Can You Over Condition Your Hair?
When you have afro hair the one piece of hair care advice that you always seem to get is ‘moisturise!’. Conditioning is one of the most popular ways to moisturise, but is all this conditioning good for your hair? Can you over condition your hair? The answer is ‘yes’. It is a rare occurrence with natural Afro hair because of it’s typically dry nature, but it is possible to over condition your hair especially if it is chemically processed. When you condition your hair too often you are putting layers upon layers of conditioner on it and this will, over time, reduce the effectiveness of any hair products that you use. Read on and find out more about over conditioning to ensure that your luscious tresses do not fall prey to this damaging condition.
Why We Condition Hair
Let’s start by looking at what conditioner is for in the first place. Your conditioner is meant to protect your hair and give it moisture as well as nutrients. When you use a conditioner it forms a layer on the shaft of your hair, giving it nourishment and helping it to stay hydrated. Conditioning is an important part of your Afro hair routine primarily because of its moisturising benefits. Hair that is properly conditioned will have a healthy texture, soft feel and a shiny glow. Hair that is over conditioned on the other hand, can become badly damaged and eventually break.
How Much is Too Much?
Knowing how much conditioner is too much can be a bit tricky as everyone is different. What may be too much conditioning for one person may be just enough for another; but generally speaking if you have chemically treated or coloured hair then it will be easier for you to over condition than someone has natural, unprocessed afro hair. Overall though, over conditioning afro hair is not very easy to do, you will have to condition your hair very regularly and keep conditioner in your hair for extended periods of time for it to happen- but it does happen. Even if you start out with very dry hair, conditioning it will make it nice and soft at first, but if you over condition it you will notice that in time it will start to feel dry again. This is because over conditioning your hair makes it more porous and so it is not able to retain as much moisture. The numerous layers of conditioner will also reduce the effectiveness of any other hair care products that you use.
You will know if you are over conditioning your hair by the way it feels. If your hair feels heavy and doesn't have as much volume as before then there is a good chance that you are conditioning it too much. Over-conditioned hair also tends to feel very limp and it is usually quite difficult to style because it is too slippery, stretchy or gummy. Your hair may also start to feel ‘too soft’. This may sound like a contradiction but in some cases the hair can become so soft that it eventually starts to break. If this happens then you definitely need to take steps to repair the damage and prevent further breakage.
The Right Way to Condition
So how do you prevent your hair from becoming over conditioned? The answer is moderation. You should use conditioner in moderation and don’t overdo it. Conditioning few times a week is ok; deep conditioning every day may be too much. While you should absolutely condition your hair to give it the moisture that it needs, do so in moderation. And when you deep condition your hair do not leave it in for more than a few minutes at a time. You will also want to ensure that you include a good protein treatment into your hair care routine so that your hair maintains a healthy protein-moisture balance. Just as with conditioning, hair that has been chemically processed or coloured will also need more protein treatment that unprocessed natural hair.
Yes, you can over condition your hair but if you have natural Afro hair the chances are that you won’t have worry much about this because our natural hair is so good at absorbing moisture. To be on the safe side though, use conditioners in moderation and don’t forget those protein treatments!
Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity