Deep conditioning should not be confused with daily conditioning. A restorative, repairing deep conditioning treatment is absolutely ESSENTIAL for healthy hair. Many people believe they are conditioning their hair sufficiently by using daily conditioner after each shampoo, but this is not always the case.
A daily conditioner is essential for maintaining healthy hair and should follow each shampoo.
The cuticles of the hair are slightly raised or “opened” when you shampoo: This allows the shampoo to thoroughly cleanse the hair. A daily or “instant” conditioner will smooth down this raised cuticle as well as restore the hair to its proper pH balance. It also replenishes moisture to the hair’s exterior surface. Deep conditioning, on the other hand, provides nutrients and essential protein to hair’s cortex (the center of each hair shaft). In order for this to happen, you must use an external heat source. The heat causes the cuticles on each hair strand to open fully, allowing the conditioner to saturate, nourish and condition each hair.
Heat for deep conditioning can come from a variety of sources.
A bonnet style hair dryer is the most commonly used method at most hair salons. If you are deep conditioning at home and you do not want to invest in a bonnet style hair dryer, there are conditioning heat caps as well as bonnet attachments that you place over the nozzle of your blow dryer. You can also wet a large towel, microwave it and wrap it, turban style around your head. No matter which method you choose to heat your hair, you should always wear a conditioning cap (a thin shower cap). This will ensure that the heat is concentrated onto the hair and also take advantage of the heat that is generated by your own body. It takes approximately 20 minutes (up to 35 minutes for longer/very thick hair) for the hair to fully absorb a deep conditioning treatment. Once the sufficient amount of time has elapsed, you must allow your hair to cool down completely before you rinse the conditioner out. If you do not allow this cool down period, the cuticles will still be lifted or “open” from the heat. You will rinse away most, if not all of the deep conditioner’s nutrients and proteins. In addition, your hair will feel slightly course and rough, because of the raised cuticles.
If you color, chemically or thermally straighten your hair, it is absolutely essential for you to deep condition your hair every two weeks.
Weekly deep conditioning would be even better. Hair that is otherwise healthy will benefit from monthly deep conditioning treatments. There is such a thing as over conditioning your hair, because each hair can only absorb a finite amount of protein: Anything in excess of that will coat the hair shaft and weigh it down.