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Conditioning Your Hair: Is It Okay To Condition Your Scalp?

Written by Alexa Adler
Conditioning Your Hair: Is It Okay To Condition Your Scalp?

When it comes to conditioning your hair, surprisingly, many people choose to forgo the moisturizing treatment that creates soft, silky locks. Skimping on conditioner can leave your locks dry, brittle, and prone to damage. 

Those who use conditioner know to apply conditioner to the ends of their hair, but should you also put conditioner on your scalp? We’ll dig into all the details below.

What Is Hair Conditioner?

Ah, conditioner! This creamy hair care product saturates your strands with luxurious moisture. Its rich and thick texture makes hair more manageable, shiny, and soft. 

Shampoo cleanses the hair and scalp but often contains detergents, fragrances, and preservatives that are drying. These ingredients can strip your tresses of vital moisture. 

Conditioner nourishes and restores that moisture to the strands and smooths the hair fibers. Without it, hair would be frizzy, dry, and prone to breakage. 

When Should You Use Conditioner?

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends conditioning your hair after every shampoo. Conditioner restores depleted moisture to the strands after shampooing, increases shine, and can improve the look and feel of damaged, dry hair. 

Some conditioners contain SPF sun protection, offering a UV filter. Others contain ingredients that help smooth the scalp and restore your scalp’s microbiome.

What Are the Benefits of Conditioners?

As we mentioned above, conditioner smooths the strands, increases shine, and can make tresses feel soft and silky. And certain conditioners are even formulated to benefit your scalp: addressing dryness, itching, and rough skin on the scalp thanks to moisturizing and hydrating ingredients in their formulations. 

Always choose a conditioner formulated for your hair type to best protect and care for your hair. For instance, color-treated hair demands gentle ingredients that don’t fade hair color. Bleached hair and highlighted hair need more intense moisture to replenish dried strands. Curly hair requires a rich and creamy moisturizing conditioner to maintain frizz-free locks.

Which Ingredients Should You Look for in a Conditioner?

Conditioners contain cationic surfactants that help smooth the hair cuticle after shampooing. These are considered base ingredients in most conditioners and are made up of polymers, thickeners, emollients, and emulsifiers. 

In addition, some hair conditioners also contain synthetic and/or natural oils that benefit the hair and the scalp, such as:

  • Jojoba oil

  • Olive oil

  • Grape seed oil

  • Argan oil

  • Pataua oil

  • Lavender oil

  • Coconut Oil

Additional ingredients help to soothe the scalp and smooth the hair. These include:

  • Panthenol

  • Green tea extract

  • Colloidal oatmeal

  • Probiotics

Should You Put Conditioner on Your Scalp?

With a specially formulated conditioner for both the hair and scalp, YES! Some conditioners are not intended for the scalp. Why? They may contain ingredients that can cause oily hair close to the scalp, and can even irritate the scalp. These conditioners weigh the hair down when applied from root to tip of the hair strand. This can cause fine, limp, and oily-prone hair to appear greasy, even after shampooing. 

However other conditioners, like Jupiter’s Nourishing Conditioner, benefit not only your hair but your scalp as well - soothing rough skin and moisturizing a dry scalp thanks to key ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and probiotics (that’s right, topical probiotics for the scalp!). Our conditioner has been scientifically-formulated alongside our flake-fighting Balancing Shampoo to leave your hair silky smoothe and your scalp soothed, calm, and nourished.

Who Should Use Conditioner?

All hair and skin types benefit from using conditioners, especially those with dry strands and dry, rough skin. John Hopkins Medicine states that conditioning your hair is one of the most important steps in your hair care regimen to protect against hair breakage. And applying specially formulated conditioner from root to tip can help address a dry scalp (which may alleviate flaking and itching too!). You should use conditioner every time you shampoo. And, for those with drier scalps you should condition between washes as well to protect your scalps moisture barrier.

...applying specially formulated conditioner from root to tip can help address a dry scalp...

What Are the Types of Conditioner?

