The Beauty Diary by Rebekah Scanlan: Correct way to use conditioner
Showers. We take them daily, unless you’re totally gross but we’re not here to discuss your hygiene habits. It’s your haircare ones I’m worried about.
Chances are you’re making a major mistake when you step under that stream of warm, inviting water and giving your tresses a wash. So brace yourselves people as what I’m about to say next is going to surprise you — it totally shocked me.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told to only apply conditioner to the mid-tips of my hair. In fact, a quick Google on “how to condition my hair properly” will bring back hundreds of results telling you the same thing.
“Do not apply conditioner to your scalp,” they all read, rather terrifyingly.
But Anthony Nader from RAW in Surry Hills — a renowned Australian hairstylist with over 30 years experience — told The Beauty Diary it is just one great big fat fib.
“The conditioning process can be complex, which is what has created confusion here, because you need to understand what your hair texture is to prescribe the right conditioner for you,” Anthony said.
This step in haircare is specifically to help behaviour and longevity, he said, adding most people want to “last the distance” between washes.
“The biggest myth is that when you apply the conditioner to your roots that you are automatically weighing them down,” he said, explaining the entire hair strand — root, mid and tip — is made from the same core ingredients, the cortex, how the protein particles that make up the hair is held together, the cuticle, which is the outside coating we all see, and the medulla which is an empty section in the centre of each strand that helps insulate it.
“Even the roots — which is typically considered the ‘healthier’ part of every strand — can benefit from some love,” Anthony said.
I have to admit, over the years I’ve had some awful incidents with conditioners, mainly ones that leave my fine hair super limp and greasy looking.
So when I first heard this myth, I scoffed. There was no way would I be putting conditioner onto my roots.
But the more I dug deeper, the more I realised there was a lot of truth to this. Celebrity hairstylist and Pantene ambassador, Remington Schulz told Whimn.com.au earlier this year, you should “apply the conditioner from the roots to ends”.
“When your hair is cleansed with the hair shaft wide open, it’s the optimum time to condition from your roots, so you’re giving an added boost of hydration,” he told the publication. “When you’re not conditioning properly that’s when we see a lot of scalp concerns.”
Anthony explains the best person to discuss and determine your hair type with to make sure you have the right product for the job is your hairdresser.
Here are some great conditioners for your hair type.
If like me, you have fine hair you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say I’m in desperate need of some volumising help from my haircare. Anthony advises anyone with hair strands on the finer side to keep away from the heavy cream conditioners and only use a leave in, weightless conditioner.
KRISTIN ESS WEIGHTLESS SHINE LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER
Available at Priceline
Anyone who is a part of The Beauty Diary’s Facebook group knows how obsessed I am with this product. I’ve had so many bad hair days in my time. On days other than freshly washed, locks that have dry ends and oily roots look flat, greasy and lame.
But this leave-in spray has really restored some life back into my tresses and it’s so easy to apply. You simply spritz into damp, towel dried hair. Honestly, the tips of my hair which need moisture are left soft and shiny, while my roots are oil-free and fresh.
It’s also a great detangler so is now a staple in my bathroom.
ORIBE CONDITIONER FOR MAGNIFICENT VOLUME
Available at Adorebeauty.com.au
While applying a thick, heavy conditioner is definitely a no go for fine haired people — ones that are light and build volume get the big tick of approval from experts. To use, I apply a small amount, massage through the lengths of my hair, then I work up to my scalp where I give it a good massage before rinsing.
It’s definitely on the exxy side, but a little goes a long way and it is so effective I think it’s worth every cent.
BLEACHED AND COLOURED HAIR
If your hair is highly coloured and/or bleached, you will need a conditioner packed with moisture and goodness to hydrate. Peroxide-bleached blondes will need to feed your poor strands lots of extra loving, Anthony advises. Like, loads of it.
BRIOGEO DON’T DESPAIR, REPAIR! DEEP CONDITIONER
Available at Sephora
Treat dry, damaged hair to a deep feed with this amazing product for bleach blondes. Don’t be shy with it, your strands will suck up the helpful ingredients, such as the protein it needs for strength and the moisture for restoring its natural state.
GLOW LAB PURPLE CONDITIONER
Available at Priceline and Woolworths
Price: $18 — but it’s regularly on offer in Woolies
If you have your hair highlighted blonde and your mane is appearing a little brassy and warm, a neutralising conditioner like this will make your strands look like a million bucks. This is actually the first ever natural purple conditioner in Australia and has won awards for its effectiveness without chemicals. But there are heaps of heavier ones out there if you really want to tone down those yellowy tones.
Natural hair colours that aren’t prone to having colour but may need a little help with shine and health should look for products that deliver on “shine”, “brilliance” or “mirror finish” are the babies you should be leaning towards, Anthony said.
PANTENE PRO-V BLENDS MICELLAR GENTLE NOURISHING CONDITIONER
Available at Priceline,
I really do love this range, not only because it is super affordable and lasts ages, but because it’s bloody good. When this product was launched earlier in the year and I gave it a whirl, I got a bunch of lovely comments about how fresh my hair looked — and no one could believe it when I said it was Pantene. There was even a lot of snobby remarks about how the fact the brand uses silicone in its products — but this one is silicone free.
Just like the micellar water we use to remove make-up, this gives hair a really deep cleanse without stripping it of its hydration.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it by showing your waves and curls some extra love. Curls can be extra thirsty, especially if you have tight coils like the ones that from Afron hair. So treat them to an intensive conditioner, Anthony said.
ORIBE DEEP TREATMENT MASQUE
Available at Adorebeauty.com.au
While I don’t have curls myself, I do love Oribe and this product has rave reviews from friends and Anthony too. It allows the natural shape of the wave to be its bold, beautiful self by enriching them with coconut and almond oils which really lets curls pop. It’s a boujee product with a matching price tag, but it really works. One Amazon review even described it as “magic”.
“My hair went from dry and crunchy, to smooth and shiny,” it read. “My roommate said it looked like I went to the salon for a blow out when I was done.” If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will.
If you’re someone who has naturally thick hair, you’re probably used to hearing people describe you as “lucky” — but your tresses still need some love. Managing a thicker mop can be the biggest challenge, but the right conditioner that treats the whole strand will help.
KERASTASE NUTRITIVE MASQUINTENSE IRISOME — THICK HAIR
Available at Adorebeauty.com.au,
While I have the opposite of thick hair, my mum has been blessed with luscious locks — and she swears by this.
The formula is packed with nutrients that penetrate deep into the hair strand, helping to tame and take control of stubborn tresses.
On my hair, I LOVE the Kerastase Specifique Bain Prevention conditioner. It’s really lightweight and leaves my hair feeling fuller and thicker afterwards. Anything this brand does for hair is considered next level in my eyes.