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How Does Hair Conditioner Work?

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Conditioning your hair is a very common practice nowadays, it leaves your hair smooth, shiny and manageable. But how does your hair conditioner actually work?


Hair conditioner is designed to replenish the natural oils you have just washed off with shampoo. Shampoo usually leaves your hair feeling dry and a little crusty - so conditioner is there to make the hair smoother and softer to the touch.

The cuticle of the hair is negatively charged due to keratin, therefore positively charged continuing agents can stick and coat the cuticle.

Quaternary Ammonium Salts

These molecules have an a positively charged ammonium group attached to a long fatty acid chain.

These fatty acid chains are oils which help retain hair moisture and keep the hair in good condition - duh.

Fatty Alcohols

These molecules have an -OH group and act as emollients which cover the hair shaft.

They also add a slight oilyness to the hair which makes the hair appear less frizzy and decreases fly-away hairs.


Silicones are great hair conditioning agents as they give the hair a natural shine. They coat the hair shaft and protect it from any potential damage.

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