Whilst shampoos contain ingredients designed to lift dirt and build-up off your hair, conditioners contain ingredients designed to stick to it.
Once you have washed your hair and your hair is clean it will always need some "nutrition" to replace goodies that have been lost during the cleansing process.
This is why I think a proper cleanse with a shampoo is important: you don't want the conditioner sticking "the good stuff" on top of dirt. The conditioner won't do its work properly unless it's actually in contact with your hair.
So, How Do Conditioners Make The Ingredients Stick To Hair
Hair is negatively charged. So, positively charged ingredients stick to it and that is what a conditioner contains - positively charge ingredients called "cationic polymers" and "cationic quaternary compounds".
Remember that line from science that everyone seems to apply to everything including relationships, "opposites attract" - that's exactly waguan in this situation. The positively charged stuff in conditioner gets attracted to our negatively charged hair.
These positively charged ingredients are sooo attracted to hair that they stay stuck to it when you rinse out the conditioner. They are washed off the next time you shampoo your hair. This is why, as you know, I am anti co-wash only regimens.
Healthy natural hair has a pH of 4.0 to 5.5. Chemically treated and damaged hair has a high pH (i.e. it's less acidic, more alkaline) and it is even more negatively charged so positively charged conditioners are even more attracted to it. This is good because people with damaged and relaxed hair need the ingredients and protection of conditioners a lot more.
The positively charged ingredients in conditioner:
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward