Woman shampooing her hair

Ahh gorgeous, healthy locks! Everyone wants great hair, but the steps to get it can be confusing, especially when it comes to knowing how to use conditioner.

The reality is there’s so much conflicting information about using conditioner that finding the right hair care routine can be a challenge.

Have you ever wondered — Why is conditioner a shower-time essential? How often should you do the conditioning ritual? And what’s the right way to apply it?

If you’ve been asking yourself these questions, you’re in the right place. We’ll cover all of it! First, let’s talk about why you need conditioner.

Why Conditioner Is Essential For Healthy Hair

Most people condition their hair without thinking twice about it. It’s just a part of their hygiene routine. But have you ever stopped to think about why conditioner is needed?

Believe it or not, shampoo is one of the main reasons that conditioner is essential. While shampoo is necessary to get the dirt, sweat, grime, and leftover hair products off of your scalp and hair, it also removes something called sebum.

Sebum is a good kind of oil that your scalp produces to keep your hair soft, strong, and shiny. In the process of getting your hair clean, your shampoo removes the sebum that hydrates your hair, which can make it dry.

woman flipping her hair after learning how to use conditioner

That’s where conditioner comes in! It replaces moisturization and provides a protective layer for your hair shaft, keeping your hair shiny, strong, healthy, and manageable.

There are a few different types of conditioners to meet different hair needs: rinse-out conditioner (what you normally use in the shower), leave-in conditioner (usually a spray that you use after the shower or on dry hair), and deep conditioners (a cream that sits in your hair for up to 30 minutes).

We’ll focus on rinse-out conditioner since it’s what most people use daily and where most of the confusion lies.

Now that you know why you need conditioner, the next question is how often to use it!

How Often Should You Use Conditioner?

Since conditioner provides the protection and moisturization that your hair needs after shampooing, the best guideline is this: you should condition your hair at least every time you shampoo.

As a general rule, you shouldn’t shampoo without conditioning, but you can condition your hair without shampooing it. Let us explain.

woman happy with freshly conditioned hair

Hair comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors: wavy, kinky, straight, thick, thin, dyed, and natural!

Each person’s head of hair is different and needs different care. Shampoo only as often as your hair and scalp need it since shampooing too often will just dry it out.

So, shampoo your hair only when it needs it, and use conditioner every time you shampoo. But, if your hair needs even more moisturization, give it what it wants!

In that case, you can condition your hair even on the days you don’t shampoo it.

If your hair is treated, damaged (from chlorine, for example), dry, curly, or thick, you may find that it needs to be conditioned in-between shampoo days.

You’re the best judge of whether or not that works for you. If using conditioner frequently makes you feel weighed down, stick with conditioning only when you wash your hair.

Similarly, if you have thin, fine hair that tends to get oily, conditioning your hair left and right probably won’t serve you very well. You’ll probably only need to condition your hair when you shampoo.

woman in shower learned how to use conditioner

Speaking of cleaning your hair, keep in mind that shampoos filled with harsh, synthetic chemicals are especially drying on your hair.

Opt for a sulfate-free, hypoallergenic shampoo to gently but effectively cleanse your scalp without irritating and drying ingredients.

Before we get into how to use conditioner the right way, it’s first important to talk about some common mistakes many people make.

Common Mistakes People Make When Using Conditioner

1) Using Too Much Of It

Woman washing her hair in the shower

By now you know all the incredible benefits of using conditioner. And because of this, you just want a little more than the recommended amount on the bottle because more is more, right?

Well, not quite. For instance, if you have thin hair, then too much conditioner can leave your hair looking weighed down and unhealthy. Of course, that’s not the look we’re going for!

With conditioner, it’s important to apply the right amount — not too much and definitely not too little. For most hair types, this means 2 quarter-sized gallops of product to get your hair the moisture it needs to look and feel healthy.

If you have thicker hair that naturally absorbs product, you may want to increase the amount a little to ensure that every strand of hair gets the moisture it needs.

2) Not Pairing The Conditioner With Its Shampoo

One mistake we often see people make is opting not to pair the conditioner they use with its matching shampoo.

At first, this might not seem like a big deal — if the shampoo is for cleaning your scalp and the conditioner helps to add moisture and health back into your hair, does it really matter that they aren’t from the same line?

The best way to understand the importance of pairing conditioner and shampoo is to think about how we purchase skincare products.

If you have oily skin, you’ll look for cleansers, toners, and moisturizers that are specifically formulated for oily skin. The same goes for dry and combination skin.

Pairing your conditioner with its shampoo is essential because when the product developers formulated the items, they created them to be used as a pair, which makes them more effective.

So, using different products from different lines can result in you not getting the most out of your shampoo and conditioning hair care routine.

