|how does hair conditioner work. how does it
detangle the hair and does it truely do anything?
|Question Date: 2004-05-06|
I think that most hair conditioners work by
sticking to and coating your hair. That's why hair
is shinier when conditioner is used. Hair tangles
less and is easier to comb because of the coating
too--the conditioner coating acts like a
lubricant, like oil on a bunch of
But does it truly do anything to
your hair? No. Hair is ~97% protein, but it is
essentially dead tissue. That means that
describing your hair's "health"doesn't make any
sense. What conditioner might actually do is make
you like the look or feel of your hair better,
like the way polishing a table might make it look
or feel nicer. If you blow-dry your hair, the
coating might protect your hair a little bit from
drying out, becoming rough, and getting split
ends. Companies that make conditioners use
statements about your hair's "health" to try to
trick health-conscious people to buy their
products. Just think of furniture polish: it might
make your table top look nicer, it might even
protect it from a little wear and tear, but the
wood in the table is dead, so it can't be made any
Thanks for the excellent question!
Scientific questions like yours can affect our
everyday lives and buying habits, too!
What hair conditioner basically does is replace
the natural oils that shampoo strips away when you
wash your hair. They usually contain one or more
fats, oils, or synthetic compounds that behave
like fats and oils,surfactants, and a bunch of
other stuff that makes it more
marketable(perfumes, dyes, preservatives, etc.).
The fats or oils (natural or synthetic) leave a
smooth, waxy coating on the hair, making the hair
smooth and shiny.
Hair is made up of an outer
layer called the cuticle, a second layer called
the cortex, and an inner layer called the
medulla.Hair tangles when the lifted or frayed
edges of the cuticle layer on one hair get caught
on the cuticle layer on another hair. The way
conditioning fights tangles is that it strengthens
the cuticle or, where cuticle cells have broken
away, forms a protective layer over the cortex.
This coating essentially smoothes out the rough
edges along the cuticle layer and thus can keep
your hair from tangling as easily. The coating
also seals in moisture and helps reduce static
electricity, both of which help in avoiding bad
hair days... ;-)
Hope that answers your question!
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