Now that we have established that conditioner is essential to your hair and scalp care routine, it’s time to discuss your options. Several conditioners are available, so select one that is right for your hair type.

Rinse Out Conditioner

Rinse out conditioners are the most common. A rinse out or daily conditioner should be used after every shampoo, every time. Daily conditioner increases shine and manageability.

Daily conditioning rinses benefit all hair types, and when using a conditioner formulated for the scalp, it will also address rough, dry patches of skin and soothe the scalp.

Deep Conditioner

Deep conditioners contain rich ingredients like oils that benefit frizzy, curly, severely damaged, and dry hair types. These conditioners usually remain on the hair for up to thirty minutes. It is often used with heat and always thoroughly rinsed from the hair. 

Deep conditioner helps to repair brittle and damaged hair, increase manageability, and add shine. This conditioner isn’t recommended for those with thin, fine, and oily hair types because it may weigh the strands down, causing hair to appear greasy.

Scalp Masks

While not exactly a conditioner, scalp masks nourish and exfoliate the scalp and hydrate the hair. This type of mask helps to clear the scalp of buildup and debris from styling products, flaking, and your scalp’s natural oils. Leaving behind a clear scalp and soft hair. 

We recommend applying our Purifying Mask once or twice a week for 15 minutes, prior to shampooing and conditioning your hair.

Leave-In Conditioner

Leave-in conditioner is used after you shampoo and conditioner your hair. Most contain a lightweight formula typically sprayed onto damp strands and combed through the hair to the ends. 

Leave-in conditioner prevents heat damage from styling tools and can help make hair more manageable, shiny, and smooth. These conditioners are ideal for all hair types due to their lightweight viscosity.

Protein-Rich Conditioner

If your hair is severely damaged and needs TLC, then a protein-rich conditioner is just what the doctor ordered. These conditioners are either applied to the hair, rinsed, or left on the strands to penetrate the hair shaft for longer depending on the formulation 

Protein-rich conditioners help support brittle, dry hair by mending the strands with formulas containing keratin. These conditioners are used less often than other types of conditioners. Overusing protein-containing products on the hair can cause brittleness, so only apply monthly or bimonthly to prevent hair breakage as directed by your hair stylist. 

How Do I Use a Daily Conditioner For My Hair and Scalp?

Daily conditioner is easy to use and makes your hair silky smooth, while nourishing and soothing the skin of your scalp. Follow these steps to maintain healthy strands:

  1. Shampoo your hair as usual, then thoroughly rinse it from your hair with clean, warm water.

  2. Apply the specified amount of conditioner from root to tip

  3. Massage the conditioner through your hair and scalp with your fingers (or a Scalp Brush).

  4. Allow the conditioner to remain on your strands for the specified time listed on the bottle, usually 1-3 minutes.

  5. Thoroughly rinse the conditioner from your hair with clean, warm water. For extra locked in moisture, try a cool scalp rinse instead.

Can You Use Conditioner On Your Scalp if You Have Flakes?

If you have a flaky, itchy scalp, you should always use a professionally formulated dandruff shampoo to address the underlying cause with a proven active ingredient. After shampooing, you should use a conditioner intended for the scalp (not just the hair!). Look for key ingredients that soothe the scalp like colloidal oatmeal and coconut oil.

In addition to regular cleanses with a dandruff shampoo, purifying scalp masks exfoliate the scalp and remove buildup from styling products, dead skin cells, and flakes. Exfoliating and clarifying the scalp can help address an itchy scalp, reducing the symptoms of dryness and flakiness.

Bottom Line

It’s important to remember that conditioning from root to tip with a conditioner designed for your scalp and your hair strands is an essential part of a regular hair and scalp care routine. 

Conditioning your scalp addresses dry, rough skin that can be linked to flaking and scalp discomfort, while conditioning your hair helps to mend brittle strands, makes your hair more manageable and shiny, and replenishes moisture. 

Look for conditioners formulated with your scalp in mind and you’ll soon enjoy a rejuvenated, calm scalp and shiny, silky smooth locks. 

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about the information contained herein, as well as the risks or benefits of any treatment.