The Salon
Serving Westchester for over 20 Yrs
Scarsdale, Bronxville, Eastchester, Larchmont, White Plains
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(914) 412-2812

What's in Hair Conditioners?


Everybody realizes that it's important to condition their hair after shampooing, but few people realize what's in their conditioner. Many inexpensive conditioners use cheap chemicals that can make the hair look limp or dry. Others are loaded with fillers and water that give the liquid body, but do nothing for your hair. Most conditioners have the following ingredients:


Moisturizers. These contain humectants which hold moisture in the hair.

Reconstructors. Are filled with hydrolyzed protein which penetrate the hair and strengthen its structure through polymer crosslinking.

Acidifiers. These compounds maintain the conditioner's pH at about 3.5. In contact with acidic environment, the hair's somewhat scaly surface tightens up, as the hydrogen bonds between the keratin molecules are strengthened.

Detanglers. Modify the hair surface by coating it with polymers, as glossers.

Thermal protectors.  Heat-absorbing polymers which shield the hair against excessive heat, that is most commonly caused by blow drying, curling irons or hot rollers.

Glossers. Light-reflecting chemicals which bind to the hair surface. Usually polymers or silicones made from dimethicone or cyclomethicone.

Oils. Which help dry/porous hair become more soft and pliable. The scalp produces a natural oil called sebum. These Essential Fatty Acids, or EFAs are the closest thing to natural sebum (sebum contains EFAs).

Surfactants. Hair contains a protein called keratin, which is filled with negatively-charged amino acids. Hair conditioners have cationic surfactants, which don't wash out completely, because their hydrophilic ends strongly bind to keratin. The hydrophobic ends of the surfactant molecules then act as the new hair surface.

Lubricants. Such as fatty alcohols, panthenol, dimethicone, etc.

Sequestrants. To help the conditioner function better in hard water.

Antistatic agents. To reduce static in the hair.

Preservatives. To ensure the life of the product.

What do Conditioners do?


Conditioners tame your hair, keep your strands healthy and help make it more manageable. They add moisture and give shine, spring and intensity. Not conditioning your hair after washing is like not adding fabric softener to the wash.  No matter what your hair texture is, or whether your hair is healthy or not, you need to condition.

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No Need to Go Overboard

While you don’t have to purchase the most expensive conditioner on the market, you want to avoid those cheap products that contain industrial-strength chemicals. Ideally, you should choose a product that contains as many natural ingredients as possible. These include essentials oils, jojoba, avocados or shea butter. Condition every time you wash your hair.

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Added Benefits

Some conditioners add volume to limp hair. Volumizing moisturizers layer the strands with protein, making them appear smoother and add luster. If you color your hair, you should definitely conditioning regularly as color dries your hair and makes it more brittle.

How to Condition Properly

After washing your hair, squeeze the excess water from your hair. Apply conditioner to your hair. Start with your ends, and don’t apply directly to your scalp. A couple of minutes later, remove the conditioner from your hair.