If you’ve been up to speed on your hair game, deep conditioning natural hair shouldn’t be a strange or new phenomenon.
Deep conditioning has been going on in hair care forever.
As more ladies take charge of caring for their hair, there are some hair care practices that may fall by the wayside.
However, deep conditioning should not be one of the things you ignore.
Deep conditioning should be part of your hair care regimen no matter your hair type – straight, natural, relaxed, or transitioning.
What is Deep Conditioning?
Deep conditioning is a crucial process between shampooing and styling your hair designed to help restore and maintain moisture in the hair.
Deep conditioning also helps prepare your hair for any other treatments following the deep conditioning treatment.
What Are the Benefits of Deep Conditioning Hair?
1. Prevents Hair Damage
Deep conditioning natural hair prevents hair damage. When your hair is moisturized, it prevents breakage and split ends.
2. Promotes Elasticity
Deep conditioning natural hair promotes elasticity. Elasticity is a sign of healthy and well-moisturized hair.
You can tell if your hair is elastic by pulling on a section when wet.
If it bounces back with a spring, your hair is healthy and can withstand additional treatments like blow-drying or installing braids.
3. Nourishes & Strengthens Hair
Regular deep conditioning sessions nourishes and strengthens hair.
With additional ingredients such as herbs and oils, you can enhance these benefits even more.
4. Restores Hair’s pH Balance
Deep conditioning restores your hair’s pH balance and shine if you have just used a clarifying shampoo.
Clarifying shampoo strips the hair of all moisture and natural oils.
Related Content: 22 Clarifying Shampoos That Work Without Damaging Hair
5. Mitigates Damage From Other Treatments
If you color your hair, blow-dry, straighten or conduct other harsh treatments, deep conditioning can help mitigate the damage done by these treatments.
6. Maintain’s Moisture Levels
Hair cannot be healthy without moisture. Moisture is to natural hair what chocolate is to a chocoholic.
Deep conditioning helps maintain high moisture levels in natural hair.
Does Deep Conditioning Help Your Hair Grow?
Yes, deep conditioning can help your hair grow. Dry and dull hair leads to breakage and split ends.
Split ends travel up the shaft and eventually, your hair starts falling off at the ends making it look like your hair isn’t growing.
With regular deep conditioning treatments, you can keep these two culprits at bay and preserve your ends, which are the oldest part of your hair.
How Often Should I Deep Condition My Hair?
How often you should deep condition will depend on how your hair responds to it.
Some people have dryer hair types that require deep conditioning 1 – 2 times a week.
On the other hand, some people will require only once a week deep conditioning sessions. Less when you’re in a protective style btw.
Deep conditioning more than is required for your hair can lead to over conditioning (yes, that’s a real thing).
You can tell your hair is over-conditioned by how soft and mushy it feels.
Deep Conditioning Natural Hair Overnight
The benefits of deep conditioning hair are received within 45 – 60 minutes of applying the deep conditioning treatment.
You can choose to deep condition overnight if you like but it likely won’t make much of an impact, and can make your scalp itchy.
Deep Conditioning Natural Hair With or Without Heat
You can deep condition your hair without heat if you like but from my experience as well as research, applying heat helps the treatment penetrate your hair shaft and work even better.
You don’t need a professional hair steamer to achieve salon effects if you can’t afford it. You can wrap a damp hot towel around your hair.
9 Best Tips for Deep Conditioning Natural Hair
1. Apply on Damp Hair
Apply the deep conditioner on damp hair, not dripping wet hair as the conditioner won’t penetrate properly.
2. Focus On Your Ends
The ends are the oldest parts of your hair and they require the most love. Work that deep conditioner into your ends and really smooth through.
3. Heat Up the Deep Conditioner
Warm-up your deep conditioner over a bowl of hot water before application.
Do not use a microwave to heat up the deep conditioning treatment as it will break down the structure and you could injure yourself.
4. Pay Attention to the Ingredients
Read the ingredient label before you buy a deep conditioner.
Ensure it doesn’t contain an ingredient that made your hair go berserk previously.
Thankfully, there are tons of deep conditioner options on the market.
5. Try Sample Sizes
If you’re not sure if your hair will like a deep conditioner, order a sample size to try out before you purchase the full size.
It’s maddening to purchase an 8 oz jar of deep conditioner and your hair doesn’t like it. You either have to sell it or give it away.
6. Maintain Protein/Moisture Balance
Balance deep conditioning treatments i.e. moisture vs protein deep conditioning. Too much of one over the other can lead to more damage.
Read When To Use Protein Deep Conditioners for how to tell if you need moisture or protein deep conditioning treatment.
You can also mix the two. If your hair is very dry, you need a moisturizing treatment.
If your hair is breaking and has a lot of split ends, you need more protein.
7. Work in Sections
My hair is almost APL but I still do it in 3 sections because it’s easier, leads to less hair loss, and helps me spread my product more effectively.
It also reduces the amount of time spent on detangling.
8. Rinse With Lukewarm Water
Rinse out the deep conditioning treatment with lukewarm water followed by a final blast of cold water.
9. Enhance With Oils, Herbs & Powders
It depends on what you’re trying to achieve in the deep conditioning session.
22 Best Deep Conditioners for Natural Hair
There are hundreds of deep conditioners for natural hair on the market.
Some very good deep conditioners have been recommended in Daily Conditioners vs Deep Conditioners: What Are the Differences?
Below are 22 additional deep conditioner recommendations below. The ones with the scores are the ones I’ve tried before, and no, I’m not a PJ :).
- Kinky Curly Stellar Strands Hydrating Deep Treatment
- Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea All Natural Hair Masque – 3/5
- Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Deep Conditioner – 5/5
- Camille Rose Naturals Algae Renew Deep Conditioner – 5/5
- Curls Ecstasy Hair Tea Deep Conditioner
- Koils By Nature Cocoaloe Deep Conditioner
- Alikay Naturals Honey and Sage Deep Conditioner
- Alikay Naturals Avocado Cream Moisture Repair Hair Mask
- TGIN Honey Miracle Hair Mask – 5/5
- As I Am Hydration Elation Deep Conditioner – 5/5
- Design Essentials Coconut & Monoi Deep Treatment Masque
- Made By Beautiful Intense Treatment Masque
- Hydratherma Naturals Protein Deep Conditioning Treatment
- Tresemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner – 5/5
- Tresemmé Perfectly (un) Done Conditioner – 5/5
- Naked Honey and Almond Moisture Whip Deep Conditioner
- Giovanni Invigorating Tea Tree Deep Conditioner – 5/5
- Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner – 5/5
- It’s a 10 Miracle Deep Conditioner Plus Keratin – 4/5
- Mielle Organics Babassu Oil And Mint Deep Conditioner – 4/5
- Carol’s Daughter Sacred Tiare Anti-Breakage Hair Mask
- Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner with Peppermint and Eucalyptus – 5/5
Are there other deep conditioners you think are awesome but aren’t on the list? Let me know and I’ll add them.