Deep conditioning natural, multi-ethnic hair is one of the most effective ways to achieve one’s hair goals. It makes the hair softer, more pliable, and shinier than a regular conditioning session. Deep conditioning your hair is a delicate dance which means time and patience are vital. Here are some tips to help make deep conditioning a breeze!
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, pre-pooing is a process in which naturals use an oil and/or conditioner on their hair before washing it. This process is supposed to minimize shedding and breaking during the washing and styling sessions. To find the product that works for you focus on what your curls need most. Are they dry? Look for one that’s intensely hydrating like the Banana Smoothie Protein Treatment. Decide if you’re going to use your deep conditioner as a pre-poo or just as a deep conditioner. What’s the difference? Naturals tend to turn to pre-poos if they’re trying to get a jump start on the detangling process, or if they’re trying to avoid dryness from harsh cleansers.
2. Lay It on Thick
Focus on your ends. They are usually the most dry, since natural oils take a while to work down the length of your hair strands. Applying a deep conditioner to your ends will restore oils, preventing breakage and split ends. I have seen my hair shedding and breakage cut down in half when I implement finger detangling in my deep conditioning sessions. Using my fingers, and in particular my thumb fingers have saved my precious strands.
3. Cover It Up
After applying a deep conditioner, cover your hair with a shower cap or plastic bag and add low heat (wrap a warm, damp towel around your head.) This opens up the cuticle and allows the deep conditioner to penetrate your hair. Applying deep conditioner is a vital step in maximizing your treatment results. Part the hair into four to six sections, apply the conditioner to the ends, and then work it through to the root. Deep conditioning sessions are at least 15-30 minutes, and I believe that is if you have a nice amount of heat to open the cuticles.
4. Heat It Up
Some women feel that deep condition isn’t a true deep condition without the addition of heat. I add heat to sometimes when I deep condition. Personally I don't feel as if its necessary every time but it definitely something you can add into your routine. Heat has the ability to helps to open up the pores and prepare them to receive moisture. Deep conditioners for curly hair opens the pores then penetrates and infuses vitamins and nutrients needed to repair and restore the hair shaft. When rinsing, use cool water to seal in moisture and close the pores. There are many ways (inexpensive ones too) to go about it:
Body Heat – Using your own body heat to add heat to your deep conditioning treatment is not only easy but it’s FREE. All you need to do is place a shower cap or a plastic grocery bag over your hair and then put a hat on top of that. The hat traps the heat that would otherwise escape from the top of your head.
Dryer – This is the tried and true method but if I’m honest, it’s my least favorite because I hate siting still.
Steamer – Steamers is a newer technology in the hair world but would be great for adding heat to give your treatment a boost. Hair steamers are available in same style as the hair dryers you sit under and there are also handheld steamers.
Thermal Cap – Thermal caps are another newer technology in the hair world. Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds on each side and place it on top of your processing/shower cap to add heat to your deep conditioner.
5. Don’t Overdo It
Remember that golden rule that applies to virtually everything in life? “Everything in moderation.” Including deep conditioning. You could be dedicated to doing something that isn’t providing any real benefits. There’s this odd trend throughout the natural hair community of deep conditioning overnight. Not only is it not necessary, it can be too much. Anything porous has a saturation point which is essentially the point at which its pores can no longer accept any more moisture or liquid. So if you deep condition your hair and it’s reached its saturation point, there’s no longer any benefit to keeping the product in your hair. So don't sleep on it!
READ THE LABEL
Do not be fooled by words like “natural” or “moisturizing.” Check the ingredients, and only use a deep conditioner with coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado: these are the only ingredients that can truly penetrate the hair shaft. Other conditioners will just coat and sit on your hair.