Most people think that conditioning the hair is just putting on the conditioner after shampooing, but I must say that there is a lot more to the process. After a good shampoo, rinse out the conditioner and apply a leave-in conditioner. Follow these simple steps along with the selection of styling products that you will use to prep the hair to protect it from the heat of a blow dryer, hair dryer or curling/flat irons.
Some hairstylists won't use leave-in conditioners. However, it's an important step in the conditioning process. Leave-in conditioners are an extra layer of protection against the outside elements; as well as it helps to keep the cuticle sealed. Some premium quality leave-in conditioners will balance the pH in the hair or act as a porosity balancer. This is also important, because when the pH or porosity isn’t balanced, you will have problems with the hair retaining moisture. If the cuticle is not properly sealed then the hair will have a rough feel when worn smooth/straight.
When styling the hair, conditioning is still at play. It's different depending on how the hair is worn. If the hair is natural or you choose to style it with a wet finish; then those products will be more water based. That will produce more moisture retention in the hair.
Wet styling products usually have water as one of the main ingredients and consists of styling puddings/custards, curl creams/lotions, and curl gels (water based gels).
When considering a smooth or straight style, conditioning products should include styling creams, pomades, oils, or serums that have nourishing properties that protect and preserve the hair. These products will lock moisture in the hair, if the hair has been properly moisturized.