Are you taking care of your beautiful curls enough? Tight coils are characteristics of 4C hair, and the curl pattern of 4C hair type is the tightest of all. Did you know because of these tight and densely packed curls, 4C hair is more prone to breakage due to dryness and even more prone to shrinkage? Hence, it is no surprise that 4C hair requires more care and nourishment as compared to any other hair type.
Sure, you are following your washing and conditioning, but how is deep conditioning different? Deep conditioning is a step ahead of your routine and normal conditioning. Deep conditioning your 4C hair will make it more manageable and healthy.
Before delving into the nitty-gritty of how to condition 4C hair deep, let’s first discuss what deep conditioning is.
What is Deep Conditioning?
Deep conditioning is a step in hair care aimed at nourishing the hair shaft or hair strands. Deep conditioning involves the application of a special type of conditioner to the hair for a longer duration. The conditioner has proteins and amino acids that have the ability to penetrate deeper into the hair and provide nourishment and hydration.
It is primarily used by people having hair damage due to harsh chemical dyes, treatments, and dry hair. It can also be used by people having 4C-type hair as it is coarse, dry, and prone to breakage. Deep conditioning provides nourishment, strength, and locking moisture for a longer duration. This results in more manageable and better-looking hair and prevents breakage due to dryness.
Though it may appear like a simple procedure, it has its list of “DOs” and “DON’Ts” and specific steps to be followed, essential to obtain the benefits of deep conditioning.
How to Do Deep Conditioning of 4C Hair Type?
It appears like a simple one-product application and removal procedure at first. But it requires good knowledge of some aspects, such as your hair, the right conditioner to be used, and many other things to be careful about.
Before discussing the details of deep conditioning, let us look at the steps involved.
Steps of Deep Conditioning 4C Hair
- Wash Your Hair: This is a crucial step for deep conditioning. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to get rid of any buildup on your hair. Hair buildup is common if you use products containing sulfates. After thoroughly washing your hair, partition your hair to make sections and detangle slowly. You do not have to dry your hair. For further steps, the hair is supposed to be wet.
- Apply deep conditioner: Making sections of the hair will help in the easy application of deep conditioner to each strand of hair. Making four major sections and then further dividing them into smaller ones for easy application is recommended. After sectioning, start applying and evenly distributing the deep conditioner on each section of your hair. Use your finger to cover each strand of your curls and a wide-tooth comb to spread it across the length evenly. Apply the deep conditioner from the mid-length of your hair to the ends.
- Cover your hair: It is advised to cover your hair after applying a deep conditioner. You can use a shower cap or a towel to cover your hair.
- Use heat (if possible): The heat helps in better and deeper penetration of the deep conditioner components by opening up the hair cuticles. If you are using a shower cap, you can add heat by using a hair dryer in a low-heat setting. If you are using a towel, use a damp, hot towel to cover your hair.
- Leave in deep conditioner: Unlike a regular-use conditioner, a deep conditioner is supposed to be kept in the hair for a longer period of time. The instructions are given on the product packaging. Usually, deep conditioners are kept for about 20 minutes to an hour, varying from product to product. It is kept for longer durations to give the damp hair enough time to absorb the proteins, amino acids, and moisture.
- Rinse your hair: Remove the cap or the towel, and wash your hair thoroughly with cold water only. Cold water will help close the open cuticles and secure the moisture, proteins, and amino acids. Allow your hair to air dry and style as you would normally.
Choose the Right Product!
Deep conditioning can turn things around for your hair if done right. Choosing the right product based on the needs of your hair is essential for deriving the benefits of this hair treatment. You can go for a store-bought option or use items available at home to do a DIY deep conditioning mask for your hair. In any case, seeing what works best for your hair is essential.
- Prefer a gentle product: If the purpose of deep conditioning treatment of your hair is to control damage and heal your hair, go for gentler products. Avoid using products with strong and harsh chemicals.
- Choose an environment-friendly option: Natural products that are environmentally friendly are less likely to cause irritation and further damage. Organic products products serve both purposes. These products are produced in a sustainable and environment-friendly manner. At the same time, these are gentle on your hair.
- Go for a nutrient-rich product: The whole purpose of this practice is to nourish the hair strands. Select a product that has adequate nutrients, proteins, and amino acids for improving hair health and the look. You can go for a natural hair mask prepared at home after estimating the approximate nutrient value, or you can buy a commercial product after analyzing the nutrient value specified on the label.
