Do you leave hair conditioner on for a while, so it has "time to work"?

I usually shampoo, rinse, apply conditioner, then leave it on while I soap up and wash the bod. I have this belief, unsupported by any evidence, that conditioner needs time to work. Occasionally, I will forget, and rinse it off right away, and I feel like wasted it, even though I don’t really notice any difference in the condition of my hair after drying and brushing.

Do you leave conditioner on for a while, or do you wash it off right away? Does it make any difference?


I don’t use shampoo, but I do put the conditioner in and leave it while I wash and shave my legs, etc. A lot of conditioners say to leave in for two minutes or some short period of time.

Honest to god, I don’t even know what “conditioner” is. I’ve heard the term, and seen bottles of it in other people’s showers, but… What the heck is this stuff, anyway?

I avoid conditioner. I won’t even use shampoo with conditioner built in. I hate how it makes my hair feel. Too “manageable” I suppose. Whatever that means.

Haven’t used it in ages, but I never left it in.

I leave it on, it makes a difference in my very fine hair.

Yes. I do as the OP does. I have thick, curly, dry hair.

While the conditioner is on, I do other things in the shower such as shaving my armpits, and then I rinse the conditioner out.

Simplest way to think about it is like moisturiser for hair. With my face, I cleanse and then moisturise, with my hair, I shampoo then condition.

I leave it in for a few minutes. Since I have long hair which is prone to dryness, I never wash my hair without using conditioner.

I don’t use conditioner, since my hair is flat, and has a tendency to get greasy, and conditioner weighs it down, rather than giving it volume.

I don’t use it often, but when I do I leave it in for a bit. Every conditioner instruction I’ve read has said to do this.

I have dry, dry hair (and dry skin). Not only do I use a heavy duty conditioner in the shower which I try to leave on for as long as possible for the oils to soak in, I also use a lighter conditioner as ‘product’ and put straight up coconut oil in my hair regularly. Moisturizing and emollient ingredients need time to ‘soak in’ or fully coat your hair strands. Some conditioners contain very few such ingredients, though - many are full of synthetic silicones which coat the outside of each hair strand and make it feel slippery and more manageable, but those will make your hair drier over time.

Hey, rhubarbarin, are you black?

Cool! Ignorance fought. I’d always wondered what it was about.

Me, I’m an oily s.o.b. Oily skin, oily hair. “Naturally moisturized!” My skin looks young – I’ll be a long time before getting wrinkles – but I still have pimples even in my late 50’s! Conditioner doesn’t sound like what I need for my hair. Do they make dessicants?

White as a ghost but I produce very little natural oil, so I’ve learned most things I know about hair and skincare from black women. :slight_smile:

ETA: weirdly for it being so dry and having an insane amount of body, my hair isn’t even that curly. It has a weird cotton-candy-like natural texture and appearance. Tons of moisture daily turns it into fairly-normal-looking fluffy waves.

They make dry shampoo. You spray it in your hair and give it a good brush. It’s sort of powdery. Might work to freshen up if you don’t have time to shower?

I leave the conditioner in awhile, like other said, as I shave and whatnot. But I don’t really believe it can make a difference. The hair is dead. All those ads where they show little arrows circling your hair to repair it, that’s just lies, right?

I put a little conditioner in the ends that I leave in. That does make a difference, because it’s still there. I used use special products (successful brainwashing) but it honestly makes no difference if I just use a little conditioner.

I have serious doubts that leaving conditioner on for a while makes any difference. (Your hair is dead, after all.) Like many products of this type, I think a lot of this stuff is more psychological than anything, and by telling you to leave it on for a while, they reinforce the make-believe.

Just because hair is dead doesn’t mean it can’t soak up oils and water and get moisturized.

I treat my hair like rhubarbarin treats hers and since it’s no longer dry and unmanageable, the conditioner is clearly helping.

I also leave it in while I soap up my body.

I leave it in my hair while I wash. I’d guess I leave it on for a little under two minutes. Once a week or so, I take longer in the shower because I’ll shave my legs, and I’ll break out the “Aussie 3 minute mircale” conditioner and let it do its thing. I do notice a difference when I use that one, but if I use it every day it makes my hair go flat.