What can conditioning treatments do for you?

When was the last time you had a conditioning treatment? No, I'm not talking about just using conditioner in the shower. I'm talking about intentionally treating your hair for damage or other specific challenges that you may face.

Conditioning treatments play an integral role in our hair health and are an essential part of our haircare regimen. They are especially important for those of us who are "chemically addicted" and enjoy coloring and changing our hair. Often times deep conditioning treatments prior to a color service makes all the difference in the outcome of a color.

Think of conditioning treatments like vitamins... A deep conditioning treatment can supplement the nutrients that our hair is lacking to provide healthy and manageable hair. Regular treatments help to give life and longevity to both your color and your haircut. When your hair is adequately nourished, it is less damaged after a color service and hangs on to the color's vibrancy longer. In the same way, when the hair has enough protein and moisture, it requires a cut less frequently because it is healthy.

Since our hair becomes especially dry in the winter months, it is vital to our hair's wellness to have a regular deep conditioning routine both in the salon and at home. Here are a few ways to incorporate conditioning treatments into your at-home-care routine and how often to do them:

In-Salon Treatments.

Adding a conditioning treatment onto your regular cut or color is an easy way to make sure you're getting a high quality treatment that's going to make a difference in your hair. As a professional, I offer 3 different types of treatments that I tailor to my client's needs based on the condition of their hair.

The first step of my process is to clarify the hair so that there is no existing residue built up on the hair shaft. This ensures there is nothing living on the surface of the hair that could get in the way of the effectiveness of the treatment. I then apply the treatment by gently massaging it into the hair and scalp. I let it process it under a warm dryer for about 10-15 minutes. The heat from the dryer opens the cuticle and allows the treatment to easily penetrate into the hair shaft. I like to finish the process with a cool water rinse that helps to lock the treatment into the hair.

At a minimum an in-salon conditioning treatment should be applied once a season or as frequently as once a month. If you are still experiencing dryness and/or damage, treatments can be done as often as the hair needs.

At-home Treatments.

At-home care is the back bone of hair health, especially in-between salon visits. How we treat our hair outside of the salon makes a huge difference in its condition.

There are two ways I recommend performing an at home treatment. The first is the preferred way since it is most similar to the in-salon treatment. After shampooing your hair in the shower, towel dry your hair to remove the excess water. Apply the mask or treatment to the hair, focusing primarily on the mid-shaft and ends. Wrap the hair in a shower cap (or plastic shopping bag and clip) and let sit for at least 30 minutes. I like to watch a TV show or do some laundry while I let it process. You can even apply the treatment at night before bed, sleep on it, and rinse in the morning if you need some extra conditioning. Remember to always rinse in cool water to lock in the conditioner.

The second way is great if you're short on time but your tresses still need some TLC. In the shower after shampooing, gently wring the hair to remove excess water. Apply the treatment, again paying special attention to the middle and ends of the hair. Crank up the water temperature to get the shower nice and steamy - this allows the heat from the shower to open the cuticle while you process. Let the treatment process for 10-15 minutes while you finish the rest of your shower. This is a great time to shave your legs or even take a relaxing bath! Rinse in cool water.

As I stated before, the first method is preferred to maximize the benefits of the treatment but the second will still get you by if you're in a pinch. Consistency is key - the more you can make these at-home treatments a part of your hair care routine, the more you'll see a difference in your hair. I recommend doing at home treatments as often as once per week but no less than once every other week.

One last tip: make sure you're using a treatment or mask that is suited to your hair type and condition. I recommend Amika's Nourshing Mask for dry hair - this deep conditioner can even be used as a daily conditioner if needed and is awesome for combatting the winter dryness.

For damaged hair that craves a little more than just moisture, I recommend Amika's Triple RX Mask for even more bang for your buck. This is one of my favorite treatments because it is a nutrient dense mask that packs a punch of intense repair for stressed out hair. (Did I just rhyme?)

If you need help determining your hair type and level of damage, check out my earlier blog post that explains exactly how to assess your hair so you can select the right products for your individual needs. As always, be sure to keep an eye out for when I go live on Facebook throughout the month with more tips on how to promote hair health. Cheers to healthy hair in the New Year!

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