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Hair Glossary


Term: Squish To Condish

This method was discovered and named by Melissa Stites, hairstylist and owner of There Once Was A Curl salon in Southgate, Michigan.

Squish to Condish (STC) is a conditioner-rinsing method.

STC is meant to leave a very light film of conditioner on top of the hair's cuticles. The goal? To achieve excellent hydration and lubrication for follicles.

Hair is hydrated - not everyone agrees with that term - when it contains a certain percentage of water. When hair is properly hydrated it's more flexible.

Dehydrated hair becomes stiff and/or inflexible, which is another way of way of saying hair feels rough, dry or strawlike.

Flexible hair is more pliable. It can be shaped when wet. It has some weight or heft when dry.

Flexible hair will clump more readily with adjacent strands formed into waves or curls during styling.

If the hair's cuticles shape is straight, when it's hydrated to very well-hydrated, the follicles are less likely to splay out at the ends.

Lubrication reduces friction. TOo much friction creates frizz.

When hair is properly lubricated, strands can nestle into adjacent strands.

Four Key Hair Conditioning Steps

The method requires four key hair conditioning steps:

Add Water To Conditioner After It's Been Applied To Wet Hair

1. This step takes advantage of conditioner's action as a wetting agent.

Wetting agents like surfactants which conditioners contain (i.e. cationic surfactants) helps a conditioner overcome hair's resistance to water absorption.

Conditioner also helps hair repel water once absorbed in the hair. But it also works to help the hair resist water.

If your hair tends to repel water and be slow to wet, applying conditioner to it first helps it become wetter more quickly.

Shampoos are even more effective wetting agents than conditioners.

Scrunching, Gliding, Pressing, Squeezing, Finger-Combing

Saturate hair evenly with gently physical manipulations used in STC.

This includes gentle scrunching squeezing, finger-combing, lightly pressing hair together

and gliding conditioner down the length of the strands. It's critical to saturate

hair with conditioner as evenly as possible.

Thing of the action of the Squish To Condition similar to gently kneading bread. Add a little water at a time and work to evenly saturate the hair with conditioner. The goal is to make sure hair is evenly and completely coated with more-fluid and evenly coated with more-fluid conditioner.

Better contact with all hair surfaces means conditioner can bond to more bonding-sites on the hair, and with it, water for more thorough saturation.

More of the hair-penetrating ingredients can find their way into the hair because of better coverage, and more thorough saturation.

That includes ingredients in the conditioner such as Glycerin, Panthenol, Amino acids, Cetrimonium chloride (or bromide).

This is not a technique for smoothing down cuticles. As far as cuticles are involved - between cuticle edges is where water can seep past, and with it, some of the humectants and conditioning ingredients and oils in conditioners. Conditioners also bond to cuticles and their edges.

Condition and Squish to Condish doesn't change the condition of the hair's cuticle or its position.

The STC technique alters elements of flexibility, hydration and lubrication to change the behavior of the hair strands.

Everyone finds their own unique way to perform Squish To Condition actions on their hair. Experiment and practice until you find the very best method for your hair.

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