Deep conditioners, aka hair masks, are probably the most important part of natural hair regimen. You probably wonder why you need to deep condition your hair in the first place.
Curly and natural hair is prone to breakage and sometimes simple conditioners would not condition your hair strands well enough.
Shampooing and regular washing of hair can make the curls look dry and frizzy. More moisturized conditioning means that deeper parts of hair strings will be supplied with enough moisture to keep your hair healthy and shiny. We all seek the healthiest hair possible, so seeking the right balance between oils, vitamins, and preventing of hair splitting is the right call.
Keeping your hair healthy and shiny can be quite a challenge when you have natural hair, no matter the type. Yes, it can be very challenging, but the results of deep conditioning your hair will amaze you. However, do not be fooled and mistaken thinking that each and every conditioner will provide the best result.
How to Deep Condition Natural Hair
Many conditioners on the market are intended for daily use and they can be rinsed right after applying. On the other hand, deep conditioning is a totally different process. These conditioners or hair masks are left for hours or even overnight on your hair, thus nurturing the hair in depth and giving it a healthy look as it deserves.
You are probably confused a bit now, but don’t worry. We’re here to provide basic guidelines as to how and which product to purchase, how to deep condition, and what to do after.
Here are some tips to follow when it comes to choosing the right conditioning product.
Ingredients matter! In the world of wow-commercials, we sometimes tend to neglect reading the labels of hair products. Surely, many of them will initially label the type of hair they are aimed at, but that does not mean that a particular conditioner will have the same effect on your curly hair type.
Many of these are just eager to sell the idea of deep conditioning, rather than making sure that the mixture is truly effective. A conditioner should replace the oils from hair which have been washed out by a shampoo and water.
So make sure that a mixture contains one of these basic natural oils: coconut, avocado, or olive oil. To prevent hair from breakage, dandruff, excessive oils, or dryness, hair needs vitamins. The more, the better.
Type of hair
It all comes down to your hair type and the way it has been treated in the past. If you have dry hair, you would want the conditioner with extra moisture in it. If your hair has been chemically treated and it is suffering from being colored too often, then you want to find a conditioner with protein.
If you are experiencing hair shedding, dandruff, or any other skin condition, you should pay attention to ingredients or even consult your doctor to see which product would be the right fit for you.
Many of us tend to link expensive products to quality, but we all know that does not have to be the rule. There are plenty of low cost conditioners available that could work better for you than any branded ones.
Again, just read the label. One thing is true though, if you want to buy an organic conditioner, then you should know that organic cold pressed oils and other natural ingredients cost a lot more. Keep in mind that your hair deserves the best and that you’re still on the budget.
As already stated, not all deep conditioners are equally complex to use. You have to ask yourself do you have enough time to long hair care routine each day or week. If not, then you should try to find a deep hair mask which does not take hours or overnights to work.
Also, some leave-in masks require several other products to be used to give the final refreshment results. Keep that in mind and find out what works best for you.
Deep conditioners are usually categorized as rinse-out conditioners with prolonged time in between applying and rinsing. Here are steps how to use and apply deep conditioners.
Wash and squeeze
Wash your hair with luke warm water and squeeze out the hair gently to remove excessive water from it. Avoid rubbing the towel or cloth as it may cause a breakage to natural hair.
Use a deep conditioner
Read the label first to see the instructions on how to apply the conditioner. If it is not stated, then you can choose to do the following.
Rub the conditioner into your hair using your finger tips. It is important to apply it all the way to the roots, as well as to pay a real attention to the ends. You may need to add more fluid to the ends, as they are usually in the biggest need of it.
Cook it into your hair
There are two ways to heat your hair which is very important because proteins and oils need to be cooked into your hair for the best result. Heating allows the better penetration of the ingredients into the hair. It also helps have better elasticity of hair and keeps the moisture in.
You can either cover your hair with a plastic cap and sit under a bonnet dryer, or you can use a plastic cap and then heat it with a hair dryer. It is also possible to cover your hair with a thermal or plastic cap and then cover it with bandana to keep the heat in.
Leave it to settle
Each conditioner will state the approximate time to leave it on your hair. Be sure to follow the instruction, as leaving the deep conditioner on your hair for too long might create the quite opposite result than the one you wanted. The shortest period would be anywhere up to 40 minutes, but most of deep conditioners need to be sealed in for several hours.
Rinse your hair out with cold water. Make sure to rinse well, not leaving any traces of a conditioner. Cold water will seal in all the ingredients and moisture in your hair.
What to do after?
Deep conditioning of natural hair is sadly never complete without the step of locking the moisture in. This step depends a lot on the type of hair you have. If you find that proteins in deep conditioners tend to dry your hair or make it brittle, there are products to use after rinsing for better results.
These products are quick to use. They can be divided into three categories and you should choose the best fit according to what is your desired look.
Moisturizers and hair milk- These are mostly water-based products which are light and serve to lock the moisture in. You can use a leave-in conditioner or a lighter version-hair milk. Apply it to wet hair and do not rinse afterwards.
Conditioners- There are regular conditioners which can be rinsed after 1-5 minutes or leave in conditioners which can substitute your daily conditioner or refresher.
Oils- To seal in the moisture after washing hair, use natural oils separately of as a mixture. You can spray it on your wet or dry hair or rub it into curls to keep them from fizziness or breakage. Oils have lovely smell too so you can enjoy the lovely notes in between wash days.
