Do you really need to use conditioner after shampoo?

by Paris B on · 41 comments

in Discussions,Hair

Conditioner or no?

A while ago, I was using a salon shampoo and my hairdresser told me that I did not have to use a conditioner every day as the shampoo was enough. For reference, I have thick hair that borders on being rather dry. I wash my hair everyday because it just feels better for me.

However, I noticed that because I blow dry my hair after my shower and before bed, my hair was feeling dried out and looking rather like straw. Using the L’oreal Elseve hair mask weekly helped but not by very much. My hair still felt knotty and coarse and had a tendency to look a little wild in the mornings or if I allow it to air-dry.

So, I went back to using a conditioner everyday and I realized that my hair was feeling more managable. It wouldn’t pass the comb free-falling through the hair test but it was significantly easier to comb and blow and when I air dry it it doesn’t take on a life of its own.

So, far from being a commercial myth that you need a conditioner after using shampoo, my personal experience teaches me that I do need conditioner because my hair feels drier and more damaged otherwise.

When I had long hair, I found a conditioner indispensible or I’d get a lot of split ends. Now I have short hair, split ends are quite unheard of and with regular conditioning, I find my hair looking shinier and healthier and less like straw 😛

Here are my tips for getting the most out of conditioner on your hair:-

  • Squeeze conditioner into your palm and spread it by running your palms together before applying to your hair. This way it is better distributed through your hair.
  • Only condition the two thirds of your hair shaft from your scalp. Getting conditioner too close to your scalp may cause your hair to feel heavy especially if you have oily hair.
  • Leave the conditioner on your hair for at least 3-5 minutes before rinsing for maximum effect. I get round this by leaving the conditioner on while I complete the rest of my shower routine and then rinsing off the conditioner at the end.
  • Ensure you rinse off the conditioner properly. If you don’t, your hair can feel heavy. Because conditioners have a lot of silicones and moisturizing ingredients, its got a lot of slip so I find running water liberally through the hair helps.

What’s your take on this? Do you feel the need to use conditioner after shampoo all the time or only some of the time?

Stay beautiful,

Paris B

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[ 40 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

geekchic July 14, 2009 at 9:46 am

Only every other day. I have really short hair now (shoulder length) and I find that if I were to condition everyday, my hair gets really oily at the roots (and I have to resort to using a dry shampoo to spray on it in the mornings). But it could also because of my unhealthy obsession with perfumes where I squirt a squirt or 2 of my favourite scent before I head out each day…

I used to condition everyday when I had long wavy hair. But gone are the days. I love my short hair a lot :)


ParisB July 14, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Hi Geekchic

I love my short hair too but I think its my hair texture – They have a life of their own when I don’t tame them with conditioner


aYu July 14, 2009 at 10:33 am

I have long wavy dry hair. Lately, i’ve been using conditioner, leave on conditioner and serum after i’m washing it with shampoo. But I still get split ends on my hair and makes my scalp very oily. I tried to avoid putting conditioner near to my scalp, but still it didn’t help.


ParisB July 14, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Hi Ayu

Perhaps you could use a lighter conditioner? And if your scalp gets oily, maybe just use either conditioner, leave on or serum – I don’t think all 3 is necessary. I personally am not much of a fan of leave on conditioner as it makes my hair feel icky.


July 14, 2009 at 11:21 am

i cannot live without conditioner since my hair is quite long and fried at the ends! lol! I just shampoo and use a leave-in mask after that everyday, so far so good! :)


ParisB July 14, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Hi Jenn

Great that it works for you! :) I do think conditioner is quite essential for those with long hair. From experience the ends are always fried.


Kahani July 14, 2009 at 11:23 am

If I don’t condition my long hair daily I think it’d rebel and strangle me!


ParisB July 14, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Hi Kahani

LOL… You know what? I’d believe you! Your hair is lovely anyway!


July 14, 2009 at 8:52 pm

This comment is a bit irrelevant to the topic, but Kahani, I love your hair and would kill (not literally!) for it! LOL.


Nikki July 14, 2009 at 11:40 am

I’ve read it somewhere (shocks forgot where) that conditioners really acts as “moisturizer” just like those for the face, but it doesn’t change the texture of your hair, it’s just there to help detangle, make it softer and easier to comb.

I personally needed to condition my hair every shampoo! I cannot stand just using a shampoo as I’ll lose more hair from combing!

PB, I’ve learned from a hair salon, the creative director taught me that you should wrap your hair with a mask or the same Loreal Elseve you’ve used over the weekend and leave it more than 20 minutes , I’ve tried it for the past 3 weeks and it really helps 😀


ParisB July 14, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Hi Nikki

Hmm… that wrapping hair with mask is a good tip! I used to use the coconut milk hair soak but because it was fiddly and I detested the feel of the milk dripping down my neck, I stopped. I’ll give yours a shot since the hair mask is less runny :)


Shanghainese Dumpling July 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Hey Paris

I think you do need a conditioner after shampoo, as our tape water will strip off the PH balance of your hair which is why sometimes after shampoo our hair feel a bit stiff.

But I only apply my conditioner from ear down and concentrate on the ends, as our roots produce natural oil and a lot of hair stylist suggested to me that it is still considered to be new growth up till ear, so there is no need to condition. I also do hair mask once a week as well but I do a massage for my hair ends in one direction, as it’ll smooth out the follicles

Also with blow drying, try to use cold wind, as sometimes it’s cold in Australia so I use warm wind but never hot, or if you have to use warm wind try to do a cold blast from heard to hair ends direction, in one direction only, it’ll add on shine on your hair. Try not to blow upside down as that’s not the direction hair follicles grow so in result it’ll roughen up the look of your hair and not as shinning.

Sorry my comment is a little long this time but I really find it helped strengthened my hair and added on extra shine.


ParisB July 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Hi Shanghainese Dumpling

Ah! No wonder my hair looks so much better coming out of the salon! 😉 I dry my hair at the roots upside down but then finish off with a roller brush right side up. I knew about using cool air but I’m impatient 😛 I try to finish off with cool air though. I read it makes the hair shinier.


Put3 Hazirah July 14, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Hey! in my opinion, since my hair is long and curly. I need conditioner almost every day. I can live without shampoo but not without conditioner or else my hair will get dry and hard.



ParisB July 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Hi Put3 Hazirah

Oho! I remember having long curly hair and yes conditioner everyday was a must! But then mine was permed.


July 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I definitely need a conditioner after shampoo, or else my hair will tangle. And goodness me, I’ll look like Diana Ross the next morning (people have called me that back in school). Just got to make sure that the conditioner is properly washed off. I agree with you, best to leave it under running water. I like to run a very wide-toothed comb whilst rinsing the hair, just to make sure water gets in every nook and cranny.


ParisB July 14, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Hey Tine

LOL at Diana Ross. Can’t be that bad right? I used to use a comb when rinsing when I was a kid but I stopped that. Perhaps I should get back to that.


Hasegawa Ayane July 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm

I don’t think I can do without conditioning after shampooing. My hair will feel really dry and will tangle really easily. However, I do not find the need to wash my hair everyday, I’ll wash it on alternate days.

On the topic of blow drying, I heard that it’s best to use a heat protection serum/spray before blow drying. Do you know of any to recommend?


ParisB July 14, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Hi Hasegawa

You know what? I don’t use a serum! :O I don’t know of any but I’ll KIV your question :)


Saintangelius July 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm

I have thick, long wavy(leftovers of a perm) hair and I found that conditioner in the mornings makes it more tame and presentable for work. I avoid blow drying at all cost because I don’t want to be sweaty before stepping out of my front door. Normally a matching conditioner would do fine but I do keep some more intensive ones like Senscience for those days where the weather looks warm. At night tho, I use a clarifying shampoo or restorative one which i feel doesn’t need a conditioner. I don’t like the slick feeling when I go to sleep. The current night shampoo I’m using is the L’occitane one with the 5 essential oils so it’s pretty light and moisturising on its own already.
I guess it depends on the condition of your hair. I used to have an oily scalp and super dry ends but when you find the right shampoo it all kinda melts away. I’m waiting for my order of Shiseido Tsubaki to come in anyday now so that I can try it out. But i will still stick with my L’occitane for nightly bath. The smell is very relaxing ^_^


ParisB July 14, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Hi Saintangelius

I have no patience to blow dry in the mornings so I dry at night and usually it behaves for me in the mornings. Thanks for your suggestions!


Synaesthesia July 14, 2009 at 1:27 pm

consitioning my hair everyday is a must for me… otherwise it’ll becoming straws and coarse… I don’t blow dry as I’m too lazy to do that.. hahaha


Sarah July 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm

I wash my hair everyday and I do use a conditioner each time after wash. FYI, I have long hair. It makes my hair silky smooth and tangle free. The only time I don’t use a conditioner is when I’m super tired and lazy. lol..But I do compensate that by applying a leave on conditioner. If you don’t like the icky feeling you can apply it when your hair is damp and when it dries up, it will just be soft =)


ParisB July 15, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Hi Sarah

Unfortunately I’m sensitive to my hair feeling heavy and most serums leave a slippery feel to the hair. I’m trying out one now though. Hope it works!


Reese July 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm

I am really lazy…so no conditioner for me after shampooing, since i am quite happy with my hair without conditioner I guess its not necessary for me.


