IMG_4291

By Shel­li of Hairscapades.com

Yes­ter­day, I told you that I was up late at night set­ting my hair. Well, what I left out was the rea­son I was doing this. You see, I washed my hair around 6 pm or so and applied my deep con­di­tion­er at about 7. After eat­ing din­ner, watch­ing Beyonce’s half-time per­for­mance dur­ing the Super Bowl, and wait­ing a few min­utes for them to get the lights back on in the sta­di­um, I fell asleep on the couch. Wei woke me up around 11 pm and I was like, “Uggh­h­hh. Got­ta wash this deep con­di­tion­er out and set this hair.”

Now, in the past, I would deep con­di­tion overnight in a min­ute … shoot, in a mil­lisec­ond. But, over the course of 2011–2012, I learned about the impor­tance of pro­tein,  protein/moisture bal­ance and that I could, in fact, over-con­di­tion my hair. I real­ized that the very soft feel­ing that my hair had for most of 2011 was because my hair was over-con­di­tioned and that the crazy shed­ding that I was expe­ri­enc­ing in fall 2011 was like­ly my hair break­ing, because it didn’t have enough ten­sile strength.

How­ev­er, though I began to incor­po­rate pro­tein into my reg­i­men and felt a great improve­ment in the strength of my hair and saw my curl pat­tern return, I still slept in deep con­di­tion­ers often. Now, the thing is, I didn’t do this to get any addi­tion­al ben­e­fits, rather, I would sleep in my con­di­tion­er out of sheer lazi­ness. Some­times, I’m tired and I just don’t feel like wash­ing it out.

But then, this fall, I read two very inter­est­ing and infor­ma­tive arti­cles:

via The Nat­u­ral Haven

Deep Con­di­tion­ing: Effect of Time and Temperature/Heat*

1. Increas­ing the time you leave con­di­tion­er on hair allows more of it to adsorb with a max­i­mum adsorp­tion at 20- 30 min­utes.

The key ingre­di­ents that can stick to hair (sur­fac­tants, hydrol­ysed pro­tein, sil­i­cones, polyquats etc) will do so with­in sec­onds of apply­ing the con­di­tion­er. If left on hair for longer, the amount will in gen­er­al dou­ble with­in 10 min­utes. If left on for anoth­er 10–20 min­utes, the amount will increase by anoth­er 60–100% of the mark set at 10 min­utes.

How­ev­er after 30 min­utes from ini­tial appli­ca­tion, there are no more increas­es in con­di­tion­er adsorbing to hair. The rea­son for this is that the hair con­di­tion­er sim­ply has no more places on the hair where it can stick to…….all gaps which it can plug and all sur­faces where it can attach are occu­pied. …

[W]hen con­di­tion­er is heat­ed to 35°C, at 10 min­utes there is slight­ly more than 5% on hair and at 30 min­utes there is slight­ly more than 10%. There­fore tem­per­a­ture increas­es adsorp­tion. The rule how­ev­er remains the same in terms of no fur­ther con­di­tion­er stick­ing to the sur­face after 30  min­utes.

*There are two charts in this post that are very helpful in providing visuals for the effects of time and heat on deep conditioning.

and

Do You Need to Deep Con­di­tion Your Hair?

A study done on nails (same ker­at­in pro­tein as hair) was per­formed to find out why nails get weak­er with repeat­ed water expo­sure. The study found that expos­ing nails to water for over 15 min­utes (remem­ber­ing that at 15 min­utes the pro­tein is sat­u­rat­ed) led to the ker­at­in coil­ing dif­fer­ent from nor­mal and this was linked to soft­en­ing and weak­ness (BBA,pp 210–216,1999).

There are many nat­u­rals who will con­di­tion their hair for hours at a time because they like the soft­ness that it devel­ops. If you are in this group, you are some­one who likes over-con­di­tioned hair. The soft­ness you are feel­ing is most like­ly relat­ed to the change in the ker­at­in and you should be care­ful when han­dling your hair when it is that soft as it will be weak­er until it has time to recov­er its stronger con­for­ma­tion.

(Man, I just LOVE learn­ing about the sci­ence behind hair and prod­ucts!!)

Well, after read­ing that 1) Con­di­tion­ing over 30 min­utes does not provide any addi­tion­al ben­e­fits as adsorb­tion plateaus and 2) Con­di­tion­ing for hours at a time caus­es a a change in the ker­at­in that results in soft­en­ing and weak­en­ing, I start­ed re-think­ing my post-wash, deep con­di­tion­ing habits. Now, though I have pret­ty much stopped deep con­di­tion­ing overnight and often only deep con­di­tion for 30 min­utes to an hour, I still con­di­tion for 3–4 hours on occa­sion. But again, it’s not to get any addi­tion­al ben­e­fits … it’s just because I don’t feel like get­ting up to rin­se my hair and style it!! I KNOW!! LOL!! But, I’m real­ly work­ing on keep­ing deep con­di­tion­ing down to 30 min­utes or a max of an hour!!

