It’s pretty much ingrained in us that conditioner is the route to silky-smooth strands—hairstylists sing the praises of regular deep-conditioning masks, the market is flooded with hydrating leave-in treatments—so it’s understandable that many of us have adopted a "more is more" approach. But if your shower is as littered with haircare products as ours is, perhaps you, too, have wondered, "Am I overdoing it?" We consulted the hair master and Matrix SoColor celebrity stylist George Papanikolas to find out if our conditioning habits have gotten out of control.
Scroll through to find out if you need to step away from the conditioner!
Before Papanikolas would even address the topic of overconditioning, he wanted to emphasize one important point: “The first thing you need to do is be sure you're using a conditioner that is specific to your hair type,” Papanikolas. “If you have fine to medium hair, a lightweight conditioner applied to the mid-length and ends should be sufficient.” If you have thick and or curly hair, he recommends a hydrating conditioner and suggests incorporating a weekly mask into to your routine for an extra boost of moisture. We like Dove’s Quench Intense Restore Mask ($6).
Papanikolas says it’s pretty much impossible to overcondition course and curly hair because these hair types are dry by nature. But if you’re using keratin-infused products, you do have to be careful. “With deep-conditioning treatments, you can use hydrating products regularly, but be cautious of protein-repair treatments,” Papanikolas says. “Products like the Matrix conditioner are great at repairing heavily highlighted hair, but if used too frequently, they can make hair feel dry and brittle from the heavy protein content. Use these types of protein repair treatments to two to three times a month to get the full benefit without overdoing it.” Consider yourself warned: Overconditioning with keratin can have the reverse effect.
One final note on conditioning: If you’re drowning your hair in every product you can find and still not seeing the soft, smooth results you want, it’s probably not your conditioner's fault. Papanikolas says all the conditioner in the world isn’t going to make damaged ends manageable. “Once hair has been overprocessed, a haircut is the only solution.”
Are you a conditioner fanatic? If so, check out these 7 editor-approved leave in conditioners.