So what is deep conditioning? It is sometimes called a treatment in salons. I remember it being called an oil treatment in the salons I used to visit a few years ago. Whatever you choose to call it, it is when a conditioner is put on the hair for a length of time, usually with heat applied. All hair types can benefit from deep conditioning but for African hair, this is an absolute must! As our hair is dry by nature, deep conditioning can restore the moisture balance which stops breakage.
The type of deep conditioner you use will depend on the condition of your hair and what you want to address. If you want to add moisture to the hair then a moisturising conditioner is what you will use. If on the other hand your hair is breaking and you feel it may need a protein conditioner then that is what you would use. Simply put, the type of deep conditioner used should depend on the condition of the hair. If your hair feel mushy when wet and stretches a lot before breaking then a protein conditioner is required to restore strength. If however, your hair feels brittle and just snaps when any tension is applied, it is in need of a moisturising conditioner. The aim is to get your hair to a stage where it is strong and has a certain degree of elasticity. With moisture and protein deep conditioners, err on the side of moisture. I use a light protein deep conditioner (Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Conditioner) once every two weeks. I use a medium protein deep conditioner (Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise) once a month. All my other deep conditioners in between are moisturising deep conditioners.
I deep condition twice a week. I have gone from deep conditioning once a fortnight to once a week and now twice a week. I have a few products for deep conditioning that I rotate. These include:
- Mizani Moisturefuse (moisture)
- Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise (medium protein)
- Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Pak / Conditioner (light protein)
- Dark and Lovely cholesterol (light protein)
- Elasta QP DPR 11 (moisture)
- Keracare Humecto (moisture)
The last two I get from the UK / USA. I have not yet come across them in South Africa. When I do not have them I use what I do have.
This is how I deep condition:
I wash my hair with shampoo (see My Regimen page for the names of shampoo I use). I rinse out the shampoo and dry my hair. I then liberally apply the deep conditioner onto my hair making sure to coat the strands from the root to tip. I also make sure I have applied the deep conditioner to my hair line and nape. I cover my hair with a shower cap and sit under a hooded dryer for 30 minutes to an hour. It usually depends on what I am doing while I am sitting in the dryer! Once out of the dryer I rinse off the deep conditioner with warm water and go on to moisturise and style my hair. Sometimes I will set my hair with rollers and let it air dry. Other times I will tie it back and again let it dry. The reason for heat is to ensure that the deep conditioner doesn’t just coat the hair but enters the hair as well.
I can hear you saying – but I don’t have a dryer at home! It’s not a train smash. Just put on a shower cap and keep it on for a few hours, even overnight if you are able to. Your body heat will provide the heat required. You can do it on a weekend while you are doing chores around the house. If you choose to deep condition overnight then just tie a scarf over the shower cap and your bed mate wont even notice!
I have been mixing castor oil and honey to my deep conditioners for about a month now. I am really seeing the benefits of this. My growth is so much softer and this is what will get me to 12 weeks in-between retouches. I use about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of each. I mix the two with my deep conditioner in an old jar of hair product. I mix just before use. You can mix in many things into your deep conditioners to make them more “potent”. You can also search the internet for recipes to make all natural deep conditioners. Things that are commonly mixed into deep conditioners include oils (olive, coconut, jojoba, castor, peppermint, grapeseed etc) and honey, avocado, egg, natural yogurt, coconut milk etc. These ingredients are commonly found in pharmacies and health food stores.
You can also mix different deep conditioners together. I do this with Elasta QP DPR11 and Keracare Humecto. I find Elasta QP DPR11 very thick and Keracare Humecto too thin. I mix the two together to get the consistency I like. I then add honey and castor oil for more umph!
The deep conditioners I use I have chosen through trial and error. I usually go onto the internet and see what fellow black ladies overseas are raving about. If it is available here I then buy it and try it. I assess a new conditioner after the first use to see how my hair reacts. If I don’t like the way my hair looks and feels afterwards then I stop using it. The deep conditioners above leave my hair nice and soft and feeling moisturised. Mizani Moisturefuse is the most expensive. I buy it for R170 at a salon in Hatfield, Pretoria. I know another salon in Menlyn Park Mall, Pretoria, that’s sells it for R130 but the last three times I was there they didn’t have it in stock. Mizani products are sold through salons and not through retail outlets.
So what deep conditioners are available to you – well compared to the women overseas we don’t have much to choose from. We do though have enough to be able to properly take care of our hair. I went to Menlyn Park Mall this afternoon armed with a list of popular deep conditioners I got off www.longhaircareforum.com. I found these deep conditioners in a shop called Style Studio (Style Studios has branches at several malls throughout South Africa).
- Biolage ultrahydrating conditioning balm
- Biolage hydratherapie treatment
- Joico KPak intensive hydrator conditioner
- Joico KPak deep penetrating reconstructor
- Nioxin scalp therapy for fine, chemically enhanced hair
The products are not cheap. Prices for the above ranged from R180 to R330 for packaging of 150ml and 300ml. It made me realize though that there were a lot of products hiding out in “white” salons that we don’t get to know about because we never go in there! I will try out these new finds and let you know what I think!
- Deep condition your hair regularly in between salon visits. Try and deep condition it weekly.
- When you get a deep condition / treatment at the salon, know what they are using. Ask for a deep conditioner that you feel will address your hairs needs.
- Try adding oils / other ingredients to your deep conditioner to reap extra benefits. I also do this with any deep conditioners I have bought but later realize I don’t particularly like.
- Moisture based deep conditioners work for dry, dull and breaking hair
- Protein based conditioners work for limp, lifeless, thinning and over elastic hair
- Always err on the side of moisture. When you are in doubt as to whether a deep conditioner is moisture or protein – just google it!
- There are many deep conditioners out there. If you travel overseas, see what you can find there. Buy some deep conditioners to try out at home.
- If you have a deep conditioner that you like that is not available at your salon, take your own with you. Some salons do not have much choice available. There are many salons where all they offer is Dark and Lovely Cholesterol! You can do this for your other hair products too.
- I know this all sounds very time consuming but it actually isn’t – 3 minutes to wash the hair, 2 minutes to apply the deep conditioner then a couple of hours or so with a shower cap over your head while you do other things. If pressed for time sleep with the shower cap on and rinse your hair in the morning.