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GEMs Of Beauty: Conditioning GEMS

Hair massage/hair wash in a hair-salon. Close up.

GEMs Of Beauty:
Conditioning GEMS


I’ll bet there are plenty of bottles of conditioner in your bathroom—but do you know how to use them properly? Don’t worry if not, because I asked the divine James Guidotti, president of Giovanni Eco Chic Cosmetics, to clear up the biggest misperceptions about conditioner, and he gave me this fantastic primer:

1.  People think conditioner is optional, but moisture is key for achieving good hair. Shampoo opens the cuticle of your hair and conditioner closes it. Open cuticles appear dry and frizzy.

2.  People think daily conditioning of your the hair will cause flatness, or that oily hair does not need to be conditioned–but if you understand the three types of conditioners (rinses, daily moisturizers, and deep conditioners) and how they should be used, you can avoid this, and create beautiful-looking hair.  The first 3 inches of your hair are close enough to the scalp to receive needed moisture from your natural scalp oils. Applying conditioner from the mid-shaft down will help preserve your natural body.

3.  People think they can’t over-condition, but deep conditioning should be adjusted depending on how damaged your hair is. For maximum effect, 20-30 minutes at 35°C is ideal for a water-based conditioner. However, if your hair feels overly soft after conditioning, the softness you are feeling is most likely related to the change in the keratin and you should be careful when handling your hair when it is that soft as it will be weaker until it has time to recover its stronger conformation.

4.  No hair care products can repair split ends—not even the most expensive conditioners. However, there are ways to make them less noticeable by using a product with silicone or beeswax to temporarily seal them together and create the appearance of healthier-looking hair. A healthy hair regiment and regular trims help prevent the occurrence of split ends.

5.  People are not sure if silicone is good or bad. There are two types of silicone: water-soluble and non-soluble. The second requires sulfates to remove, and because sulfates can damage your hair they are not recommended. Water-soluble silicone, however, can effectively enhance the appearance of hair as it acts as a sealing agent, and can be easily be removed with your clarifying regiment to prevent build-up.

6.  That you have to change your hair care products every six months to keep them effective is a huge misperception. Your hair cannot tell which products you are using nor does it build up a tolerance against certain products. However, your hair can change with age and can become more damaged over time with processing and heat styling, and may require different types of products or treatments to maintain its health.

7.  Another misperception is that your hair is alive; all visible hair is dead. As such most hair-care products are absorbed and attach to the surface of the hair to create the appearance of healthier hair, others are absorbed to create a sealant effect and generate a smooth shiny appearance. Because damaged hair is more porous it will absorb more of these ingredients, and requires longer conditioning time. True preventative hair care requires scalp care.

8.  Lastly, it’s a myth that you should not comb your hair in the shower or you will lose too much hair. Actually, it’s better to come through tangles while in the shower with a conditioner to avoid damage and breakage. Wet hair has more elasticity versus dry hair which will break more easily. Hair loss may appear more noticeable in the shower, but all people lose a standard amount of hair on a daily basis.

Now that you know how to condition your hair, you can choose from these fab products:

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1. Giovanni Deep Deep Moisture Mask



When your hair is ultra-dry or damaged and in need of ultra-conditioning, you need to go beyond the usual conditioners and try a more intense product. This Moisture Mask from Giovanni will give you extra moisture and body, and it’s particularly good for hair that’s just been processed or colored, and to repair breakage. I put this on at night, let it dry, and sleep in it. After a quick wash in the morning, my hair looks and feels fuller and healthier.

Buy it for $8.99 at


2. Alterna Haircare Caviar Moisture Replenishing Moisture Milk




Conditioners are not just for use in the shower. Leave-in conditioners are a terrific product that add moisture and shine to your hair and protect it from the elements, but you need to choose carefully as some of them can make hair look greasy or weighed-down (speaking from experience, here!). You won’t have to worry if you use this super-hydrating spray from Alterna, as it’s weightless, absorbs instantly, adds elasticity, and makes your hair look terrific.

Buy it for $30 at

3. Jane Carter Solution Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner




One of my favorite hair brands, Jane Carter never disappoints. This is a brilliant conditioner for all hair types, especially for women of color with super-dry, curly, coarse, processed, or damaged hair. You only need a little bit, and it smells fabulous. Leave it on wet hair for 5 minutes while you’re in the shower, or leave it on longer for deep conditioning. It’s loaded with botanicals and leaves your hair soft, shiny, and manageable.

Buy it for $13 at

4. WEN Cleansing Conditioner




I love innovative products that not only work brilliantly, but smell fantastic and are good for you. WEN’s amazing new Cleansing Conditioner is a combination shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, and leave-in conditioner. It has no sodium laurel sulfate or other hair-and-scalp- damaging ingredients, and you use it in a unique way. As it doesn’t lather, you apply it at the beginning of your shower, massage it in, then let it stay on till the end of your shower. Rinse and repeat, and you can then apply a bit more if you need extra help from a moisturizing leave-in conditioner. Available in delectably scented Sweet Almond Mint, Fig, Lavender, Cucumber, or Pomegranate.

Buy it for 29.95 at

5. Fig & Yarrow Hair + Scalp Tonic




It’s easy to neglect the health of your scalp, which is why I love this multi-tasking oil. It’s super-nourishing, especially if you have a dry, flaky, or itchy scalp—apply it directly, then use a warm towel for a few minutes to help it soak in, or add some to your regular conditioner. The man (or teenage boys) in your life will also appreciate how it soothes and moisturizes skin after a shave. You can also use it to strengthen nails and soften cuticles, or even as a facial cleanser.

Buy it for $34 at

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What kind of conditioner do use for your hair?

Would you add anything to this list?

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