Originally published on January 3, 2018
Deep conditioning is essential not only for transitioning hair but also for maintaining healthy natural hair. There is a number of amazing benefits that come with this step but the most important (at least to me) is that deep conditioning prevents damage/breakage, it helps your hair retain moisture, it promotes the elasticity of your hair (that bounce), and it also adds shine. Although you don't apply the conditioner directly on your scalp it promotes growth as well. How?? Healthy hair grows! You have to care for the hair you already have or else it's going to break off at the ends just quickly as it grows. If you want to grow your natural hair it's really crucial that you understand that. Your focus shouldn't be why isn't my hair growing? It should be how can I retain all my length? But anyways! Back to what this post is actually about! There is a lot of great boosters you can add to your deep conditioner to make it work a little harder.
Jamaican Black Castor Oil - thickens hair, prevents breakage
Coconut Oil - penetrates hair cuticle, reduces protein and moisture loss
Olive Oil - frizz fighter, conditions the hair, promotes shine
Other oils - Grapeseed oil, Almond oil, Vitamin E oil, Hemp Seed oil, Jojoba oil...
Essential oils can be extremely beneficial as well but they do need carrier oils and you typically don't need more than 5-10 drops depending on how much conditioner you are using. As with everything go based off of your needs and wants. Essential oils include Tea tree oil, Lavender oil, Rosemary oil, Peppermint oil…
How often should you Deep Condition?
That is up for you to determine. Everyone’s hair has different needs and everyone has a different lifestyle and hence a different wash schedule. For example, mine has changed constantly over the years. When I first stopped straightening my hair with chemicals I would do a protein treatment once a week - usually before getting my wash and set. I still call that the OG protein treatment every time I do it - I got the recipe from Tia Suny (my aunt). When I really really started to stop straightening my hair I was still new to natural hair care and was honestly deep conditioning twice a month. Maybe even that. I was also washing my hair with Tresemme but hey we glow up! About two years ago I started deep conditioning weekly, then twice a week and now I’m pretty much back to once a week because that’s all the time I have. So if you wash your hair every two weeks you might only do it every two weeks and if you know that's enough for your hair and its needs then you are perfectly fine. As always you have to do what is best for you. Other things to keep in mind: the temperature/season, how well your hair retains the moisture you are putting in and if your hair is damaged.
Regardless of whether I shampooed or co-washed, I will deep condition - depending on what I am using I will either do it before (a pre-poo) or after washing.
Additionally, keep in mind you should balance out your hair with moisturizing and protein deep conditioners and that depends on your individual needs as well. Just got another post idea. Way too overwhelming to discuss here too.
How long should you leave a deep conditioner in your hair?
I wanted to avoid this question, lol. But then I would be really doing you guys a disservice and I don't want to get off on the wrong foot here. This is one of those topics which I feel everyone on the internet talking about hair is like in some sort of debate about. Kind of like the oil on your scalp topic! Anyways. Like always I am going to share my experiences and what I believe works best for me. First of all, if you are using a store bought deep conditioner… please read the instructions. They are on there for a reason! Especially with something that is protein based. Leaving it in your hair any longer or even overnight could actually give you adverse results like cause your hair to feel brittle and weak as opposed to strengthened. There are plenty of great store-bought deep conditioners that really do what they say they are going to do and all you have to do is follow the instructions. I know a lot of people love to leave treatments in overnight and that works fine for them. For me, however, deep conditioning overnight and anything over 45 minutes is not something that I have been doing this past year. I realized that with time this was just causing build up and making my hair over moisturized or have protein overloads. None of which are good for the health of your hair. My DIY treatments I also don't leave them on for more than 45 minutes. If I’m busy or need to go out and it's in for an hour it's not the end of the world I just don’t do that regularly. Sometimes I may finger detangle my hair with my oil the night before I wash and I’ll leave that on overnight but that's about it.
Do you prefer store bought deep conditioners or making your own? How often do you deep condition? Comment down below so myself and other curlies can benefit from your tips as well.