If you want long healthy natural hair conditioner is key. Conditioning is an important step in a natural hair care routine because it helps minimize damage and breakage. Conditioning natural hair works to keep the older parts of your hair healthy and strong as you continue to grow out your hair to reach your goal length. Without conditioning I find that my natural hair breaks more easily and is difficult to manage. There are various types of conditioners designed to do different things for hair.
Types of Conditioners for Natural Hair
Protein conditioners- To put it simply natural hair conditioners that are primarily protein based help strengthen the hair by replenishing keratin that may have been lost from the hair. Protein conditioners for hair come in various stengths. It is important not to use too strong of a protein because it can lead to breakage. Typically most naturals only need a mild protein. Chemically treated hair usually needs more protein to help rebuild the strands.
Moisturizing conditioners- Moisturizing conditioners do just what the name says; help the hair retain moisture. Many women with natural hair will find that their hair tends to be dry. Moisturizing conditioners for natural hair will generally leave the hair looking and feeling softer and more hydrated.
Some conditioners are a great combination that moisturize the hair while also strengthening with protein. Choose the right conditioner based on your needs:
brittle/hard, dry, frizzy, poor elasticity (hair breaks when stretched)- moisturizing conditioner
overly elastic (hair does not bounce back when stretched), limp feel to hair, breaks easily even when handled gently, hair overall seems weak- protein conditioner
If you are looking for a good natural hair conditioner, it is also important to understand the difference between instant, leave-in, and deep conditioners for hair.
Deep conditioner- Deep conditioners are made to penetrate deepr into the cuticle layers. They are typically heavier and have more lasting results than instant conditioners. Leaving on an instant conditioner for a longer time is NOT deep conditioning. The conditioner must be designed to penetrate the hair, some conditioners can double as both an instant and deep. When deep conditioning apply a plastic cap and use either a towel, hooded dryer, or steamer for added penetration.
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Instant- Conditioner designed to be left on for a short amount of time, usually no more than 5 minutes, to smooth and coat the hair.
Leave-in- These are not rinsed out of the hair and usually help balance the hair and smooth the cuticle. A leave-in can be used in conjunction with a deep or rinse out conditioner.
MsLala's personal tip: I recommend using a deep conditioner regularly. I deep condition almost EVERY time I shampoo. I honestly cannot remember the last time I shampooed and did not deep condition my hair. Deep conditioning is one of the main things that got my hair on the right track to being healthy. It really changed my natural hair care routine and helped me grow my hair long. I use a leave in depending on how my hair feels following the deep conditioning. My hair does not feel as moisturized when I skip deep conditioning.