Next step-move on to drying your hair using methods that will preserve your curls the next few days. Drying your hair after deep moisturizing is a big and important step too. Hair dryers can be cruel to your hair and reverse the effects of moisturizing. Natural hair can be dried by leaving it to dry out in the air, supporting curls with clips, making braids, or using a bonnet or a pineapple method. Apply a hair refresher once your hair is dry, if needed.
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How often should you deep condition?
Once a week should be sufficient enough. However, for better results, you can repeat the process twice a week. Beware not to overdo! Your hair and your scalp need a rest too. Overdoing can destroy the natural balance of oils which we all produce, and the chemicals used in products could lead to scalp issues or other skin conditions.
Regular Conditioner for Deep Conditioning
Deep conditioning products tend to be more expensive than the regular ones-we know. But the good news is that you can use a regular conditioner to deep condition, as well.
You just need to add extra moisture to it or a few special ingredients. Mix the regular conditioner with one of the above mentioned oils.
Shea butter will do fine, too. If your hair needs deeper care and recovery, add one or two ampules of vitamin E and D. Mix all together and apply it to your hair. Repeat the process as if you were applying a deep conditioner itself. Heating should be more effective.
You could heat the hair you covered with a cap for a half an hour, or if that is not an option for you, simply leave the conditioner to soak into the hair for an hour or two and rinse well with cold water.
DIY deep conditioners
If you tried deep conditioning with regular conditioners, then you pretty much already made your own deep conditioner. Using a regular one as a base form and adding other ingredients makes a perfect cheap solution to a healthy hair regimen.
DIY conditioners are also a great solution for those seeking all natural products. All you need is base oil (avocado, coconut, or olive), a bit of shea butter (optional), a few eggs and some yogurt. You can even add some bananas or avocados to your all natural mixture.
Natural deep conditioning is easy to do. Put all the ingredients in a bowl together and mix it all until they become one. Apply the mixture on your entire hair and leave it for an hour or two. If your hair is weak and prone to damaging, you may want to avoid eggs and yogurt, as proteins can be harsh to hair strings.
- If you don’t have all the ingredients and you want to save on the budget, simple oils can be useful as well. What is important when using only oils (mixed or separate), you need to massage them deeply into your roots and scalp.
- You can cover your hair with a showering cap afterwards and heat it with a blow dryer or you can leave it in for a couple of hours so that your hair penetrates all the vital ingredients and moist.
- Rinse with cold water and proceed to drying curls. Oils should feed your hair and condition it deeply into a softer hair and well defined relaxed, wavy, or curly hair.
Here are some of the natural deep conditioning mixtures that you can use:
Greek yogurt and coconut milk
This mixture does wonder to defining curls and making them shiny and vivid. Just mix one or two tablespoons of yogurt and milk and leave it on your hair for an hour or two. This conditioning mask can be applied on both dry and wet hair, just make sure that after you rinse the hair, you repeat the shampoo washing and apply leave-in conditioner.
Egg and oil
You can use either olive or avocado oil, and even add a bit of shea butter. Melt the butter with oil before adding eggs. This mixture is great for giving your hair shine and definition. Apply it to dry hair and continue by shampooing and washing your hair normally.
Lemon juice and oil-Here you can mix lemon juice with olive, avocado or coconut oil. Citrus fruit is great as an ingredient in hair masks because it reduces humidity and stops the fizziness caused by it. You can apply it to both wet and dry hair, leave it soaked in, and shampoo afterwards.
Coconut oil is a great oil to use for hair treatments. It is only up to recently that this oil had its great comeback to beauty and make up products. The effects it has on hair are amazing. It helps the growth of hair, reduces its shedding and end splitting, as well as nourishing the scalp and naturally moisturizing the deep layers and parts of hair.
As natural source of fatty acids, it has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which make it ideal even for those with troubling skin issues.
Its properties go beyond what meets the eye and thus we strongly recommend it to be an essential ingredient in your regular hair care routine.
There are numerous ways of using it, some of which include adding it to your shampoo or regular conditioning products or applying it directly to your hair. It absorbs really quickly and it doesn’t leave hair flat or dry. One of the most used ways is making your own coconut deep conditioner. It will only take minutes to make it and forever to love it. Here are the ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- A few drops of essential oil
Mix all the ingredients together and apply it to your hair. You can apply it with your fingers or for a better effect, use a coloring brush to spread it out evenly. Massage it into your scalp for several minutes, and then wrap your hair into a loose bun or cover it with a cap or a bonnet.
Leave it for an hour or two for all the ingredients to be soaked in the hair and then rinse it with luke warm or cold water. You can then apply a regular moisturizer or spray your hair with a pure coconut oil.
Sometimes deep conditioning does not work the same way for everyone. It may take a few hours to certain types of natural hair to absorb all the moisture in, but it may take a whole night for some types to gain the same radiating effect.
Deep conditioning of natural hair overnight
Many women are in dilemma whether overnight conditioning of hair could be helpful or harmful. The answer is both, meaning that it is totally up to you to determine what works for you best.
If you come to realize that your hair is completely moisturized and looks healthy while using deep conditioners for only half an hour, then you should definitely not leave it soaked in for an entire night. Not only that it would cause an inconvenience sleeping with a cap on, but it could lead into complete opposite of what you wanted your hair to look like.
On the other hand, certain types of natural hair with excessive dryness and breakage caused by chemical coloring are not able to completely absorb all nutrients from hair masks within hours.
This is the reason why women with dry natural hair decide to leave their hair soaked in conditioner throughout the night. It is important to know that if you choose to leave the deep conditioner overnight, make sure that all the ingredients are natural and not harmful to hair or scalp. We don’t necessarily want too much of the good thing.