Now, although I don’t do post-wash deep con­di­tion­ing overnight any­more, I still sleep in my pre-poo (Vatika Oil mixed with Aubrey GPB and/or Aubrey Hon­ey­suck­le Rose). The rea­son I do this is because the study done on the ben­e­fits of Coconut Oil for pre-poo­ing demon­strat­ed the effects with overnight appli­ca­tion, so that is what is rec­om­mend­ed. I also pre-poo my dry, not wet or damp­ened, hair. How­ev­er, the Aubrey con­di­tion­ers do con­tain water as the first ingre­di­ent … so I’ve been torn about mix­ing them with Vatika Oil for my overnight pre-poo. How­ev­er, for now, I’ll con­tin­ue this prac­tice as my hair seems to do great with the com­bo and doesn’t feel exces­sive­ly soft. I think the pro­tein in GPB and the “pro­tein-retain­ing” prop­er­ties of coconut oil may have some­thing to do with that! And, you know the say­ing, if it ain’t broke …

How long do you deep con­di­tion? Do you deep con­di­tion overnight?

Leave a Reply

74 Comments on "Why I Stopped Deep Conditioning Overnight"

Notify of
avatar
cacey

i for­sook the prac­tice of deep con­di­tion­ing when i quit flat iron­ing my hair. i found that it was no longer nec­es­sary.

Asea
I also love overnight DC’ing but with oils. I pre-poo overnight all the time — with a cas­tor, avo­cado, coconut oil, and rose­mary and tea tree oil for my itchy scalp — and my hair LOVES IT. I do not DC overnight with a creamy DC any­more because I found that it did actu­al­ly dry my hair out at times. In the morn­ing I wash or cow­ash and then DC for a few hours. My faves are KBB Lucious Hair Mask and BASK Hon­ey Mask. I also always check the strength of my strands. I take shed hair and pull… Read more »
kiesh

I nev­er DC’d overnight or any­thing like that. I do every­thing in the shower…I just don’t have the patience/time. I find that the time it takes me to show­er and shave is all the time I need to leave the con­di­tion­er in my hair. It doesn’t feel any less soft than when I’ve left it in for 30 min­utes or longer so I don’t both­er.

Tiff Dizzle

I fol­low the direc­tions on the bot­tle if it says leave in hair 10–15 min with heat I do that if it says leave in hair 3 min and wash out I do that. My hair is super thick and since I don’t have a twa any­more I real­ly don’t have any time to do doing extreme con­di­tion­ing to my hair if it wont ben­e­fit my hair

D.P.

Great arti­cle.
I love deep con­di­tion­ing overnight though. I think it’s a part of my reg­i­men that I will not get rid of. I know you can over mois­tur­ize, but its my main source of mois­tur­iz­ing. I work­out often so I am con­stant­ly rins­ing my hair. Deep con­di­tion­ing overnight once a week is what saves my hair.

Jacky

Thanks for the post,i learnt alot!

Desi

I’m a huge conditioner/ deep con­di­tion fan. One ques­tion I have is whether the hair was left wet overnight or allowed to air dry? All I use is con­di­tion­er the major­i­ty of the time, and I feel my hair is stronger for it. When I allow my hair to do an. “Overnight treat­ment”, my hair is total­ly or most­ly dry once I’m asleep.

Lola

Wow! This is real­ly mak­ing me rethink my cur­rent reg­i­men. I wash my hair once a mon­th and when I do I always deep con­di­tion. I slept overnight in my con­di­tion­er because I was so tired. After read­ing this I will not do that again!

mangomadness

“I don’t do post-wash deep con­di­tion­ing overnight any­more, I still sleep in my pre-poo (Vatika Oil mixed with Aubrey GPB and/or Aubrey Hon­ey­suck­le Rose).”

Hmmm…I would call that an overnight deep con­di­tion.

Once a week, I do an overnight deep con­di­tion on dry hair pri­or to wash­ing. I cov­er my hair in a plas­tic cap and a beanie hat before bed — it’s not messy or noisy at all. Deep con­di­tion­ing this way leaves my kinky, coily, Afro-tex­tured hair super mois­tur­ized — and saves me from jump­ing in and out of the show­er.

Jo Somebody
Dit­to this! It con­tin­ues to work, so I con­tin­ue to do it AND it suits my lazy lifestyle. Unless you’re wash­ing your hair dai­ly, any­thing you put on your hair stays there all day AND overnight. Grant­ed the plas­tic cap makes a big dif­fer­ence, but a hat, head­scarf or wig would also keep the prod­ucts in a warm envi­ron­ment, espe­cial­ly if as advised, we line our hats with silk. *shrugs* I will nev­er under­stand the con­cept of need­ing some­one else to point out to you that some­thing is not work­ing in *your* hair. Styling advice ok, new ideas fine, the… Read more »
lola bird

I stopped deep con­di­tion­ing. i’ve found using a good con­di­tion­er and leav­ing in for 3–5 min­utes as well as using a sul­fate free sham­poo has made my hair alot bet­ter

deb

i just deep con­di­tion with rhas­soul clay/evoo/honey for a cou­ple of hours.…I think overnight deep con­di­tion­ing every week is such a bad idea and even though the dam­age to the hair won’t be imme­di­ate or vis­i­ble, it will be there. Too much of any­thing is not good. I do think overnight con­di­tion­ing is a good idea if you are deal­ing with pro­tein over­load, it’s a great quick fix. I’ve been there…

Caramelcurls

I deep con­di­tion under a hood­ed dry­er twice a mon­th for about 20–30 min­utes, and steam with pro­tein once a mon­th for 30 min­utes. I try to keep my reg­i­ment short and sweet: pre-poo, sham­poo, con­di­tion, style.

