Deep conditioning is the secret to keeping your curls moisturized--unfortunately, many curl girls know little about the benefits of deep conditioning or how to use a deep conditioner.

WHAT DOES A DEEP CONDITIONER DO?

It replenishes moisture by opening the cuticle, penetrating the hair shaft, and smoothing the cuticle closed

A deep conditioner a more concentrated version of your regular daily conditioner, with absorbent properties to help attract and retain moisture to your curls. This happens for however long you have the deep conditioner in your hair. Why is that such a big deal, you ask? It replenishes moisture from within the hair strand by opening the cuticle, penetrating the hair shaft, and smoothing the cuticle closed leaving your curls shiny, moisturized and soft to the touch.

DO YOU HAVE FRIZZY HAIR?

Since deep conditioners help to replenish the moisture, it is the key to overcoming frizz problems--frizz is usually caused by lack of moisture. Dry hair can also leave your curls prone to breakage so the best way to keep your curls not only frizz free but also stronger and healthier is by regular deep conditioning treatments.

ARE YOUR CURLS MULTI-TEXTURED?

  • If you have tighter or dryer curls, consider deep conditioning once a week for at least 30 minutes 
  • If you have looser curls or waves, deep condition once every 2 weeks or monthly for about 15-30 minutes

My hair has a mixture of type 3 curls; the hair at the very back of my head likes to get dry pretty quickly, so I try to deep condition about once a week. Remember, the tighter your curl is, the harder it is for the sebum (the natural oils your scalp produces) to reach the ends of your hair which means your curls will more than likely be drier than a wavy hair pattern. If you have tighter or dryer curls, you might feel it’s necessary to deep condition once a week or even more than that.

If you have a looser curl pattern and don’t think it’s necessary to deep condition that often, you might go longer between treatments. If you ask a few people how long they like to keep the deep conditioner in their hair, you’ll get a multitude of responses. Most store bought deep conditioners for curly hair suggest 15 to 30 minutes; others would say overnight.

WHAT DOES ADDING HEAT DO TO YOUR DEEP CONDITIONER?

  • Benefit from the steam of a hot shower or a handheld steamer like Q-Redew
  • Try the baggy method so your deep conditioner penetrates even deeper

I personally don’t like to leave it in my hair over night because my curls, although become incredible soft, aren’t as defined and my scalp begins to itch. To each their own, but keep in mind that experts say the maximum penetration your curls will get from a deep conditioner is 30 minutes. I think the longest I’ve kept a deep conditioner in my hair was for 1 hour while exercising because of the added heat. Indirect heat will help to open the cuticle. While it isn’t necessary, it definitely helps. Consider deep conditioning in the shower with hot water, allowing the steam to open the cuticle.

There are other forms of indirect heat, like a handheld steamer, a hooded dryer, or the baggy method (which is my favorite): I apply the deep conditioner thoroughly and put my hair up into a series of little buns and tie a plastic bag around my hair to trap the heat exuding from my scalp. Then, I put a hot towel on top of that bag and tie a second bag onto my head to trap the extra heat. While it may look silly, I always get the best results this way.

Top deep conditioners

What are some of your tips for deep conditioning?

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