I religiously apply a DIY deep conditioner to my natural hair weekly because I play around with colour so much. I rarely miss a week, and before the past couple weeks or so, I’ve never bought any kind of deep conditioner. I’ve always used stuff from my kitchen. So with all that deep conditioning experience over the past several months, I definitely know by now which combination works best for my hair and munchkin’s hair.
Since I DC my hair every week, hers gets it too, might as well. It’s definitely worked wonders for her hair because at the beginning of this year she had a cute little TWA but was nowhere near being able to put it in a ponytail and now I can with a decent sized afro puff. I’d have been able to do the same for my hair if I didn’t cut the sides a couple months ago.
DIY Deep Conditioner Main Ingredients
So I have four ingredients that are a must for me and then I add others as I feel necessary. The first ingredient is aloe vera and you already know why. Aloe vera is also called tuna and sinkle bible in Jamaica, fun fact, and many people here steam their natural hair with tuna as a deep treatment. The second ingredient is raw honey and the others are coconut and olive oils. (Update: I’ve switched to avocado oil for these benefits.)
Benefits of Honey
Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-fungal:
“All honey is antibacterial, because the bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide,” said Peter Molan, director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.
Honey is a natural humectant which means it attracts and retains moisture to the hair. It’s also anti-bacterial which can help you with any scalp issues and it’s rich in vitamins and minerals, making it quite nourishing for the hair and scalp. Honey adds moisture and shine to the hair and I never DC without it as I’ve seen the benefits for myself. It’s also anti-inflammatory making it great for your skin issues. I’m known to apply a bit to my face and just sit with it for a while to help keep my skin clear.
Coconut and olive oil are the only two oils said to actually be able to penetrate the hair shaft, therefore adding moisture and not just coating it on the outside. The caveat with that is that it takes a while, so if you truly want to get the benefits its best to pre-poo with these overnight so it really gets in there. I still use these two oils in my DC though for all the other benefits they bring.
Benefits of Pre-pooing with Coconut Oil
According to one study, which compared mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil as possible products for nurturing and conditioning hair, coconut oil was the only oil that reduced protein loss for both damaged and undamaged hair.
These findings were true when used as either a pre-wash or post-wash grooming product, but coconut oil achieved the greatest results when used as a pre-wash treatment.
Part of the reason for this is because coconut oil is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water.
So when applied as a pre-wash conditioner, it inhibits the penetration of water into each strand, which would otherwise cause the cuticle, or surface of the hair shaft, to rise, making it prone to damage and breakage.
Furthermore, when applied as a pre-wash treatment, a small amount of the coconut oil is able to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft during the wash, when the hair fiber swells slightly.
This can also explain why so many rave about the oil’s ability to prevent “the frizzies” in humid weather—this is another feature of its hydrophobic activity.
Coconut oil is loaded with Vitamin E and fatty acids (such as lauric acid, myristic acid, capric acid and more) which are anti-fungal, anti-oxidizing and anti-bacterial, and I use it to cook every day along with using it in my DC. A lot of bloggers swear by it as a moisture sealant as well but I didn’t have good results with it so I stick to what works for me.
Benefits of Olive Oil for Hair
An olive oil treatment can improve the elasticity and strength of your hair. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties that promote scalp health and prevent dandruff. Extra virgin oil is also rich in high levels of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E, an antioxidant important for hair growth. What’s more, olive oil is not likely to cause an allergic reaction, which makes it easier on sensitive skin and hair.
I’ve been using olive oil on my hair since my relaxed days when I used to apply it in the shower after my conditioner. It was my way of getting a super shine once my hair was dry without hair spray or that greasy oil sheen lip-gloss-looking product that was (or maybe still is) on the market that is used as a finishing product in some salons.
So there you have my four must-haves and then I add greek yogurt or an egg if I need protein and avocado for its growth promoting properties. The avocado also helps my concoction to get that creaminess that I need so that it won’t be very runny, since I tend to sit with this in my hair (under a steam cap or plastic baggy) for hours on end as I go through my day.
The avocado would have made it into my must-haves, but it’s not always available, sadly, and so I sometimes substitute with a banana or with some conditioner to give it this necessary thickness. If you don’t have an avocado on hand, I recommend adding avocado oil to the mix because it really is quite beneficial to your hair. Over the weekend I used my fave four plus Greek yogurt, avocado and some shea butter for a DC. This is my hair with the mixture in:
And this is about an hour later. I used a hooded dryer to steam it in for about 10 minutes cause I didn’t want to have it in for very long that day. Then I simply co-washed with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner and the above pic is my hair product free. Here’s some with flash:
I applied my leave-in, styler and sealed and then slicked it back and allowed it to dry without fussing with it, which is always hard for me (serious hand in hair syndrome)
And when it was completely dry:
My hair was super soft and shiny and my curls were popping! Love this combination man! This mix is the bees knees and if I’m out of aloe vera or honey for whatever reason, I’m a very sad girl. If you’re not where you can get your hands on the actual plant, this Aloe Vera juice should do the trick. It gets high marks on Amazon
Munchkin’s hair absolutely loved the mix too. Her hair is kinkier than mine, maybe a 4a or b whereas mine may be a 3c or something. Anyway, her hair remained super soft and detangled right through the wash and comb process and allowed me to knock out this beautiful style with ease:
So that’s my favourite DC! What’s yours? Any brand that you can swear by?
Related: Not a DIY gal? Check out my favourite store-bought DC brand!
Related: My Full Wash and Go Routine