ParisB July 15, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Hey Reese

Lucky you! Save one step and some money while you’re at it! 😉


July 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm

now i use hair mask AS conditioner after i shampoo, and use protein + serum after shampoo, otherwise i have lots of split and coarse ends as my hair grows longer and longer. and usually i just blow 50% dry in the morning. will blow dry at night


ParisB July 15, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Hey prettybeautiful,

Oho! But you have lovely long hair that needs conditioning and TLC 😉 Mine’s wash and go 😉


BB Cream Queen July 14, 2009 at 4:09 pm

When I had my hair long conditionner really helped get them under control and give them a healthier look. With short hairs now I pass on the conditionner, don’t really need it (I am a guy btw so my short hairs would be really short hairs for a girl 😉


Amanda July 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm

I shampoo, condition and blowdry my hair every evening. Since my hair is short, blowdrying takes less than 5 mins 😀 I can’t live without washing my hair daily.


LyNn July 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm

if i dont put conditioner
my hair will tangle like nobody’s business
needless to say my hair is dry ended
but oily scalp – urgh
owh and i try to resist the temptation to wash my hair daily
apprently its harsh for your hair
especially when im using strong anti dandruff anti itch shampoo 😛


ParisB July 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Hi Lynn

Yep if you’re using a strong shampoo then best not to shampoo everyday. I use a normal shampoo and I can’t stand it if I don’t wash everyday. Dust, dirt etc make me feel icky :)


Jyoan July 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm

I think conditioner is a must. I did not use conditioner until around 18 years of age, as my mother says that children don’t need too many things. However, my hair was horrible during school time, all my friends told me they are using it, and that I needed it. True enough, I have been sticking with conditioner ever since I started buying my own shampoo. I am very thankful that this product exists, as my wavy hair used to entangle so much, I couldn’t untangle it at all! If I try, I would be pulling my hair so hard that my scalp feels pain. Now no more. =)


ParisB July 15, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Hi Jyoan

I did find when I had wavy hair (permed) that conditioner was a must. It was less of a must for straight hair but still nice to have the light carefree feel :)


Shay July 14, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I have dry and coarse hair. I definately need the conditioner or else I can’t even comb my hair.

I find that if I continuously use the same shampoo and conditioner everyday, half way through the bottles, my hair will just go back to being dry and coarse even though they always become easier to manage when I change shampoo and conditioner. So, I have a few shampoos and conditioners now. I interchange them every time I wash my hair. No more dry and coarse hair!


ParisB July 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Hi Shay

That’s a good tip for anyone having the same problem. I don’t quite have the same issue but then perhaps I’m not paying attention 😛


j3nny9irL July 20, 2009 at 1:38 am

Hmmm My hair is almost til waist rite now. I don’t use conditioner at all coz if I do use a conditioner after shampoo it takes longer time to blow dry. Also I have super oily scalp and currently using diluted clarifying shampoo everyday. I cannot live if I do not wash my hair everyday. I just like the feeling that my hair is dry and not sticky and oily and I don’t like it too soft coz by evening my hair gets a little shiny already. I do use leave in conditioners sometimes when my hair is too dry or just some serum at hair ends when I feel like it. 😛


j3nny9irL August 2, 2009 at 2:27 am

I forgotten to add this. Sorry if it took too long. I would like to share this with those out there.

I would like to share the way I shampoo my hair is that I wet my hair first, and dilute the shampoo before putting onto my scalp as it will be too strong or harsh for the delicate scalp. I only wash my scalp area with shampoo and I don’t take longer than 3-5mins depending how dirty or oily it is bcoz shampooing your hair too long will cause your hair to be too dry and result from it is that your scalp will produce extra sebum which leads to hairfall sometimes.

As I only shampoo and massage my scalp, I do not wash the edges of my hair so it doesn’t dry off. When I rinse my scalp the rest of the hair will get the shampoo so it doesn’t really matter. Unless my hair is really dirty and smelly e.g. went for steamboat or just came back from the mamak stall smelling like smoke, then I will shampoo my scalp and my hair as well.

I did this as a result into habit bcoz I’ve been keeping long hair since 8 years ago. I towel dry my hair by just squeezing it with towel and blow dry after that. Do not comb your hair while it’s still wet coz it will break easily. I hope this method would help answer some questions.

All this while I was so curious about other persons method of shampooing their hair. It was quite funny when I asked all my friends and we just laugh about it after that. Just cannot help but being curious 😀

Glad that you did this Ask & Answer ParisB. It’s nice to share :)


sonia May 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

i hav a long hair, i shampoo n condition once a week it becomes manageable and soft bt then the next day after shampoo i get split ends n i hav to oil my hair .i dont want to oil my hair. i stay at home so i dont really need to wash everyday n i read somewhere that we should not wash hair everyday so that the natural oils from our scalp nourishes our hair. what do i do?


shami May 3, 2012 at 8:06 pm

wont hair get damage when we use conditioner everyday???


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