Jailyn

Glad I read this. I actu­al­ly learned some things to keep in mind for my next wash ses­sion which is com­ing up soon. I also learned that adsorp­tion is a word and what it is (the english/grammar nut in me was freak­ing out: “WHY is there a D where a B should be???” until I googled it)(:

The Natural Haven

lol Jai­lyn, one of those thumbs up is from me. I have been try­ing to get peo­ple to use the word adsorb for a while now, it real­ly is a dif­fer­ent word and process :)

To Shel­li — I love see­ing the prac­ti­cal use of the sci­ence info, thank you so much for cit­ing my blog :)

hairscapades

Thanks for all the great infor­ma­tion you share Jc!! It helps me bet­ter under­stand why some things work and oth­ers don’t and also assists me with “diag­nose” the sit­u­a­tion when some­thing seems to be going right or wrong!! 

Shel­li

Jeanetta
I do not deep con­di­tion overnight because I hate sleep­ing with soaked, goopy, oily hair; the crin­kle of the plas­tic cov­er­ing my head dis­rupts my sleep (I toss and turn dur­ing the night); even with a tight plas­tic cap some pro­duct STILL man­ages to leak out and make a bit of a mess; and I sim­ply don’t trust some­thing being left in that long and being unaware of what it is doing to my hair (nat­u­ral prod­ucts or not). Plus, it extends my get­ting ready time in the morn­ing, which is a no-no for my sched­ule. One hour once a… Read more »
binks

This! I tried to do it twice and I must say…the worst sleep I ever had…lol. I don’t do overnight deep con­di­tion­ing any­more because of that fact. I try to leave the deep con­di­tion­er on my hair for 30 to 45 min­utes top any­thing after that “ain’t nobody got time for that…lol”. I believe if the pro­duct didn’t work in enough allowed time then it is not going to work. Plus, I have been read­ing an inter­est­ing arti­cle on the issue of what is actu­al deep con­di­tion­ing and does it tru­ly work or not.

deb

“I do not deep con­di­tion overnight because I hate sleep­ing with soaked, goopy, oily hair; the crin­kle of the plas­tic cov­er­ing my head dis­rupts my sleep”

YES! It’s what I hate the most about overnight DC’s and why I stopped them. It’s just not that seri­ous!

Tabatha

There are con­di­tion­ers that have pro­tein in it. You can try that. I love my coconut oil espe­cial­ly in the win­ter. It keeps my hair mois­tur­ized and mangable. I just start­ed using it on my hair cause I would nor­mal­ly use it on my body and that was it, then my moth­er remind­ed me that she used to use it in my hair when I was lit­tle, so I was like, “Hmmm. why not”. So glad I use it now.

Sassy24

I deep con­di­tion for 45 min­utes, I think im gonna knock 15 min­utes off of it. I deep con­di­tion overnight once thought it was too much.

Tia

yep. a 15 min­ute TOPS deep con­di­tion­ning is all I real­ly need.Overconditionning makes my hair feel extreme­ly weak.Plus a short DC makes for a more com­fort­able night of sleep.
Btw, good arti­cle!!

Chicago Chica

I try to deep-con­di­tion on a week­ly basis, and then only for 30 min­utes. I’ve nev­er been an advo­cate for overnight con­di­tion­ing for my hair. I tried it once, and it wasn’t for me.

Lisa

I deep con­di­tion with heat for 15–30 min­utes once every week to 10 days. And about once a mon­th I use pro­tein.

SJ
I also stopped this prac­tice. When I was relaxed, I was always taught that the longer you deep con­di­tion your hair, the bet­ter! But I found that my fine strands were TOO soft when I deep con­di­tioned overnight. I nev­er under­stood why I shed so much bro­ken hair when I was so gen­tle to my hair, used cone-free nat­u­ral prod­ucts, and pro­tec­tive­ly styled my hair 90% of the time. Then I found the Nat­u­ral Haven’s arti­cle and under­stood where the break­age came from! Now I have used con­sis­tent pro­tein treat­ments to help rebuild the elas­tic­i­ty, but I wish I knew… Read more »
Rachelle

I’m tran­si­tion­ing and all I read about is con­di­tion­ing and keep­ing mois­ture. But this real­ly made me think about what I do with my hair… I’m an over con­di­tion­er lol! But as I keep learn­ing I will be tak­ing notes of the­se tips. Thanks!

wpDiscuz