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An 19th-century advertisement for 9 hair care products from a company named Dupuy.

Hair conditioner is a hair care product that alters the texture and appearance of human hair.

Contents

History

For centuries, natural oils have been used to condition human hair. These natural products are still used today, including essential oils such as tea tree oil and carrier oils such as jojoba oil. A conditioner popular with men in the late Victorian era was Macassar oil, but this product was quite greasy and required pinning a small cloth, known as an antimacassar, to chairs and sofas to keep the upholstery from being damaged by the Macassar oil.

Modern hair conditioner was created at the turn of the twentieth century when well-known perfumer Ed. Pinaud presented a product he called brilliantine at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. His product was intended to soften men's hair, including beards and mustaches. Since the invention of Pinaud's early products, modern science has advanced the hair conditioner industry to include those made with silicone, fatty alcohols, and quaternary ammonium compounds. These chemical products allow the benefits of hair conditioner without feeling greasy or heavy.

Hair conditioner is different than cream rinse (often referred to as creme rinse). A cream rinse is simply a detangler and, as its name implies, has a thinner consistency than conditioner. Hair conditioner is a thicker substance which coats the cuticle of the hair itself

Ingredients

There are several types of hair conditioner ingredients, differing in composition and functionality:

pH

Conditioners are frequently acidic, as low pH protonates the amino acids, providing the hair with positive charge and thus more hydrogen bonds between the keratin scales, giving the hair a more compact structure. Organic acids such as citric acid are usually used to maintain acidity.

Types

  • Pack conditioners, are heavy and thick, with a high content of surfactants able to bind to the hair structure and "glue" the hair surface scales together. These are usually applied to the hair for a longer time. The surfactants are based on long straight aliphatic chains similar to saturated fatty acids. Their molecules have a tendency to crystallize easily, giving the conditioner higher viscosity, and they tend to form thicker layers on the hair surface.
  • Leave-in conditioners are thinner and have different surfactants which add only a little material to the hair. They are based on unsaturated chains, which are bent rather than straight. This shape makes them less prone to crystallizing, making a lighter, less viscous mixture and providing significantly thinner layer on the hair. The difference between leave-in and pack conditioners is similar to the difference between fats and oils.
  • Ordinary conditioners, combining some aspects of both pack and leave-in ones.
  • Hold conditioners, based on cationic polyelectrolyte polymers, holding the hair in a desired shape. These have both the function and the composition similar to diluted hair gels.

See also

References

External links








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