3) Putting The Conditioner On Roots

Woman washing hair wondering how to use conditioner properly

We highlighted earlier the importance of using conditioner on your hair strands and not your scalp or roots. Unfortunately, this is a common mistake because people aren’t always clear on why they need conditioner.

The thought is — if the conditioner is good for hair, surely it can’t be a problem to use it on roots?

When you understand that your hair strands and ends tend to be drier and conditioner helps to restore moisture to this area, you’ll understand that your hair strands need the conditioner, not your roots or scalp.

In addition, applying your conditioner onto your roots may leave them looking oily or greasy, which is not what you want when you’ve just shampooed your hair!

4) Not Being Consistent Enough

As we’ve mentioned a couple of times, we strongly recommend using a conditioner after every shampoo session. If you don’t shampoo your hair every day, does this mean you should skip conditioning as well?

Not necessarily! You can still use conditioner on your non-shampoo days to ensure that your hair continues getting the hydration it needs to look healthy and strong.

But sometimes, life happens. You’re running late for work and you just have a few minutes to get ready, or you have other important things to do and waiting around in the shower for a few extra minutes is just not an option.

While life can be unpredictable at times, it’s essential not to make skipping conditioner a habit. If you’re running out of time, the best solution is to opt for a leave-in conditioner that you don’t have to rinse out after applying.

Mom with child on bed with large dream catcher on wall

In addition to running out of time in the morning, maybe you feel you don’t need conditioner because of your hair type.

Some people skip conditioners completely because they believe they don’t need them.

Maybe you have oily roots that naturally absorb products and you believe adding more moisture isn’t a good idea. So, you decide that conditioning isn’t going to be a part of your routine.

No matter the type of hair you have, the solution can’t be to skip conditioner altogether. Remember, not conditioning your hair may leave it frail and lifeless.

Instead, consider the type of products you’re using. If oily roots are your challenge, then avoid products that have silicone in them as this ingredient is usually greasy and will make your hair feel heavy and uncomfortable.

5) Not Rinsing It Out Properly

Not thoroughly rinsing out conditioner is, unfortunately, all too common. Since this is usually the last step before you get out of the shower, you might not take the time needed to rinse the conditioner out properly.

Remember that conditioners have lots of moisture in them! If you don’t rinse your conditioner out properly and leave the shower with the residue still in your hair, your hair might end up looking greasy.

So, although you might be running late, just a few more seconds under the faucet will do you and your hair good!

Keeping all of that in mind, here are our nine tips on how to use conditioner correctly!

How To Use Conditioner Correctly

1) Choose A Safe Conditioner

Your conditioner-applying technique can be flawless, but if your conditioner doesn’t jive with your skin and your hair, it’s no good.

Choose a conditioner that will detangle and smooth your hair naturally, without irritating your skin or layering on harmful chemicals.

Babo Botanicals’s Moisturizing Baby Conditioner contains organic calendula and colloidal oatmeal to nourish, hydrate, and condition hair, plus organic virgin coconut oil to leave hair soft, smooth, and extra shiny.

Babo Botanicals’s Moisturizing Baby Conditioner

Plus, it’s free of most common allergens as well as sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances.

Hint: It’s not just for babies!

2) Try Conditioning First

If you’ve heard about women who condition their hair before shampooing, it’s true! Some are conditioning their hair first to protect it from the drying effects of their shampoo.

This method might be especially helpful for women with fine hair. If your hair is thicker, it may work well to prime your hair with conditioner, shampoo it, and then re-condition your hair after.

You won’t know what works best on your hair until you try it!

3) Wring Your Hair Out

After rinsing your shampoo out — or after wetting your hair if you’re conditioning first or skipping the shampoo altogether — carefully wring your hair out before applying conditioner.

If you don’t squeeze the excess water out of your hair, it will dilute your conditioner and allow it to run off your hair rather than staying put and doing its job!

4) Apply Conditioner To The Ends Only

Your hair, not your scalp, needs to be conditioned! Shampoo is for your scalp and conditioner is for your hair.

Regarding shampoo, the American Academy of Dermatology says to “concentrate on cleaning primarily the scalp, rather than washing the entire length of hair. Washing only your hair can create flyaway hair that is dull and coarse.”

And, since conditioner tends to weigh hair down (especially fine hair!), they recommend to only use it “on the tips of the hair and not on the scalp or length of the hair.”

If you have long hair, try conditioning the bottom half of it.

5) Work It Through Your Hair

With your fingers or a wide-toothed comb, work the conditioner through your hair to make sure there is no hair left behind. Be gentle when you do this — hair is more prone to breaking when it is wet.

Woman conditioning hair

6) Let It Sit

Good things take time, right? Letting your conditioner sit doesn’t take much time, but you do need to be patient enough to let it work its magic. Don’t cut corners here!

