Are you suffering from dry, dull-looking curly hair? Do you tend to use copious amounts of hair products, such as gels, styling foams, or creams, and are noticing increased breakage? Did you recently bleach your natural hair?
Your hair may be in desperate need of deep conditioning!
Naturally curly hair thrives on a balance of moisture and protein, which helps to support your hair’s growth cycle, increase length retention, and strengthen the hair strand.
For extra TLC, many naturalistas opt for deep conditioning.
What is Deep Conditioning?
“Deep conditioning is the application of a thick and restorative formula to your hair, using steam or moist heat to encourage the penetration of the formula into your hair. The goal is to repair dry, damaged hair by rebuilding the hair’s molecular layer and replenishing moisture, encouraging thicker, softer and revitalised hair” .
Ingredients to Look for in Deep Conditioners
If your hair is dry, rough to the touch, and breaking off, choose deep conditioners that contain proteins (e.g. hydrolyzed keratin, hydrolyzed wheat protein) that strengthen the hair strand, and sealing ingredients (e.g. coconut oil, avocado oil, shea butter) that will infuse moisture into your hair (Harmon).
The best deep conditioners for bleached hair, for example, will include the aforementioned ingredients to soften the hair, and strengthen the hair’s damaged keratin proteins.
Now that we know the benefits of deep conditioning, and what ingredients to look for, let’s get into how to deep condition curly hair!
How to Use Deep Conditioner
Before deep conditioning, it is crucial that you shampoo your naturally curly hair. The purpose of shampoo is to cleanse your scalp and prepare your hair to receive moisture when you condition or apply moisturizing products.
Product buildup, combined with the natural oils and dirt that accumulate on the scalp on a daily basis, creates a not-so-ideal environment for the scalp—fueling inflammation, flakes, and ultimately hindering hair health and growth. To learn more about how to properly shampoo your hair, read our blog post HERE!
Therefore, shampooing should always be step one before applying any conditioning agents.
If you’re deep conditioning, you can forgo using a rinse-out conditioner. After you’ve shampooed, your hair shaft will be open (partly due to the use of water, as well as the pH of the shampoo).
Next, apply your deep conditioner to still wet hair and work it in. Part your hair into sections, and apply evenly from top to bottom (roots to shaft).
Pro tip: If you have bleached hair, over-processed, or heat damaged hair, concentrate the deep conditioner on the mid-shaft to ends of your hair, where your hair is the oldest, and therefore weakest.
To maximize the effects of the deep conditioner, consider adding heat! Heat will help to open up the hair shaft further, allowing the products to sink deeper into the hair (Curl Centric).
Heat can be added to your hair in various ways, such as standing under the steam of the shower water, covering your hair with a plastic cap to trap in the heat, or sitting under a hooded dryer!
Pro tip: The longer you leave your deep conditioner on your hair, the better! Follow the recommended time guidelines on your product, or let the conditioner sit on your hair from anywhere from 5-30 minutes!
How Often Should You Deep Condition Your Curly Hair?
According to Goldstein, “If your hair is extremely dry, damaged, or brittle, consider using a deep conditioner (or hair mask — the two are basically interchangeable) any time you wash your hair, in place of regular conditioner after shampooing. Otherwise, try to treat your hair to a deep conditioning treatment about once a week.”
Do you deep condition your naturally curly hair? Let us know and follow our blog for more hair care tips!