If having natural hair is not new to you then you may be well aware that deep conditioning for natural hair is a MUST. If it’s growth you are after then deep conditioning has to be on your radar.
Even if you like to keep your hair short I’m sure you want healthy hair and that comes with deep conditioning also.
Natural hair is prone to becoming dry so in this case, you need to keep your hair as moisturised as possible.
There are many ways that you can achieve moisturised hair but today I want us to look at deep conditioning and why it is important for your natural hair.
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What is deep conditioning?
Deep conditioning is a simple process of trying to keep your hair moisturised and hydrated.
Deep conditioning is different from regular conditioning as it is a more intense action.
The purpose of deep conditioning is to allow the hair shaft to absorb moisture and therefore promote healthy hair growth.
A regular regime of deep conditioning will keep your hair in optimum health by treating it and restoring lost moisture.
Deep conditioning is a great way to combat and repair hair, especially from heat damage.
Who should deep condition?
Everyone that has hair should deep condition. If you want to keep your hair in good condition then deep conditioning is what you need to be doing.
For those of us with natural hair that tends to be curly or kinky, we need to purposefully deep condition because our hair tends to get drier in a short space of time.
The tighter the curls that your hair has the more moisture upkeep that you will need to maintain. This is because when your hair is straight water can just run down the strands of hair and your hair will begin to absorb the moisture without issue.
Curly or kinky hair works slightly different. Instead of water/ moisture being able to run straight down the hair shaft it can’t because of the way the strand spirals, therefore, resulting in a lot of lost moisture.
For this reason, deep conditing should be a part of your natural hair routine if you have kinky or curly hair and want it to stay healthy and moisturised.
Benefits of deep conditioning for natural hair
There are endless benefits to deep conditioning natural hair some of which we have already looked at but let’s take a look at a few more benefits.
1. Strengthens hair & promotes elasticity
Dry hair breaks, it’s as simple as that.
If you leave anything without water it becomes weak and fragile. Your hair is no exception to this rule. You need to keep moisture in your hair if you want to promote health and growth.
Deep conditioning is great for this as it brings your hair back to life again.
If you condition it you improve its elasticity and therefore it is less likely to easily snap and break.
2. Reduces split ends
Deep conditioning can also help slow down the process of split ends too. We’ve all seen what spit ends can do to hair and it doesn’t look good. If you don’t like to trim your hair very often then make sure you are conditioning regularly.
When you deep condition you strengthen the ends of your hair which are the oldest and weakest part of your hair. If you look after and strengthen the ends of the hair you can slow down the process of split ends.
Unfortunately, we cannot fully keep split ends away forever so trimming your hair eventually is a must. Wouldn’t it be a lovely thing if you never had to deal with split ends again?
We all want lustre for our hair and deep conditioning does just that.
Have you noticed how fresh your hair looks when you have just washed it?
Well, basically deep conditioning will help to keep that level of moisture going for as long as possible.
After deep conditioning, your hair will no longer feel dry and look dull but should be full of life again.
4. Tackles moisture loss
Using a regular conditioner is good for your hair but deep conditioning is going one step further.
Deep conditioning is a much more intense form of conditioning and the products made for deep conditioning are formulated to achieve this.
In your regular routine of styling your hair, you should be using a leave-in conditioner as well. When you wash your hair you should use a shampoo or conditioner perhaps once a week or every 2 weeks.
Depending on the type of hair that you have you might find it more beneficial to deep condition every 2 weeks or once a month in order to rejuvenate your hair and tackle moisture loss. You do not have to deep condition every week unless you feel there is a particular need for this.
How to deep condition
Deep conditioning is a pretty straight forward process but not all deep conditioners are created equally.
There are actually 2 forms of deep conditioning. You may want to deep condition for moisture purposes or you may want to to help repair damage to your hair.
If it is to help repair damage to hair then you will want to use a product that is protein-rich.
Once you have worked out the best product to condition your hair with then just go along with your regular wash day routine and add your deep conditioner process to it.
You can shampoo your hair in smaller sections then afterwards add the deep conditioner to each section and allow it to sit for about 30-45 minutes under a shower cap.
Some people like to sit under a heated cap like this one. You just have to play around with it a little bit and see what works for you.
What to do after deep conditioning
After you have deep conditioned your hair and rinsed it off you do not need to shampoo it again.
Can you use regular conditioner to deep condition?
