deep conditioning fine natural hair
Hair Regimen

Deep Conditioning Fine Natural Hair

Continuing the detailed series of posts sharing how to have  an effective wash day, today we discuss deep conditioning. Here are the previous posts: Why & How to Pre-Poo Fine Natural Hair | Cleansing Fine Natural Hair for Length Retention
deep conditioning natural hair

We’ve already established that fine natural hair is delicate and needy. In the case of deep conditioning however, it doesn’t matter if your hair is fine or super dopealiciously thick stranded.

If you have natural hair which is naturally dry, deep conditioning is not an optional activity on wash day. Deep conditioning is a vital step in imparting much need moisture and nourishment to your tresses.

How to Properly Deep Condition

There’s some debate about how you should deep condition and for how long. Some say you need to sit with a plastic cap on under a dryer or heated cap that generates heat. Others say you can just sit with a cap and let your head generate the heat. “30 minutes is optimal.” No. “3 hours…..Over night.” Wait. Hold your horses.

First off, in order to deep condition thoroughly, you need to apply heat to the entire strand of hair (root to tip). That pretty much nixes the idea of just wearing a non-heated cap that only causes you to generate heat at the scalp.  You need heat to be moving all up and down your hair shaft. That can really only be accomplished by using a hair dryer, heating cap or steamer (in this case you don’t need the plastic cap).

There’s also no such thing as a “quick” or “express” deep conditioning which is rinsed out after 2 minutes. Since the purpose for deep conditioning is to nourish, soften and impart deep moisture to the hair, the conditioner must go deep. For that to happen, you need a little time. Wouldn’t you agree? So, how much time?

Enough time for your hair shaft to swell open and receive the product that’s being used to deep condition it.

That, my dear Watson does not take 3 hours or an entire evening. As a matter of fact, when you deep conditioner your hair for such a long period of time, you are over-moisturizing it and putting it at risk for becoming “mush.” I like to call it the no bounce-back factor. It’s just limp, blah and now needs some protein to bring it back to life.

Depending on your hair’s porosity level, you can adequately deep condition in 15-30 minutes. Anything longer isn’t even beneficial.

Oh and as a final tip…Your deep conditioner should NOT contain protein. Protein has an entirely different purpose – one that fine natural hair loves and appreciates. Strengthening. But, we’ll talk about that in next week’s post.

To complete your deep conditioning session, it’s recommended that your final rinse be done with cold water. This will seal in all the goodness you just imparted to your hair by deep conditioning it.

If you’re like me, cold water is not about to happen. Cool or tepid water works just fine. You can also do a cool ACV (apple cider vinegar) or AVJ (aloe vera juice) rinse. ACV rinses shouldn’t be done more than 1-2x a month but AVJ rinses can be done as a final rinse every wash day. Of course, plain water is the most cost effective 🙂

Last off, when it comes to fine natural hair, it’s important not to manipulate the hair too much when applying or rinsing out your deep conditioner. Work the product in gently from tips to root and then avoiding the temptation to detangle when rinsing. The key is full coverage in and thorough rinsing out.

Quick Points to Remember:
  • Deep condition every wash day (preferably weekly)
  • Use a product sans-protein
  • Use a heat source that causes the entire shaft of hair to swell open
  • 15-30 minutes is sufficient
  • Rinse with cool or tepid water to close your hair’s cuticle
  • No over-manipulating or detangling

Recommended Deep Conditioning Products

deep conditioning fine natural hair

What you deep condition with is just as important as how you get the job done. I don’t profess to know lots of products because I never really entered that phase of being a product junky.

However, my fine natural hair loves a few commercial products. Here are some (not all) I recommend:

  1. Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Conditioner (this one contains protein but its low on the ingredient list)
  2. Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment
  3. Davines NouNou Hair Mask
  4. As I Am Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner
  5. Eden Bodyworks Jojoba Deep Conditioner
  6. Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10 in 1 Renewal System

Making Your Own Deep Conditioner

If you’re more of a DIY gal, here are two simple recipes you can try. There’s no need to melt or heat any of the ingredients. Simply blend to your desired consistency, apply and don’t forget to use heat!:

Avocado Deep Conditioner:

  • 1 Overripe Avocado
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Unrefined Shea or Mango Butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

Banana Deep Conditioner:

  • 1 Overripe Banana or jar of Banana Baby Food
  • 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 tablespoons of Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Organic Honey

Deep conditioning fine natural hair or just hair in general is a necessary step to soften and impart necessary nourishment. It should never be considered optional. Do it every wash day with store bought products that contain the right ingredients or a DIY recipe of your own. Just do it 🙂


Michelle Smith
Michelle is a Christian special needs mom residing in the NYC area who shares useful tips to grow and maintain fine natural hair. She's a published author and Creator of Fine Natural Hair and Faith, inspiring others with faith for living along side knowledge on how to care for their "crown."

6 Comment

  1. This is the third time I try your DIY Banana deep conditioner,and I just love it!♡ it makes my curl pattern pop! mkaes my edges softer ! I can almost- alllllmost – say I have baby hair! Hhhh!

    **bonus tip: I sifted the blend so nothing sticks to hair after rinse.

    I love it .

  2. Hi!
    Thanks for your great advice. However, on checking out the ingredients of the Shea Butter Honey & Manuka deep conditioner on their site I saw it contains hydrolized rice protein.

    1. Right. I said your DC shouldn’t contain protein. I’ll make a notation next to the product because I find it doesn’t bother my hair at all. It’s a great deep conditioner. If you are looking to deep condition without protein, then obviously don’t use it. I should have elaborated that I will often protein treat and deep condition in one step because fine hair so desperately needs a regular dose of protein. I never have issues with this deep conditioner making my hair hard either.

      Also, note the first 7 ingredients of a product is what’s in the product in abundance. Rice protein is 11th on the list meaning there’s not much of it.

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