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Deep conditioning for curly hair

by Curlup Team |

Good Day, Curlies! How are your luscious ringlets doing? Have they been feeling particularly dry or lack-lustre lately? We’re here to help and dish the deets on a tried and tested recovery method – Deep Conditioning!

What is Deep Conditioning?

As the name implies, Deep Conditioning a.k.a DC, is simply a way to quench and hydrate your curls to keep them looking alive and feeling bouncy. Deep Conditioning can be done once a week or fortnightly based on your hair texture and porosity. It is not just a quick-fix for dry hair, it also helps repair your cuticles to ensure healthier and well-moisturised hair in the long run.

Is Deep Conditioning for everyone on the CG method?

The answer to that is rather subjective. If your hair feels moisturized and manageable you may not need it as much as others with drier, unmanageable curls. Also, wavies and looser curls require less deep conditioning, as too much of it can weigh hair down. The primary purpose of DC however, is to maintain the fragile protein-moisture balance.

How deep do you condition?

Wondering how exactly to go about this? And, what is the difference between regular conditioning and deep conditioning? Deep conditioning simply means leaving in your conditioner for longer and also ensuring that the product used packs in more moisture and goodness than a regular conditioner.


Here are a few pointers:

  • Start off with a clean base by cleansing your hair with a sulphate-free shampoo. For your DC to penetrate even deeper, go for a clarifying wash as it will help absorb the conditioner better. Once done, you can either condition as always and then get to the next step or simply skip the conditioner and move on to styling.
  • Use a product that is specifically meant for deep conditioning. These are usually enriched with moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, mango butter and natural oils. If you want to go the DIY way, there are plenty of options including – Regular Conditioner + 1 tbsp Honey + 1 tbsp Olive Oil or a blend of Avocado + Banana + 1 tbsp Honey. While using store-bought products, ensure that they are CG-friendly and contain no silicones. Here it should be noted that while DIY DCs do condition your hair, the larger size of protein particles in them may not be able to penetrate your cuticle completely. DCs with hydrolyzed proteins (smaller particle proteins) have a higher chance of penetration thereby giving you better results.
  • Less is not more when it comes to deep conditioning. Use a generous amount and ensure that all your strands are well coated with the product. Focus on the length of your hair and the tips in particular.
  • While the CG method usually discourages using heat appliances, heat is actually helpful while deep conditioning. Once you’ve applied the product. Cover your curls with an insulating heat cap (Some great options available in India are Hairlove and Manetain) or just use a regular shower cap and softly blow dry over it to pack in heat. The reason for this is that heat helps open up hair cuticles which allows moisture to penetrate further.
  • Once you’ve conditioned and covered up, sit back and relax. Deep conditioning works best when left on for at least an hour with the minimum being 15 mins. Some curlies do leave it for longer, so experiment to see what gives you the best results! So catch up on that book you’ve been meaning to, put on a face mask or simply curl up and take a nap while DC-ing!
  • The final step is to rinse and style your hair as you always do! Deep conditioning usually offers immediate and visible results such as softer, more manageable curls and reduced frizz.

Protein vs Moisture DC:

A good balance between protein and moisture in hair, especially curls, is to ensure elasticity which reduces breakage and dryness. So what’s the difference between the two and which one do you go for? To put it simply, if you have high porosity hair go for a protein DC, as it fills in the breaks or gaps in hair follicles and revives hair strength. Hair is composed of keratin, a protein, so maintaining an optimum protein balance will not only revive your hair but also add strength and elasticity. Protein treatments work well for those who find their curls unmanageable even after a moisturizing DC sesh. This holds true for colour treated or damaged hair as well.

If you hair has low porosity, simply stick to a moisturizing DC as it will quench your curls and reduce frizz too. (Tip: To check porosity, simply drop a few strands of your hair in a cup of water. After 2-5 mins notice whether it floats or sinks. Low porosity hair is inclined to float while high porosity strands sink.) Ensure that you find a good balance of both as too much protein will form a hard layer on your follicles which eventually leads to more breakage and too much moisture will weigh your curls down.

Experimentation is the key to determine which DC would be most beneficial for your hair. We recommend following the instructions provided by the manufacturer the first time you use a DC and then make alterations depending on how your curls feel. It is also imperative to have a routine when it comes to deep conditioning to ensure long lasting and consistent results.

Deep conditioning must not be done every wash day or daily as that will result in over moisturised limp-looking hair. Start with doing it once every 15 days and then tweak it according to your results!

That’s pretty much it, Curlies! Try out different products or DIYs to understand what works better for your hair. Deep conditioning can be a therapeutic experience to de-stress both yourself and your lovely curls!

Do let us know if this blog helped answer your queries and feel free to reach out to us at, +91 9945373597 or @letscurlupdotcom on Instagram to answer your questions or even just be a part of our #letscurlup community!

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