Why Deep Conditioning Needs to Be Part of Your Natural Hair Routine

It can be extremely challenging to find a great hair styling product, or conditioner, or deep conditioner, or shampoo, or oil, or leave in ... Well, it's just hard finding products!
There's a reason that we describe our favorite hair products as "Holy Grail" products! There is so much trial and error, and it’s so frustrating to buy and use product after product and never experience the result you know your hair is capable of. More often than not, we just end up using a hodge-podge of hair products to achieve the softness and manageability we crave. However, sometimes the correct solutions are the simplest ones. Maybe we aren't getting the results we want because we aren't deep conditioning the way we should!
While most naturals use highly moisturizing, often heavy products to manage and style their hair, the act of deep conditioning -- applying a specially formulated conditioner and allowing it to absorb into the hair shafts -- tends to be performed only sporadically. Many of us just don't have the time to sit with a shower cap under a hooded dryer for half an hour every week! But if you want your natural hair to achieve its full potential, it's critically important to make the time. Here's why:
  1. Deep conditioning prevents matting and tangling. When the hair's cuticle layer becomes ruffled and stands up, the hair itself becomes more prone to tangles. Tangles and mats in the hair are extremely damaging. This is because the force of detangling severely snarled and matted hair can cause significant stress on the hair shafts, which eventually makes them susceptible to more extreme and visible damage. Deep conditioning deposits emollients onto and within the hair shaft, causing the cuticles to lie down. Additionally, this action keeps the hair properly hydrated internally, making the hair supple and more resistant to breakage. The whole process helps keep the hair slippery and strong.
  2. Deep conditioning enhances the hydration of the hair shaft. As mentioned previously, deep conditioning is an extremely efficient method for ensuring the hair is properly moisturized from the inside of the shaft. When our hair feels dry and brittle, it needs water, which is most effectively delivered through the process of deep conditioning. Contrary to popular belief, moisturizing means keeping the hair hydrated, not lubricated. Hydration keeps the whole hair shaft supple and flexible.
  3. Deep conditioning keeps the hair shaft strong. The act of deep conditioning preserves the strength and integrity of the hair shaft. It does this by depositing and infusing a carefully engineered combination of water, emollients, and other ingredients that work in tandem to keep the hair shafts supple and smooth for an extended period of time. This is achieved because without the emollients and other ingredients, the water would simply evaporate from the hair, leaving it completely dry. The different oils help delay the water loss by creating a film over the cuticle.

While deep conditioning is an essential part of every natural's hair care routine, it's important to recognize that it's not a cure-all. It does not physically repair damaged hair, in spite of what most (if not all) conditioners claim. What deep conditioning does for damaged hair is to help improve the outward appearance and keep the strands as slippery and soft as possible so that they look nice and detangle easily. This means less breakage and more length retention over time.

AK Hair & Healing specializes in natural hair care, helping women of all hair types and textures achieve their hair's fullest potential. For more details about our hair philosophy, please visit our information page.

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