The Newbie Naturalista series has been ongoing and I have been sharing with you tips on essential natural hair practices that you may find useful in your hair journey. In today’s article, I’ll talk to you about conditioning, the first step through which we reinstate moisture into our hair after cleansing it. Conditioners contain moisturizing ingredients that help impart moisture back into your strands.
TYPES OF CONDITIONERS
There are three types of conditioners that are listed according to functionality namely:
- Rinse-out Conditioner: Once applied it’s rinsed out after 2-3 minutes. It is designed to impart moisture lightly to the hair and may aid in detangling your hair
- Deep Conditioner: It is used to either impart more moisture or to add strength to the hair. The main aim is to thoroughly nourish your hair, to enhance moisture levels and prevent breakage.
- Leave-in Conditioner: As the name suggests, it is to be left in the hair to allow continuous nourishment or protection to the hair. Think about it like as a maintenance product.
If we could use an analogy of a building: The rinse out conditioner would represent the building structure, skeleton or frame. Then the deep conditioner would represent the detailed works for example doors, windows, furnishings. Finally, the Leave-in Conditioner would represent maintenance works such as repairs.
THE RINSE-OUT CONDITIONER
It is used after the cleansing process has occurred with either a low or no sulphate shampoo. In regards to conditioners, some Naturalistas highly recommend that you use a silicone free conditioner. Silicones are great sealants and any products with them have ingredients that end with -cone, -xane, – conol.
Think about “cones” as you would – gloves. If your hands are dry and you wear gloves then go wash dishes obviously your hands will not get wet. However, if your hands were wet before you wore the gloves then your hands will not be dry even though the gloves are on.
The good news is that you can still use and get rid of silicones in your hair with a sulphate shampoo. If you don’t mind sulphates then you can use a silicone conditioner.
THE DEEP CONDITIONER (DC)
It is recommended that you deep conditioner your hair at least twice a month just to make sure that it gets the tender loving care required. There are two types of DCs which serve to infuse moisture or strengthen hair.
Protein Deep Conditioners
Proteins temporarily fill in the gaps in your hair shaft and thus strengthen your hair. It is recommended that these treatments be used once in a month unless you are dealing with very severely damaged hair. A good indicator that your product has protein is that it will list the word “hydrolyzed” in the ingredients for example:
- Hydrolyzed Keratin (from wool)
- Hydrolyzed Oat Protein
- Hydrolyzed Silk Protein
- Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
- Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
Moisturizing Deep Conditioners
These conditioners impart moisture to your hair strands. It is recommended that after you give your hair a protein treatment you follow it up with a good moisture treatment. Useful ingredients to look out for would be ingredients that make your hair easier to comb. For example:
- Amodimethicone (this particular silicone you can wash out of your hair with water)
- Behentrimonium Chloride
- Behentrimonium Methosulfate
- Cetrimonium Chloride
- Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine
- Stearalkonium Chloride
Also as crucial is that you look out for sealing ingredients such as:
- Coconut Oil
- Shea Butter
- Soybean Oil
Note: Some conditioners contain mineral oil or petroleum but if you are not a fan of these ingredients you can avoid them.
Tips for Deep Conditioning your hair
Remember Deep Conditioning is done on clean hair.
- Application: Apply from the ends to the roots of your hair. You may want to avoid your scalp.
- Heat: You may want to use it under a hooded dryer or a steamer or just a plastic bag/cap with body heat.
- Rinse: Afterwards rinse with cool water to seal your hair’s cuticles.
These are used in the last part of your wash day routine. If you are unfamiliar with the LOC/LCO technique, the leave-in conditioner is the L bit of the acronym. The technique helps with re-moisturizing and refreshing your hair mid week.
Leave-in conditioners usually come as mists (which have a liquid consistency) or light creams that are thicker and heavier, which work well for thicker hair.
The ingredients to look out for are similar to the conditioners above. Leave-in conditioners might have some protein in them, which may be something to factor in especially if you are protein sensitive.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON CONDITIONERS? DO YOU USE PRODUCTS WITH “CONES” IN THEM? HOW DO YOU DEEP CONDITION YOUR HAIR? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW:
Images courtesy of Ruth Nyakebondo. This article first appeared in Just Her Kenya on September 29th 2017.
Ruth is an architectural student by profession as well as a lifestyle blogger. She is excited about natural hair, skin and nutritional health. She shares her passion with readers on the Just Her Kenya website.