What is deep conditioning? Deep conditioning is the process of treating hair by applying a conditioner that has deep penetrating ingredients such as proteins, hydrolyzed proteins, and amino acids. Deep Conditioning 4C hair is a very important step in the 4C Natural Hair Care Regimen because this treatment deeply moisturizes and slows down the hair deterioration process. Unlike a regular conditioner, deep conditioners penetrate deep and stay in your hair longer.
As long as you have 4C hair you can benefit from deep conditioning because it is vital to the health of your hair. A good deep conditioner for 4C hair should improves the feel, appearance and manageability of your hair. When selecting a conditioner for 4C hair, you will need to check the ingredients to make sure that it’s does not contain toxic ingredients such as Sulfates and Parabens.
Deep conditioning is not a regular treatment; this is a key difference from a regular conditioning which can be done every time you wash your hair.
Deep conditioners that are well formulated contain oils, fatty acids, known as emollients. These ingredients aid in softening the hair and adds elasticity to it. This is particularly important when proteins are being used, as they can make hair very hard and brittle. An important thing to note is that although a deep conditioner repairs the shaft, it is not permanent and must be a continuous process. Deep conditioners boost moisture content on the hair strands, boost protein in the hair strands and strengthen the hair strands.
Benefits of deep conditioning 4C Hair
1- Prevents Hair Damage
Deep conditioning is essential in preventing your hair from damage. It protects your hair by continuously reducing breakage and split ends making your hair healthy. Prevention is always better than cure meaning even if you think that your hair is not damaged, making sure you have deep conditioning sessions into your regimen consistently will help you maintain healthy hair in general.
2- Restores Natural Shine
When you deep condition your hair the conditioner penetrates the hair shaft and helps give back the natural shine to the hair. Your hair mounts up build-up after sometime from the weather and also from different hair products. Deep conditioning smoothens the hair shaft and gets you back the natural shine of your hair.
3- Promotes Elasticity
Your hair becomes dry and brittle if you do not constantly moisturize or nourish your hair. When your hair is dry it can easily break with tension. Deep conditioning improves the elasticity of your hair so that you can prevent any breakage.
4- Helps Color-Treated Hair
Coloring your hair can cause so much damage to your hair if you do not have a regime to take care of it. Coloring in itself is a chemical process that can at times alter your hair strand’s structure, which makes the hair weak and leaves it open to dryness and breakage. You can avoid this damage by deep conditioning your hair consistently.
5- Adds Moisture
Deep conditioning is helpful in sustaining adequate levels of hydration on your hair makes it healthy. Dry scalp and dandruff can be dealt with by deep conditioning your hair as it moisturizes your hair.
Step by Step procedure for deep conditioning Natural Hair
1- Wash your hair.
The hair should be washed and clean before applying the treatment so it can soak in properly. Apply the treatment on damp hair that means you should not wait until your hair dries to apply the treatment.
2- Apply the deep treatment to your hair.
Evenly distribute the product to your hair using a comb or brush. You can also use your fingers to thoroughly cover every curl. Apply directly to your roots to avoid weighing them down, and put most of the conditioner on your hair from mid-lengths to ends. The ends are the oldest part of your hair, so it is more likely to be drier and more fragile.
3- Cover your hair with shower cap or heating cap.
Heat opens the cuticle, allowing the conditioner to go deeper into the hair strands.
4- Wait for 20 minutes to an hour.
Leave the deep conditioner on for at least twenty to an hour. This helps to warm up from your body heat as you sleep. Do not sleep with the conditioner if your hair is thin and easily over-moisturized.
5- Rinse your hair, and style as usual.
After the recommended time has passed, take out the shower cap and rinse with cool water to close the hair cuticle. Seal in the moisture your hair has gained with your favorite oil and allow your hair to air dry. Style as you usually do.
This second procedure is for those who prefer DIY. There are various DIY products you can use but in this case lets discuss the avocado mask deep treatment procedure.
Avocado Mask Deep Conditioning Treatment
1- Get your ingredients
For this deep conditioning mask, you will require one egg-white, an avocado, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a tablespoon of honey. These measurements can vary depending on how long and thick your hair is.
2- Mix your ingredients
Add all your ingredients in a blender or mixer and blend them on high until a creamy consistency has formed. If you can’t use a blender, you can mash the ingredients together manually, but this will take some time.