- Porosity of hair: Hair can be low porosity, medium porosity, and high porosity. The porosity of hair estimates hair’s ability to absorb and retain nutrients and moisture. Different products are available in the market based on the porosity of hair. Deep conditioning is highly beneficial for low-porosity hair.
Here are Some of The Commercially Available Deep Conditioners.
Enlisting The Benefits Of Deep Conditioning for 4C Hair
- Nourishes hair: Deep conditioning helps in giving the required nutrition to your hair. It helps make the hair stronger and, hence, less prone to breakage.
- Repair damage: Hair damage is common in 4C-type hair. Deep conditioning will help control the damage due to tight coils, hair color, or excessive use of heat.
- Promotes elasticity: Deep conditioning helps in improving the manageability of hair by promoting elasticity. Improved elasticity results from better moisture retention, making hair less prone to breakage.
- Makes hair lustrous: Nourishment and damage repair, in turn, lead to good-looking hair. Deep conditioning locks in the moisture and nutrition and smoothens the hair cuticle, making it look shiny and healthy.
How Often Should Deep Conditioning Be Done?
The frequency of deep conditioning depends on your hair type and the practices you follow to style your hair. If you do not use heat regularly to style your hair, you can do deep conditioning once every two weeks. But if you have damaged hair that feels dry, brittle, and breaks easily due to constant styling, you should deep condition your hair once a week. Deep conditioning is also helpful in restoring moisture in hair that is kept in braids or twists for long periods. Deep conditioning can not be and should not be done daily!
What Are The “Don’ts” Of Deep Conditioning 4C Hair?
- Don’t apply the deep conditioner to your roots: Deep conditioning is meant for your hair, not your roots. If you apply the deep conditioning treatment to your roots, it can cause buildup on your scalp. This will further trigger scalp-related issues. There are different products that are targeted at treating or nourishing the scalp, but deep conditioners are only meant for the length. It is also advised to start the application of deep conditioner from the tips of your hair because that’s where most of the damage lies. Apply the deep conditioner only till the mid-length of your hair.
- Don’t leave the deep conditioner for longer than an hour: Most deep conditioners work well if applied for about 20 minutes to an hour. Stay within this time, and do not sleep with the deep conditioner on. Leaving the conditioner for longer than required will cause over-conditioning of hair, leading to hygral fatigue. Over-conditioned hair has fragile keratin coiling, which makes the hair snap and break easily. Hence, even over-conditioning will make your hair more prone to breakage. This will do more harm than good.
- Don’t use a deep conditioner as a co-wash or leave-in cream: Do not multitask while doing deep conditioning treatment. It is not advised to use a deep conditioner as a leave-in cream or as a co-wash. This will cause buildup on the hair and make the hair sticky and hard to manage, along with the risks of over-conditioning.
- Don’t get fooled by marketing: Always read the label of the products when buying a deep conditioner and know what your hair needs the most. You can strike a good balance between moisture and protein-rich deep conditioners. Marketing gimmicks tend to fool people by making them believe their product suits everyone. You need a product that caters to your hair needs. Even if you have whipped up a deep conditioner at home, remember what suits you and what your hair actually needs.
Things You Should Avoid if You Have 4C Hair
4C hair type is, as such, more prone to breakage, dryness, and shrinkage. Using extensive styling on 4C can cause further damage. Hair dyes damage your curls as most of them contain harsh chemicals such as ammonia, which can dry out your hair and scalp further. Other harsh products such as shampoo and daily-use conditioner should also be avoided. Styling products containing silicones cause buildup on hair and scalp. Regular use of heating and styling tools is also not advised, as these make your hair weaker with time.
But we do not live in an ideal world, and the use of the things mentioned above can’t be completely avoided. Styling and using strong products should be done in moderation, and to make up for the harm, deep conditioning should be done once every week.
Having 4C-type hair exposes your hair to dryness and breakage. Deep conditioning is an effective hair treatment regimen that can be performed at home, or you can get it done at a salon, too. A deep conditioner can be bought, and it can be made at home, keeping in mind the needs of your hair at the moment.
Choosing the right product for your hair is crucial to benefit from this treatment. The use of extensive styling tools, styling products, and harsh grooming products on 4C hair is not advised. However, deep conditioning can repair the damage, nourish your hair, and make it look healthy and shiny.
Deep conditioning once every week is recommended in such cases.