Hair is frequently regarded as a measure of a woman’s beauty; commercials urge women to try new products intended to create long, luxurious manes, while models walking runways and gracing product covers typically have thick, lustrous locks. While these hairstyles may not quite be attainable, it is possible to smooth troublesome hair, and create a mane bearing the illusion of fullness and shine. This is done through deep conditioning—a process that, though it provides incredible results—can be done in the comfort of your home.
Is Deep Conditioning Necessary?
Hair is exposed to a lot of detrimental elements on a day-to-day basis: fumes from cars driving to and fro, dirt the wind has picked up, natural oils, hair product, and more. Exposure to these things can leave locks looking dry, frizzy, and in desperate need of some TLC. While a clarifying shampoo can go a long way to remove environmental buildup, few conditioners pack a punch significant enough to function as a deep conditioning treatment to restore shine and a smooth texture.
Deep conditioning is especially necessary for men and women who use a lot of product and styling tools. Product and heat can both cause stress on the hair strand, causing breakage and the coarse appearance often associated with heavily color-treated tresses. Though it may take time and patience, deep conditioning can help restore a healthy luster to damaged hair.
How Often Should Deep Conditioning Be Done?
This will depend largely upon hair type and condition. Extremely thick, coarse, and damaged locks may need treatments as many as three times per week, while fine, thin strands will likely only need to be treated once per week. Although a deep condition will improve hair’s appearance and texture, overuse can result in creating a limp appearance rather than a full, healthy bounce.
The frequency of use will also depend upon your typical routine; if heat styling is a daily indulgence, treatments will likely be 2-3 times per week, while women who use styling tools and products sparingly may need a treatment as little as once per month. When you are starting out, take your hair type, desired appearance, and consistent routine into consideration.
The most common type of deep conditioning comes in the form of applying oil and warmth for an extended period of time. This typically involves wetting hair, applying warm oil, and wrapping hair in a head wrap or even saran wrap, and letting it sit for several hours or even overnight before washing it out in the morning.
Although this is the most common method, deep conditioning can even be done by applying oil to the ends of hair and allowing it to seep into locks without washing it out. Using this method, oil must be applied sparingly, as it can cause hair to look greasy and unwashed.
Deep conditioning treatments can be purchased in a store and applied according to directions. Ingredients in store-bought treatments can range from mild (using natural oils) to extremely heavy (using more chemical-laden ingredients). If a specially-formulated conditioner is more what you seek for an at-home conditioning, pay close attention to the hair type the treatment is made for; a too-heavy product can cause locks to be weighed down and give a stringy appearance.
Finally, henna can imbue hair with a healthy shine and glow. If using henna, be sure to purchase a colorless kit; while colored henna can also provide a fresh new texture and appearance, it will function as a dye. When using henna, use caution; typically, the compounds in it will sour or become unstable if they come into contact with metal.
How to Deep Condition with Oil
Oil treatments are quite simple to complete. To begin, you need a few materials:
- Oil of choice
- A shower cap or plastic wrap
- A water source
- (If using quick method) A heat source
First, wet your locks, then towel dry until they are damp. Run fingers through hair to gently remove tangles. Next, apply your oil of choice (coconut and olive oil are the most common), taking care to massage it thoroughly into every section of your mane. Gently tuck hair beneath a shower cap or other plastic wrap. Using the overnight method, go to sleep, and wash out with a mild shampoo in the morning.
Using the quick method, apply a heat source (usually a blow dryer) all over the head for 15-20 minutes. Remove cap and shampoo as normal.
Using this means of conditioning 2-6 times per month should quickly result in stronger, more luxurious tresses.
How Do I Choose the Conditioning Treatment that’s Right for Me?
Faster treatment typically comes using already-formulated treatments specifically designed with speed in mind. If speed is your number one priority, consider purchasing a store-bought product.
If purity in products is a greater concern, an at-home oil treatment is going to be your best bet; these treatments use only oil, and can be completed with organic, cold-pressed oils. Oils can also be combined with items such as honey and essential oils to provide nutrients and fragrance to strands. Henna is also an option for individuals worried about product content, as most henna holds a high purity standard.
If growth or re-growth is a concern, men and women may want to consider conditioning using castor oil; it has some growth generating properties, and has proven useful in correcting some hair loss and preventing further loss.
Growth, Luster, Smooth Texture—What’s Not to Love?
Whether you are seeking a means of softening hair, improving shine, or encouraging growth, deep conditioning treatments are for you. A wide array of products, oils, and at-home combinations make home conditioning a wonderful means of improving the overall texture and appearance of tresses without breaking the bank or spending countless hours in an uncomfortable salon chair.
As you go out, gathering materials for your next deep conditioning treatment, remember these things:
- Treat hair according to your wants and needs
- Obey all instructions as closely as possible
- Complete a strand test to ensure no adverse reaction will occur
Enjoy yourself—It is a conditioning treatment, after all.