young lady smiling with her hand in her brunette curls

Curly hair is thirsty hair. That’s just the way it was born and the way it will always be. That’s why deep conditioning at least one to two times per week is critical for gorgeous, shiny hair that blows gently in the wind (as opposed to dry, crispy hair that don’t move). It was also one the top things I did when I was growing my chemically straightened hair out to go back to my natural hair. I was religious about it and I swear, once I started deep conditioning as much as possible, my hair grew faster than they had before. Here are my top tips for deep conditioning your hair.

1. Choose a rich conditioner

No lightweight will do here. Find one that’s rich and thick. I’m beyond obsessed with Heaven in Hair. It fills the porous areas on the surface of the hair so it stays super hydrated. This is key especially if you color your hair.

2. Lay it on thick

Apply deep conditioner to wet hair and don’t leave one curl uncovered. In fact, I like it when I can barely see my brown strands through the deep layer of conditioner I’ve applied. And don’t skimp on the ends since they’re the driest part of the hair.

3. Cover it up

To keep the conditioner from getting all over you and let it warm up a bit, slip on a shower cap. (I take them from hotel rooms when I travel.) You can also wrap your hair in plastic wrap or a warm, damp towel. Keep this on for at least 15 minutes.

4. Heat it up

For best results, you need some heat to help open the cuticle of the hair so the conditioner soaks in. Try sitting in a steamy bath or shower or waving a blow dryer over your cap-covered head. My favorite way to deep condition is to sit under my table-top hooded dryer. I use the Gold N Hot Elite 1875 Watt Ionic Full Hood Professional Hair Dryer and I stay as long as I can stand it before getting overheated (about ten minutes).

5. Sleep on it

Once in a while, it’s a great idea to snooze with your deep conditioner in your hair. Not only is the conditioner in longer, but it warms up from your body heat as you sleep. This was another of my top tricks when I was growing out my chemically straightened hair. Just use an old pillow case and sleep on it that night. Note: Some curlies love this and others hate it. Exercise caution; if your hair is thin and easily over-moisturized do not attempt.

6. DIY

For a do it yourself recipe try the Wrapunzel from Curly Girl: The Handbook. Put a ripe avocado in the blender along with three to four teaspoons of honey or agave and three to four teaspoons of olive oil. Blend until combined and spread on hair. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel wrapped turban style. After 20 - 30 minutes, rinse thoroughly.