The Ultimate Guide to Hair Conditioners: Everything You Need to Know

What is a Conditioner?

Essentially, a conditioner is a hair care product used after shampooing to nourish, hydrate, and soften the hair. It aids in detangling and facilitates combing by smoothing the hair's cuticle layer.

What is the Major Difference Between Shampoo and Conditioner?

It might seem obvious, but just to be sure... the major difference lies in their function; shampoo is designed to remove dirt and excess oil, while conditioner aims to hydrate, nourish, soften, smoothen, and protect the hair. Shampoo opens the hair cuticles to cleanse, while conditioner smooths the cuticle layer for a soft finish.

How Does a Conditioner Work and What Does it Do for Your Hair?

Conditioners contain ingredients like beneficial water-soluble silicones, oils, and moisturizers that create a thin 'film' over the hair. This film helps retain moisture, smoothes the hair, and reduces static electricity, making your hair soft and easy to comb and style. Additionally, it serves the function of providing protection against external damage such as pollution and heat.

Why Would You Use a Conditioner First and Then Shampoo?

This method, known as "conditioner-first washing," can help remove excess oil at the roots while keeping the lengths and ends hydrated. It's especially beneficial for people with fine hair that gets weighed down by conditioners.

What is a Good Conditioner?

A good conditioner is one that suits your hair type and needs. For dry hair, look for intensely hydrating formulas, while fine hair benefits from lightweight, volume-boosting conditioners.

What Does a Specific Curl Conditioner Do?

Specially designed for curly hair, a curl conditioner works intensively to provide hydration to the unique texture of curls. It also helps in defining curls, prevents frizz, and ensures the necessary nutrition to keep curly hair healthy and resilient.

What Happens If You Don't Use a Conditioner?

Without the use of conditioner, your hair can become dry, brittle, and difficult to manage. It lacks the nutrition and protection needed to stay healthy, which can lead to split ends and breakage. Many people sometimes skip using a conditioner, sometimes against better judgment. The effect of a conditioner's action is not to be underestimated. In the long term, it provides more protection, more shine, and better manageability.

How Often Should You Use a Conditioner?

The frequency of conditioner use depends on your hair type and condition. Generally, it's recommended to use it every time you wash your hair, but people with very fine or quickly greasing hair may choose to use it less frequently.

What Does Heleen Kibbelaar Say About a Conditioner?

Heleen Kibbelaar, a well-known and highly esteemed cosmetic scientist in the world of hair care and advisor to The Insiders, emphasizes the importance of choosing the right conditioner for your hair type. "A good conditioner can make the difference between dull and shiny hair," she says (quote), and encourages people to look for products specifically tailored to their hair needs. So, check the description on the packaging to see if the conditioner fits your hair needs before you buy it.

5 Top Tips from Andy Uffels

Andy Uffels, our founder and renowned hairstylist with a wealth of experience, shares his top five tips for getting the most out of your conditioner:

  • Choose the Right Formula: Like Heleen Kibbelaar, Andy stresses the importance of choosing the right conditioner for your hair type. "For curly hair, look for products rich in hydrating ingredients. Fine hair? Go for lightweight formulas that don’t weigh down. If the foundation is right (choose the right product), then the result will follow naturally."

  • Let It Work: "To fully benefit from your conditioner, let the product work for at least one to three minutes after you've thoroughly removed all shampoo residues. This gives the active ingredients time to penetrate deep into the hair shaft."

  • Focus on the Ends: Andy emphasizes the importance of applying conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of the hair, especially if you have finer hair. "These parts of your hair are older and more damaged than the roots and need extra nutrition and hydration. But for normal to thicker hair, I recommend you protect the entire hair and use it from the roots to the ends."

  • Create a DIY Hair Mask: "Mix your conditioner with natural oils such as coconut oil or argan oil for an intensely nourishing hair mask. Try our Go with the Glow Oil, it's perfect for this! Leave the mixture in for an hour, or for a deep treatment, overnight under a shower cap. This helps to deeply nourish and repair dry and damaged hair”.
  • Detangle Hair Without Rinsing: “For extremely dry or curly hair, a bit of conditioner diluted with water in a spray bottle can serve as a leave-in conditioner or detangling spray. This helps to control frizz and makes hair easier to manage throughout the day”.


Conditioner is an indispensable part of an effective hair care routine. It not only provides the necessary hydration and nutrition for your hair but also helps improve the overall texture, reduce frizz, and protect against daily damage. By choosing the right conditioner for your hair type and following the tips from experts, you can enjoy healthier, shinier hair that is easy to style.

Skipping conditioner can lead to a range of hair problems, including dryness, breakage, split ends, and a lack of shine. Whether you opt for traditional use after shampooing or try the "conditioner-first" method, regular use of a conditioner that matches your specific needs is essential.

Remember, the frequency of use and application method should be adapted to your individual hair type and condition. With the right care and attention, conditioner can make a fundamental difference in the health and appearance of your hair.

So, take the time to pamper your hair with the right conditioner, and watch as you transform your hair into the hair of your dreams. With this knowledge and tips from experts in hand, a 'great hair day' is within reach every day.

Andy Uffels, Founder van The Insiders
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