Does Curl Training Lead To Over Conditioning?

Curly hairAfter my last post in which I shared how I curl train to define my curls by leaving deep conditioner in my hair, there was quite a bit of dispute about how “safe” this method is for hair.

If you are worried about over conditioning your hair by following the curl training method, you are absolutely right. If you are worried about under conditioning your hair by not following the curl training method, you are also right.

The key to adopting any new hair regimen is to gain a deep understanding of what your hair needs and what it is trying to tell you. Do not ever adopt someone else’s regimen in a cut and dry fashion simply because you think if you follow it exactly it will help you.

Everyone’s hair is different and the most marked difference is the varying state of our hair due to variables like climate, your present level of conditioning, pH, protein/product sensitivities, porosity, etc. These all play a huge role in whether or not a particular method will work well for you.

You must become fluent in your hair’s language. It is possible to have frizzy hair from both dryness and over-conditioning. The key is always having balance, and if you tip the scales too far in either direction it can mean disaster for your hair.

Curl training is a process that will take time, and if you are trying to rush the process by washing out and reapplying five times a week, you will suffer breakage from both over manipulation and the frizziness associated with over-conditioning.

When I first started, I made this mistake because I was in a rush to quickly restore my hair to a state of high moisture, but the truth is that your body adapts slowly to any changes as a defensive mechanism. This is like a “security feature” that, you guessed it, helps to keep everything in balance.


Here are some signs to look for when adopting any new treatment to your hair regimen:

Over-conditioning

Hair feels gummy when wet, easily over-stretches when a strand is pulled due to loss of elasticity. Hair is limp when dry, for finer hair textures. Hair is very frizzy, especially at the root for coarser hair textures.

Classic sign: Hair is becoming defined, moisturized, full of bounce, then one more moisturizing treatment is applied too soon, hair reverts to a drier, more frizzy state. This is your hair trying to balance itself.

Too much protein: Hair feels dry, hard and has a characteristic, dry, straw-like feel, rather than soft, when wet. Hair is brittle, breaks easily, and appears very frizzy. Hair strand breaks easily when stretched; there is very little elasticity.

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About Linda Cabinda


Linda Cabinda was born in the West African nation of Cameroon. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in English. Her journey of self-realization has taken her from Los Angeles, to Chicago, and even Miami. She is a writer and "resident creative" currently residing in New Jersey.

About Linda Cabinda


Linda Cabinda was born in the West African nation of Cameroon. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in English. Her journey of self-realization has taken her from Los Angeles, to Chicago, and even Miami. She is a writer and "resident creative" currently residing in New Jersey.

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avagee
avagee

I’ve been following your series on curl training and want to try it, but I have a couple of questions. You say it’s best to do it “once a week for an entire week.” To be clear, you mean apply the deep conditioner and leave it in for an entire week? How often should that be done? Every week? Every other week? Once a month? Also, is there a maximum amount of time, and/or number of times this should be done? Last, you originally recommended using a homemade deep conditioner, but is it okay to use a commercial DC? Thanks for any help you can give with these questions.

Jen
Jen

What is curl training?

avagee
avagee

Check the first page of this article where it says “my last post” That’s a link to the original article.

avagee
avagee

One more question–any suggestions for homemade protein free deep conditioner? All of the recipes I’m finding online have some form of protein, and I assume with leaving it in so long, the conditioner should not have protein. Plus, being low porosity, my hair does not play well with protein anyway.

LaTonya Smith

Is over conditioning a bad thing?