To condition or deep condition that is the question. Well my answer is overwhelmingly in favor of deep conditioning. Even if you only have a regular rinse out conditioner, deep conditioning provides more conditioning to the hair once heat and/or time allows it to fully penetrate the hair shaft. All you need is the deep conditioner, the conditioning cap and preferably a heat source.
There are two methods to deep condition the hair: heat and/or time. The first method is with using an indirect heat source like a warm towel wrapped around the hair, a hooded/bonnet dryer, or by using a deep conditioning cap. Heat allows the surface scales of the hair to open which allows the conditioner to penetrate into the inner cortex of the hair.
The second method is by allowing the conditioner to remain in your hair over an extended period of time (preferably for an hour or longer). If you don’t open up the outer layer of hair by force (using heat), then you may do so via osmotic pressure (which takes an extended period of time). So, fo those who do not have an indirect heat source readily available, then you may allow the deep conditioner to remain on the hair for an hour or longer to achieve the same results as heat.
I normally use a combination of both methods and allow my deep conditioner to process under a deep conditioning cap for about 30 minutes. After I rinse the deep conditioner out, I then roller set my hair with a moisturizing leave in conditioner. This has provided the best results thus far.
As a general rule, I deep condition every time I shampoo my relaxed hair. Now, how often you should deep condition varies on your hair texture and amount of damage that your hair or scalp has sustained over time. Afro-textured hair tends to be dry, and chemical services like hair color and relaxers can contribute to further drying out the hair. Deep conditioning is the remedy for dry hair, and it can also help to minimize breakage and shedding.
There are so many benefits to deep conditioning, but are there any potential drawbacks? Yes, you could over condition (as in too much moisture or protein) your hair. The easy way to prevent this is to make sure you switch up deep conditioners.
I usually follow this deep conditioning schedule to keep my moisture and protein balance: