What Does DEEP CONDITIONING Really Mean?

You ever just take for granted that a friend of yours knows the same things that you do?

Well, sometimes we make that mistake with our readers. You hear about great natural hair conditioners all the time. We've already written about conditioner washing natural hair and pretty much all of us use hair conditioners.

Still though, many don't REAAALLY know the difference in conditioning and the deep version. There is a BIG difference, soo....

In this article we're gonna talk about...

  • What it means to deep condition your hair.
  • How deep conditioning is different from regular conditioning.

What Do Regular Conditioners Do?

So here's the deal. Regular conditioners only work on the outside by softening your hair, they help smooth down your cuticles, minimize the static and sometimes helps water stay in your hair strand. When you rinse out the conditioner some conditioning agents are left behind which keeps your hair feeling soft.

Watch Out For Fake "Deep" ones...

I can't stand fake "deep" folks, same goes for conditioners, ha! You have to watch out for the way some brands will call a regular conditioner what it REALLY ISN'T. The term ''deep conditioner" has been misused in the retail world as a way to deceive buyers.

You see, it's really simple. If a deep conditioner doesn't have any penetrating ingredients like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil or hydrolyzed wheat protein, just to name a few, it's NOT a deep conditioner, it's a regular conditioner or just a regular styling cream companies like to add the word 'deep' to justify the high price tag.

DIY Deep Conditioners Are Simple To Make

Some like to buy them, but they are easy to make from home. Simply mix some kind of hair-healthy penetrating oil to a regular conditioner turns it into a deep conditioner, no need to run out to the stores to buy a separate deep conditioner.

And you don't need to go by anyone else's measurements because as I told you in the article about "10 Reasons Why Your Hair Isn't Growing", you need to test and take note of what is working for YOU.  So, it's really up, as I also said in that article, deep conditioning is not a major treatment and can be done as often as you like.

Just keep in mind that deep conditioning is not meant to be a protein treatment so when DIYing your own mix, try not to exceed 2 tablespoons of hydrolyzed wheat protein per every 2 cups of conditioner especially if you choose to deep condition your hair often.

How Often To Deep Condition Will Depend On Various Factors

Everyone's hair is different. So when deciding how often to deep condition it depends on how damaged your hair is, how often you mishandle your hair with heat and hair tools, and it really depends on your hair type based on porosity level.

Deep conditioners work best on damaged hair because it tends to settle into the damaged cracks in any uneven cuticle surface.

So the more damaged or porous your hair is the more time you should let the deep conditioner sit in your hair to fill in those gaps either with steam from a shower cap or a hair steamer but there's no need to let it exceed 30-45 minutes or you run the risk of hydro fatigue if you sleep in it overnight or overdrying if you sit under the dryer for too long.

When It's ALWAYS GOOD To Treat Your Hair As If It's Damaged 

First, let's define damaged hair. Damaged hair is hair that has any injury or impairment to the cuticle, causing the hair to increase in porosity.

So medium-to-high porosity naturals should always nurture our hair as if it's damaged.

Highly Porous & Open Cuticle on the bottom...

It's interesting to note that porosity levels in your hair fluctuate throughout your life based on how you handle your hair, your health, lifestyle, the environment and the use of wrong products.

Increased porosity leads to more breakage and split ends which causes you to have shorter, more damaged hair. How can you avoid this? Most of us should automatically treat our hair like it's damaged. Why?

Because being in the habit of treating your hair like it doesn't have any damage can actually lead to damage.

Look. I'm not saying you have to deep condition your hair every time you shampoo it, just be aware and listen to your hair, if it starts to look dull or you notice some split ends, give it more love and attention.

Deep Conditioning Guidelines According To Porosity

As said earlier, your porosity can change through time, so always pay attention to how your hair is reacting and check your porosity every 3-6 months.

Low Porosity Hair DEEP Conditioning Needs: If your hair is low porosity(and it already has moisture being held in the strands) deep condition your hair depending on how its behaving. So when it gets really dry, go ahead and deep condition it,  if it's not really dry just do a regular conditioning after shampoo.

Medium Porosity Hair DEEP Conditioning Needs:  If you have medium-porosity hair, you need to at least deep condition your hair twice a month.

High Porosity Hair DEEP Conditioning Needs: For high-porosity hair you should be deep conditioning your hair EVERY TIME you shampoo it rather than regular conditioning. Your hair and scalp will treat you for the love you show it, trust me.

ALL Porosity Levels Advice:  No matter your porosity level, after shampooing it's important to at least regular condition your hair if you're not deep conditioned and make sure the conditioner sits in your hair for at least 10 minutes this way it has enough time to soothe and heal your cuticles after experiencing such a traumatic thing like shampooing.

Some Types Who Might Avoid Deep Conditioning

Some women with low porosity hair have found that they never have a true need to deep condition their hair because the low porosity doesn't allow for moisture to leave fast enough to cause dryness problems between regular conditioning sessions.

Also, for some with thin or fine hair, they often find that deep conditioning weighs their hair down and make it feel too oily.

If your hair is in one of these groups and once in a while you choose to deep condition, you should be sure to leave the deep conditioner in for no more than 30 minutes.