Deep conditioning (DC) is important to maintaining healthy and happy hair – natural or relaxed. If performed on a regular basis, this treatment helps our hair retain moisture and protects it “deep” within the fiber to support the hair until the next treatment. The protective action of regular conditioners last only a few days. Therefore, more dedicated and regular DC efforts are needed, states Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, author of the The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care.
I apply DC treatments to my hair at least twice per month using one of my DIY concoctions*. If you are experiencing extremely dry or damaged hair, this treatment is suggested once a week until your hair regains its strength. After that point, frequency is based on personal preference. After a treatment, I can immediately notice how soft and moisturized my hair feels. My curls and coils are more defined and the elasticity is amazing!
I rarely (if ever) use heat on my hair except when deep conditioning. I like the Thermal Spa Conditioning Heat Cap. It was recommended by another Natural and I’ve used it for about 2 years. There are three heat settings but I find the lowest setting works well for me. Although heated treatments are effective, the natural warmth from our scalp and bodies is just as effective.
Thermal Spa Conditioning Heat Cap
Below is my typical DC routine. I make minor adjustments as needed but basically this is one key element to how I maintain soft, moisturized and manageable hair.
My DC Routine
- After shampooing, I apply the conditioner to my hair in small sections ensuring full coverage (much like applying a relaxer). I pay special attention to the ends. This is the oldest part of our hair and requires extra care
- I detangle with my fingers as I go along and make 6-8 chunky twists. This method keeps my hair from re-tangling during the rinsing phase
- I cover with a processing cap and sit with a heating cap for 30 minutes. Tip: DCs should be left on until the hair becomes soft. This could be 15 minutes or 40 minutes. Adjust the timing according to your hair’s needs
- I allow my hair to cool prior to rinsing
- While still wearing the twists, I rinse thoroughly with cool water. This ensures the cuticles close properly.
*My DIY Deep Conditioner Concoctions
I have several mixtures that I use based on what my hair needs at the time. Here are two of my favorites:
Herbal Moisturizing Deep Conditioner
- Mix 2-3 tbls of the A4N Herbal Hair Oil (Coconut or Olive Oils can also be used) to about 2 cups of a good moisturizing conditioner such as Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner, 11 oz or TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner, Aloe Vera and Avocado, 25 Ounce.
- Mix well in a bowl and apply to hair
- Let sit for 30 minutes with heat cap or 40-45 minutes without heat
- Rinse thoroughly
- Moisturize, seal and style as usual
Mayo Moisturizing Deep Conditioner w/Natural Oils
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise (the real stuff not miracle whip. You want all the fat from real mayonnaise)
3 tbls of the A4N Herbal Hair Oil (or use the oils below)
May substitute with:
1 tbls olive oil
1 tbls castor oil
1 tbls avocado oil
1 tbls of honey
- Mix the mayo, oils and honey together in a bowl and apply to hair
- Cover hair with a processing cap and plastic bag (I’m trapping in the heat from my scalp)
- Let the mixture sit for 30-45 minutes
- Rinse, rinse and rinse again with cool water to remove all the mayo
- Moisturize, seal and style as usual
Note: If your hair needs extra protein, add one egg to the above mixture. Also, I do not use a heating cap with this method (personal preference).
See more recipes on the A4N DIY Hair Recipes page.
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Do you deep condition your hair? If so, what techniques work best for you?