A new year brings on a new vibe for many women who are natural and want to STAY natural. In a new world of more women going back to relaxers and wearing wigs, many naturals are wondering if we still have a place in the haircare aisle. Yes, we do! Don’t let the masses fool you. Natural hair is still Queen and here to stay so let’s do a refresher on some tried and true hair care products like a hair treatment, hair mask and a deep conditioner.
Although they have similar purposes, there are slight differences in the application and benefits of a deep conditioner, hair mask and a hair treatment. So let’s discuss and make sure you know when and how to use all three.
A hair treatment is anything from a detoxing treatment to smoothing the hair cuticle. Often this is done in a salon but there are some hair treatments you can do at home with ease. Many naturals are familiar with a Keratin hair treatment.
“Keratin treatments fill in the gaps where keratin has been depleted, so humidity is combated and hair is left with a healthier appearance. Think of it in the same way spackle deals with nail holes in sheetrock: The surface is left smooth.” Abraham Sprinkle, a Keratin Complex International creative team member.
Another hair treatment is detoxifing or deeply cleansing and purifying your hair and scalp by removing product buildup and working harder than a regular shampoo. You also have conditioning and hydrating treatments but the end result is a product that works super hard to fix a problem with the hair. So, it really depends on what you are looking for needed for your hair to find what type of hair or scalp treatment you need.
Deep conditioning is pretty self explanatory and we discuss it a lot in this space. This technique adds moisture back into your hair that has been lost due to everyday styling, weather and products. While I suggest deep conditioning one every washday, in recent years some experts suggest only do it monthly if you are not damaging your hair a lot with chemically processing or using direct heat.
I used to deep condition with every washday but since have learned and noticed that my hair didn’t need it as often since I don’t color or use direct heat in my tresses. Now, using a deep conditioner is part of a dual system where you may need to replenish your durability with protein so know that sometimes your hair may need a protein treatment or conditioner too. Moisture and protein work hand in hand for length retention.
I personally have found that doing a deep conditioner once a week, replenishes that moisture that the hair needs in order to stay healthy and grow. There are a couple ways that you can deep condition your hair.
Just think of this as a facial for the hair. Many feel you can use a hair mask and a deep conditioner interchangeably but they really AREN’T. There are some slight differences that matter. A hair mask is a rinse out conditioner that tends to have the added benefit of strengthening the hair strands. It differs from a deep conditioner in that a DC can replace a regular conditioner, whereas a hair mask cannot. Often brands will call their hair mask a protein conditioner or treatment and that explains why they are not used as often as a DC.
The best way to determine what a hair mask is, is to read the product and find out what it is trying to do. Read the label, follow the directions and know that a hair mask and a deep conditioner are not completely interchangeable even though some feel that they are.
Knowing these differences will aid in properly caring for your natural hair and giving it what it needs. From your scalp to your ends, your hair has needs and will let you know quickly so make sure to listen and learn. You may even need to increase or decrease usage of each of these three in different seasons so keep that in mind too. Hope this clears up any questions you have about the three and it aids in allowing 2024 to grace you with gorgeously conditioned natural hair!