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Conditioner is probably one of the best-known haircare products on the market, along with its washing counterpart shampoo. But have you ever wondered, what does hair conditioner do? Do I really need it every time I wash my hair, or is it a step I can skip?

The truth is that hair conditioner is an absolute must-use for everyone, whatever your hair type or condition may be. If you want shiny, healthy-looking hair that’s easy to style and manage on a day-to-day basis, it’s a step you should never skip.

To convince you of its importance, it’s a good idea to understand exactly how hair conditioner works – so below, we’re giving you in a crash course in this important haircare step.

What does conditioner do

In short, the main job of your conditioner is to smoothen every single hair to support hair’s health. Any gaps resulting from damage in your hair are being replenished creating a smoother surface and contributes to healthier hair. But there’s a bit more to it than that, as not all conditioners were created equal…

How does conditioner work?

All our conditioners include a signature blend of nutrients that penetrate the core of the hair to keep hair strong from the inside out. Damaged areas of hair are being particularly targeted and smoothened on the outside, while damaging radicals inside the hair are captured, so little cracks of damage inside the hair don’t become bigger. This leaves hair more resistant to breakage and more nourished, where needed without weighing it down with excess ingredients.

From the outside, hair conditioner creates a smooth surface that better reflects light and is shinier, but also hair is more manageable and easier to style on a day-to-day basis, which reduces the amount of damage caused by styling. Potent antioxidants also help to reduce oxidative stress from the environment, such as UV light.

Hair conditioner: why you shouldn't skip it

The weather, daily wear and tear and styling habits all cause our hair to become more damaged. Whether it’s caused by the strong, cold winds outdoors or super high temperatures of your straighteners and curling wand, strands are left feeling dry, with moisture lost over time.

Your shampoo is designed to cleanse the hair of dirt, impurities and sebum build-up, but the real magic happens through the conditioning and treatment part of your regime.

Your shampoo is designed to cleanse the hair of dirt, impurities and sebum build-up, but the real magic happens through the conditioning and treatment part of your regime. Hair conditioners deliver conditioning agents to the hair shaft, helping to “seal” or flatten the hair cuticle. Smooth cuticles not only feel softer, but are much shinier too. That’s why this step’s super important for a healthy appearance. This smoother texture in turn reduces the amount of friction in your hair, making it more manageable and allowing it to flow more freely.

Rather than coating each strand in heavy moisture, hair conditioners, like our Repair and Protect 3MM Conditioner, work in particular at the damaged spots, proven to preserve the strength of your hair and its protein structures. The active ingredients include histidine, which penetrated deep into hair’s core and detoxes hair from damaging impurities. Over time, this prevents holes and cracks in the inside of hair and helps to build up your hair’s strength from within.

If you skip the conditioning step, your hair’s essential moisturized feel won’t be replenished post-wash, so it’ll become dry and lacklustre over time. Such rough hair is in even more danger of becoming tangled and is less protected against styling damage. That’s why even the finest hair types need this all-important nourishing haircare step. If you find conditioner too heavy, it’s just a case of finding a formula that won’t weigh your fine locks down. With the Pro-V formula blends, our conditioners also work to improve the strength of your hair over time – so it’s important you find the right one for your hair type and stick with it.

Types of hair conditioner and our pro-v blend

It’s important that you find a formula that’s been specifically designed to match your hair’s challenges and individual needs. All conditioners work to nourish and protect strands, but the combination of ingredients and specially designed formulas meet this challenge at different levels, depending on the hair need and type. If you have thinner hair that lacks volume, a lightweight conditioning treatment with the benefits of volume and shine would be best, while those of us with a thick head of voluminous curls would be better off with a heavier conditioning treatment that gives ends deeply nourishing moisture.

All of the Pantene conditioners contain the signature ingredient Pro-vitamin B5, or Panthenol as part of our Pro-V blend. Pro-vitamin B5 was first discovered decades ago when intensive care doctors found that it had a positive impact on their patient’s hair.

