Applying Surface Conditioner

Treatening long hair with conditioner
Photo: Alliance/Shutterstock
Q: Could you explain the procedure for applying a surface conditioner?
A: The most common "surface conditioner" is the rinse-through conditioner (often called a cream rinse, or finishing rinse). These are the basic formulas of conditioner found to go with shampoos of varying formulation. These conditioners are designed to add protein or moisturizers to the hair, but they do not penetrate very deeply into the hair shaft. Their primary function is in smoothing the cuticle layer, leaving the hair shiny and tangle-free.
The proper application of conditioner requires that you begin with hair that has been thoroughly shampooed. Squeeze the excess water from the hair and if the hair is especially coarse or damaged, you can blot the hair with a towel to further remove the excess water.
Then, apply the prescribed amount of the conditioner into the palm of your hand (according to the manufacturer's direction). Distribute it between your palms and then apply it to the hair evenly. Massage the hair and scalp to spread the conditioner through the hair from the scalp to the ends.
Leave the conditioner on the hair according to manufacturer's recommendations, and rinse it away using lukewarm water. If the hair is especially damaged or coarse, rinse using cool water.
Be sure to rinse the hair thoroughly, then squeeze out excess water and towel dry the hair before styling. Most rinse-through conditioners are excellent for protecting against heat-styling damage.
The amount of conditioner and the amount of time you should leave it on the hair can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The given times are averages, the more porous the hair is, the faster the conditioner will be absorbed, and resistant hair may need to have a longer leave-on time. It's always important to read the manufacturer's instructions before using any product.
See also:
Basic hair care
Hair conditioners and conditioning treatments
Is it okay to shampoo your hair in conditioner?
Which is the best brand for shampoo and hair conditioner?