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How to Use Conditioner Properly for Healthy Hair

This must-have in hair care won’t do you any good if you’re using it improperly.
December 05, 2023

Shampoo and conditioner
are two basic hair care products that anyone with hair — and even those with shaved heads — has used at least once. It’s an essential part of taking care of your hair, cleansing and nourishing your mane. However, you may be surprised to find that you don’t have the basics as down pat as you thought you did and that you’re not using one hair care product — hair conditioner — as effectively as you could. 

It might seem simple enough, but there are several conditioner mistakes that you could be making that are affecting your overall hair health. Keep reading to discover the common hair conditioner mistakes you may be making and how to use conditioner the right way. 

What Does Conditioner Do?

Since shampoo cleans your hair and helps remove the buildup of product, oils and impurities, conditioning is important for adding moisture back into the hair. Conditioner restores hydration to your strands — particularly your ends, which tend to get the most dry — as well as smooth your mane. It’s a commonly used product that all hair types can benefit from and should have in a hair care routine. The benefits and uses of your conditioner will vary based on the specific product you’re using. 

Some conditioners like L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Conditioner, Paraben-Free are made specifically to hydrate hair and pump it with lasting moisture while others like L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Restoring Conditioner with Antioxidants are made to add moisture after using a clarifying shampoo. The options are endless, but for the most part, the main point of a hair conditioner is to hydrate hair and minimize damage. 

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How to Choose a Conditioner for Your Hair

Take a look at the status of your hair to determine what type of conditioner you should use. There are options based on your hair thickness, curl pattern, hair color and damage level (if you have hair damage) to provide the best benefits for your hair. And if you pick one of the many options from L’Oréal Paris, you can get a matching shampoo for the ultimate in-shower routine. Check out a few suggestions for your specific hair type below. 

If you have processed or damaged hair try L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Bond Repair Shampoo with Citric Acid and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Bond Repair Conditioner with Citric Acid which are both formulated with citric acid to strengthen damaged hair bonds that come as a result of bleaching or heat styling. 

If you have color-treated hair, reach for a sulfate-free formula that gently cleanses and nourishes the hair without stripping it of the natural oils it needs to stay healthy. To keep your color-treated hair looking shiny and fresh use L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Glossing Shampoo, pH Balanced and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Glossing Conditioner, pH Balanced. Both formulas are crafted with UV filters to protect hair color from fading while the glossing conditioner leaves hair shiny and silky.

For a cleansing experience that feels like a daily luxury, reach for L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Simply Clean Shampoo with Essential Oil and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Simply Clean Conditioner with Essential Oil. The dye-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, vegan formula for both is perfect for all hair types and textures.

If you have wavy, curly or coily hair try L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Push Shampoo and L'Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Seal Conditioner, which re-nourishes and redefines curls while adding moisture with hydrating hyaluronic acid.   

4 Common Conditioner Mistakes to Avoid

Below, learn more about four bad conditioner habits you won’t want to make if your goal is healthy hair. 


You’re Applying Hair Conditioners from Root to Tip

It’s a good idea to apply conditioner only where it’s needed the most, for example, your mid-lengths to your ends since this part of your hair tends to be drier. Applying conditioner at the roots can weigh down your hair and cause your roots to appear greasy, even right after you’ve washed your hair. To avoid both, it’s best to only apply conditioner on your lengths and ends.

You’re Not Leaving Hair Conditioners on Long Enough

If you apply your conditioner only to rinse it off immediately, you may not be reaping all of its benefits. Typically, you’ll want to leave the conditioner on for the amount of time listed in the directions on the packaging, which is usually between one and five minutes — just enough time to detangle your hair

You’re Using Too Much or Too Little

When it comes to conditioner, less is definitely more — especially if you have fine hair. When you use too much, it can potentially make your hair look weighed down. A good rule of thumb is to use one or two quarter-sized dollops of conditioner, depending on the thickness and length of your hair. When in doubt, check the product packaging for the recommended usage amount before you get started.

