The Best Conditioners for Natural Black Hair

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Embracing your natural black hair in all its glory with no chemicals means taking a closer look at the right products to promote its healthy growth and nourishment. Choose the right conditioner as one of the first steps in caring for your natural, curly tresses. There are so many options for conditioners in the marketplace, it can sometimes be a bit intimidating trying to choose the right product to care for your unique locks. Before you start shopping, make sure you're properly educated on the essential ingredients your natural hair needs.

Moisturizing Conditioners

Dry, brittle or frizzy natural hair is a strong indication that you should be using a moisturizing conditioner. It not only helps your hair retain moisture, it will hydrate the hair to improve its texture and elasticity. Moisturizing conditioners can be used as often as daily to keep hair properly hydrated. Natural ingredients to look for in moisturizing conditioners include coconut and olive oils. These natural oils protect hair and guard against protein loss.

Protein Conditioners

Protein conditioners are designed to replenish the keratin in the hair. A healthy amount of keratin helps repair damaged hair cuticles. Protein conditioners repair the hair on a deeper level than moisturizing conditioners, so you don't need to use one as often. The role of the protein conditioner is to repair or guard against limp, brittle hair that breaks easily. Natural black hair not treated with chemicals still needs a protein conditioner at least once a month. Use a milder protein than what you'd need for chemically treated hair, which requires a moderate to stronger protein to rebuild the strands broken down by the chemical process. Wheat and silk are great mild proteins to look for in protein conditioners -- they enhance elasticity by helping the moisture bind with the hair cuticle.

Deep Conditioners

Like protein conditioners, deep conditioners only need to be used once a month on natural hair. Deep conditioners are designed to penetrate deep into the hair's cuticle to rebuild and repair damage. These conditioners are heavier in texture and will have longer effect than your daily conditioner. When you deep condition your hair, apply a plastic cap and use a towel or hood dryer to allow the conditioner to fully penetrate before you rinse. Ingredients to look for in deep conditioners include hydrolyzed proteins and sealing agents. Hydrolyzed proteins help stimulate hair growth after the daily stress of combing and detangling. Effective hydrolyzed proteins include keratin, oat, silk, soy and wheat. Sealing agents help your hair stay strong and moisturized for days after your treatment. Sealing agents to look for in your deep conditioner are mineral oil, lanolin, soybean oil and shea butter.

Natural Haircare Regimen

Natural hair needs a variety of different conditioners to keep it healthy and vibrant. You should use moisturizing conditioners on a daily to weekly basis to keep hair hydrated and manageable. It's up to you whether you choose to use an instant hair conditioner, which conditions in five minutes or less before rinsing, or use a leave-in product that's not rinsed out. Protein and deep conditioning should be done on a monthly basis for natural hair. If you are transitioning from chemically treated hair or your hair has been prone to breakage, schedule your protein conditioning treatments and deep conditioning every two weeks until your hair reaches a healthier state.

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