Use a Leave-In Conditioner
Applying a conditioner to your hair is like doing the job your scalp is supposed to do when sebum is not cutting it. Leave in conditioners do the job of keeping your hair moisturized in between washes. For most curly-haired girls (and others with really dry hair), adding a leave-in conditioner to your regimen is an absolute must. Because there are definite downsides to washing the hair every day, if you have dry, damaged hair, you will need to find another way to add moisture back in. This is where a leave-in conditioner comes in.
Leave-in conditioners contain some of the same ingredients that are found in regular conditioners but are not meant to be washed out and are generally lightweight, so they do not weigh your hair down. There are water-based leave-ins (for those who require only minimal mid-week moisture) and cream-based leave-in conditioners as well. Remember, you are looking for something that will mimic the action of sebum on the hair, so using products like serums and glossers may make your hair feel smooth, but they are not truly conditioning the hair.
If your hair is on the drier side and you would like to incorporate leave-in conditioners, then I recommend the following based on your hair type:
– Straight or wavy hair (color or heat damaged in particular)- apply water-based leave-in conditioner immediately after shampooing and conditioning to wet hair. If you are shampooing 3–5×/week, then no additional use is necessary during the week.
– Curly/Kinky chemical-free/natural hair: apply water or cream-based leave-in conditioner after shampooing and conditioning 5–7× during the week. Choose your leave-in conditioner based on the density of your hair. Follow with oil to trap moisture in the hair.
When applying, make sure to drench the ends of your hair in conditioner as this is the part of your hair that is least likely to be coated with protective sebum. Your leave-in conditioner should leave your hair feeling softer, and you should immediately notice less breakage from styling. If this is not the result you are getting from your leave-in, keep searching until you are satisfied.