Check your conditioner bottle for the recommended time. Most rinse-out conditioners require between one and three minutes to do their job.

Maximize your time in the shower by scrubbing your body while you’re waiting on your conditioner. Make this shower routine skin-safe and earth-friendly by using Babo Botanicals’s Sensitive Skin Fragrance Free Hydra Therapy Face & Body Wash.

Babo Botanicals’s Sensitive Skin Fragrance Free Hydra Therapy Face & Body Wash.

Our EWG-Verified formula is made with natural plant-based ingredients to cleanse and soothe your skin. With no fragrance, gluten, soy, dairy, parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, or sulfates, this face and body wash is great for those with sensitive skin or eczema!

Woman in bathtub wondering how to use conditioner

 

7) Rinse Your Hair

After your conditioner has had enough time to soak, rinse your hair thoroughly. Don’t rush this, either! Your conditioner has done its job and it’s time to rinse it away.

If you have thick, coarse hair, you can get away with leaving a bit of product in. But, if your hair is fine, you’ll want to rinse and rinse again!

8) Condition Your Hair Before Swimming

Swimming is a great way to let your hair down and connect with some family and friends!

While it might be a fun social activity, unfortunately, the chlorine from pools strips both your skin and hair from the natural oils that keep you looking good.

The chemicals in a swimming pool can be quite drying and irritating to your hair. Conditioner to the rescue!

Condition your hair before hopping into the pool. This provides your tresses with a protective coating, keeping moisture in and warding off the chemicals and dryness.

Two kids at the pool with all Babo Botanicals baby products

 

9) Try Leave-In Conditioner

We’ve talked mostly about rinse-off conditioners, but earlier we mentioned another type that’s another great option: leave-in conditioner.

Leave-in conditioner can stand alone and serve as your only conditioner. Simply spray it in your hair as needed after showering.

Or, if your hair needs an extra boost of hydration, use a leave-in conditioner in addition to your routine of conditioning your hair in the shower.

Most leave-in conditioners come in an easy-to-apply spray, and Babo Botanicals’s is no different! Spray our Smoothing Detangling Spray on damp or dry hair to detangle and smooth your hair.

Consider using it after showering to work out the last tangles, in the morning to smooth bed head or cowlicks, and any time in-between to revive tired curls.

Conditioner FAQs

1) What If I Leave My Conditioner In For Too Long?

Woman after shower wondering how to use conditioner correctly

Usually, leaving your conditioner in for an extra minute or two won’t do much harm. However, if you let it sit in your hair for too long, you run the risk of the conditioner weighing your hair down.

As explained above, your hair will also start to look greasy, oily, or just unclean. Play it safe by always reading the instructions on the back of the container and following them as best as you can.

2) What Will Happen To My Hair If I Stop Using Conditioner?

Well, first, it’s not going to look or feel very healthy!
Remember that every time you shampoo your hair, you’re not just cleaning it.

Unfortunately, you’re also losing essential oils and minerals that help to give your hair a healthy look.

Conditioner helps to restore this lost moisture. So, if you skip conditioning entirely, your hair will continue to lose those essential nutrients and eventually become brittle, dull, and extremely damaged.

From here, it will be challenging to get your hair back to its healthy state. You might even need to do the big chop.

Avoid all this unnecessary stress by sticking to a consistent shampoo and conditioner routine. Your hair will love you for it!

3) Are There Any Side Effects Of Using Conditioner?

Sometimes hair products contain ingredients that are too harsh for our scalp, hair, and skin. That’s why it’s essential to always ensure that the products we use are made from the right ingredients that are gentle and nourishing.

For instance, our Moisturizing Conditioner is made from all organic ingredients and is safe enough for the whole family to use! With this product, you won’t have to worry about damaging your scalp, hair, or skin.

Having said that, if you have acne-prone skin, loose hair with lots of product in your face is just a recipe for disaster. The best solution may be to pull your hair up with a claw or hair clip while you wait for the conditioner to do its magic.

Say Hello To Smooth, Healthy Hair

Woman outside happy she learned how to use conditioner properly

Using conditioner on your hair isn’t just cosmetic. It keeps your locks shiny and smooth, but it also does the important work of hydrating your hair and providing a protective barrier after shampooing.

Get to know your hair and learn how often you need to shampoo, making sure that you condition every time.

Part of the conditioning process is also making sure that you use the right products on your hair. Natural and organic products that are free from harmful chemicals are the best way to make sure your hair grows healthy and strong!

Start by choosing a good conditioner — like our Moisturizing Conditioner — that’s free from ingredients such as gluten, silicone, dairy, and sulfates, then follow the tips above to get the most out of it!

Your hair will thank you, and in no time, you’ll start enjoying healthy, smooth, shiny hair!

For more on healthy hair and skincare tips for you and your whole family, head over to our blog!