Deep Conditioning is absolutely the most crucial aspect of hair care. It is essential because it nourishes the hair follicles, provides elasticity, hydration, and strength, allows oils, emollients to penetrate deep into the hair shaft and prevents and treats damaged hair. Deep conditioning is very important for relaxed hair, colour treated hair, natural hair and other hair types. However it is likely that chemically processed hair requires more deep conditioning treatments. This is the reason why a lot of people experience hair breakage after colour treating their hair because colour treated hair requires more care and attention; especially colour treated hair that is also relaxed (this is often termed as double processed hair). As I have stated in earlier posts here, black hair is usually dryer as a result it is essential that we restore moisture and rejuvenate our hair by deep conditioning frequently.

There is no strict schedule set in stone as to the amount of times one should deep condition the hair. However it is vital to do so as often as possible. I deep condition my own hair every two weeks however I formerly deep conditioned every week and I even deep conditioned twice a week when I had extremely damaged hair. It is important that you are able to figure out how you often you deep condition it could be twice or thrice in a week, once a week, bi-weekly or even monthly.

Hair icon – The lovely Janelle Monae

There are basically two types of deep conditioners:

Moisture based deep conditioners: These deep conditioners contain moisturising agents such as emollients, natural oils, humectants, water (aqua) and so on. They provide moisture to the hair thereby increasing elasticity, suppleness and manageability. It is essential to use a moisturising deep conditioner as frequently as possible especially for people with natural hair. Anyone with relaxed hair should also ensure that a good moisturising conditioner is used; however protein deep conditioners should also be used at regular intervals. In indentifying a moisturising deep conditioner it is important to look out for words such as moisture, moisturising and so on. You can also look at the label to ensure that water (aqua) is listed as one of the ingredients. One should also look out for a lack of proteins listed n the ingredients. Examples of good moisturising conditioners include Wura’s Secret Moisturising Conditioner, Africa’s Best Organics Olive Oil Deep Conditioner, Queen Helene Cholesterol and so on.

Protein based deep conditioners: These deep conditioners contain protein in them thereby re-enforcing and strengthening the hair. Due to the fact that the hair is made up of protein (keratin) it is important that we use protein conditioners so as to improve the condition of damaged or chemically processed hair. People with relaxed hair should endeavour to use protein conditioners more frequently, for example you can use a protein deep conditioner every month or every two weeks, it really just depends on what your hair needs. Those with natural hair can use protein deep conditioners less frequently, like every month or every six weeks. In identifying a protein deep conditioner it is important to look out for words such as mayonnaise, protein, strengthening, etc. You can also look at the label to ensure that protein is included; examples of protein include wheat protein, silk protein, soy protein, keratin, collagen and so on. Good protein deep conditioners include Wura’s Secret Hair Moisturising Conditioner + 1 egg+ 1 table spoon of real mayonnaise (the edible kind) (medium protein), Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise (medium protein), Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Conditioner (light protein), Africa’s Best Hair Mayonnaise (light/medium protein).

A light protein deep conditioner can be used on its own to deep condition without any adverse effects to your hair. However a medium – strong protein deep conditioner may require that you follow up with a moisturising deep conditioning treatment after the protein deep conditioner or you may decide to mix both the protein and moisture deep conditioners together to save time. Some people’s hair can handle a lot of protein and they do not need to follow up with a moisturising deep conditioner. It really just depends on what works for you and how your hair feels after the protein treatment. If it feels very hard it will be advisable to follow up with a moisturising deep conditioning treatment. Protein conditioners are an excellent way to treat damaged hair and you will find that as your hair gets healthier you will require less protein treatments.

It is important to make sure that the hair is balanced so that you do not over do on the moisture or on the protein. Therefore after deep conditioning your hair observe how it responds to the treatment, does it feel soft or hard? This will determine what sort of deep conditioner you will use, on your next deep conditioning treatment. If your hair feels soft you may want to use a protein deep conditioner next time and if it is hard you may want to try a moisturising deep conditioner on your next treatment. The key is finding the right balance. I will elucidate more on finding this balance in future posts.

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Don’t cry for a man who’s left you, the next one may fall for your smile – Mae West