Wednesday, May 29, 2013

You Don't Need to be a Pro to Deep Condition

Last night, as the clock struck 11 pm, I steered in the direction of bed. It had been a long day at work, it rained on my way home (the ultimate downer) and it was late. Yes, there was a lot to be despondent about,
Deep conditioning will make both you and your happy and
you will be able to restore your hair's natural curls.
Pictured is Ebony of
yet, ladies, I felt so incredibly relaxed. I called my boyfriend to say good night and I attempted to explain why my head felt so good. I'd just had my weekly hair wash, but this time, I went the extra mile and deep conditioned. Prior to this ritual, my hair felt tired, dry and strained. Deep conditioning was much needed, and if you want strong hair, you will start recognizing when your hair needs it too.

"My scalp feels so cool... so revitalized," I tried to explain to my boyfriend over the phone, and he laughed at me because prior to dating me, he never had casual discussions about hair care developments. Lost for words to describe the inexplicably refreshing sensation that the conditioning had left my scalp and hair in, I paused mid-sentence. Then, as if he took the words out of my mouth he said, "It's as if your hair just got washed by a cloud..." EXACTLY!!!

A plastic hair cap, sometimes
 referred to as a plastic hair
processing cap, is used during the 
period to cover the hair saturated in 
conditioner. I don't even bother 
purchasing those plastic caps and just 
use a plastic grocery bag. 
As ridiculous as the last paragraph sounded, it's an actual account of the conversation I had with my boyfriend- provided not only for your comical relief, but also for your education. Deep conditioning is not something that requires expertise. It's something that should already be a part of your hair care regimen. Like all other good things, it minimizes breakage, softens brittle hair and restores moisture and elasticity. Two weeks ago, I took down some crochet braids and made the disheartening discovery that the Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream I had long been using for light-duty moisturizing is absolute rubbish (at least on my full head of hair). Two weeks and two deep conditioning sessions later, my hair is where I wanted it to be. It feels good.

Fortunately for you, there are multiples ways to go about deep conditioning your hair. You don't even need to run out after reading this article and purchase a $500 "deep conditioning mask" to do it. Behold, Nubian princesses, your options:

1) Generic Conditioner. This has to be the most convenient method of all. Just use the conditioner you have been using for your regular washes. Instead of rinsing it off after a few minutes in the shower, leave it sitting in your hair, covered with a plastic hair cap, and go about your business around the house. I often go watch a series of YouTube videos or some episodes of my recent TV fad. Additionally, I have what I call my small "conditioning towel", exclusively used for deep conditioning. I wrap it around my neck and dab away at water that seeps out of my cap. Forty minutes to an hour later, I return to the shower to power wash the conditioner out of my hair.

2) Greek Yogurt Deep Conditioner. This is the best treatment for dry hair and while there are many recipes out there, I highly recommend Naptural85's. I'll let her explain it all to you, but if you are pressed for time, it's all summarized underneath.

  •  The treatment can be done on any day and does not require shampooing first. 
  • The DIY conditioner is made of 2-3 tablespoons of natural whole or 2% plain Greek yogurt (any brand), enough lavender essential oil to mask the yogurt smell and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. 
  • Application of the yogurt mix is first done by sectioning the hair into 4-6 parts. Working part-by-part, the yogurt is smeared onto the hair, starting at the end to about 3/4 up the hair. 
  • DO NOT apply yogurt on the hair near the scalp. It should never come in contact with your scalp. 
  • Cover with cap and wait for 20-25 minutes.
  • Rinse each section under the shower (never allowing yogurt to come in contact with scalp)
  • While under water apply a small amount of conditioner and rinse it out immediately. 
  • Before re-twisting the rinsed, conditioned hair section under water, apply a small amount of aloe vera juice and twist. 
3) Egg and Mayo Deep Conditioner. Again, there are several different recipes for this. I recommend Naptural85's, and I have pasted her video below. The Egg-Mayo conditioner is the ideal treatment for restoring protein and getting back that hair elasticity. I personally do not use it because I can't stand the smell of eggs and mayonnaise, which, if conditioning is done well, should not linger. I can admit, though, the benefits of it are clear.
  • The ingredients of the DIY egg-mayo conditioner are 2 beaten eggs, 6 tablespoons mayo and 1-2 teaspoons honey. 
  • Start by shampooing the hair, rinsing it and applying a 3:1 water to apple cider vinegar mix. 
  • Apply the DIY egg-mayo conditioner to all the hair, ensuring it's all covered. The hair can then be covered with a plastic hair cap for 45 minutes and rinsed out afterwards. 
  •  Sectioning the hair for conditioner application must be done for medium to long hair, but is not necessary for short hair. 
The hot oil treatment is made with a
combination of essential oils. Which oils
you use is a matter of preference, but it's
best to watch a few YouTube videos to
get a rough idea of what kind of ratios to
mix your ingredients in. 
4) Hot Oil Treatment. This is the ideal treatment for adding shine to your hair. It is basically the application of a mixture of oils to the hair and then warming of the oils for 20-30 minutes. There are multiple oils that can be added to your hot oil treatment. Typically, a combination glycerin, coconut oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, rosemary oil, olive oil, and many other essential oils are used. It's a matter of personal preference. Post application of the oil mixture, a hood dryer or a conditioning heat cap is used over a plastic hair cap to warm the oils. Caution is necessary since oils warm up faster than water (heating should be low to moderate). The hair is then shampooed and conditioned.

Those are just four deep conditioners you can do at home. There are many more. The type to use should be determined by your hair's current needs. When in doubt, out of supplies or broke, then the generic conditioner method is the answer. Deep conditioning with your normal conditioner can be done as frequently as desired, and while the other three are for "special occasions", your normal conditioner will always be there. 

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