Conditioner is a tricky thing: Skip it and your hair feels like straw. Overdo it and your strands look limp and greasy. But when you get it just right, everything is suddenly softer, silkier and much easier to manage. Here, five ways to up your conditioning game now. 

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Condition Before You Shampoo

Listen up, fine-haired ladies. The next time you hop into the shower, try conditioning your strands before you lather up with shampoo. This way you’ll still get all of the moisturizing benefits without sacrificing any of that precious volume.

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Distribute It Evenly

Once you’ve applied your conditioner, run a flat paddle brush through strands from root to tip. Not only will this help to distribute the product evenly throughout your hair, but it will also make detangling a breeze since it gives the strands a protective coating.

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Apply a Mask to Dry Hair, Not Wet

When your hair is wet, most of the nourishing ingredients in a mask slide off your locks and onto the floor of your shower or tub. When you apply it to dry hair, it soaks everything up like a sponge, leaving you with a smoother finish. To get the most out of your weekly mask, use it as a pre-shampoo treatment. Apply from mid-lengths to ends, let it sit for a few minutes and wash out as you normally would.

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...But Don’t Overdo It

Yes, there is such a thing—particularly if whatever it is you’re using says “fortifying” or “strengthening” on the label. These formulas typically contain proteins, which are good in small amounts but can make strands brittle (and risk breakage) if overused.

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Always Use a Cream or Leave-In Last

Everyone—regardless of hair type or texture—can benefit from a leave-in spray, serum or oil after towel drying. You should do this as a final step after every wash to help seal in moisture and protect strands from any heat styling afterward.

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