Is deep conditioning a part of your haircare regimen? I’m almost certain that most-if not all-naturals can answer this question with a harmonious “Yaaass”. Most naturals understand that deep conditioning is an important haircare practice. But, do we really know the ins-and-outs of deep conditioning? Think about it. We really don’t! That is about to change, right here and right now. In this post, we are going to discover why deep conditioning is soooo crucial for the health and integrity of our hair from a scientific standpoint.
What is deep conditioning?
Deep conditioning is a haircare method that restores, moisturizes, and strengthens the hair. Deep conditioners are able to do this because they possess small particles called surfactants which helps to protect each hair strand from day-to-day trauma. These surfactants temporarily seal the damaged parts of the cuticle layer (outer layer) of the hair. So, the more damaged the hair is, the more effective a deep conditioner will be because it has more damage to seal.
The surfactants in deep conditioners have a positive charge. Human hair has a negative (or semi-negative) charge. We all know that opposites attract. So, when a deep conditioner is put onto our hair, the positive charge of the deep conditioner and the negative charge of the hair bind to each other forming a strong adhesive bond. This bond temporarily attaches itself to the surface of the hair shaft, creating a shield for the inner layers of the hair shaft. This shield temporarily reduces breakage, prevents external damage, and reduces split-ends. The result is longer, stronger, healthier hair.
How often should I deep condition?
Did you notice that I stated that surfactants provide a “temporary” shield for the hair shaft? That’s right queens, deep conditioners provide temporary protection. Which means surfactants can wear off. This is exactly why it’s sooooo important to deep condition your hair weekly and at the very minimum, bi-weekly. Incorporating a deep conditioner into your weekly haircare regimen will ensure that surfactants are on your hair at all times and your hair is well protected from external stresses (e.g.: manipulation, extreme heat, seasons, etc…). As a result, you will witness longer, healthier, and moisturized hair. Who wouldn’t want that?
Getting the most out of a deep conditioner
To obtain the maximum amount of benefits from a weekly deep conditioner, it is best to apply it to freshly shampooed hair. This order is important because most shampoos have surfactants with a negative charge. If you remember, our hair has a negative charge. After shampooing our hair, the negative charge on our hair increases (due to the negative charge of the shampoo). So, when we put a deep conditioner onto our hair, after being shampooed, the bond that adheres to the cuticle layer becomes stronger because of the positive charge of the surfactants in the deep conditioner. In other words, we can get the most out of our weekly deep conditioner if we shampoo first.
Timing is important. Leave your deep conditioner on no longer than 30 minutes. Science has proven that leaving a deep conditioner on longer than 30 minutes has no positive impact on the hair. However, leaving a conditioner on for too long can actually weaken the hair and cause damage.
Also queens, use a heat cap, hair steamer, or any other heating source to impart heat onto your hair. The heat will cause more conditioner to stick to the hair shaft. Which (you guessed it!) will provide more protection to the hair. Furthermore, apply the conditioner to the ends of the hair first then proceed up the hair shaft. However, avoid putting deep conditioner onto the scalp.
As you can see queens, a deep conditioning regimen helps us all reach a wide array of haircare goals; whatever they may be. However, we have to be consistent and diligent in order to reap the short-term and long-term benefits. I can’t stress this enough! If you miss a week or fall off the bandwagon for an extended period of time. It’s OK. Get back up and continue on with your regimen.
For a DIY deep conditioner video click here.