Hair conditioner is said to have been around for more than 100 years. At a World Expo that was held in Paris, France in the 1900’s, a certain perfumer and entrepreneur named Ed Pinaud showcased a new product that was intended to make mustaches and beards soft and smooth. Later on, this formulation was developed and soon used on women hair.
What does conditioner do for hair? As mentioned before, it makes unmanageable hair softer, smoother, and easier to control. But what is the mechanism behind this effect of conditioner on your lovely tresses? Before you get into the mechanism of hair conditioner, first have a look at each hair strand up close.
The coating of your hair strands is made up of a protein called keratin. Layers of keratin overlap each other, such that they look like fish scales or roof shingles. When hair is damaged or dry, the keratin appears very bristly, causing strands to easily get tangled up. Imagine how the rough ends of Velcro attach to each other. That is how you get mussed up hair.
Now, this is where hair conditioner comes into play. The pH of hair conditioner is slightly acidic, which means that it contains many hydrogen atoms. When they come in contact with the keratin on the hair surface, hydrogen bonds are formed, causing the shingles to flatten out and smoothen.
No longer is there a scaly or bristly appearance on the surface of hair strands. In this same manner, hair is untangled, leaving is smooth and soft at the same time. This is why hair becomes easier to brush after applying conditioner.
However, hair conditioner does more than just improve the texture of each hair strand. This hair product also is significant in maintaining the health of your tresses and your scalp. Because conditioners also contain moisturizers, the skin on your scalp becomes healthier and more nourished. When the scalp is healthy, good hair growth is achieved as well.
How do you use hair conditioner? After shampooing, wring out the excess water from your hair, and apply your conditioner while massaging your scalp. This also improves blood circulation in this part of your body. When done, rinse off the conditioner and towel try your hair. There are certain treatments that require conditioner to incubate on the hair to help penetrate it better, an example of which is deep hair conditioning.