Reader Kerry says;

I hope this isn’t too redundant, but I’m still fascinated by the ‘unnecessary hair practices‘ post. As you know deep conditioning ended up being the number 1 thing people had dropped from their regimen. So I was wondering if you could bring that particular question to your readers; If they deep condition, could they explain why they do it, for how long, and how it helps their hair. If they don’t, could they explain how they used to do it, and what made them stop? This would help me out so much!

I think it’s a great question Kerry! Please weigh in ladies. I agree that this is a very fascinating topic!

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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94 Comments on "The Great Deep Conditioning Debate"

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Isabelle

I dye my hair so I use Aphogee 2 step every 6 weeks and follow that with a deep moisture treatment. I also use lighter protein reconstructors in between the hard stuff like Ion reconstructor or Joico kpak.
Whenever my coils look blah I reach for the protein but I use as instructed meaning 10 minutes, no heat. Usually I’ll shave my legs, do a face mask… and by the time that’s done I’ll rinse and be done. However I won’t follow the lesser protein treatments with a moisture DC.

Sue
I always deep condition with heat for 15 minutes. I have tried the overnight method as well as the 2 hour method. By this I mean applying conditioner with or without some added oil and the results were not as good as with heat. My DC mixture is Suave conditioner, coconut oil, this is a staple for me and honey. I use a store bought conditioner because it helps to smooth the hair surface (See Jc’s post above for more). Coconut oil is known to penetrate the hair and without it my hair does not feel as great. The coconut… Read more »
Domino

I deep condition whenever I shampoo. Its the difference between that sorta stripped feeling and ultra soft hair. I changed my shampoo to a less stripping one and that has helped but I still like to deep condition. I like to keep it in for around 20 to 30 minutes. It just sets my hair up for successful detangling the rest of the week.

theresa

I always deep condition. I find that when I didn’t deep condition my hair would get dry during the week, however when I deep condition my hair doesn’t get dry and I don’t have to keep moisturizing throughout the week, which is vital because I don’t have the time during the week. I think that deep conditioning has also enabled me to retain length because my hair is well moisturized.

The Natural Haven
The most popular article on my blog is the deep conditioning article where I discussed the research in more depth The truth is there is very little in conditioner (deep or rinse out) that can actually penetrate hair. Conditioners are designed primarily to 1. Smooth the hair strand externally 2. Temporarily patch up the hair externally The less damage your hair has, the less effect conditioner has. Does heat and time make a difference? In all probability, there is likely to be some extra deposition onto the surface of hair but there is nothing to say that this is of… Read more »
df

then what actually penetrates the hair to moisturize it? or do we just have to stick to moisturizing from the inside out?

The Natural Haven
Moisturising is less about penetration and more about keeping water in. Water is very small and can freely enter and leave hair. If you are aiming to keep it in then you have to focus on forming a barrier on the outside. The most effective methods of forming this barrier are 1. Oils 2. Humectants 3. Proteins Noting that you do not need to use just one of these but can use a combination. In my opinion, many people think that a deep conditioner will fix the issue of hair feeling dry but in truth it is what you do… Read more »
cl
I DC weekly but I only use natural products that I make myself. I have done research and only use herbs and oils that combat the problem I am having. I have dry very kinky curly hair so when I make my conditioners I use certified organic herbs and oils that are for dryness. Natural herbs and oils works wonders on my natural hair. My twist last longer and are more defined. I usually dc for about 1 hr but I think the longer you can do it the more beneficial the results will be. I started using my own… Read more »
She Who Must Not Be Named
She Who Must Not Be Named

“In my opinion, many people think that a deep conditioner will fix the issue of hair feeling dry but in truth it is what you do after you condition your hair that helps you (i.e the leave in you use, use of oils etc).”

I agree!

df

thank you so much!!! God bless 🙂

Lissie
Hi Jc! You’re spot on with your last point! It’s really what I do AFTER conditioning that helps me maintain moisture. Also, if you live in a city that is known for hard water, I can tell you that there is absolutely no deep conditioner in the world that will prevent your hair from feeling dry, lol! I had issues with this while at uni. Neither my hair nor my skin agreed with the water. Anywho, I have type “4b” hair with very coarse strands. While my hair loves the temporary softness of Aussie Moist, once I wash out the… Read more »
The Natural Haven
Sorry I don’t have a direct answer to your question Lissie. It is not something that is well researched. I do have a theory though. Hair usually experiences a change due to severe conditions for example due to malnutrition. However, even if your diet is not the best but there is sufficient protein in it, hair will grow in the same way as someone with a better diet. Hair does not require much to grow or to be of good quality. In the same way, I would think unless you are dehydrated, I would not think that adding more water… Read more »
Lissie

Thank you Jc! <3 <3 <3

Tabi

How about a protein conditioner/ deep conditioner, because i notice it stops the breaking; my hair is colour treated

The Natural Haven

Protein of the right size (hydrolysed/hydrolyzed) is more likely to bind with heat and longer time. Colour treated hair is likely to be quite damaged and therefore I can see why a protein heavy conditioner would be beneficial

Moni – It is definitely all about finding what works for your hair!

