It is important to deep condition your hair once in awhile to keep it healthy, beautiful, and to help prevent future damage. If your hair is dry or over-processed, deep conditioning can replenish the hair strength and moisturize. To deep condition hair, apply a protein enriched conditioner from the roots to the ends. Next, cover your hair with a plastic cap or plastic wrap and sit under a hood dryer for at least 20 to 30 minutes and then rinse your hair. Heat is needed to help the conditioner penetrate the cuticle layers more efficiently. For optimum health, deep condition your hair one to two times a month.
If you regularly use a lot of styling products such as gel, hairspray, cream, and pomade, remember to rinse your scalp everyday to avoid buildup and clogged pores. Slicking the hair down with heavy gels or applying too much pomade or grease to the scalp are just a couple of examples of how blockage at the mouth of the hair follicle can occur. Blockage can lead to scalp infection, damage and reduced hair growth, so it is important to wash your hair and scalp regularly. Keep your scalp pores clear, and try to use water-soluble styling products whenever possible.
A hair strand consists of three layers. The cuticle is the outer layer--this layer has an average of three to ten layers that should be tightly packed together. Proper moisturizing and conditioning are important to strengthen and protect the cuticle layers. The cortex is the next layer under the cuticle--this layer determines your natural hair color and is where all permanent chemical changes (relaxers, hair dye) take place. The medulla is the inner most layer--this protein layer is hollow, and the cuticle and cortex layers shape around it. Most hair damage occurs in the cuticle layer and in extreme cases, the damage can reach the cortex and medulla. Knowing and understanding the layers of a hair strand can help you make healthier choices for your hair.
Oils and dirt on unclean hair will cause the flat iron to singe and irreparably damage your tresses, so always make sure that your hair is freshly washed and conditioned before flat ironing or applying any kind of heated tool. Even touching up your hair with the flat iron the next day after washing is extremely risky and should be avoided.