Hair conditioners are applied after shampooing to restore moisture and protein back into the hair shaft. Although, unless a conditioner contains small enough compounds or humectants, very little of it will actually enter into the hair shaft. This is why it is important to read the labels on your conditioner to make sure your not just washing money down the drain.
Top 5 Ingredients to looks for in a Conditioner:
1. Water– Nothing moisturizes like water.
2. Humectants– These help draw water into the hair shaft.
3. Oils– If your conditioner contains oils, it’s best to make sure they can actually penetrate the hair shaft. Coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil are the only oils known to penetrate the hair shaft.
4. Small Compounds– This is why it’s important to look up certain ingredients. Some ingredients are too large to enter into the hair shaft and are better suited for leave-in conditioners. Some small compounds: cetrimonium bromide and pantothenic acid. SOURCE
5. Fatty Alcohols– Alcohol? Yes, some alcohols are actually very moisturizing. Some are: Lauryl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, Myristyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol and Behenyl alcohol SOURCE
Make sure ingredients such as jojoba oil, shea butter, and other sealants are low on the ingredient list. These will likely be rinsed down the drain with very little staying on your hair.