- Find Out Why This Process Is The Key To The Health And Length Of Your Hair
- Why Does Your Hair Need A Deep Conditioner?
- Choosing Your Deep Conditioner
- A Low Budget Solution To Deep Conditioning
- Final Considerations
- Further Reading
Conditioning takes up a great deal of our regimen when you stop to consider all that goes into keeping black hair on fleek, but the foundation for the real magic lies in deep conditioning.
It’s no wonder we spend so much on commercial products that promise to condition our crown for a picture-perfect finish. Some of us have even become masters at whipping up our own products in our kitchens, the bottom line is we always try to ensure that our strands are properly nourished and looking at their best.
All hair is made up of the same material; Keratin the protein found in nails and hair. Sebaceous glands below the scalp secrete an oily substance called sebum which travels down the shaft of straight hair making it shiny and locking the moisture in. With curly hair the sebaceous oil does not make it very far, this along with the shape of the hair is why curly and kinky hair tends to be dry, frizzy and prone to breakage.
Because of its dry state, curly hair will be brittle and quite fragile so its clear that curly and kinky hair requires extra care and attention. Deep conditioning* is easily one of the most important aspects of the curly and kinky hair care regimen.
So what is a deep conditioner* and why does your hair need it? Strictly speaking, a deep conditioner is any type of product with the capacity to impact the appearance and manageability of your hair.
In this context, such a product is not meant to permanently alter or affect the bonds of the hair, but rather to strengthen or smooth the cuticle so that it says flat and allows moisture to remain in the strand and increase sheen or shine while making the hair easier to manipulate.
In other words, it facilitates the bounce back factor by making the hair able to maintain elasticity and keeps dryness at bay to limit breakage.
Deep conditioners are usually left on the hair for 20-30 minutes (sometimes overnight). For the deep conditioner to be truly effective, it is important that heat is used along with it.
Heat allows the hair shaft to swell and the cuticles to open and allow the conditioner inside by promoting elasticity. The prime purpose of deep conditioning is to improve the strength of the hair and make it more resilient which helps in length retention in the long term.
All hair types can benefit from deep conditioning but for black hair, this is an absolute must! As curly hair is dry by nature, deep conditioning restores the moisture balance in the hair which stops breakage.
Deep conditioning should be done straight after a shampoo especially if a shampoo with a sulfate is used as these will tend to strip the hair leaving it dry.
The type of deep conditioner* used should depend on the condition of your hair. If the hair feels mushy when wet and stretches a lot before breaking then a protein conditioner is required to restore the hair’s strength.
If however, the hair feels brittle and just snaps when any tension is applied; the hair is in need of a moisturizing conditioner*. The aim is to get the hair to a stage where the hair is both strong but has a certain degree of elasticity too. Too much protein will make the hair go hard and too much moisture will make the hair mushy.
Moisturizing deep conditioners should be used in conjunction with protein deep conditioners in your hair care regimen to maintain a healthy balance. You may find that to begin with you may just want to alternate between light protein and moisturizing conditioners with every wash (assuming you are washing your hair once or twice a week) then adjusting your regimen according to how your hair feels.
It is better to err on the side of moisture with natural black hair. It is already pretty strong as none of the bonds have been broken by chemical treatments but it is still likely to be dry. Some naturals also report being protein sensitive which is to say that protein tends to make their hair go hard. In this instance, a light protein should only be required once per month.
With relaxed black hair, some bonds have been broken during the chemical service so needless to say, relaxed hair needs deep conditioning with protein treatments regularly since the bonds have been compromised.
Relaxed hair is also quite likely to require hard protein to strengthen the hair but moisture will also be required as chemicals only aggravate the dry condition of the hair.
There are loads of conditioning products on the market, some do cost a pretty penny, but thankfully granny passed down some tips and tricks. The thing about it is that deep conditioning doesn’t need to be an expensive process.
Here are some low budget things that work for making your own DIY deep conditioner:
- Plastic bags/shower caps*
- Ingredients from your kitchen eg. eggs, okras, honey, avocado, ripe bananas, yogurt, oils etc. You can invent your own concoction or use one of the recipes used in our “further reading” section below
- Wet towels and a microwave for a low budget ‘steamer’
Once you have mixed your deep conditioning treatment, apply to your damp clean hair and leave for 15-30 minutes ( an hour or overnight works for some but it is not a hard and fast rule). You can cover your head with your low budget steamer or a shower cap* for the duration. Rinse thoroughly.
Note the condition and texture of your hair after each deep conditioning session and adjust your recipe the next time adding more of the ingredients that give you the best results.
Perhaps some of you have gotten to a place where you figure you no longer need deep conditioning; we encourage you to perish that thought. Whether you have natural or relaxed hair, it would benefit you greatly to be consistent with your deep conditioning treatments because, over time, the wear and tear on your hair will start to take a toll.
It is that extra step of deep conditioning* that will serve as your defense against breakage and excess shedding. Some people see it as an unnecessary step in the regimen, but at the end of the day, many of us can attest to the fact that it is effective at keeping our crowns looking healthy.
Deep conditioning is a huge topic so a single post won’t cover every aspect of the process. You are in luck however because the following articles and videos will help you gain a more exhaustive understanding on the topic of deep conditioning and why it is important to the health of your hair.
- Deep Conditioning 101 – The Best Practices For Deep Conditioning Your Dry Hair
- Tutorial On How To Deep Condition Natural Or Relaxed Black Hair
- Heat: Proof That It Takes Your Deep Conditioning Sessions To A New Level
- How To Choose A Conditioner for Relaxed and Natural Black Hair
- How To Choose The Best Protein Treatment For Your Hair
- Are Protein Treatments And Conditioners Absolutely Necessary In Your Hair Journey?
- No More Excuses! – 5 Ways To Sneak Deep Conditioning Into Your Busy Schedule
- How To Deep Condition Using Regular Conditioner
- 2 Beneficial Commercial Protein Treatment Packs You Can Use In A Pinch
Intermediate & Advanced:
- Why Does Black Hair Need Protein Treatments And Reconstructors?
- What Happens When You Skip Deep Conditioning
- 3 Tips On How You Can Get The Best Out Of Your DIY Deep Conditioning Mix
- Get In The Habit Of Deep Conditioning Weekly
- 3 Best Moisture Boosting Humectants To Add To Your Deep Conditioners Right Now!
- Which Is Better Wet Deep Conditioning Or Dry Deep Conditioning?
- What Is A Light Protein Treatment And When Do You Need One?
- Unbreakeable Hair? The Protein Treatment That Beats Pure Protein
- 3 Things To Remember When Deep Conditioning Relaxed Hair
- The Caramel Treatment – A Natural Hair Softener
- Back To Basics – Home-made Protein Treatment
- 5 Foods In Your Kitchen That Are Great Hair Protein Treatments
- Add The Yolk Of The Egg To Your Deep Conditioner To Get Rid Of Dry Hair
- Try This Moisturizing Coconut Milk Cocktail The Next Time You Deep Condition
- Dry, Tangled, Broken Hair? Try This DIY Deep Conditioner Every Two Weeks Starting Today
- 4 Fruits That Are Perfect Deep Conditioning Additives
- Deep Conditioning Routine For Frizzy & Dry Natural Hair [Video]
- Sheabiscus Rainforest Deep Treatment | Ayurvedic Hair Care [Video]
- Natural Hair | DIY Deep Conditioner for Dry Hair [Video]
- Do It Yourself Deep Conditioner That Fixes Dry, Dull Hair INSTANTLY on Natural Hair [Video]
Updated by Marsha Buchannan
Originally posted 2010-02-13 21:35:21.