What Happens If You Leave Conditioner In Your Hair?

We all know that conditioner is great for your hair, don’t we? It nourishes it, smooths any frizz, and leaves it feeling soft and super shiny. But, do we know what happens if you leave conditioner in your hair?

Well, there’s a lot of variables, so let’s look into the answer to this question!

What Happens If You Leave Conditioner In Your Hair?

First off, we need to work out what sort of conditioner we are talking about – is it the leave in kind or the rinse out kind?

Leave in conditioners are perfectly fine to leave in your hair until your next wash, at which point they should just rinse out easily.

A leave in conditioner is designed to be lighter and less sticky, so they can be happily left in your hair and you can enjoy that silky smooth feeling for longer.

A normal rinse out conditioner should be removed from your hair before you finish the wash, otherwise your hair can end up looking sticky.

Not rinsing out a conditioner that needs rinsing out will not leave you with any sort of smooth silky feeling!

Leaving in a conditioner can actually make your hair look like it has not been washed at all, which is not the look that any of us are going for.

Leaving in a conditioner that is meant to be washed out can actually cause damage to your hair – especially if you do it regularly.

The chemicals in the conditioner can cause harm to your hair, as well as the build up of product making it look lank and greasy.

If you are using a standard, non-leave-in conditioner, the best thing you can do is to rinse it out well with clean water before you style it.

This video discusses the differences between a standard conditioner and one that you leave in for longer:


What Happens If You Leave Conditioner In Too Long?

Many of us leave the conditioner on longer than the shampoo, to allow the nourishing components to penetrate deep into the hair.

However, how long is too long?

  • Leaving your conditioner to sit on your hair for a few minutes after shampooing is a good thing.
  • Conditioner is super good for the hair; it nourishes and softens it, and generally leaves it feeling silky soft and smooth.
  • There is no hard and fast rule for how long you should leave your conditioner in for; you know your hair and what it likes!
  • If you leave it in for too long, it can leave the hair looking and feeling a little greasy, and not so clean and supple.
  • This is because the build up of product will clog the hair shaft, and make it look heavy and greasy.

Some people use a standard rinse out conditioner as a deeply moisturising hair mask – this will work, but it’s best to do it overnight and rinse out in the morning.

Standard conditioners, when not rinsed out, can make your hair look greasy, so you’ll want to avoid seeing people if you decide to leave your conditioner on!

What Happens If You Don’t Rinse Out Conditioner?

Some conditioners are designed to be “leave in” – that is, they stay in your hair and don’t get rinsed out.

The other types, the ones you use in the shower after shampooing, are not designed to be left in your hair – they need to be rinsed out.

If you don’t rinse out your conditioner, your hair will  likely dry into a sticky mess, and will not look very nice at all.

Not rinsing out the conditioner is actually bad news for the health of your hair too, as well as not looking very nice…

Conditioners, and in fact all hair products, can contain chemicals that do not need to be left to leach into your hair’s follicles.

If you choose a standard conditioner, many of these can contain parabens and things that are not good for your body or your hair.

Opting for a good, organic, chemical free conditioner will be even better for your head – but this can be a pricier option.

Whichever type of conditioner you choose, you should always rinse it out unless it is the leave-in type. This will be better for both your hair and your look!

Is It Ok To Leave Conditioner In Your Hair Overnight?

Ok, so you don’t really want to go out and about in the daytime with conditioner in your hair, but how about leaving it in overnight?

You may think that by leaving your conditioner on for longer that the effects of nourishing and moisturising would be increased…

But this is not actually the case! Leaving conditioner on overnight can actually be detrimental to your hair:

  • Conditioner is designed to penetrate the hair shaft and fill it with moisture. Leaving it for between 15 and 30 minutes is considered optimal.
  • Leaving the conditioner for longer will cause the hair shaft to swell as it absorbs moisture, then contract as it dries.
  • Expanding and contracting all night long can ultimately damage the hair shaft, and can lead to hair cuticle hygral fatigue.
  • Basically, your hair will exhausted, and this will show by looking lustreless and limp.
  • Leaving hair conditioner in overnight for a prolonged period of time can actually lead to your hair losing elasticity and even breaking.
  • Your hair also needs a break from the product that builds up from repeated washing and styling, so rinsing out your conditioner is advised.

Final Words

Leaving conditioner in your hair is a good thing – up to a point. Leaving it in long enough that the goodness can reach your hair shaft and follicles is optimal. Leaving it in too long is detrimental!

Once you have figured out which type of conditioner you have and how long you can leave it in for, you will be laughing all the way to the hair salon!

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