Have you ever wondered what the difference between a deep conditioner and regular ol’ conditioner is? What makes a deep conditioner that much better for your hair? Well, have I got some answers for you…
What is Deep Conditioner?
A deep conditioning hair treatment is exactly what it sounds like, a conditioner that penetrates deep into your hair. A typical “surface” conditioner that you would use right after shampooing, will coat the hair shaft with ingredients that will make your hair feel soft and manageable. However, deep conditioners contain special concentrated ingredients that are meant to penetrate the hair shaft and to add moisture and protein to your hair from the inside out.
For this reason, you cannot deep condition your hair by simply coating it with surface conditioner and letting it sit for a long time.
How Do I Properly Deep-Condition My Hair?
The absolute best way to use a deep conditioner is to apply it to freshly washed, towel-dried hair.
Although heat is not necessary to a deep conditioning treatment, it will make the treatment more effective. Heat will help open the cuticle, allowing the good ingredients to get deeper into your hair. To safely add heat, you can place a bag over your head, which will use body heat to heat up. You can additionally apply a warm hair dryer or wrap a hot towel around your head.
You should allow the conditioner to sit on your hair for 20-30 minutes for maximum absorption. No additional absorption occurs after 30 minutes, therefore it will do you no good to let it sit longer than that. If you don’t have time to let it sit for that long, I recommend putting it on first thing in the shower (after washing) and then letting it sit while you do everything else in the shower.
How Often Should I Deep-Condition?
This really boils down to the condition of your hair. For typical healthy hair, you will only need to use a deep conditioner a few times every month. If you have really damaged, bleached hair, you can probably do it a few times per week. If you deep-condition it too often, it will start to weigh your hair down. Only you can judge how often your hair needs it.
Different Types of Deep Conditioner:
You will often hear the terms “hair masque,” “protein treatment,” and “hair treatment,” but they are basically just other names for deep conditioners.
If you are trying to add moisture to your hair, look for oil treatments, butters, and humectants (such as glycerin, panthenol, honey, or propylene glycol) in the first few ingredients.
If you are looking for a protein treatment, look for different types of hydrolyzed proteins in the first 10 ingredients.
Additionally, ingredients such as wheat germ, sunflower, safflower, avocado, flax seed, hemp or different types of amino acids will add elasticity and moisture to your hair and will balance the pH.
What Deep Conditioners Do I Recommend?
My favorite two deep conditioners are the Joico Kpak Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor and the It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Masque. Check out those two articles to learn all about the benefits of using these products.
Your Turn: Do you often deep-condition your hair? What brand of deep conditioner do you like? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below…