How To Deep Condition Hair: Step By Step Guide

Deep conditioning can be a breeze when you follow these simple steps. With consistency, you can enhance the health and growth of your hair in just a matter of months. Continue reading to learn all about how to deep condition hair!


How To Deep Condition Hair:

Deep conditioning your hair is a really a simple task that can provide wonderful results if done the correct way and consistently. It is always recommended to section your hair in 4-6 sections and clip away with a hair clip, in order to stay organized when using your favorite deep conditioner.

Once your hair is sectioned, use this step by step guide to learn how to deep condition hair the right way for length retention and overall healthy hair:

  1. Shampoo First – You will want to start on freshly washed hair that has been thoroughly cleansed with a moisturizing clarifying shampoo to remove all traces of product build up. This will help your deep conditioner to fully absorb into your hair strands.
  2. Do NOT use a rinse out conditioner after shampooing- A rinse out conditioner will coat the surface layer of the hair, which will act as a barrier for your deep conditioner to get through.
  3. Apply Deep Conditioner – on damp hair, apply your deep conditioner of choice section by section. Apply the deep conditioner and smooth it in using a detangling brush to ensure that your hair is evenly coated.
  4. Cover your hair with a plastic cap and sit under your hooded dry or simply go under a steamer with your hair uncovered for the recommended time on the product label.


This post is all about how to deep condition hair. 

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How Do You Know If Your Hair Needs A Deep Conditioner?

Some of the key indications that your hair may need a deep conditioner include:

  • Consistent dryness
  • Frizzy hair
  • Split ends
  • Lacks luster & shine
  • Excessive hair breakage
  • Unable to hold a curl when styling
  • Feels brittle to the touch

Is It Better To Put Deep Conditioner On Wet Or Dry Hair?

Applying your deep conditioner to wet hair that has been freshly shampooed, is recommended for a more effective treatment. When the hair is both cleansed and damp, you have better manageability of the product and much better absorption of the deep conditioner into the hair strands.

Working on clean, damp hair is essential because the product has a better chance of penetrating the hair shaft to help nourish it from within. Deep conditioning treatments are typically packed with essential vitamins and oils that will help to add moisture into the hair strands and seal the open gaps that may be found microscopically on the hair fiber.

Before applying to freshly washed hair, wring hair out so that it is not soaking wet this way the product does not just slide off. Damp hair will help the product bind much better for a more concentrated treatment session.

Is Deep Conditioner The Same As Conditioner?

While the concept of a deep conditioner and rinse out conditioner are similar, there are some unique differences between the two.

A rinse out conditioner is formulated to coat the hair on its external level to help smooth the cuticle layer back down after it has been slightly raised by your shampoo. Basic conditioner is meant to help promote manageability when detangling and add a quick boost of moisture to the hair.

When using a rinse out conditioner, it is recommended not leave it in for more than 5 minutes as it is just meant to simply coat the hair.

At a microscopic level, the molecules in a rinse out conditioner are a lot larger in size when compared to a deep conditioner. As a result, it has a hard time penetrating the hair internally.

A deep conditioner is formulated to penetrate the hair shafts internal layer. Because the molecules are a lot smaller on a microscopic level when compared to a rinse out conditioner, it is are able to get into the actual strand to moisturize and strengthen from within.

Can You Use Regular Conditioner As A Deep Conditioner?

No, it is not recommended to use a regular conditioner as a deep conditioner. This is because a rinse out conditioner is formulated to coat the strands on the outer layer to help with detangling after you have shampooed your hair.

After you have cleansed your hair thoroughly, you will notice that your hair may feel a little stripped down or maybe even a little dry. This is because after you have shampooed, you have removed some of the sebum that was produced by the scalp and extra products applied to the hair during the week.

Sebum is a natural oil that is produced by your scalp, which helps to coat the strands naturally. However, if your hair is textured, the sebum may have a harder time traveling down the hair strand, making it prone to dryness regardless.

If you go in with a rinse out conditioner as your deep conditioner, you run the risk of it not penetrating the hair internally to help moisturize it effectively.

