When the ever-changing climate, stressors, and daily styling starts to take a toll on your locks, making it dull and limp, it’s a sure sign that you need to give your tresses a serious dose of TLC. The best way to that? Via deep conditioning.
Also known as a hair mask, a deep conditioning treatment is a process that requires you to leave a conditioning product in your hair for 3-5 minutes (depending on the product). Unlike standard conditioners, a deep conditioner is packed with an intense dose of conditioning agents, which can help to improve the condition of dry, lacklustre tresses, making your mane shinier, healthier-looking and stronger against breakage. But what if your hair is already in its best shape? Well, a deep conditioner then acts like a buffer, and keeps it on the up and up. In other words, we can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from using them. Is there anything these miracle multi-taskers can’t do?
Although they aren’t any disadvantages that come with using deep conditioning treatments, how you choose to apply and utilise them is definitely something you should pay close attention to. How long to leave them on for, and whether to apply before or after shampooing are just some of the commonly asked questions when it comes to best deep conditioning practices. And remember: not all deep conditioners are created equal. So which should you be using?
To save you from the tedious process of trial and error, and to help you make the most out of deep conditioning, we’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts that we think you should take into account before investing in the treatment.
The dos and don’ts of deep conditioning
Choose the right deep conditioner for your hair type. Basic rule of thumb: the thicker and coarser your hair, the heavier and creamier the conditioner should be. Conversely, if you have thinner or finer strands, opt for one that’s lighter in texture.
Forget to read product labels! We’ve all been there, carelessly plucking products from the shelves without taking the time to read and understand what its claims are. The sooner you can break this habit, the better, as it could actually be doing more harm to your locks than good.
Try hot oils. Often overlooked, hot oils like VO5 Give Me Moisture Hot Oils (£4.28*) are also brilliant deep conditioning treatments that can help nourish and strengthen hair fibres, while also helping to protect against breakage. They should be applied before shampooing (on damp hair) and left on for approximately a minute, before being rinsed off, followed by your regular hair washing routine.
Overdo it. Though there is no such thing as over-conditioning, deep conditioning for hours on end isn’t something we’d recommend you do. After a conditioning product has been left on the hair for longer than has been specified on the product label (another reason why you should always read them!), there’s no more room on the hair surface for the product to fill. So with the surface area of the strands already occupied, it’s actually counterintuitive to leave products in any longer.
Focus on mid-length to the ends of your hair when applying a deep conditioner, as too much product on the roots and scalp can cause greasiness and unnecessary product build-up.
Keep it regular. Deep conditioning treatments can be a key factor in turning around any hair care problems. If your tresses are in good shape, you may only need to deep condition your hair every 7-10 days, but if your tresses are in dire need of some TLC, every 3-5 days should suffice. So when best to apply your deep conditioner? Right after washing your hair with shampoo. Just think about it: if you did it before shampooing, you’d be stripping it of all the nutrients that will benefit your locks. Simple, right?
Now you’re well on your way to becoming a deep conditioning pro. Here’s to better, healthier-looking hair!
*RRPs are Unilever suggested retail prices only, it is at the discretion of the individual retailers to set the actual price.