By Audrey Sivasothy, author of The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care
Deep conditioning the hair is critical to achieving bouncy, luxurious, healthy hair in any hair care regimen. How often you deep condition is a matter of personal preference. The need to deep condition can also be influenced by a number of things, like whether or not your hair is color-treated, naturally porous, coarse or chemically relaxed. Those considerations must be taken into account, along with your hair’s general condition, when you determine how often you’ll need to deep condition your hair.
My hair is chemically relaxed and color-treated, so deep conditioning has been key to keeping my hair healthy and vibrant. Effective deep conditioning can truly provide essential protection against hair chemical treatments, colors, heat and even just sheer neglect.
In addition to knowing how often you need to deep condition your hair, you should educate yourself on deep-conditioning products. Deep conditioning can take place with either a moisturizing deep conditioner or a protein-based treatment. Each product will require a different deep-conditioning schedule. Moisturizing deep conditioning should occur most often, and protein deep conditioning should occur less frequently. Most, if not all, deep conditioners require heat for maximum cuticle penetration. This process can last from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the conditioner and your hair.
If your hair is:
‑Extremely damaged and dry
These especially damaged cases benefit from deep conditioning twice weekly until the hair begins to recover. Once the hair has recovered, then a weekly deep-conditioning schedule can be maintained. Cover the hair with a plastic cap and apply heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Hair should be rinsed in cool water to help smooth and close the cuticle.
Protein deep conditioning, or a reconstructor treatment, can take place the same day as moisturizing deep conditioning for those with hair in need of deep repair. Simply mix your protein treatment with your moisturizing deep conditioner and process under heat.
Try to find deep conditioners that are creamy and have a thick consistency. I find that these tend to be the best deep conditioners, since they really leave the hair feeling moisturized. If your hair is fine, you’ll want to find a light, creamy conditioner with fewer heavy oils. Otherwise, you’ll be conditioned, but weighed down as well.