Beyond Clean Hair
Keeping hair clean is an important part of grooming, but it comes with a cost. Shampooing removes the dirt, particles deposited from the environment, skin cells shed from the scalp and even old hair care
products that build up over time. The same process, though, also removes important sebum, or natural oil, secreted by glands at the base of each hair follicle; this oil spreads along the length of the hair shaft, helping the strands to remain strong and supple. Loss of this oil can not only leave hair weak and brittle, but makes it dull and difficult to style and comb. Men who wear their hair longer than three inches can experience tangling problems after shampooing and the appearance of unintended flyaways. It doesn't have to be a trade-off between clean hair and hair that conforms to the style that a man wants. Conditioners are designed to bring back control, strength and healthy shine.
Challenges and Solutions
Many conditioners provide general, overall correction and strengthening benefits, useful for normal hair that just needs additional support. Some types of hair need help to correct naturally occurring problems, and there are conditioners formulated to address them. Men who wear their hair longer find that it can get tangled and difficult after shampooing; forcing a comb or hair brush through is not only painful but can damage the hair. A crème (or cream) rinse, used immediately after shampooing, is one of the most basic kinds of conditioners, helping to make combing easier. Fine, thin hair requires additional body to look full and improve styling. Weak, brittle hair prone to breakage can benefit from conditioners with extra keratin, the same material that forms the cuticle, or outer layer of the hair shaft. Hair damaged by repeated coloring, use of hot blow dryers or exposure to sunlight and drying wind not only need strengthening, but conditioners with oils and moisturizers, anti-static agents and even sunscreen to help protect hair shafts from future damage.
How Conditioners Are Used
Some general-purpose conditioners are included with shampoo, to combine cleaning and strengthening benefits in one easy step. For those men who prefer a separate conditioner, they can be used directly after shampooing while still in the shower - hardly an extra step at all. Following the lead of women's conditioners, some leave in conditioners are now formulated specifically for men’s hair care. Of these, some are meant to be left in for just a few minutes (just enough time to shave) before being rinsed out. Holding conditioners work like a gel or mousse, to help style and position a hair style, but are formulated to provide the strengthening and balancing benefits of a conditioner.
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