How to Deep Condition Your Hair

Deep conditioner can be confusing. Is it the same as the regular conditioner? Should I do something special with it? Slap it on, and rinse it off, right? Well, you can go that route, but if you really want to get all the bang for your buck out of your deep conditioner there are a few tips you can use to make deep conditioning really restore the look and feel of your hair. These tips can be applied to any deep conditioner or natural hair oil treatment like coconut oil or olive oil.

Deep Condition Your Hair
How to Deep Condition Your Hair
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Step One: Clarify

Before you deep condition your hair, it’s a good idea to strip the gunk and junk off your hair first with a clarifying treatment. Product, environmental, and shampoo additives can build up on your hair and prevent the deep conditioners from really penetrating your hair’s cuticle and repairing your hair.

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Shampoo twice with a good clarifying shampoo or try mixing baking soda with your shampoo to turn it into a clarifying treatment.

Simply mix a handful of your regular shampoo with a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. The measurements don’t have to be exact. Apply the mixture to your wet hair, lather well, and let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse well.

Step Two: Apply Your Deep Conditioner

Deep Conditioner

Towel dry your hair very well after your clarifying treatment. Be careful to pat/squeeze your hair dry rather than rubbing your hair with a towel. Rubbing can cause friction and unnecessary tangles. Apply a generous amount of deep conditioner or coconut oil to your towel dried hair. Do not bother trying to brush/comb your hair before applying the conditioner, as the clarifying treatment will leave your hair tangled.

Work the deep conditioner into your ends and the mid-shaft of your hair.

If your scalp is dry, massage the deep conditioner into your scalp. If your scalp is not dry or your hair tends to get greasy and oily, keep the deep conditioner off your scalp.

Step Three: Heat it Up

Heat it Up

After your deep conditioner is applied, use your fingers or a wide tooth comb to distribute the deep conditioner and remove tangles. Apply a shower cap to cover your hair, and then add some heat. I like to wrap my head in a towel fresh from the dryer or use a hair dryer to heat up my hair gently. If you use a hairdryer, a few minutes should be enough to warm your hair up and open up your cuticle.

Then wrap in a towel to trap the heat inside, and allow the deep conditioner to sit on your hair and penetrate your hair. You can leave a deep conditioner on for as long as you wish. The more damaged your hair is, the longer you’ll want your deep conditioner to stay on. Some people sleep in a deep conditioner. I typically allow a deep conditioner to sit on my hair for 30 to 90 minutes while a read a book or catch up on housework.

Step Four: Rinse

Woman washing her hair in the shower – PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

After your deep conditioner has been allowed to sit on your hair for your preferred amount of time, rinse very very well for at least 90 seconds under warm (not hot) water. Heavy deep conditioners and oil treatments should be shampooed after rinsing to ensure that the heavy oils are not left on your hair. If your hair is fine or generally oily, shampooing your deep conditioner out is extremely important to make sure your hair isn’t left greasy after your treatment.

After your hair has been rinsed of the deep conditioner, a final rinse under cool water is recommended to increase shine and seal the cuticle.

A light conditioner or a leave-in conditioner on the ends of your hair only post-shampoo is also recommended to ease combing.

Step Five: Enjoy

Photo Credit: Photo by Pando Hall/Getty Images

After your deep conditioning treatment is completed, style as usual and enjoy your hair full of shine, luster, and body. I highly recommend a deep conditioning treatment at least once a month, and more often if your hair is damaged, highlighted, or extremely dry. Spoil yourself and your hair. You’ll thank me.


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