Hair Conditioner Ingredients to Avoid Build Up

A cleansing conditioner moisturizes your hair while removing buildup.

Photo: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Nothing contributes to a bad hair day like buildup and residue. Greasy, limp locks and dull-looking color make you want to hop back into the shower to wash, rinse and repeat at least two more times. While shampoo is specifically designed to remove dirt and buildup, your conditioner can help too. It's especially helpful on conditioner-only days. The difference between regular hair conditioners and hair conditioners that help to avoid buildup is the ingredients.

What's Lingering In Your Hair?

Residue from many hair products and even your water can stick around like a clingy boyfriend. They just won't let go of your hair. Hairsprays, gels, serums and creams contain silicones that coat your hair, initially making it shiny. But they don't rinse away completely. They build up day after day, eventually dulling your tresses. Surprisingly, your shampoo and conditioner may also include silicones. Other hair-hogging culprits include minerals found in water that also make your hair dry.

Sulfates Beat Silicones

If you look at the ingredient list for your favorite shine-enhancing products, you'll likely find some sort of silicone -- dimethicone, simethicone, adimethicone and others. It can be disappointing to find out that these products can weigh your hair down. There's no need to worry, cleansing agents such as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate will come to the rescue every time. These detergents strip heavy silicones from your hair to reveal squeaky cleanliness. Keep in mind that sulfates strip your hair of its natural oils too, so use hair conditioners with sulfates in them sparingly.

Chemical Ingredients for Mineral Buildup

If soft water rains down from your shower head, consider yourself a lucky girl. You don't have to suffer from the hard water blues which makes many women sing of dry, heavy and stiff hair. The chlorine, magnesium, iron and other minerals found in hard water weigh your hair down and prevent moisture from seeping in. Combat this with a conditioner that contains trisodium EDTA or disodium EDTA. Both of these ingredients prevent buildup by breaking down the minerals in the water, allowing them to rinse clean from your hair.

Natural Ingredients for Fighting Buildup

If you prefer too keep your beauty regimen as natural as possible, try hair conditioners that contain citric acid, hydrolyzed corn starch or rice syrup. These ingredients are completely natural, yet they are effective at preventing mineral buildup. Unfortunately, they aren't strong enough to remove silicones from your hair. So, it's a good idea to steer clear of silicones. If you're already using natural styling products, that shouldn't be a problem.

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