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Curly Nikki

The Curl Whisperer on Deep Treatments

By January 27th, 20217 Comments

The Curl Whisperer on Deep Treatments
Last week, we talked about protein treatments for fine-haired girls with curls: this week, we are taking a look at deep treatments.

Typically, most people refer to “deep treatments” when they are referring to hair preparations that contain heavy moisturizers and emollients, and that usually do not include proteins in their formulations. However, it is important that you check product labels as more and more manufacturers are blurring the lines between “protein treatments” and “deep treatments.” A deep treatment chock full of protein will do more harm than good for certain types of hair. For now, when I refer to deep treatments, I am referring to any type of deep conditioning treatment that does not contain protein.

Like protein treatments, deep treatments can be a great part of your maintenance routine, depending on your hair’s individual needs. If you have coarse hair and should avoid protein, or if you are medium-textured and need to watch your protein/emollient balance, deep treatments are a good way to restore moisture to your hair when daily conditioning is not doing the trick. Because I color, I do a deep treatment twice per month–once 24 hours after I color, another at the midway point between colorings (at about three weeks), which helps to keep my hair healthy and in great shape. If you do any kind of a chemical process, a monthly or bi-monthly deep treatment can be a good idea.

People with fine hair, however, should be extremely careful since their hair typically needs more protein, not more moisturizers. I seldom recommend deep treatments for any fine-haired client, unless it’s an initial series of treatments because she is severely dehydrated and I need to get some moisture back into her hair before we can move forward with restoring her hair health (even protein won’t penetrate into fine hair if it is brittle and totally devoid of moisture).

Some individuals have asked me if there is a point when deep treatments (or protein treatments, for that matter) are no longer necessary for maintaining good hair health. I don’t think there is a point deep treatments are no longer necessary for most people, since even our very natural environment can dry out our hair, but I believe there can come a time where they no longer need to be routine. If you don’t chemically process and if your hair is healthy, you can do a deep treatment at arbitrary times just when you feel a little extra moisture is needed–such as if the weather becomes extremely dry, if you’ve been sick, etc.

Some salons are now offering expensive steam treatments, claiming the moist air infusion used is more effective than dry heat penetration. The drawback is that they are expensive and can run you anywhere from $50 – $100. In my opinion, the jury is still out on those steam treatments; frankly, I’ve yet to see where paying $$$ at a salon is more effective than what you can do for yourself at home. Boil a pot of water, remove it from the heat, lean over the pot and hold a towel over your conditioner-saturated head to capture the steam for 5-10 minutes–you’ll steam your hair and give yourself a great facial at the same time (throw some mint or rosemary leaves in there for a little aromatherapy while you’re at it!).

Properly applied, deep treatments can do wonders in helping to both restore and maintain healthy and dazzling curls.

Submit your hair questions to the Curl Whisperer, by emailing Be sure to use ‘Curl Whisperer’ as the subject line!

Check out the Curl Whisperer’s site, HERE.


  • Anonymous says:

    I'm not sure why people think that AO conditioners do not have protein in them. They do have protein in them- a small amount.

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    thanks Tiffany! Great article, as always.

  • Maria says:

    I want to purchase a steamer from and they sell them for $125. I can't believe salons charge that much for a steam treatment! Yikes! i'm in the wrong business LOL I don't have thin hair, but I love deep conditioning my hair once a week. Thanks for the article.

  • Pat says:

    Thanks for the steam treatment advice.. but I am also looking for concoctions for a deep treatment, right now I just mix my herbal essence with olive oil and sit with it on my hear for 30 minutes.. but my hair is still superduper dry and coarse, what else can i do?

  • Anonymous says:

    Do you have any product suggestions for deep treatments that do not contain protein?

  • Namun says:

    Thanks for the tip on the steam treatment. I had one last month at a salon and really liked it. The price was fair for the area I live in, but add on the price for wash, trim and set and it quickly adds up. Thanks again.

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