What Is Deep Conditioning? Benefits & Why You Should Use It Regularly

Confused as to whether or not you are deep conditioning your hair effectively? Find out what is deep conditioning, the benefits of deep conditioning natural hair and why you need to add this into your hair regimen regularly for optimal hair growth!



what is deep conditioning

What Is Deep Conditioning?

Deep conditioning is the act of applying a thick cream to the hair, that is a lot more concentrated than regular conditioners in natural emollients, humectants and essential oils for the purposes of reviving dull, dry, brittle hair. Deep conditioners are left on the hair for a lot longer than regular conditioners (typically around 15 to 20 minutes), instead if being immediately rinsed out after application. Because deep conditioners typically have a higher concentration of ingredients that help to restore hair strands, they often work in helping to retain length over prolonged use.

A great deep conditioning mask or treatment will help to add significant moisture to the hair, help to smooth the hair at the cuticle layer which promotes shine and strengthens the hair from within. You can choose a deep conditioner of your choice to help fix your hair needs, such as a moisturizing deep conditioning mask if your hair is dry, or a protein deep conditioning treatment if your hair is dull. For a list of the Best Deep Conditioners For Low Porosity Hair, click this link!




What’s The Difference Between Deep Conditioner And Regular Conditioner?

Deep conditioners are much heavier in concentration and are meant to be infused into the hair shaft using indirect heat. At a microscopic level, the molecules in a deep conditioner are a lot smaller when compared to a rinse out conditioner, but the deep conditioner is made to penetrate into the hair. A rinse out conditioner is made with larger molecules because its purpose is to coat the hair, making it easier to detangle and smooth upon rinsing.

Every time you shampoo your hair, the tiny cuticles on the hair shaft slightly lift due to the PH level and the rinse out conditioner immediately brings it back down to close it. This is why the hair feels nice and smooth immediately after using a rinse out conditioner.

However, when you shampoo your hair and go straight into the deep conditioning process (yes, skipping the rinse out conditioner step), your deep conditioner has an even better chance of getting into the hair strand for the best results!



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This post is all about what is deep conditioning.



Can I Use A Regular Conditioner As A Deep Conditioner?

Using a regular conditioner as a deep conditioner is not effective. Since the molecules in the rinse out conditioner are much larger and are formulated to coat the strands, this type of conditioner may not do the best job when it comes to targeting long term concerns for your hair. Most conditioners recommend rinsing them out immediately after use and this for good reason. Because the molecules in a regular rinse out conditioner are larger, there will be no uptake into the strands even when you apply heat. Unfortunately, these type of conditioners aren’t really moisturizing from within, but rather just coating the strands.



How Often Should You Deep Condition Your Hair?

The rule of thumb is to use a deep conditioner after every wash session you have. If you are someone who is co washing your hair frequently, you would not deep condition after ever single wash.

If you are washing your hair only once per month, you want to adjust that to weekly or biweekly at least to make sure you are removing any product buildup. Deep conditioning once per week or bi weekly is typically ideal when it comes to treating the hair to some nourishment and making sure the hair stays healthy and strong.

If your hair is going into a protective style for some time (remember the four weeks max rule), then really pamper your hair prior to the protective style before tucking your hair away. A great deep conditioner that has a good balance of both protein and moisture is the Mielle Organics Babassu & Mint Deep Conditioner. It’s the perfect solution to getting the best of both worlds when trying to target both moisture and protein loss.




What Happens If You Don’t Deep Condition Your Hair?

If you don’t deep condition your hair, you may notice that your hair feels soft from the rinse out conditioner but you may start to lose elasticity and your hair may become very dry and brittle overtime. This can lead to breakage, stunted hair growth and hair that just always seems frizzy no matter what you try to use.

Although it won’t be the end of the world, it is a good idea to try to use a deep conditioner in your hair regimen to help retain length and help to keep the hair elastic and healthy. Deep conditioning is extremely beneficial when it comes to creating styles that are tangle free, that also don’t result in an unruly mass of fairy knots and split ends.