Whilst you can use a regular conditioner to try and deep conditioner your hair in the same way you would use a deep conditioner it simply won’t be as effective.
A deep conditioner is made with a different formula to regular conditioner so is much more intense.
So while you could technically use a regular conditioner, in the same way, you won’t get the same results as using a deep conditioner on natural hair.
For this reason, I personally would say it’s not really worth the effort unless you are desperate one day and can’t get your hands on a deep conditioning treatment but by all means, you can give it a try if you like.
Alternatively, you can add extra ingredients such as egg, greek yoghurt or avocado to your regular conditioner to make it into a deep conditioner.
Deep conditioner recommendations
Deep conditioning overnight
There has been a lot of talk in the natural hair community about if you should or should not deep condition your hair overnight.
The way I see it is that everyone’s hair is different so therefore what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Its all very much trial and error. I don’t think you can 100% categorically say if it is a good or a bad idea.
I have definitely done it in the past with regular conditioner and it has worked for me when my hair was shorter but I personally wouldn’t do it now especially the more I begin to understand what my hair does and does not like.
What I found was that if I left the conditioner on overnight my hair would feel a little bit like cotton afterwards, I didn’t like it but at the time my children were very small so it was the only way I would get to pay my hair any attention at all.
I simply weighted it up for my circumstances and did what worked. My hair is almost waist length now so it can’t have been too bad.
However, having said all of this personally I wouldn’t use a deep conditioner overnight as usually, the manufacturer instructions say 15-30 minutes. I would, however, try regular conditioner if I felt the need.
If you are not sure then I would suggest you try using regular conditioner during the day time for the first time. See how it works for you before you sit with it on your hair for the 8/9 hours that you will be asleep for.
Deep conditioning without heat
When you deep condition your hair it doesn’t always have to be with heat you can do it without heat and still get very good results.
I completely stopped using heat on my hair because I don’t like the slight dryness feel that I get from my hair afterwards but I know there are others that use heat without issue.
Do’s and Don’t of deep conditioning
- Deep condition your hair regularly.
- Make sure you assess if your hair needs moisture or a protein deep condition.
- Do concentrate on the ends of your hair as they are the oldest and need your attention the most.
- Don’t start deep conditioning if you are in a rush. You won’t have time to do it effectively and it will end up being a huge waste of time.
- Don’t leave the deep conditioner on too long unless you know that this works for your hair.
- Don’t feel restricted by a particular hair regimen. Find out what works for your hair and go for it. There is no absolute rule book on this stuff.
Using oils to deep condition
Some people like to add oils to their deep conditioner and this can be a good thing especially if it adds more shine and makes your hair feel even better.
Some oils that you can add to your conditioner especially if your conditioner is homemade are listed below:
Coconut – Great for growth and getting deep into the hair shaft
Sweet almond oil – Perfect for dry and flaky scalps
Jojoba oil – helps in strengthening hair
Olive oil – Promotes healthy hair
Natural ingredients for a homemade deep conditioner
The oils in avocado penetrate the hair and add extra moisture.
Great for a protein treatment and can make your hair nice and glossy.
Is an emollient and will, therefore, help to keep moisture locked in your hair and prevent breakage
Rich in potassium and will help to manage frizz
Homemade deep conditioner vs shop bought conditioner
There are definitely benefits to both using a homemade deep conditioner and a store-bought conditioner.
For ease of use a store-bought conditioner is easiest to use and will last longer than anything you can make at home in your kitchen.
With a homemade deep conditioner, you can tweak it according to what your hair likes and you are in full control of the ingredients.
Homemade conditioners are cheap to make but they do not last very long as the ingredients start to go off quite quickly.
You might like to alternate each of the 2 options for balance or make your own deep conditioner when you are doing a protein treatment.
Deep conditioner vs leave-in conditioner
It would be hard to compare a deep conditioner to a leave-in conditioner as they have different roles.
Whilst they both use the word conditioner their usage is very different.
Leave-in conditioners are light so therefore can be used daily and do not need to be washed out immediately.
A deep conditioner is much more intense therefore needs to be washed out after the recommended amount of time.
Final thoughts on deep conditioning for natural hair
Hopefully, you have picked up some really great tips to get your hair looking and feeling the way that you want.
For the longest time, I thought my hair just didn’t grow. I was so wrong it turns out I just wasn’t giving my hair the things that it needed.
If I can grow my hair long with practices like deep conditioning so can you too.