Deep Conditioning Your Curls The Right Way
Originally published on June 11, 2018
Hi, curlies thank you for stopping by! I know by now we have all heard it a million times, you have even heard it from me. Sis, you need to deep condition! Deep conditioning is a major key for healthy curls and coils. If you don’t get why deep conditioning is such a huge deal definitely check out this post.
Even if you use “curly girl friendly” products, build up is still going to happen. It happens to everyone. Product residue, oils and butters and even the minerals in our water, love to hang out on our hair. If you aren’t regularly removing that build up, your hair will not able to take in all the moisture you’re trying to provide with your deep conditioner and also your styling products. I think I have said this before but here it is again for the newbies in the back - co-washing is great, but it cannot be your only form of cleansing. You need to shampoo regularly to maintain clean hair and a clean scalp. For almost two years I was co-washing midweek and shampooing every weekend. I only have time to wash my hair once a week these days so I use a gentle sulfate free shampoo one week, and I clarify with a clay wash the other week. I have been loving this clay based shampoo bar lately, and I reviewed it here. Of course, you don’t have to clarify every other week if you don’t think you need to. This is just the schedule I have found works best for me. Another example of a cleansing schedule could be co-washing once or twice a week, and clarifying once a month. Here is a list of 20 gentle clarifying shampoos if you need some inspo.
An apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse is another way you can clarify. Here is a tutorial if you want to check it out. You can do this once or twice a month to leave your scalp extra clean. It's really simple, just mix equal parts of water and ACV and pour it over your hair and scalp. Leave it on for a few minutes, rinse and deep condition. You can shampoo before or after but you don’t have to. Before I was doing clay washes, I was shampooing first, and then I learned that the rinse on its own was good enough for me. Lately, I have been experimenting with combining my ACV and tea rinses into one. I do this step after a clay wash only about once a month. Always do what works best for you! Don’t be afraid to try a new technique because you may find your new holy grail.
Moisture vs. ProteinHealthy natural hair needs a good balance of both moisture and protein. In the most simple way I can put it, moisture prevents dryness and protein gives strength. If your hair needs moisture but you are giving it protein it will feel stiff and dry. If your hair needs protein, but only gets moisture your hair will feel mushy, look frizzy and the curls won't have much bounce. I can’t tell you how often you need protein because I don’t know your hair. This is where taking notes and paying attention comes in clutch. Taking notes might sound like a drag but it can really help you figure out your hair. It can be as simple as writing it in your agenda or even on your phone.
Do you know the porosity of your hair and are you using that to your advantage? If your response was “WTH is porosity?” then head over to this post and get the scoop! Porosity is your hair’s ability to both take in moisture and hold on to it. This is super relevant to deep conditioning because that's the point right? To moisturize your hair. High porosity hair has the cuticle layers wide open and ready to easily accept water and products. On the other hand, low porosity hair has the cuticle layers tightly closed and resists water penetration.
If you have low porosity hair you have to work a little harder to get the deep conditioner to fully penetrate your hair. Adding heat or steam will lift the cuticles and allow the product in. If you don’t have a steamer, a hooded dryer or a deep conditioning cap, you can soak a towel in hot water and wrap it around your covered hair. Once the towel gets cold you can repeat this step until you reach your desired time! Easy and free. If you have high porosity hair, deep conditioning doesn’t really need to have heat or steam because the cuticles are already open. If you enjoy doing it anyway, 10-15 off added heat or steam is probably more than enough!
That’s it guys those are 4 simple things that may be holding you back a bit when it comes to deep conditioning. If you don’t already deep condition weekly, I want to challenge you to do so! No matter where you are in your hair journey, take a photo of your naked curls next wash day, and do so again in a few months. If you deep condition weekly as part of your hair care regimen, I know you’ll see a difference!
Lastly, if you have a favorite deep conditioner do me a favor and share it below! I love love love deep conditioners and I’m always looking to try new ones. I’m sure other hair junkies would like to know as well.
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