How Do You Know If You Need A Deep Condition?

If you have ever felt like your hair has looked dry and dull or it dries out completely after day one of doing a hair style, it might be an indication that a deep conditioner is needed. If your hair is breaking all over the place (and you get trims frequently), you might be in need of a good protein or elasticity treatment. Deep conditioning is all about keeping the hair nice and balanced, so whatever you feel like your hair is lacking, go for the products that target that pain point!



Our Top Picks:


Moisturizing Hair Mask:

Camille Rose Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment

what is deep conditioning

Hair Elasticity Treatment:

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask

what is deep conditioning

Protein Treatment:

Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Strengthening Hair Masque

what is deep conditioning



Should I Apply Deep Conditioner To Wet Or Dry Hair?

Although there may be some deep conditioners on the market that recommend applying their product to dry hair, most brands suggest you apply their deep conditioner to wet hair. This will greatly improve the uptake of the product into the hair shaft, help with moisture because water is present on the hair and help to make the product more pliable on the hair.

You want to steer clear of manipulating your hair when it is in its dry state, as this could cause premature breakage, and excessive tangling. Also, keep in mind that when you deep condition it is a good idea to use a detangling brush for curly hair. This will help to smooth the product onto the hair, and you don’t want to use a hair tool with your hair in a dry state so go ahead and get that hair wet!



What Are The Benefits Of Deep Conditioning With Heat?

Deep conditioning with heat will make a world of a difference in your hair care routine! Indirect heat by use of a steamer, heat cap or hooded dryer is by far the absolute best way to ensure that the product is able to get into the hair strand and do its thing! The heat opens the pores of the hair strand and essentially helps the product to melt into it, essentially strengthening and moisturizing the hair from within.

Not only will your curls thank you, but it will make styling a breeze. The heat will help to reduce the frizz when you are smoothing on your leave in conditioner, after you have rinsed out your deep conditioner. Be sure to use a plastic processing cap if using a hooded dryer or heat cap for best results. When using a steamer, there is no need to cover your hair with anything. Let that steam seep into those curls!




Can You Deep Condition Hair Too Much?

Too much of anything can have its drawbacks, especially when it comes to natural hair. Try not to use just one conditioner all year round. It is important to get the moisture, protein and elasticity balance in check before you go just targeting one concern that you think is the issue.

There is a such thing as too much moisture and there is a such thing as too much protein. Both scenarios will result in hair that does not look or feel appealing, breakage and a whole lot of frustration and wasted money.

If your hair feels limp and mushy, you might be suffering from moisture overload. Hair that feels like straw and snaps easily may be the result of protein overload. Curls that just aren’t looking as defined any longer may be dealing with an elasticity issue. So long story short, have your deep conditioners ready to tackle the issue of the week and pay attention to how your hair looks and feels.



How Long Do I Leave Deep Conditioner In My Hair?

It’s highly beneficial to read what the manufacture recommends on the label of the product and FOLLLOW it. Please try to avoid sleeping with your deep conditioning hair mask in or treatment over night. If you do so, you are simply asking for trouble.

The hair should not be in a wet state for that long of a time and you run the risk of product getting onto your scalp and causing issues like dandruff and itchiness. The time recommendations are on the label for a reason. There is only a certain amount of time the product is actually going to be fully absorbed into the hair. Anymore time allotted after that in order to “get your money’s worth” is simply a waste of time and can potentially damage the hair.

What happens if you deep condition your hair for too long? You can get moisture overload, protein overload or both if you decide to use products past their recommended time frame. These issues although fixable, can be a pain to manage!



I hope you enjoyed this post and don’t forget to comment below your favorite deep conditioner and which one has helped your hair for the better!


This post was all about what is deep conditioning.


Other Posts Related To Deep Conditioning:

Deep Condition Low Porosity Hair: A How To Guide

21 Best Deep Conditioners For Low Porosity Hair!

11 Best Deep Conditioners For 4c Hair!


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