All of the Pantene conditioners contain the signature ingredient Pro-vitamin B5, or Panthenol as part of our Pro-V blend. Pro-vitamin B5 was first discovered decades ago when intensive care doctors found that it had a positive impact on their patient’s hair. This was then translated into hair products that make it grow thicker and stronger. Pantene has stayed true to its origin and keep using this powerful Pro-V blend in its formulas to ensure healthy looking hair for everyone.

Since not all hair are created equal, for over 70 years, we’ve developed a real expertise to create different conditioner types and formulas that meet the specific needs of different hair types. Then, depending on each hair’s individual needs, we have harmoniously blended our Pro-V B5 with other potent ingredients, such as lipids, to help each hair type on its way to becoming stronger and healthier-looking.

Traditional conditioner

The one you’re probably most familiar with is traditional conditioner, which delivers moisture to the hair shaft, fills gaps in the hair structure and smooths down the hair cuticle. Our Smooth & Sleek Conditioner is a great example of a conditioner that really smooths the surface of the hair for a free-flowing mane and healthy look.

Foam conditioner: the perfect match for fine hair

Even if you have fine hair, you still need to replenish lost moisture by using conditioner if you want to keep your hair soft and healthy. 

Even if you have fine hair, you still need to replenish lost moisture by using conditioner if you want to keep your hair soft and healthy. That said, some conditioners may be too heavy for your hair - our foam conditioners infuse your hair with all of the moisture it needs with none of the weight. There’s one to tackle your biggest hair concern: Volume & Body, Colour Protect and Repair & Protect.

Treatment conditioner

Our 3 Minute Miracle range is perfect if your hair craves the benefits of a deep treatment but you’re short on time. Used the same way as a regular conditioner in-shower, these will treat and deeply infuse your hair with moisture. There’s a 3 Minute Miracle to suit everyone’s needs – Repair & Protect for damaged hair, Smooth & Sleek for hair that’s prone to frizz, Colour Protect to prevent colour fade, and Hair Superfood for hair that needs a health and strength boost.

Hair masks

A more intensive conditioning treatment, hair masks are perfect if you and your hair need a little TLC. Hair feeling dry and damaged from everyday styling and the elements? Take some time out with our Repair & Protect Deep Repair Masque, designed to fight signs of damage and help strengthen and protect weak, damaged hair. If frizz is the foe you face, our deeply nourishing Smooth & Sleek Masque is your new best friend. Applied to damp hair 2-3 times a week, you’ll start to notice the difference with hair able to defy frizz-causing humidity. Colour treated hair? Our Colour Protect Masque is uniquely crafted to help hair hold colour longer by locking in moisture for a more vibrant look. If you love the idea of a mask, but you’re short on time, our 1 Minute Wonder Ampoule’s an intensive treatment packed with repairing qualities to get stressed strands back on track.

Leave in conditioner: for dry hair that needs extra moisture

Who said conditioning had to happen in the shower? It’s possible to keep hair moisturised all day long, an important step if your hair’s dry or damaged. Dry Oil is a great way to top up your hair’s moisture levels on the go, as it can be used on damp or dry hair. Try our Smooth & Sleek Dry Oil with Argan Oil to reap the benefits of Argan oil for hair. It soaks in easily, leaving no greasy residue behind, and also works to smooth your hair for a shiny finish. Concentrate on the ends of your hair as these are the oldest, having withstood the most damage, dryness and build-up over time.

Feel a bit more confident about the benefits of conditioner now we’ve clued you in? Be sure not to skip this important step to keep your hair healthy, shiny and well moisturised. Make the most of your conditioner every time you wash your hair and we’re certain your hair will be healthier in the long run. Get ready for lots of great hair days ahead!

For more hair conditioner tips, like the best conditioner for dry hair or conditioner for curly hair, or the answer to that popular question; ‘how often should you conditioner your hair’, we’ve put together a few helpful tips and product guides to help.

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