When talking about growth and length retention in the black hair community, the LOC Method and deep conditioning come up frequently and rightfully so. Both moisturized hair and strong hair are a must have for black women to retain length and maintain healthy hair. However, there is some less popular information on deep conditioning in particular that could be the missing piece to your hair growth time length puzzle. What makes it even better is that this knowledge is strongly backed up by science but still, in my opinion, isn't getting enough attention in the black hair care sector.
Sure, the LOC Method alone will grow your hair but if you're anything like me, you want a regimen that also grows hair the fastest. Make no mistake - there's no shortcut to growing long hair but you may be wondering if there's anything that can speed up the process. Well you're in luck because there most certainly is.
Let's talk ingredients.
Be honest, most of us don't look at labels. We usually go with what we can afford, go with a trend, or try out a million products until we've found one (or ten) that we like or that we feel gets the job done. We can't even pronounce most of what's on the ingredient label let alone know what to look for. Well it's time to stop being a product junkie and choose quality over quantity especially when it comes to choosing a conditioner. After all, conditioner is used to improve and maintain the condition of the hair hence it's name. When the condition of the hair is up to par then hair maintenance, styling etc. is like a walk in the park.
We've all heard of why deep conditioning is important but I'm willing to bet that most black women have no idea what to look for in a deep conditioning product. If your conditioner doesn't contain the following essential ingredients then you've most likely wasted your money on something that is useless to your hair. In her book, Ultra Black Hair Growth II, Cathy Howse explains the three ingredients needed in a conditioner for optimum hair growth.
Pay attention now because class is in session.
One extremely helpful ingredient and growing agent in deep conditioner that is rarely mentioned is stimulant. The scalp needs stimulation and this is something that we should be getting from our deep conditioning product. Stimulation on the scalp increases circulation and feeds the hair cells allowing them to produce healthy hair growth. Common stimulants found in deep conditioner are: peppermint oil, lavender oil, aloe vera, caffeine and menthol.
TIP: If your low on cash try incorporating a stimulant to your homemade deep conditioner. This can include adding a few drops of peppermint or lavender oil to your mix. Remember that essential oils such as these are potent and can burn so a little goes a long way.
A protein conditioner is needed to strengthen hair, lessen breakage and increase elasticity. When heated during the deep conditioning process, protein conditioners penetrate to the cortex and replace the protein the hair has lost. Being that hair is over 90% protein, this is the only ingredient that actually attaches itself to the hair and doesn't leave once the conditioner is rinsed out. Some people believe that simply eating more protein is needed to strengthen hair but it's actually a process that works from the outside in. It helps to seal split ends as well. Common protein agents found in conditioners are: keratin, variations of hydrolyzed collogan and hydrolyzed wheat or soy protein. Other ingredients to look for are: protein and vitamin rich ingredients such as aloe vera gel.
TIP: Pay attention to the order of the ingredients as the first ingredient makes up most of the product. If the protein agent is listed towards the end, then your product doesn't have much protein and it won't be as effective.
We've all heard about the benefits of oil for black hair, but do we really have a full understanding of how it works in the deep conditioning process? When a conditioner containing oil is heated on the hair it works as a hot oil treatment. It goes to the hair shaft, lubricates and locks in moisture. As we all should know by now, the 'scalp greasing' days are over as the scalp lubricates itself so no additional oil is needed there. The product containing oil should be applied from the ends (the oldest part of the hair) on up for maximum benefits. Common oils found in good deep conditioners are: coconut oil, almond oil and olive oil.
TIP: Heat and timing is everything in the deep conditioning process. Heat allows for deep penetration and the adequate amount of time is needed in order for all of the ingredients do their job on the hair shaft. The standard deep conditioning time is 15-20 minutes under the dryer and should be done weekly.
For excellent hair products containing all of the ingredients mentioned and for more information please visit Ultra Black Hair. Your tresses will thank you for it.