Friday, 20 February 2015

Back to Basics - Deep Conditioning 101

Welcome back to the Back to Basics series, where we go over a healthy hair journey regimen basics. The series has been on a slight hiatus thanks to a few health issues. But they are now all sorted and I am back at work. This time on the Back to Basics series, I am focusing on deep conditioning.

Deep conditioning, I believe is the most important part of hair care if you are of black (African) descent. Generally kinky curly hair is very dry hair, more so if it has been treated with colour or a relaxer. Deep conditioning helps to infuse moisture and some nutrients into the strand in order to make it more pliable, repair it, and make it less likely to break off. I remember when I double processed my hair in 2011 (colour + relaxer) my length retention really took off because I deep conditioned every week, unlike before when I only deep conditioned after every relaxer (as I hide my face in shame).

What are the benefits of deep conditioning? Deep conditioning:

1. Deep conditioning infuses moisture and nutrients into your hair. The nutrients temporarily repairs whatever tiny flaws that may have appeared in the hair cuticle, while moisture makes the hair easier to manipulate. This ultimately will help in retaining length

2. Deep conditioning makes it easier to detangle hair. A good deep conditioner will have 'slip' which means that it will be easy to run a comb or your fingers through your hair while there is conditioner in it. This will help in getting shed hair out, and reduce knots and tangles.

3. Deep conditioning helps to keep hair in optimum condition and reduces damage that will be done to hair when styling.

How often should one deep condition? Well, it depends on your regimen and your schedule. If you are just starting a healthy hair journey, my advice would be to deep condition after every wash. Even if its a cowash. This ensures that your hair is kept in optimum health all the time, reducing the number of trims you may need . But if your hair is extremely damaged, my suggestion would be to deep condition at least twice a week. Its a lot of work, but it will help in making your hair appear healthier for longer. But once you have found a regimen that works for you, deep condition according to your hair's preferences.

How do you deep condition? There are several options namely:

1. Overnight deep conditioning - this is when you sleep with the conditioner in your hair and rinse out the following morning. Just cover your hair with a shower cap and cover that with a scarf or bonnet and you're good to go. This is my favorite DC method.

2. Deep conditioning under a steamer - if you own a steamer (or go to a salon) this is one of the best methods of deep conditioning

3. Deep conditioning under a conditioning cap - This comes a close second to deep conditioning under a steamer it seems. Just cover your hair with a shower cap, and after heating the deep conditioning cap, put it over the shower cap. Simple.

4. Deep conditioning using body heat - after applying your DC, you simply cover your hair with a shower cap, and a woollen hat, then go get active for some time. After 30 minutes or more, enough of the conditioner will have penetrated the strand

5. Dry deep conditioning - just applying your DC on dry, dirty hair. I usually DC on dry hair when I do overnight DCs.

But always deep condition with heat to allow the conditioner to penetrate to its maximum potential.

I will be back with the types of deep conditioners next week. I don't want to make this post too long and boring for the reader.

Have a great weekend :)

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