Is there really a difference in using a deep conditioner for natural hair. Do I really need to use a deep conditioner and how often? As winter weather approaches, this is an excellent time to figure it all out so your delicate strands are fully protected from the cold!
What Is A Leave-In Conditioner?
New natural need answers on products and that includes what a deep conditioner is and how to properly use for softer, stronger and more manageable strands. Here's all the info to get you to expert status on the DC's.
Deep conditioners are penetrating conditioners that adds moisture, maintains elasticity, and strengthens the hair strands on a deeper level. They actually penetrate the hair shaft and not all products have that ability. That's the magic behind a deep conditioner and why they are necessary on every single washday. The are there to not only protect hair and keep it moisturized but to also combat the damages you inflict on your hair during washing, styling and regular day to day wear.
A regular conditioner or rinse-out is not a deep conditioner because it won’t penetrate the hair shaft and affect hair on a deeper level. Deep conditioners have fortifying ingredients that should be free from drying alcohol, parabens, and mineral oil. It should have humectants and emollients such as oils and good fatty alcohols such as cetearyl alcohol. Regular conditioners are not created to work as hard as their counter-parts so you will not be getting the benefits by using that alone.
You can create your own DIY deep conditioner with bananas, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, glycerin, or honey (if you have them at home) and mix it in a mixer. Here's a great post on how to become one here: HOW TO BECOME A NATURAL HAIR DIY MIXTRESS
Many people think they know how to deep condition their hair but there is a process for optimal effectiveness. Now that you’ve bought the right deep conditioner or made it, how do we apply it to our hair? You should apply it from your roots down to the ends, mainly focusing on the ends of your hair. You should also leave it in for at least 20 to 30 minutes to allow it to fully penetrate the hair shaft. This allows it to add all the moisture and nutrients needed to build hair back up from damage.
You don’t really need to deep condition 2-4 times a week for 3 hours or overnight. Keep a deep conditioner (or any product) on your wet head for long periods especially homemade deep conditioners will invite bacteria into your hair and we want to keep mold away from our tresses. On every wash day is more than enough but don't skip this too often either. If you DC on every washday for at least 30 minutes you are giving your hair exactly what it needs to keep hair healthy.
HEAT is our best friend when it comes to deep conditioning. You can use a steamer, hot towel, thermal deep conditioning cap ( my fave!) or a plastic bag. The heat allows for better penetration as it forces the the hair shaft to swell open and the nutrients from the deep conditioner bond to the hair cuticles. This will keep the hair ends fully moisturized in the days after styling. Also, the heat allows for better elasticity to your strands and that wards off breakage.
You may not always have the time or ability to DC with heat so use a plastic cap on your head with doing the DC and your body's own heat will help. Deep conditioning with heat just makes your DC work better.
- Alternate between moisturizer and protein deep conditioners. There is a delicate balance between moisture and protein with our hair. Having two on hand (one for moisturizing and the other for protein) will help hair with strength, nourishment, softness and length retention.
- You should deep condition on damp hair. If you apply the deep conditioner to soaking wet hair it will slide of your hair shaft. When it is applied to damp hair the product easily glides on to the hair shaft to get the best coverage.
- Rinse with cool water. The cool water helps in closing the hair cuticle and keeps the moisture in so that your hair stays moisturized in the days after styling. There is some debate on how much cool water helps but just try as it will not hurt doing it.
- Spend a little money on a good deep conditioner. No one says break the bank but if using heat styling, chemicals (like color), or manipulating the hair often, the better deep conditioners will work harder at keeping hair moisturized and strong.
Now that you know how to use them, make sure that you do. Keep your strands protected and strong all winter long with a great deep conditioner and you will find your journey to keeper hair moisturized, strong and healthy easier.
What's your favorite deep conditioner?
FAVORITE DEEP CONDITIONERS AND TOOLS