This slightly more scientific explanation that I discovered a while ago actually opened my eyes to how conditioners work A LOT. Basically, healthy hair's outer surface has a thin layer of fat. Conditioners contain some ingredients that are supposed to coat hair to make it look healthier and more shiny and those ingredients get washed off the next time you shampoo.
Now, when hair gets damaged, this fatty layer gets eroded and the layer that is exposed is water-loving (hydrophilic). In order for shine-boosting ingredients and other hair "goodies" to get latched on to hair they need to be water loving too.
Hair conditioner for damaged hair has more water-loving ingredients and ordinary deep condioner for healthy hair has more fat-loving ingredients.
This is an important distinction because if your hair is healthy a damaged hair conditioner isn't going to do much for you (there are fewer fat-loving ingredients) and if your hair is damaged you're pretty much wasting time with an ordinary conditioner because they don't contain the water-loving ingredients you need.
Water-soluble ingredients (great for damaged hair) include hydrolyzed proteins and panthenol.
To reduce the chances of getting hair damage you not only need to condition hair regularly but you need to condition with the right conditioner!
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward