If you’ve been following my low porosity natural hair posts for a minute, then you’ll have noticed a theme: natural hair is very individual no matter how similar your curls might seem to someone else’s. So bear that in mind as we delve into one of the most important topics of natural hair care: conditioning.
First of all, note that there are two types of conditioning you need to be aware of: There’s the in-shower quick condition, which involves jumping in the shower, adding your conditioner to you hair, doing your shower business, and then rinsing your conditioner out of your hair.
Then there’s deep conditioning, which is going to be the focus of this post. In-shower conditioning is great for refreshing a style, detangling mid-week (especially if you have hair that tangles easily) and adding a quick boost of moisture to your strands. But if your hair is fine as well as low porosity, it may in your best interest to focus on weekly deep conditioning and doing the midweek in-shower conditioning sessions only as needed. Why? Because fine hair is more prone to breakage. And what causes breakage? Manipulation. So, you’ll want to minimize the amount of manipulation you do to your hair if your intention is to retain length. Again, keep in mind that every one is different. What’s outlined here may not work for everyone.
So, on to the topic at hand…
Choose your conditioner wisely
I don’t know about you, but over the years, I’ve found most deep conditioners to be overrated. And by overrated, I mean my favorite inexpensive regular conditioner can do the same job as any overpriced deep conditioner. Why? Because when it comes to deep conditioning low porosity hair, the addition of heat is the most important to factor to achieving healthy, moisturized hair. NOT THE TYPE OF PRODUCT.
That means you have an even greater range of conditioners at your disposable to deep condition your strands because you don’t have to focus solely on deep conditioners. You can choose whatever conditioner you like. My personal favorite is the Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Invigorating Conditioner. It’s easily accessible at your local health food grocery store (e.g. Sprouts, Whole Foods) and is about $9 per container. So, not super expensive. It’s a lightweight conditioner that never fails to add moisture to my strands when I sit under heat for 30 minutes or so for my deep conditioning sessions. Plus, the tea tree adds a nice tingle to the scalp.
Always use heat
Conditioning low porosity natural hair always going to work better with heat. The frequency of conditioning is less important than how you condition. Make sure you use a plastic cap and have access to a heat source, whether that be a hooded dryer, a hair therapy wrap, or hot head.
Because when it comes to low porosity hair, the cuticles of the hair strand lay close together and make it hard for moisturizing ingredients to seep into your hair. Heat helps to open those cuticles so those healthful ingredients can get into your hair strands and do their work. It also helps to reduce flakes. Again, low porosity hair only absorbs so much product when the cuticles are closed, so open cuticles means more absorption, which means fewer flakes. Also, if you skip the heat session, you might be very disappointed in your moisture game and your detangle session later on.
While 30 minutes under a heat source will generally suffice to give your hair strands the moisture they need, if you’ve got some time on your hands, give this ultra deep conditioning method a try.
1. Don’t bother with shampooing or cowashing your hair. Just jump right to your favorite conditioner and shingle it through your dry hair. Don’t worry about trying to detangle at this point. Just make sure your hair is saturated with conditioner. (It’ll take quite a lot more conditioner to coat dry hair compared to wet hair, just fyi).
2. Place your plastic cap on your head and sit underneath your heat source for about 4 hours. The time can be more or less depending on your moisture needs, but 4 hours is a good benchmark. This is where the hair therapy wrap or the hot head comes in handy, because they allow you to be mobile while your hair is deep conditioning. All you have to do is reheat them if they get cold mid-condition.
3. After 4 hours, remove your heat source and plastic cap. Section your hair (I personally like 6 sections) to prep it for detangling.
4. Hop in the shower and do your body shower biz, while letting the the steam (i.e. heat) from the shower do its thing by keeping those cuticles open for the conditioner still on your hair.
5. Once done with your shower biz, detangle your hair section by section. Detangling should be a breeze after your intensive conditioning session.
6. Rinse clean.
7. Style as usual.
Because you’re not cleansing your hair or scalp using this conditioning method, it’s not ideal for every conditioning session. Instead, use this method once every two months or so, or whenever you hair is feeling particularly dry. Add some henna if your hair is feeling especially fragile. Not sure how to use henna? Click here to check out my henna for natural hair routine.
Got any conditioning tips? Help others out by sharing them in the comments. We’d all love to to hear them.
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