The right way to deep condition your 4C (or any type 4) hair easily at home and reclaim your hair day

If you’ve been natural for any amount of time you have surely heard about deep conditioning.  This important ritual is key to maintaining and growing healthy natural hair.  For many it’s the secret to unlocking coveted “curl definition”.  But for those of us “type 4C” who don’t have a defined curl pattern, deep condition is still important.  These treatments can bring your hair from dull, dry, and brittle to thick, soft, and manageable with a healthy sheen.  Deep conditioning is like self-care for your hair. Like taking it to a spa retreat, it comes out restored, rejuvenated and ready to make it through any challenges the next days bring.  And who can’t use a little more of that?

Twist out on hair to be washed

What is a deep conditioner?

Conditioners are designed to soften, lubricate, moisturize and protect your hair. They make your hair easier to comb, less tangly, more elastic, protect from flyaways and split ends, basically, conditioners give you happy hair.  

Deep conditioners are more - they have more conditioning agents, more hair loving ingredients and more intense benefits.  It can improve the look and feel of hair that’s been worn down from over manipulation, neglect, chemical treatments, dyes, sun exposure, winter weather and all we put it through. Deep conditioning goes even beyond the look and feel of your hair. It helps to keep your hair healthy, secure the cuticle layer and prevent breakage. If you have long hair goals then minimizing breakage should be a priority. 

Great deep conditioners are designed to not only stick to your hair, but also penetrate deeply into your hair strands themselves to moisturize from within.  Look for additional ingredients like coconut oil, murumuru butter that are known to dive deep into our hair.  They contain lubricating oils like avocado and jojoba blended with ingredients like proteins and panthenol to form a protective film over your hair and protect it from damage during combing and styling.  Let’s not forget botanical extracts like mallow for detangling or aloe and calendula for hydration.  (Don’t worry, you can add any of these ingredients to your conditioner here).  The effects are longer lasting and continue even after you rinse your hair with water. 

Natural 4c hair ready to be washed


How to deep condition 4C hair?

Start by gently parting your hair into manageable sections.  6-10 sections should be small enough to be able to distribute conditioner throughout your hair in the next steps. 

4C hair in big two strand twists

Deep conditioners work best on clean hair, so start after a fresh wash. 

Wet two strand twists on 4C hair

You can apply your conditioner while a section is open that way all of your hair can be coated with conditioner. Then braid or twist the section to prevent shrinkage, because we know shrinkage = tangles for 4C hair. 

Using a pink conditioner bar on loose 4C hair

Alternatively, you can take those sections and twist them each loosely. Then apply your conditioner. Just make sure that the inner part of your hair is getting conditioned, you want all of your hair treated. 

Using a conditioner bar on twisted 4C hair

With whichever sectioning method you choose from above, use your fingers to work the product through your hair. Make sure to focus on your ends as this is the oldest part and they benefit from the extra love. 

Putting light pink shower cap on deep conditioned hair

Leave your conditioner in for 15-30 minutes. 

Rinse with water.  

Don’t forget to apply your moisturizer and oils while your hair is still damp. Stretch or style your hair like usual. Enjoy the beauty of soft moisturized hair

4 ways to maximize your deep conditioner

If you have the basics of deep conditioning down you can take it to the next level.  You can unlock even more benefits from your deep conditioner with these steps.  If your hair is feeling parched or it’s time for a hydration boost, try these helpful tips. 

shower cap on deep conditioned hair

Since conditioners are designed to “stick” to your hair, try deep conditioning when your hair is dry or once excess water has been removed. 

Turn up the heat! Use a heat cap or a steamer to gently warm your hair while your conditioner is in. This will allow your hair to take up more of the conditioner. 

Hair under soft bonnet heat hood

Use it regularly.  Most women with 4C hair benefit from a deep conditioner every 1-3 weeks.  Depending on your hair needs you can even deep condition with each wash. 

Stay balanced by using a protein conditioner to maintain your hair’s strength.  Try using a protein treatment every second or third wash. 

It’s pretty easy to incorporate deep conditioning into your hair care routine.  Once you start seeing the benefits, your hair will be hooked. As I said, it really is a ritual for us with 4C hair.  With the above tips you can have your own spa day at home and treat yourself to softer, healthier hair. 

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