Curlies have a love/hate relationship with heat, and no one knows that better than us.

On one hand, excessive heat styling can damage curl patterns and break your hair off entirely! On the other hand, heated deep conditioning can open your hair to absorbing nutrients, emollients, and other growth and elasticity enhancing properties.

And much like there are rules to using heated styling tools properly, there are rules to using heated deep conditioning as well! Even if curly hair care is more art than science, you can have too little or too much of a good thing. Rookie mistakes can pile up in the long run even with something as innocuous-seeming as conditioning! The most common mistakes include:

Not wetting your hair

Even the lowest porosity curls need moisture! But somehow, heated deep conditioning treatments became expected to be sufficient in providing this moisture themselves. Your hair does still need that H2O, both to help with pre-application slip, and to allow the humectants in your deep conditioner to actually have water to draw from and seal in. Your hair doesn't need to be freshly dripping, but if you're not sprayed down at the very least, you're doing your 'do a disservice!

Getting the timing wrong

Curly hair care takes a while. It's just the nature of the game! But it is very much possible to compromise your curls both by rushing and by taking your time. Rushing a heated deep conditioning will get your curls only slightly conditioned, and you run the risk of styling, braiding, and wearing your hair as if it's been protected when it very much hasn't been. On the other side of the coin, you don't exactly want to fall asleep under your dryer. Heat damage can still occur if you're binge-watching your favorite show and your conditioner's been on for four straight hours. Make sure you're watching the clock!

Get your hair, not your scalp.

While there are some products that work double time, especially in the oils family like Darshana, most deep conditioners aren't meant to be used on skin. Don't forget—that's exactly what your scalp is! Your scalp needs to stay healthy and clog-free in order to grow healthy hair, and loading it down with unnecessary conditioning products may throw off the balance of your hair's natural oils. Rule of thumb is to apply a conditioner about one finger's width away from your scalp, and move from that point to the ends of your hair, not the other way around. You can always moisturize the skin directly when you're farther along in your wash day.

Keep the heat LOW!

Think that the dryer hood/bonnet, shower cap, and deep conditioner layered over your curls means you could…or SHOULD pump up the heat? Think again, curlfriend. Imagine it like this—if you put a gloved hand in a pot of boiling water for a minute, will you be less burned than if you touched the hot stove for a second? The answer is no (trust us), so keep the deep heat on the low!

Deep conditioning is our friend, curlies, but now that you know what NOT to do, you and your hair will be better prepared! Settle in with your deep conditioner of choice, and get things heated up the healthy way.