What Type of Conditioner is Appropriate to Use?
1. An "instant conditioner" is one that coats the hair and gives it body and shine.
Instant conditioners flatten the raised cuticle, make the hair soft and manageable,
and help protect the inner structure of the hair shaft from damage by acting as a
barrier. This type of conditioner should be used whenever the hair is washed.
When choosing an instant conditioner, look for ones that contain some
combination of such ingredients as lanolin, cholesterol, sulfonated oil, vegetable
oil, proteins and polymers.
2. Instant conditioners come in "rinse out" forms as well as "leave in" forms. Either
is acceptable, and can be tried based on the needs you see in your child's hair.
Using a leave-in conditioner after washing helps when combing through hair and
blow-drying with an attachment. It can also help protect hair from heat of blow drying.
3. The only caution with a "leave-in" conditioner is that curly hair that is silkier or
finer in texture may be left with a film or residue if the leave-in conditioner is too
heavy for the texture type. In this case, rinsing it out is advised. A light leave-in
conditioner that is in the form of a spray can be used afterwards before
brushing/styling the hair.
4. A "penetrating conditioner" is a deeper conditioner that is absorbed into the hair
and improves the appearance of the hair. They are made from animal proteins
and keratin. This type of conditioner should be used at each wash if a child's hair
is damaged (e.g. ends are split, growth is uneven, hair is exposed to chlorine,
colored, etc) or if the scalp looks very dry. If a child's hair is not damaged, this
type of conditioner is good to use once a month. Allowing a penetrating
conditioner to stay in the hair for at least 15 minutes before rinsing it out is often
beneficial. Another technique to get the most value out of such a conditioner is to
apply the conditioner and then wrap a moist warm towel or plastic shower cap
around the hair for at least 15 minutes. Afterwards, rinse thoroughly until the
water runs clear.
What's the Best Way to Apply Conditioner?
1. After shampooing the hair and rinsing it thoroughly, gently squeeze all of the
excess water from the hair. Section the hair, and add about a handful of
conditioner to the palm of your hand and massage the conditioner through. A
wide-tooth comb is an excellent tool to use to work conditioner through the hair.
You can also use the fingertips to do this.
2. Give special attention to working conditioner through to the ends of the hair, as
the ends tend to be the driest part of the hair and the most prone to tangling and
3. Rinse (or leave on if you've used a "leave-in" conditioner) and then comb out and
twist the hair into 6 to 15 sections depending on how thick and long the hair is.