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Hair conditioners are hair care products used to improve the texture and appearance of human hair. Hair conditioners were developed to restore the manageability, glossiness, and softness that sebum normally provides. They were introduced after shampoos with high detergent action, which removes sebum from the hair in excess, were widely available. Hair conditioners are also most usually used to improve the condition of the hair after certain chemical processes such as waving, straightening, and coloring; and after physical damage produced by hair drying, brushing, and styling.

Hair conditioners work by depositing material on the hair shaft, particularly at the cuticle edges, in order to reduce grooming force and negative change, to raise fullness, and to intensify brightness. Conditioners make hair manageable by reducing static electricity and friction among hair shaft. Reduction of static electricity is reached by hair conditioners through deposition of ions charged positively on the hair, counterbalancing negative charges from combing or brushing. Reduction of friction is reached through increasing cuticle scales' attachment to the shaft by smoothing. Smooth hair cuticles provide more light reflection, deriving in brighter and more pliable hair.

With regards to the different types of hair conditioners, instant conditioners, deep conditioners, blow drying lotions, and hair glaze are included.

The most common types of hair care products for conditioning are instant conditioners. Administered shortly after shampoo and for a little time before rinsing, instant conditioners include water, a conditioning agent, lipids, and thickeners. Conditioning agents can involve cationic detergents, film formers, or proteins. Positively charged, cationic agents are attracted by the negative charge of damaged hair. Film formers, which are also positively charged and so reduce static electricity, are formed by polymers, which correct hair shaft defects, resulting in smooth hair. Protein conditioners renovate the spoilt protein structure.

Deep hair conditioners are similar to instant conditioners. However, they differ in that deep conditioners are available as creams, not as lotions or liquids like the instant ones; and are more concentrated as well. They are designed to be applied on the hair for twenty to thirty minutes. In order to improve penetration, heat may be required. Deep hair conditioners are frequently employed in highly dry hair and as “screens” previous to chemical treatments such as coloring and waving. These kinds of hair care products restore the damaged hair and are aimed at treating and affecting the hair uniformly.

Blow drying lotions are like instant hair conditioners in that they contain the same agents, except for oil. Consequently, they can be left on the hair. Application should come after drying the hair with a towel and before styling.

Hair glazes are also widely known as hair thickeners. Hair glazes work by wrapping the hair shaft. In this way, they enlarge hair diameter and give the illusion of thickening the hair. They are to be administered after towel drying the hair and before styling. Then, they are left on the hair.