An important part of any healthy hair regimen is conditioning; conditioners restore moisture lost to the shampooing process and improve the hair’s manageability (Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, The Science of Black Hair). There are several different types of conditioners including instant/rinse out conditioners, deep conditioners and leave-in conditioners which can be either moisture replenishing or protein reconstructing.
Based on their ingredients conditioners may serve to replenish moisture or strengthen the hair, it is important to determine the needs of your hair in choosing your deep conditioners. A moisture replenishing and protein reconstructing or strengthening treatment is necessary for all hair types because it is important to maintain the hair’s moisture-protein balance.
Conditioners typically contain several ingredients such as water, plant extracts, oils (natural or synthetic), butters, emollients, conditioning agents such as panthenol, proteins (hydrolyzed silk proteins, aminos, egg proteins etc), humectants, silicones and many others.
Instant/Rinse out conditioners are useful for co-washing or detangling, silicone-free rinse-out conditioners may also be used (mixed with water) as a leave-in conditioner or moisturiser. This is incorporated in several regimens like the Curly Girl Method, Tightly Curled Method and Maximum Hydration method. They are also useful for DIY conditioning mixes and can be tweaked for the purpose of deep conditioning (through addition of oils, herbs or humectants such as glycerin or honey).
Deep Conditioning should be a part of a healthy hair regimen and is recommended to be done weekly. Commercial deep conditioners are often described as deep conditioners, masques, deep treatment, etc.
How to deep condition
- Slather conditioner on the hair strands, it is advisable to do this in small sections to ensure that (as much as possible) all strands are coated.
- Cover hair with a processing or shower cap
- Leave on for the recommended time or longer (as you desire). For effectiveness, heat can be incorporated through the use of steamers or heating caps.
- Rinse with warm water
- Do a final rinse cold water to close the hair cuticles.
It is very important to balance the use of moisturising and protein conditioners; too much moisture or too much protein will lead to setbacks on your journey. A strengthening protein conditioning treatment should always be followed with a moisturising conditioning treatment to avoid the hair being brittle.