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Curly Nikki

Why I Stopped Deep Conditioning Overnight

By January 27th, 2021No Comments
Why I Stopped Deep Conditioning Overnight
by Shelli of

In the past, I would deep condition overnight in a minute … shoot, in a millisecond. But, over the course of 2011-2012, I learned about the importance of protein, protein/moisture balance and that I could, in fact, over-condition my hair. I realized that the very soft feeling that my hair had for most of 2011 was because my hair was over-conditioned and that the crazy shedding that I was experiencing in fall 2011 was likely my hair breaking, because it didn’t have enough tensile strength.

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However, though I began to incorporate protein into my regimen and felt a great improvement in the strength of my hair and saw my curl pattern return, I still slept in deep conditioners often. Now, the thing is, I didn’t do this to get any additional benefits, rather, I would sleep in my conditioner out of sheer laziness. Sometimes, I’m tired and I just don’t feel like washing it out.

But then, this fall, I read a very interesting and informative article:

via The Natural Haven 

Deep Conditioning: Effect of Time and Temperature/Heat

Increasing the time you leave conditioner on hair allows more of it to adsorb with a maximum adsorption at 20- 30 minutes. 

[W]hen conditioner is heated to 35°C, at 10 minutes there is slightly more than 5% on hair and at 30 minutes there is slightly more than 10%. Therefore temperature increases adsorption. The rule however remains the same in terms of no further conditioner sticking to the surface after 30 minutes. 

So How Long Should I Deep Condition?

Well, after reading that
1) Conditioning over 30 minutes does not provide any additional benefits as adsorbtion plateaus 
2) Conditioning for hours at a time causes a a change in the keratin that results in softening and weakening.

I started re-thinking my post-wash, deep conditioning habits. Now, though I have pretty much stopped deep conditioning overnight and often only deep condition for 30 minutes to an hour, I still condition for 3-4 hours on occasion. But again, it’s not to get any additional benefits … it’s just because I don’t feel like getting up to rinse my hair and style it!! I KNOW!! LOL!! But, I’m really working on keeping deep conditioning down to 30 minutes or a max of an hour!!

Now, although I don’t do post-wash deep conditioning overnight anymore, I still sleep in my pre-poo (Vatika Oil mixed with Aubrey GPB and/or Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose). The reason I do this is because the study done on the benefits of Coconut Oil for pre-pooing demonstrated the effects with overnight application, so that is what is recommended. I also pre-poo my dry, not wet or dampened, hair. However, the Aubrey conditioners do contain water as the first ingredient … so I’ve been torn about mixing them with Vatika Oil for my overnight pre-poo. However, for now, I’ll continue this practice as my hair seems to do great with the combo and doesn’t feel excessively soft. I think the protein in GPB and the “protein-retaining” properties of coconut oil may have something to do with that! And, you know the saying, if it ain’t broke …

How long do you deep condition? Do you deep condition overnight?

CN Says-
Y’all know I stopped it with the overnight shenanigans a while back. Primarily because of the Boogie factor, but also because my fine, fragile strands like to be stretched and left the hell alone… and perhaps lubed up with an oil concoction from time to time. 

Keeping my wash sessions to once a week or every other week yields healthier, stronger hair.  I do a pre-poo/deep condition situation (with my heat cap) 20-30 minutes before my regularly scheduled wash and it gets the job done! I follow the same regimen for The Boogs and her hair is flourishing. 

This article was originally published on December 2013 and has recently been updated for grammar and clarity. 

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