Hair that is well conditioned will look healthy and feel soft and strong
The importance of conditioning
Conditioners help to restore moisture and strength to hair after it has been shampooed and after chemical services like relaxing or colouring. Conditioners aid with detangling, assist in making hair feel smoother and should improve the strength and elasticity of hair. Hair that is conditioned often will be able to resist breakage better than hair that is shampooed alone.
How often should hair be conditioned
Several ladies believe that a deep condition is something that should be done as a special treatment for their hair or when they notice their hair is breaking.
It isn’t, deep conditioning should be done every week. You shouldn’t wait for your hair to start breaking before you deep condition. In fact failure to deep condition regularly may actually be the cause of hair breakage.
Also if you are experiencing severe breakage, one deep conditioning session is not enough to stop the breakage and fix your hair problems; it must be done very regularly especially at the beginning of your hair journey. This is because like me, most ladies have very damaged hair at the start their hair journey.
I would suggest that you deep condition your hair once a week after every wash. Further on in your journey you may increase or decrease how often you deep condition based on what your hair needs and on your lifestyle.
Types of conditioners
Conditioning is a very important aspect of a hair regimen but I believe that this is one of the biggest areas of confusion and where product abuse occurs. Conditioning is one of the stages where using the right product in the right manner is of great importance as failure to do so could cause breakage.
Understanding that there are different types of conditioners and knowing how to use them on your hair is an epic achievement in a hair journey.
Conditioners can be very broadly classified into two groups; protein conditioners and moisturising conditioners.
If you are wondering which of these you should use on your hair, the answer is both.
This is because a balance in the use of moisture and protein conditioning is necessary to fight against breakage.
Why our hair needs Moisture Conditioners
Black hair has a tendency to be dry therefore using moisturising products is essential for our hair to prevent excessive breakage.
After the hair has been cleansed, moisturising conditioners will boost the moisture content of the hair making it flexible, elastic and manageable. Moisturising conditioners should give hair slip making it easy to detangle.
When and how often moisturising conditioners should be used
Moisturising conditioners should be used a little more often than protein conditioners because our hair has the tendency of being dry.
If you are just starting your hair journey it is advisable that you use only moisturising conditioners for a few weeks. This is because most ladies starting their hair journeys have excessively dry hair.
Note however using a moisturising conditioner too often or not often enough can lead to hair breakage. Ladies therefore have to take the time to learn what level of moisture their hair needs.
The aim when using a moisture conditioner is for the hair to have good elasticity, look and feel smooth and soft.
Examples of good quality moisture conditioners:
A)KeraCare Humecto Creme Conditioner
B)Elasta Qp Dpr-11 Deep Penetrating Conditioner
C)Giovanni Smooth As Silk Conditioner
D)Creme of Nature Argan Oil Intensive Conditioning Treatment
E)Silk Elements Mega Cholesterol Conditioning Treatment
Why our hair needs Protein Conditioners
The bulk of our hair fibre structure, approximately 75%, is made up of protein. General wear and tear, styling and chemicals like relaxers break down the protein in the structure of hair thereby weakening it.
Protein conditioners work by temporarily rebuilding areas of weakness in the hair structure which makes the hair feel stronger.
When and how often protein conditioners should be used
The key to using protein conditioners is to find a level of use that is right for your hair.
Some ladies can use protein conditioners every week whilst some ladies can only use it once a month because their hair may be sensitive to protein products. With time you will be able to tell how often your hair needs protein or how much protein your hair can tolerate.
Simply assess how your hair feels after you have used a protein conditioner. Does it feel a bit rough? Does your hair still have some elasticity? The aim is for your hair to feel strong but still have some elasticity.
If your hair seems to shed and break a lot when you use a protein deep conditioner , you may be protein sensitive.
Importance of protein to ladies who have relaxed hair
It is very important for ladies who are relaxed to use protein in their hair regimen. This is because relaxers work by breaking down some of the hairs protein structure. Basically relaxers weaken the structure of our hair. A relaxed haired lady therefore has to use protein conditioners and products as part of her hair regimen to support her weakened hair.