Moni
JC- Your blog post in conjuction with Long Hair Don’t Care2011, from youtube is the reason I let go of deep conditioning after 7 years. I’ve been deep conditioning since my relaxed days. I recently stopped becuase I realized the the 3 minute Aussie mosit made my hair soft whether I left it on for 3 minutes or 30 mintues. I’m sure that the only reason I no longer need to DC is becuase Aussie mosit 3 min miracle works well on my hair. I never had this experience with any other conditioner. I still dc sometimes with honey so… Read more »
emma

i prepoo for 15 min with aubrey organics honeysuckle rose…that pretty much does the job. and once a month i use ao blue green algae protein mask for 15 min. I find that leaving it in much longer does not change much. and honestly I couldn’t stand taking that much time on my hair unless I was preparing for a big event

danKini
I really love the benefits of deep conditioning over night/all day. I like to think of this day(washday/sunday) as a way to relax. However, my time does not permit me to do this every two weeks(summer) or every three weeks(winter). I’ve reduced this process depending on time to 1-3hours. I alternate between to two deep conditioners: cantu and a cholesterol(dark&lovely w/shea butter). I add a base condtioner(cheapy like sauve,tresemme, or VO5). I also add olive oil & honey to the conditioner(warmed). My hair gets dry very easily and if I don’t deep condition I will have a sack of hay… Read more »
WildOnce

I always DC. I have since my hair was 2inches long. I leave it in over night and it is so much softer and bouncy(yes I said BOUNCY) when I wash the DC out. I usually leave it in over night…if I don’t have the time to do that I leave it in for a hour with a heating cap on. I have to DC or my hair will be so dry during the week…..this is one thing I would never stop doing.

ManiacMod
I personally can NOT go without deep conditioning. I have 4c (if there was a such thing as 4z hair mine would be it) extremely tight coily hair and I’ve noticed the quick 15 minute conditioning does just about nothing for me. I deep condition about once a week with a Jasons natural hair conditioner mixed with a little avocado and EVOO and I henna protein condition bi monthly. I condition with Jasons for about 1hr and henna deep condition for sometimes up to 6hrs. It sounds excessive but my hair has benefited because of it. I’m also a vegetarian… Read more »
Khy
I deep condition because it makes my hair feel softer, helps stop breakage, and allows moisture to seep into hair strands. I usually deep condition for about and hour with heat, or for a while with heat and then overnight, or just overnight… or sometimes all day with no heat. lol whatevers convenient and what my hair requires. when i dont DC my hair doesnt feel as soft or as healthy so i try to DC after every wash. i’ve heard that ‘dry’ heat doesnt open up the cuticle ans is therefore non beneficial? idk if this is true but… Read more »
HK

I deep condition because my hair really responds to it. After a good deep conditioning, my hair is softer and just looks healthier. I keep my deep conditioner in for about an hour. I think whether or not you should deep condition depends on your hair. It works for some but not for others.

Clara
DC’ing for me means the difference between super soft, manageable hair and just ‘ok’ hair. My hair is moisturized throughout the week. So much so that I don’t have to reapply any moisture (or any product for that matter) for the duration of the week. The only time my hair sees any tools or products is on Sunday which is wash and style day. I am of the mindset that 75% of how your hair fairs throughout the week is dependent on your styling practices. So I can’t say that DC’ing is the key to it all but it is… Read more »
Kendra
I have tried to go without DC but that is something my hair really responds positively to. I DC about 2-3 times a month and I don’t leave it in that long. 30 minutes tops if I’m being lazy, and 5 to 10 minutes if I am in a time crunch with my detachable hooded dryer. My hair is soft, pliable, easier to manage for at least a week after my DC. I find I don’t need to moisturize in between as often. I barely co wash (only after a strenuous workout). MY DC of choice is Shea Moisture Deep… Read more »
Lenn

Yes! I second the Shea Moisture Deep Treat Masque, my hair loves that stuff!

NaturalE

I just used this this weeknd and I loved it! I added some Olive Oil and Honey to it for good measure and loved the fact that it was not a runny mess. My hair is soft to the touch and feels great!

KN

I actually tried this stuff and it left my hair hard and dry! 🙁 I have a really hard time finding good deep conditioners

KMurray

I can’t seem to find the right conditioner either. So most of the time I just use a cheapy with oil added.

Stephanie

My hair didn’t like it either.

sarah

i deep condition. moreover, i deep condition for at least an hour. with my hair, i have noticed a difference between not DCing, DCing for only 20 minutes, and DCing for at least an hour. also, the type of DC matters as well. i find that natural/homemade DCs are best left on for at least an hour whereas synthetic/store bought treatments only need about 30 minutes max. but, this is only the needs on my head of hair.

Sue

@Sarah, store bought conditioners contain ingredients that smooth the hair surface, making it feel softer. You will need more time to achieve the same effect with something homemade. If you want the best of both worlds add an oil of your choice to a store bought conditioner.

Paula Barkley

Very True! Coconut Oil or Olive Oil to any store bought Dc’er works well for my hair!

Bitty Boss

Deep conditioning is definitely a must for my hair. It helps melt tangles and soften my strands. My hair does not feel like this when I leave the conditioner on only for a few minutes. And boy have I tried a LOT of different conditioners. I have my DC staples and I usually deep condition for 45 minutes to an hour.

Lynaya

I deep condition with Aubrey Organics condish for a half hour or more. Basically I just leave it in while I do other stuff. It makes my hair softer than useing a condish quickly in the shower or not at all.

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