Each strand of hair has 3 layers. Deep conditioning affects the outer layer which is called the cuticle. The cuticle resembles shingles on a roof. They overlap each other, and should lay down flat. When your hair becomes dry and damaged, these shingles will stand up away from the hair shaft. This is what gives hair the dull, frizzy look. Deep conditioning the proper way and with the right products will help to smooth the cuticle, making the shingles lay down again, giving your hair a smoother, shinier, healthier appearance.
Here is another important fact--deep conditioners CANNOT heal damaged hair or improve the quality of new hair grown. It is valuable however, because it can minimize any damage done to your hair, it can restore shine and manageablity to hair, and can add strength to hair until damaged hair grows long enough to be cut off. In other words, it is not a cure, but rather a preventative, to help protect the damaged hair from any further damage, until it gets to a length that you feel comfortable cutting it to. The only TRUE way to cure damaged hair is to cut it off and let new hair grow in.
Creme rinses (the type you put on after you shampoo and rinse out in 5 minutes or less), or detangler as they are also known, just coat the hair. They do not penetrate into the hair to help minimize damage. They do a good job of smoothing hair, making it shiny and helping to remove tangles, but that is all they do. You need a deep conditioner to go further into the hair to really help minimize damage.
Detanglers and creme rinses are a very good choice for use each time you shampoo, but a deep conditioning is best for longer lasting results. Depending on the condition of your hair, conditioning treatments can be done anywhere from once a week to once a month on average.
Some hints to look for when choosing a deep conditioner are: reading to determine how long the product is left on (if it stays on less than 5 minutes, it’s probably not a deep conditioner), look for a product that says you should use a plastic cap or plastic wrap on your head while it is working (plastic caps and/or plastic wrap help hold in heat on your head, allowing the conditioner to penetrate deeper for better results). Deep conditioning treatments usually stay on your hair an average of 15-20 minutes, but all products vary, so this is just an average time.
4. Part your hair from the front to the back of the neck in a center part. Next, part your hair from tip of ear to tip of ear. This will give you 4 sections. Clip each section up. Using these sections will make it easier for
you to know that you haven’t missed any areas when applying conditioner.
5. You can start in any section you like. Part through the section, starting at the top of the head by using your little finger. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it still gives you an idea of where you are applying. Make part about 1/2 inch wide, moving from one side of section to the other horizontally.
6. Hold slice up and away from the other hair and apply a thin coat of conditioner, starting at scalp and working it to the ends. You don’t want big globs of conditioner visible on hair, just a thin film that you can see and feel. When you have applied to the first slice, bring it over and lay it on top of your head. If hair is shorter, just let it stand up and away from the other hair.
7. Continue down the section making your parts and applying conditioner. When a section is completed, bring hair down from top of head so its not in the way of the other sections. Move on to next section, applying in the same manner,and complete the entire head.
8. IMPORTANT: When applying, be sure to apply to scalp and hair, not just hair. Your scalp gets dry too, and needs moisture as much as hair.
9. Place plastic cap or plastic wrap on head, making sure all hair is tucked in. Do not clip hair up if longer, just pile on top of head.
10. Now you have a few options to choose from. If you have a hood dryer (like the ones you sit under in salons), you can sit under it for 15-20 minutes with heat set on medium. You can also toss a towel in the dryer to heat, and wrap it around your head, leaving for same amount of time. If the weather is warm, go
outside and sit for the amount of time needed. You can even do what I do, which is a little housecleaning, to raise your body temperature, and generate heat to your scalp. Heat opens up the hair shaft, and along with the ingredients in a deep conditioner that work to open it also, you’ll get very good penetration and results with the extra heat.
11. When time is up, remove towels and plastic from head. Rinse, rinse, and rinse some more. Use as cool of a water temperature as you are comfortable with. Anything cool or cold will not only rinse away excess conditioner, but it will help to close the hair shaft, trapping the moisture from the conditioner inside. It does take a lot of rinsing, but it is worth the time.
12 When rinsing is completed, towel dry hair again. From here you can blow dry, style or let your hair dry naturally. That’s it! Follow these simple directions, learn to read labels, ask for help from salespeople, and before long, you will be able to recognize when your hair may need a little extra boost of moisture. Have fun!