How Long Should You Leave A Deep Conditioner In Your Hair?

On average, you will want to leave your deep conditioner in for at least 20 minutes. This is the general rule of thumb for the amount of time it takes for the product to penetrate into the hair strand.

Always check the label on your product to find out how long the manufacturer recommends you leave the deep conditioner in.

If you go over the time that is instructed on the product label, bear in mind that the intake process has been completed at the time specified on the product.

This means that trying to leave your deep conditioner in for hours or even days at a time with the idea that it’s going to moisturize a little bit better, is incorrect and ineffective.

Once you’re deep conditioner has had the amount of time recommended to be left in the hair, no more of the product will be absorbed in. For a list of the best deep conditioners for low porosity hair, click here.

Should You Deep Condition Before Or After Shampooing?

Deep conditioning after you have shampooed your hair is always the better way to go. Once your hair is thoroughly cleansed, a deep conditioner has the chance to work its magic.

If you apply your deep conditioner before you have shampooed, you will notice that your hair still feels exceptionally dry after you have shampooed.

This is because your hair has product residue on it, blocking the pores from actually opening to let your deep conditioner absorb in.

However, if you want to use your deep conditioner as a way to soften your hair before you have to shampoo, you can surely try it. Just keep in mind that deep conditioners are usually priced at a much higher price point when compared to shampoos and conditioners, because they are a more concentrated formulation.

All in all, it is best to use your deep conditioner when your hair is clean and damp for the most effective deep conditioning treatment.

What Do I Do After Deep Conditioning?

After you have deep conditioned your hair, you will want to check for signs that it was effective. Some of the key signs that will let you know is the shine factor, the moisture levels and your curl pattern.

Another way to tell if your deep conditioning treatment was effective is if when you come out of your steam dryer or hooded dryer and you don’t see much of the products color sitting on top of the hair.

You will notice that your hair does not look like it’s been slathered with your deep conditioner anymore because it has been fully absorbed in once you come out of your heat processing method. Think of it as being “melted into your hair” almost.

After you have deep conditioned, you will want to gently pat it with a microfiber towel or wring it out before going  in with your leave in conditioner of choice. For more information on what a leave in conditioner does, click this article here.



What Happens If You Leave Deep Conditioner In Too Long?

If you decide to leave your deep conditioner in longer than the time recommended on the product label of instructions, you will run the risk experiencing hygral fatigue.

Hygral fatigue is the result of excessive hair swelling and un-swelling, due to excessive moisture penetrating your hair on the outer and inner layer of the strand. Over conditioning your hair by leaving your deep conditioner in overnight or for hours at a time, can actually damage your hairs structural layer.

If your hair is starting to show signs of hygral fatigue, you will notice that it begins to look and feel limp and mushy. It will also become harder for your hair to hold its curl pattern over time no matter what styling products you use and you may even notice how easily your hair breaks off as well.

You can also run into the issue of protein overload, if your treatment has a strengthening ingredient in it. Too much protein will have your hair feeling dry and brittle. Always follow the instructions on the product label to get the best result from your deep conditioning treatments.

How Long Does It Take To See Results After Deep Conditioning?

When it comes to hair care whether your hair is natural or not, consistency will always be key. Deep conditioning treatments work best when they are used at least once a week or biweekly.

It is important to stick with a treatment once you see that your hair responds well to it, in order to accelerate your growth and hair health.

A great rule of thumb to follow is when shampooing your hair, especially when using a clarifying shampoo, to always follow up with a deep conditioner of choice if you have the extra time it takes to let it sit under a hooded dryer or steamer.


Final thoughts on how to deep condition hair

Deep conditioning your hair is easy, especially when you can carve out the time to do it. Always try to use a hooded dry, heat cap or steamer for maximum absorption of the product into your hair.

When you rinse it out, always use cool water as opposed to hot so that the cuticle layer on your hair lays flat and locks the moisture in.

This post was all about how to deep condition hair.


More In Deep Conditioning:

21 Best Deep Conditioners For Low Porosity Hair!

10 Best Deep Conditioners For 4c Hair!


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