Examples of highly recommended protein conditioners are
A)ApHogee-Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor (light)
B)Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise (medium
C)Vitale Olive Oil Hair Mayo (light)
D)Motions CPR Protein Reconstructor (medium)
I hope the information above has not caused confusion.
The basic gist of it is that our hair needs both moisture and protein conditioners. Too much or lack of either can lead to breakage.
A balance in the use of protein and moisture conditioners is essential for our hair to thrive.
The amount of protein and moisture your hair needs is something you will have to discover for yourself by experimenting because every woman’s protein/moisture balance level is unique. Please see the section below for advice on how to achieve balance.
How To Balance The Use Of Protein & Moisture Conditioners
When conditioning your hair, the aim should be to achieve the balance of protein and moisture that is suitable for your hair. Hair that is well balanced should feel strong, smooth and should have some elasticity.
There are several means of achieving the balance that your hair requires. These include:
- Rotating between protein and moisture
This simply involves using a protein conditioner one week and then using a moisture conditioner the following week. This method of balancing protein and moisture will help you to assess how your hair reacts on a week by week basis. This way you can start to learn what is suitable for your hair and the level of protein and moisture that is best for you.
- Mixing Protein and Moisture
A second method of achieving balance is to use a mixture of moisture and protein conditioners after every wash.
A few spoons of protein and moisturising conditioners can be mixed together and applied to the hair. This method is time saving and is the method I use because with time I discovered that it worked the best for my hair.
Please consider and experiment with the above methods of achieving protein moisture balance.
The important point is for you to give your hair a bit of both and for you to discover the right balance for your hair.
Practical tips that help you get the full benefits of conditioning
1) Boost the richness of your conditioner by adding one or two spoons of oils such as extra virgin olive oil, black castor oil or coconut oil. You can also add a few drops of essential oils such as rosemary or peppermint oil which will stimulate the scalp and encourage blood circulation/flow to the scalp
2) Apply conditioner in sections: rather than rubbing the conditioner at random all over your hair, apply it in sections in a downward motion and use your palms to smooth it in. This will ensure than the conditioner reaches all of your hair.
3) Ensure the ends of the hair is well: when shampooing, the scalp and base of your hair should be the focus. During conditioning however, the ends of your hair should be your focus. This is because this is the oldest and most weathered part of the hair which needs the benefits of the conditioner more than the base of the hair. So ensure the ends of the hair are well covered with the conditioner.
4) Deep condition by using heat: after applying the conditioner to your hair, cover your hair with a nylon shower cap. Then cover it with a heat cap or sit under a hood dryer for 20 to 30 minutes.
The heat will swell open the cuticles of the hair and this will allow better penetration of the conditioner making it more effective. Applying heat is what turns an ordinary conditioning session into deep conditioning.
5) If you do not have a heat cap or hood dryer simply cover your hair with a shower cap and then put a towel wrap over the shower cap. Leave the conditioner in your hair for over one hour, body heat will warm up the conditioner in your hair.
Applying conditioner to your hair and rinsing it out after only a few minutes will not allow enough time for the hair to absorb and get the full benefits the treatment.
6) Detangle: some ladies find it easier to detangle their hair with some conditioner in it. After removing the heat cap or leaving the conditioner in your hair for over an hour, you can detangle your hair using your fingers first and followed by using a very wide tooth comb. Personally, I do not detangle my hair at this stage. I detangle my hair before shampooing and after rinsing out the conditioner. Over time I have learnt that this works better for me than detangling with conditioner in my hair.
7)If you have washed and conditioned in sections, try to keep the hair in those sections when rinsing.
8) After rinsing dry the hair with a t-shirt rather than a towel. Do not rub the hair roughly to dry. Simply use the T-shirt to squeeze out the water. This is because the fabrics of towels are rough on the cuticles of our hair in comparison with t shirt fabrics
9) If you used a protein conditioner follow up with a moisture product
Protein conditioners strengthen the hair but can make hair feel a bit stiff. If you use a protein conditioner always ensures you use a moisture based leave-in conditioner
I hope you have found this guide informative.
If you have any questions about conditioning, please leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
You can now move on to the Leave-in Conditioner page.
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