Ingredients of hair conditioner

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We have a variety of hair conditioners available in the market, each promising special benefit and at times even a combination of benefits. Most of us use hair conditioners as it adds body to our hair and makes it look healthier and shinier.


Why should I be aware of this?

A few ingredients might be common to all hair conditioners. In some cases there are a group of chemicals which might serve the same function. This offers us a choice: The choice of opting for a product that uses ingredients which will not harm our hair, our overall health and the health of the planet even as it gives our hair the desired look.

How does this affect me?

Hair conditioner ingredients are selected carefully in order to secure the best possible result using a combination of chemical substances and at times natural ingredients.

Knowing more about the ingredients of our hair conditioner will help us make an informed choice.

  • We need to know which ingredient suits our hair type.
  • Some chemical ingredients cause allergies.
  • A few chemicals can be carcinogenic.
  • Some chemicals also have an adverse impact on the environment.
  • The chemicals in hair conditioner have the potential to be absorbed into the scalp and down to the bloodstream where they can be deposited into major organs
  • One needs to be especially mindful that children of all ages avoid getting these chemicals in the eyes as they may cause potential permanent damage.

All about ingredients of hair conditioner

It is interesting to note that the hair conditioner ingredients vary depending on the hair conditioner functionality type. In this respect hair conditioner ingredients are subdivided into the following major categories: reconstructors, moisturizers, acidifiers, thermal protectors, detanglers, oils and glossers.

Common ingredients and their functions

  • Acidifiers- Acidifiers remove grease, help the surface of the hair to be smoother and less scaly so that light is better reflected. Citric acid is an acidifier which is often used.
  • Antistatic agents help to reduce static electricity in the hair, making it more manageable.
  • Essential fatty acids (EFAs) found in natural oils can help dry and damaged hair to become more soft and pliable. When hair is washed, a lot of natural sebum is removed so it makes sense to replace it.
  • Fragrances are often synthetic. Some are suspected of causing health problems in some individuals.
  • Glossers are light-reflecting chemicals. These are usually polymers or silicones such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone, which bind to the hair surface.
  • Hydrolised proteins give the hair shaft additional strength.
  • Lubricants such as fatty alcohols, panthenol and dimethicone, help the hair to remain tangle free.
  • Moisturizers and humectants moisturize hair.
  • Polymers bond with hair cells for additional strength.
  • Preservatives are needed for some of the ingredients, particularly organic ones, which otherwise may degrade on exposure to air.
  • Sequestrants help the conditioner to work well in hard water.
  • Cationic surfactants -- The surfactant molecules act as an artificial surface, repelling moisture from the hair.
  • Thermal protectors such as heat-absorbing polymers, shield the hair against excessive heat from blow-drying or curling irons.

What should a good conditioner have?

The primary purpose of hair conditioners is to strengthen hair, replenish moisture, stimulating growth and adding shine to hair.

Protein is the building block of hair. It helps in rebuilding the hair shaft from any damage incurred from heat, styling products and/or tools. A good conditioner contains protein. There are a many sources for hair protein.

  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Wheat
  • Horses are also a good source for hair conditioner protein.
  • Placenta is known for its abundance of protein. This placenta is not derived from humans, but from animals.

Replenishing moisture

  • Water is the first ingredient mentioned on hair conditioner labels as it is the main ingredient in the conditioner.
  • Panthenol and glycerin. These help in binding water to the hair.
  • Oil -- The best oils for moisture replenishment are lanolin, olive, honey, various seed and fruits.
  • Butters -- Shea butter, peanut butter, coconut butter are also used in thicker conditioners for intense moisture.
  • Banana extract provides moisture as well as shine.


  • Oils also provide shine.
  • Citrus extracts -- Citrus extracts of lemon or orange are excellent for shine. But make sure these ingredients are toward the bottom of the list, as too much will shift the pH of one’s hair.
  • Silicones -- Silicones add the longest lasting shine to hair, because they bind to the hair as well as help retain moisture. But silicones may be too heavy for fine or limp hair, and produce a greasy look.
  • Banana and wheat also provides shine.

Stimulating growth

If the above three ingredients are at the top of the list, they are excellent for fragrance.

What can I do?

  • It is also possible to get great looking hair without the help of synthetic chemicals.
  • You can go for homemade hair conditioners.

Useful tips

When washing your hair mix a little baking soda with your shampoo. That will strip your hair of any impurities and the silicone build up on your hair.

See also


  • Hair conditioner ingredients are their active power
  • Ingredients in Hair Care Products, The Good the Bad & The Ugly