3- Applying the mixture
Spread the mixture throughout your hair using your fingertips, focusing primarily on the ends of each strand. After you’ve used all of the mask, you can wrap your hair up in a shower-cap to stop the mask from rubbing off on your clothes, and to heat up from your body heat.
4- Let the mask set
Leave the mask on your hair for twenty minutes to an hour to allow time for it to soak into your hair.
5- Rinse out the mask
Rinse your hair with cool water proceed to seal in the moisture and style your hair.
Homemade vs. Store Bought deep conditioning products
DIY Deep conditioners are an alternative for those who are mindful of the ingredients that go into their hair. It’s also a great option for someone who is looking for an affordable method to get the moisture, repair, and damage prevention deep conditioners that provide all these straight from natural ingredients. Nonetheless, a lot store-bought hair products have turned to use more organic and natural ingredients and so don’t shy away from these provided you read through the ingredient list.
One of the challenges you will encounter with DIY deep conditioners is that it might be greasier than store-bought conditioner.
For 4C hair you will need treatment that is rich and thick. This is because thick treatment fills the porous areas on the surface of the hair so it stays hydrated. Take note that if your hair is recovering from damage, you will need a product with protein.
Porosity and Deep Conditioning Natural Hair
Determining how often to deep condition depends on your hair’s porosity. Hair porosity is how well your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture. Those who have hair with low porosity may benefit from consistent deep conditioning until they achieve normal hair porosity. High porosity hair is more likely to break due to hair strands that are stretchy, spongy, and dry to touch. Deep conditioning hair with high porosity regularly may not be the best answer because it may lead to further damage.
To learn more about hair porosity, read this article.
Deep Conditioning Frequency
The state of your hair determines the frequency with which you deep condition it. If you have damaged hair, you should deep condition your hair at least once a week, leaving it in place for about 20 to 30 minutes. Healthy hair may only need deep conditioner every two weeks. For those who like having protective styles, deep conditioners are an excellent way to restore moisture to hair that has been tucked away for several weeks in the confines of a twist or braid.
Most hair experts caution against sleeping with a conditioner in your hair overnight. Doing so can have the reverse effect on your hair, creating an environment of high porosity hair which can be damaging to those natural locks.
Natural Hair Deep Conditioning Tips
- Use Heat: If you want to achieve perfect results with your deep conditioner and make your hair feel soft and smooth heat it up. Heating your deep conditioner increases the effectiveness of adsorption of the conditioner. A warm conditioner works better than cool conditioner.
- Moisture – Protein Balance: For your hair to be healthy it needs a proper protein to moisture balance. Alternating your deep conditioning processes between moisture and protein will help keep your hair strong and minimize breakage, helping in growth and length retention.
- Application: When you start deep conditioning concentrate on the ends of your hair first. Most of us actually do the opposite but just know that starting with the ends of your hair is the most beneficial, as your ends are the oldest, driest, and are prone to breakage and splitting. By beginning with your ends, you allow them more time to soak up and adsorb all of the deep conditioning goodness your product has to offer.
- Steaming: Steam is one of the ways you can hydrate your hair and give it a moisture boost during deep conditioning sessions. Steam heats up conditioner and also lifts the cuticle gently to allow for better penetration of conditioning ingredients. Steaming your hair while covered in deep conditioner aids in improving elasticity and moisture retention.
- Do not overdo: As much as we think deep conditioning overnight or for hours on end is a good idea and gives the best results, this is basically overdoing it. However, if you are using treatments like henna you require more hours to take to the hair, so it is ok to stay with the treatment longer. If your deep conditioner doesn’t work after 30 minutes, you can switch to a more effective one. There is also over-conditioning the hair which results in mushy, weak hair that has a more fragile keratin coiling. This is known as hygral fatigue.
- Do not Co-wash: Never use your deep conditioner to co-wash or as a leave-in conditioner. Deep conditioners are specifically formulated to provide intense conditioning to the hair. Leaving it in your hair or using it as a co-wash will likely lead to even more buildup.
In conclusion, you need to be consistent if you want to see results and reach your hair goals. Deep conditioning is an essential hair care practice that works as a catalyst reaching your hair goals, so make sure it is consistent.
Here is a simple natural hair deep conditioning infographic that you can pin for easier reference.