Hair Conditioner

Find the best conditioner for your hair type

Although modern hair conditioner didn't appear until the beginning of the 20th century, humans have been conditioning their hair for centuries. Traditionally, natural oils and plant extracts were used, many of which still figure prominently in today's conditioners -- for example, jojoba and olive oil.

With a wide range of conditioning products available in every supermarket, drugstore, and salon, it can take some time to find the best conditioner for your hair and your budget.

Volumizing Conditioner

For thin, fine, or curly hair, a volumizing conditioner adds moisture and smoothes hair follicles without weighing hair down. This keeps the hair from looking lank and lifeless. Instead, it has body, bounce, and shine.

Because it tends to add the appearance of bulk and depth to the hair, volumizing conditioner is sometimes called thickening conditioner. It is important to note, however, that the thickening occurs in appearance only---these conditioners do not actually make hair thicker or fuller. If your thin hair is the result of hair loss, you will need specially formulated hair loss shampoo and conditioner.

Volumizing conditioners come in two main types: regular (apply and rinse) and leave-in, often in the form of sprays. Many companies also offer volumizing or thickening styling products, such as mousses, gels, and hairsprays, as well as volumizing shampoos to complete the line.

Conditioner for Dry Hair

The most common reason to use a hair conditioner is to moisturize dry, damaged, frizzy hair. While a regular conditioner can go a long way to smoothing and softening coarse, dull hair, the best conditioner for dry hair is a deep conditioning treatment.

Unlike regular conditioners, deep conditioners are only used occasionally -- at most, once or twice a week, though some are only for bi-weekly or even monthly use. Most are also meant to be left on the hair for an extended period of time so that they can penetrate the scalp and bind to the hair to repair damage and protect hair from further damage caused by the blow dryer, curling iron, or flat iron.

Natural Conditioning Agents

Of course, just because conditioners now come in a bottle doesn't mean you can't go back to basics. If you want a natural conditioning agent, try these oldies but goodies:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Egg yolk
  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Honey

Most of these need to be left on for several minutes and then rinsed out with shampoo (just a small amount). To get rid of the mayonnaise smell, try rinsing with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water.