, and thinner consistency compared to deep conditioners. The purpose of a leave-in conditioner is to work as a moisturizer so your hair is protected when the conditioner is applied. Leave-in conditioners have surfactants that form a layer of conditioner on the hair shaft that makes the hair soft. Moreover, this conditioner can be used as a styling product that you apply to the tips of your hair after showering. The great part about this conditioner is that is de-tangles hair without breaking the hair.

Unlike deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners are suitable for a variety of hair types including thin, curly, and oily hair.


Woman applying hair mask

A hair mask is a heavyweight, thick consistency, concentrated formula that provides hair with the utmost nourishment. The purpose of a hair mask is to deeply penetrate into the hair cuticles so protein and moisture can hydrate the hair. This hair conditioner has the most promising and long-lasting results. Since a hair mask provides the hair with the most serious moisture, it is highly recommended by hair experts for many reasons. The most basic ones being that it makes the hair shiny, radiant, and beautiful.

Depending on what type of hair you have, you can use a hair mask. Typically, applying it for 15 minutes is good, but if your hair is extremely damaged, then consider doing it for 20 minutes. Using it two times a week can rapidly improve the quality of your hair.

Choose According To the Type of Hair

Flat and Fine Hair

Girl with flat and fine hair

Use a volumizing conditioner on hair that is flat and fine. If you have been gifted with silky, non-frizzy, straight her, then the best option would be a conditioner that will add volume to your hair. If you use any other conditioner, it can weigh your hair down and not add the texture that your hair requires. The formula of a volumizing conditioner is much different than any other conditioner’s formula and it does not add weight to the hair.

  • If you have flat, fine hair, it is important for you to stay away from smoothening conditioners. This heavy hair product will make the hair flatter as it adds weight.

Wavy Hair

Woman with wavy hair

If you have wavy hair, opt for a light-weight conditioner. Wavy hair is a tricky hair type to work with because in the humid months the hair gets out of control frizzy, but during the colder months, it becomes dry and starts to limp. The curlier one strand of hair is, the dryer that strand will be. The reason for this is that it becomes hair for the natural oils to come all the way down to the tip of the hair. Even though wavy hair is not as dry as curly hair is, it can be hard to manage this hair as it does not get enough oil supply. On the other hand, this hair type can be flat also, which is why you need to make sure the conditioner you are using is not going to weight your hair down.

  • When you are looking for a conditioner for wavy hair, make sure it is specified with “for wavy hair.”

Thick and Curly Hair

Woman with thick and wavy hair

For thick, curly hair, you need to use a deeply hydrating conditioner or a hair mask. As mentioned before, the curlier the hair is, the drier it will be so you need to take care of it accordingly. Since there will be no oil or moisture in your hair, your hair will begin to look dull and frizzy. If you have curly and thick hair,

it is important for you to undergo serious deep hair conditioning so your hair can feel and look alive.

  • Go on a conditioner hunt and only look for the ones that are labeled as “deep conditioning” or “for curly hair.”
  • Consider using leave-in conditioners that you can use on a weekly basis or every other week. If you use a leave-in conditioner, you will immediately notice how your hair is less frizzy and more manageable; each curl will look more defined and neat.
  • You can get your hands on a leave-in conditioner spray so you can apply it to your hair when it is damp or when you are styling your hair.

African American Curls

Woman with African American curls

If you have intense African American curls, you need to get your hands on oil-based products or hair masks. Because African American curls are so intense, they are often referred to as “kinky curls” or “stubborn curls.” Luckily, with the right hair styling products, it is possible to make this curly hair healthy and shiny. There are hair care products that are made just for this kind of hair.

  • Look for products that have different oils in them. These oils could vary from an affordable coconut oil concoction to grabbing high-end Moroccan argan oil
  • African American curls should not get shampooed often. They should be shampooed after every 7 to 10 days. If this type of hair is shampooed on a regular basis, it will strip away all the natural oils leading to drier hair.

Why Applying Conditioner Is Important

Easy To Manage and Untangled Hair at All Times

Woman brushing hair

No matter what your hair is like (dry or wet); if you have used the right conditioner on your hair, it will be easy to comb. A conditioner makes it easy for your comb to glide through your hair without causing any damage, breakage, or friction. Moreover, it will make sure your hair under your control.

Hair Will Feel Softer, Smoother, and Look Shinier

Woman with healthy hair

Conditioners have ingredients (like natural oils) that make the hair softer, smoother and give it a silky shine. Moreover, this hair care product is stocked up on emollients that make the hair soft and manageable.

Revive Your Hair with the Moisture It Needs

Woman with healthy, hydrated hair

If your hair feels too dry, all you need to do is apply conditioner. Conditioner provides your hair with a coating of moisture that will retain the lost moisture. This way your hair will not feel irritating and it will feel extra healthy.

No More Static Hair

Static female hair

As the dry, winter months approach, the dry air begins to negatively impact your hair. With static electricity flowing in your hair, your hair can become a mess and uncontrollable. Luckily, just by applying conditioner, it is possible for you to hydrate your hair and reduce the static electricity that is ruining your hair.

Protection against Damage

llustration of protection against damage

As mentioned before, applying conditioner to your hair will protect your hair from damage. Whether it is protecting your hair from the harmful rays of the sun or from styling equipment, a layer of conditioner will make sure your hair does not get affected in any way. Moreover, conditioner makes sure your hair is guarded against the damages caused by towel drying your hair.


These are the types of conditioners every individual should be aware of. Just by choosing the right conditioner, it is possible to make sure your hair stays in control and is easy to manage. Adding the right conditioner to your hair care routine is quite rewarding as well. Apart from giving your hair a healthy look, you will make sure your hair is smooth and shiny. Now that you have gained a good amount of knowledge related to types of hair conditioners, make sure you get your hands on the right one.

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