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Conditioner Damaged Hair? How to Solve It

Posted by Kirsty Black on 13th Mar 2022

Lank and limp or dry and lifeless - both can be signs of conditioner damaged hair. 

But nobody wants to deal with knots. Tangles aren’t just annoying – they can be a real cause for concern to those suffering with thinner hair. And there are a million types of conditioner on the market, from detangling sprays and leave-in masks, to products that help co-wash for curly hair. But not all conditioner is created equal and the wrong sort of product can lead to damaged hair. 

We'll explain more about conditioner and how to choose one that won't damage your hair, but firstly:

How to Repair Conditioner Damaged Hair

If your hair has gone lank and limp from over-conditioning, it is worth using a good clarifying shampoo with tea tree for a couple of weeks. This will gently but effectively remove product build-up.  Consider also investing in a Mineral Treatment to deep cleanse the hair. 

On the other hand, if your hair is dry and lifeless, follow the above with a nutrient rich natural hair mask to nourish your hair and scalp. 

Now let's look at how conditioners work, so you can choose one that suits you better. And bear in mind that some people (usually with type 1 or type 2 hair) often find they don't need a conditioner if they use the right shampoo

What's in hair conditioner?

With conditioners that you’d mostly find on the high street, they usually contain ingredients that prevent knots from forming and make the hair more manageable to work with.

They use at least one of the following to either smooth the hair’s surface or to impart a positive electrical charge to stop tangle-causing static:

Silicone – silicones act as a plastic coating to the hair, making it more pliable.

Oils – work especially well with damaged hair by filling in the ‘pores’ of the hair making it easier to work with/less likely to tangle.

Acids – used to smooth and tighten strands by strengthening the bonds between keratin molecules in the hair.

Protein – smooths the broken edges of the hair to stop it catching on other strands.

Quats - quaternary compounds, like polyquaternium-10, cetrimonium chloride or behentrimonium methylsulfate change the hair's charge to reduce static.

Although all of these ingredients can be effective at smoothing the hair and preventing tangles, many of them have side effects that aren’t as desirable.

Which conditioner ingredients lead to damaged hair?

Silicone is one of the main culprits for conditioner damaged hair. It can give the appearance of healthy, glossy hair, but isn’t actually doing anything for the condition of your hair. Silicone coats the hair in a kind of plastic, which can weigh it down, causing it to look limp and lifeless over time. Ironically, silicone can also prevent genuine conditioning ingredients (and even the hair’s own natural oils) from penetrating or lubricating the hair shaft. So in reality the hidden dryness and damage gets worse, which is why we’d always recommend a silicone free shampoo and conditioner.

It’s not just the detangling agents that can cause issues for the hair, but many conventional conditioners and detanglers are made with harsh, synthetic ingredients, including:

- Sulphates

- Parabens

- Artificial fragrance

- Artificial preservatives

Not only do ingredients like sulphates act as scalp irritants and can end up damaging hair, many of these commonly-used ingredients are linked to deeper, more serious health issues after prolonged use and build-up within the body.

But that doesn’t mean you’re destined to sit brushing out knotty hair for the rest of your life - there are alternatives!

How to avoid conditioner damaged hair

The chemicals used in conventional conditioners only promise to give the appearance of healthy hair. Increasingly, products are available that actually nourish and condition your hair.

We would always recommend using an organic conditioner / detangler, with therapeutic ingredients. Plant oils like coconut, crambe, broccoli seed, as well as natural silicone replacements extracted from plants work incredibly well.

But there are so many “so-called” organic/natural products out there, how can you tell which ones are genuine?

Choose silicone-free and certified natural

Look for independent natural or organic certification! Whilst any company can give the appearance that their product is natural, there are independent bodies who assess which products really are the real deal. Odylique products, for example, are independently certified organic by the Soil Association, who have some of the strictest standards in the world to adhere to. Usually these products will have the association’s logo on the packaging, making it easier to spot.

If you’re looking for all natural, organic conditioner, we recommend our multi-tasking conditioner & detangler that strengthens and smoothens hair, giving a soft luxurious feel, while soothing the most sensitive scalp.

organic conditioner by Odylique

A revolutionary all-natural, quat-free, silicone-free, sulphate-free, system of amino acids and prebiotics provides both natural conditioning to the hair and contributes toward a healthy-looking scalp by balancing the skin microbiota.

Our wonderfully pure conditioner comes in two varieties: Lavender Conditioner / Detanglerwhich won Best Scalp Treatment in the Beauty Bible awards! - and a super-gentle unscented conditioner.  

Lavender Conditioner

It’s also an excellent choice for those with ultra-sensitive scalps (who may suffer with psoriasis or eczema) and children too.

Use a Detangler Brush

There are of course other options to a conditioner/spray – detangler brushes! These brushes can be used on wet or dry hair and tend to pull a lot less than traditional hairbrushes because of their densely-packed, friction-free bristles.

There are lots of detangler brushes on the market, but if you’re looking for something a little more eco-friendly, we recommend any brush that is made from sustainably sourced materials, such as the ‘So Eco Biodegradable Gentle Detangling Brush’. This special brush is made from eco pond, a fully compostable material that is ethically sourced, compostable, recyclable and biodegradable.

Follow these Natural Detangling Tips:

  1. Gently brush hair before you wash it, to reduce the amount of knots you comb out when it's wet.
  2. Whilst your washing your hair - instead of vigorously rubbing shampoo in - smooth any product through it with your fingers.
  3. When shampooing, don’t be tempted to pile hair on top of your head whilst you wait for the shampoo to do its magic - keep your hair down!
  4. Use a natural conditioner / hair detangler on your hair afterward.
  5. Instead of towel drying your hair by rubbing it, gently squeeze excess water out.
  6. Allow your hair to air-dry somewhat before attempting to comb it through - hair is at it's weakest when it's soaking!
  7. Finally, gently brush through your hair with a detangling brush.

More Advice?

If you’d like any more advice on organic conditioner or any of our products, please do email us –, add your question as a comment below, or call 01638 491022 – we’re here to help!