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Growth and Maintenance

How to Properly Deep Condition Your Child’s Natural Hair

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As any natural hair veteran knows, moisture is one of the most important elements of a successful hair care regimen. You can obtain moisture from a variety of different products: moisturizers, water, and/or conditioners. But deep conditioners can really help take your little naturals’ hair to the next level.


What is Deep-Conditioning

Deep conditioning is an additional treatment applied to the hair, after the normal shampoo and conditioning process. Deep conditioners are typically much thicker and moisturizing than regular commercial conditioners. They are left on the hair anywhere from an 15 minutes to overnight. For even greater penetration, have your child sit under a hooded dryer or use a thermal heating cap. The heat helps the conditioner to work through the hair shaft.

Benefits of Deep Conditioning Your Child’s Natural Hair

Deep conditioning treatments should be a part of your child’s regular hair care regimen. When done properly, deep conditioning treatments strengthen the hair, replenish much needed moisture in the hair, soften the hair strands, prevent damage and split ends, and make detangling a breeze.

When to Deep Condition

If you’re noticing excessive amounts of breakage and/or dryness, you should deep condition your child’s hair. If their hair is already healthy, and you want to maintain the health of the hair, you should deep conditioner your child’s hair. Basically, anytime is an optimum time for deep conditioning because deep conditioners help restore the moisture in the hair, soften the hair, and help the hair to become more elastic. The amount of times will largely depend on your child’s hair type and needs. Type 3’s may not need to deep condition as much as a type 4. A good amount to start with is twice a month. But you may want to increase it to once a week, or decrease to once a month, depending upon what your child’s hair specifically needs.


Product Recommendations

Deep Conditioners:

  • Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner
  • Camille Rose Naturals Algae Renew Deep Conditioning Mask
  • Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi All Natural Deep Conditioner
  • Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque, Raw Shea Butter
  • Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp Tamanu Grow & Strengthen Treatment Masque
  • Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
  • Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair Deep Conditioner
  • Or, you can make your own!


Heating Cap
thermal deep conditioning heating capWe have personally used Hot Head’s Thermal Heating Cap for deep conditioning treatments and it is the bees knees! They just developed a line for children and have so really cute designs. The other great thing about their thermal heating caps is that you can control the temperature (so no burned scalps), there are no cords to plug in, the terry cloth side absorbs product so that conditioner doesn’t drip down your face, and it’s really durable. Check out their selection of heating caps.


How to Deep Condition

How to deep condition will largely depend upon your child’s age. Of course, there isn’t a one step fits all approach to deep conditioning. So always do what works best for you and your family.



You may want to use this method for children 3 and under. The reason for this is because they can tend to get restless, and using this method will give them the breaks they need so they can get through washday with ease.

  • Step 1: Lightly mist the hair with water, detangle the hair and part into sections.
  • Step 2: Apply the deep conditioner of your choice evenly throughout the sections of hair.
  • Step 3: Cover the hair. A shower cap, heating cap or even a grocery bag will do. Very important: make sure it’s secure. The last thing you’ll want is conditioner dripping all over the place. Leave conditioner on for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Step 4: Apply heat using a hooded dryer or a heat wrap. This step is purely optional. You can still have an effective deep conditioning without the use of heat.
  • Step 5: Shampoo and condition their hair with lukewarm water.
  • Step 6: Style their hair.



This method is great for older children or little ones who are more patient. Doing this method will allow you to keep the conditioner on for longer periods of time.

  • Step 1: Wash your child’s hair as you normally would.
  • Step 2: Apply the deep conditioner of your choice to your child’s hair.
  • Step 3: Cover their hair with a thermal heating cap. (We recommend one from Hot Head. They have a large selection of thermal heating caps with super cute designs for kids.)
  • Step 4: If you prefer to use heat, sit your child underneath a hooded dryer, or apply a heating cap. Let the conditioner sit on their for 15-30 minutes.
  • Step 5: Rinse their hair with cold water to help seal in the moisture and close the hair shaft.
  • Step 6: Style their hair.


DiscoveringNatural has a great tutorial on deep conditioning her daughter’s type 4 hair without heat.

Deep conditioning can be a bit time consuming, but the rewards are worth all of the work. Do you like to deep condition your beloved naturals’ hair? What’s your favorite deep conditioner or preferred method?