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    Deep Conditioning: The Solution to Dull, Lifeless Hair

    Trade In Your Dreary Hair For Shiny, Bouncy Locks

    Dry, dull, lifeless hair is one of the biggest complaints I hear from new guests coming to my studio. Lackluster, uninspiring hair almost always has one central cause, lack of moisture. The most common causes of dry hair include overwashing, heated styling tools, environmental factors and age. In winter, moisture loss is attributable to the drying effects of indoor heating. In the summer, sun, salt water, and chlorine are big contributors to dry hair. Age can also contribute to moisture loss from to the gradual decrease in the production of natural oils. I am not talking AARP status here either, age-related moisture loss in hair can start to occur in the early 20s. Since these moisture thieves affect almost everyone, I recommend regular deep conditioning to all but those with extremely fine, limp hair.


    Daily Conditioners vs. Deep Conditioning

    A daily conditioner is the safety net to your hair care routine. However, daily conditioners generally do not provide the additional moisture needed by most hair types. A daily hair conditioner that provided the necessary ingredients to fully moisturize your hair would then be too heavy for daily, or near daily use. In addition, deep conditioners frequently contain different and/or more concentrated emollients than those used daily on the hair. The more effective deep conditioners are often packaged in a tub or tube because of the much thicker consistency. The directions are likely to be a good clue whether the product can be used as a deep conditioner, as the  directions will suggest you leave the conditioner in your hair for 5 minutes or longer.

    This deep conditioner tops my list.

    What exactly does a deep conditioner do to hair?

    Both daily conditioners and deep conditioning treatments will smooth down the outer cuticle of the hair so it reflects light. Conversely, dry, damaged hair appears dull because the roughed up cuticle is not able to serve as a reflective surface. If you are experiencing frizz, a deep conditioning treatment will work to repel moisture in the atmosphere which helps to reduce frizzy hair.

    Deep conditioners do have some limitations. For example, on occasion I’ll have a guest in my chair who has severely damaged hair, even after a deep conditioning treatment that didn’t seem to help. While deep conditioners are able to repair some damage, they primarily replace moisture and soften the hair. If your hair is severely damaged from chemical over processing, I would recommend a reconstructing treatment in combination with a deep conditioner. A reconstruction treatment is similar to a deep conditioning treatment, but with added components such as keratin. But a reconstruction treatment is definitely something that should be left to the professionals. If in doubt, check with your hair stylist to determine the best solution.

    Deep conditioners are great treatments to get in the salon, this process can also be done very effectively at home using a good product and following these instructions.


    Deep Conditioner How to:

    Shampoo your hair, blot excess water and apply deep conditioner concentrating mainly on the ends. Gently comb the deep conditioning product through your hair to ensure even distribution. Place a plastic cap (or plastic wrap in a pinch) over your head. Apply some heat, either by using a blow dryer (be careful not to get dryer too close and melt the plastic) or a moist hot towel for about 10 minutes (my preferred home method because I can go do other things like catching up with Downton Abbey).

    You can also keep conditioner on overnight. When the treatment is complete, rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water, dry your hair and style it as usual. If the ends still feel dry, apply a lightweight hair oil (mid-shaft to ends only) to complete the deep conditioning treatment.

    Shiny hair

    How Often Should You Deep Condition?

    For most hair types, I would recommend a deep conditioning treatment at least once per month, year around to compensate for heat styling, weather and/or age related dryness. However, this regimen may need to increase or decrease depending on the frequency of your use of heat styling or how often your hair is exposed to hair color processing or straightening chemicals. If you wash your hair frequently and use heat styling tools frequently then you might want to schedule more frequent deep conditioning treatments.

    Marcia Marcionette
    Contributing author Marcia Marcionette is a stylist and color artist with over 15 years of experience. She owns Soulvana Hair, Tampa, Florida’s premier eco-chic salon studio where the philosophy is “style that feeds the soul”. Marcia’s is known for combining healthy, environmentally conscious products and practices with high performance hair artistry. You can contact her at



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