You’re Not Conditioning Regularly

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), for the healthiest hair, you should always condition your hair after washing it with shampoo. But what about the other times? Unlike shampoo, hair conditioners can be used more frequently to keep constant moisture and nourishment in your hair. Depending on your hair type and how oily it gets, you may only shampoo two to three times a week or even once a week. 

You can (and should) still condition your hair more regularly to replenish lost nutrients. If you have dry hair you can use an in-shower hair conditioner every day if desired, or use a leave-in conditioner like L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Leave-in Conditioner on damp hair when you don’t have time to hop in the shower. 

How to Properly Apply Conditioner

Just as you shouldn’t skip out on moisturizing after cleansing your skin, you shouldn’t complete your hair care routine without using conditioner. Whether you have color-treated hair, frizzy hair, or find yourself heat-styling your hair often, using conditioner is key to healthy hair. But using it right is just as important as having the right formula for your hair needs. Adopt these steps below to ensure that you are making the most of your conditioner.  

1. Wash Your Hair With Shampoo

Pick your shampoo of choice and lather a quarter-sized amount (use more if needed) on your scalp before rinsing with warm water. If you’re picking up one of the many nourishing shampoos from L’Oréal Paris, follow up with the conditioner from the same system for the ultimate in-shower routine. 

2. Apply Your Conditioner

Pour a quarter-sized amount of conditioner into your hands and coat your strands from the mid-length to the ends with your hair conditioner of choice. If you have thick hair, curly hair or extra long lengths, consider sectioning your hair in the shower before applying conditioner to make sure you’re entire mane (except the roots) is coated in the hair conditioner. 

3. Gently Detangle Your Mane

While the conditioner is sitting on your hair, take the time to detangle your mane free of knots or clumped hair pieces that may lead to more tangles and eventual breakage. Try and use your fingers to gently detangle your mane without ripping at hair or creating a lot of tension. If you have curly or kinky hair, opt for a detangling brush or wet brush that is designed to remove knots while the hair is wet. 

4. Let it Sit on Your Hair

Always follow the directed instructions to determine how long you should leave the conditioner on your hair. As stated earlier you’ll want to leave the product on your hair for at least one to three minutes. You don’t need to count in your head or set a timer to keep track of time. Simply continue with your body care or skin care routine in the shower and come back to rinse. 

5. Rinse With Warm Water

After the allotted time thoroughly rinse out your hair conditioner with warm water. Make sure you rinse all the product out to avoid product buildup that may leave your hair feeling greasy or weigh down strands.

6. Finish With an In-Shower Treatment

Depending on your hair needs, finish your in-shower routine with a hair treatment to continue adding hydration, shine or even color. Hair masks, deep conditioners, glossing treatments and any other type of hair care should be added after conditioning according to the specific direction. 

If you’re dealing with dull, lackluster hair try a glossing treatment like L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Glossing In Shower Acidic Glaze. This hair lamination treatment is best used two to three times a week and should be applied after using the shampoo and conditioner from the same system. The results are intensified shine and silky, smooth hair. 

Another excellent hair treatment option for all hair types is L’Oréal Paris Total Repair 5 Power Restore Multi-Use Treatment, which you can add to your hair after shampooing and conditioning. Let this deep conditioner sit on your hair for one to five minutes (depending on how damaged your hair is) to repair deep with the added protein for strengthened, healthy hair. 

Can You Use Conditioner Before or After Shampoo?

Sure, you know the order is often shampoo and then conditioner, but a reverse hair-washing method could also be beneficial. There are times when you may want to use conditioner before shampoo — giving your hair much-needed hydration before you cleanse and avoiding any product weigh-down from your conditioner. For the most part, you’ll want to shampoo your hair first and then add conditioner. 

If you need added moisture and maybe some detangling before you add shampoo, try a pre-shampoo treatment like L’Oréal Paris EverPure Bond Strengthening Pre-Shampoo Treatment. This pre-poo treatment penetrates the hair strand to infuse it with citric acid, repairing hair from within. Try it before your regular shampoo and conditioner, or use it in a complete hair bonding system with EverPure Sulfate Free Bond Repair Shampoo with Citric Acid and EverPure Sulfate Free Bond Repair Conditioner with Citric Acid.

Next: How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn

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