Saturday, June 18, 2011

Which came first the deep condition or the shampoo? My dry deep conditioning experience


Do you guys remember my review of Hair Fixer way back when? During the six weeks I used the product, I had to forgo using conditioner per their usage instructions. After that experience I learned to place a higher value on the pre-poo step. Since I couldn't deep condition as normal, I had to amp up my pre-poo by using higher quality product. Ever since I've paid close attention to maintain a pretty healthy pre-shampoo regimen but this time I decided to take it a step further.

Instead of using conditioners like Long Term Relationship, etc for my pre-poo, I decided to go all out and conduct a full deep conditioning (pre-shampoo) session. On dry hair, I applied a mix of my favorite high quality conditioners like Biolage, Silicon Mix Protein de Perla, Aveda Damage Repair, and other heavy hitters. I also added a little Argan oil and popped open some vitamin e capsules into the mix. Then I proceeded to part my dry hair into small sections and applied liberally.




Next I finished it off as I would any deep conditioning session, with heat. After 30 minutes or so under the dryer, I jumped in the shower and proceeded to cleanse the hair with WEN. Just before I jumped out of the tub, I reapplied some conditioner to the hair and allow it to sit on the hair for a couple of minutes before the final rinse with cold water. After that rinse, I proceeded with styling. The coolest part about this process was that I only had to jump in the shower only once which is way more efficient than my traditional way of doing things.

So the question I have to ask myself is whether or not this method is more beneficial to the hair or is the time savings the only benefit. To better answer this question one has to look at what happens when the hair becomes wet. Water is easily absorbed into our hair strands. In fact, our hair is so attracted to water that it'll readily pull water from the air. That's why we're constantly fighting against frizz in humid weather. The hair strand can expand as much as 30% when exposed to water. When I think about this swelling effect water has on the hair I ask myself, "is it possible that the absorbed water could be taking up valuable space in my strand that should be granted to my conditioner?"

If that's the case, then it would make sense to apply conditioner to dry hair, then utilize heat to open the cuticle layer, and allow the deep conditioning process to happen. I can tell you from my experience that I had less hair loss this wash then in previous sessions. Not only did I realize some great benefits during the wash, I also enjoyed great feeling hair throughout the week. Dry deep conditioning requires more product then normal deep conditioning. I found myself having to apply ample conditioner just to saturate the hair. In the long run, I'm sure it'll be a little more expensive since I use less conditioner during my normal routine. But I think the results will speak for themselves. You should also check out a post a while back sharing the details of a study that supports the importance of applying product to the hair prior to the wash for added protection to the cuticle layer.


Some might be thinking, "isn't having lots water in the strand a good thing?" Yes it can be a good thing but remember that water evaporates. If I can help it, I'd rather have the deep conditioning ingredients swelling up the strand, not just water alone. The key to making this process successful is using heat to open the up cuticle layer so the conditioner can truly penetrate. Once the cuticle is open, your hair is ready for 100% conditioner penetration. No additional water taking up any valuable cuticle space.

I'll be using this method over the next several weeks to see if the benefits are lasting. I really hope this will turn into a permanent change in my regimen. The thought of saving time on wash day and the possibility of a deeper conditioning process gets me all excited. Anyone tried this technique before?


  1. Welcome to the dry side:) I love dry DC'ing (well actually I Dry Steam DC). I dampen my hair with aloe vera juice or gel first to minimize the amount of product that I have to use.

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  2. Love it! Thanks for the tip on the Aleo vera. I think I may just dampen the hair slightly with it on my next go round.

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  3. I notice you didn't mention the Ojon as part of your pre-poo routine. Have you stopped using it? I'm just starting out with this whole pre-poo thing, and this blog has been extremely helpful!

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  4. Victoria, yes Ojon is still a part of what I do. It works best for me when I do an overnight pre-poo with plastic cap to help create more heat and moisture. My hair does really well when I do this.

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  5. Right now I do my pre-poo with warmed EVCO, not conditioner but I completely relate to your experience. Perhaps you can spritz your hair with water to help with using SO MUCH product, that's what I've done in the past. I definitely do dry DC's when co-washing more often. Thanks for sharing!!!

    longing4length.blogspot.com

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  6. Yes, deep conditioning on dry hair works wonders for me. In the beginning of my hair journey, I used DCs on damp hair (hair with a considerable amount of water still present) after a wash and never got any spectacular results; I was about to write off DCing as unimportant or any extra/optional step. I was intrigued with the idea of DCing on dry hair only because doing so eliminated the extra step of going back into the shower. Once I started experimenting with this, my hair grew to love DCing! I usually DC on a totally seperate day than the day I wash, and I have not tried prepooing with deep conditioner because I'm wary that the sulfates from my shampoo followed afterwards will sabotage the good work my DC does in moisturizing my hair.

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  7. PS: I agree with EbonyCPrincess...like you, when I first started dry DCing I noted that it used up a LOT of product...I spritz my hair with a TINY bit of water first like Ebony mentioned to prevent excessive product usage.

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  8. Thanks for sharing Tay. Based on your experience, this method seems like it's a keeper!

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  9. I think it may be mental, but I just hate the thought of washing all that goodness out my hair! I see the scientific explanation of why it is more beneficial, but I find that the results weren't orgasmically amazing. After I wash, I just t-shirt dry for like 20 minutes to remove as much water as I can (it is nearly dry) and then apply my DC. I tried a dry DCing a few times and it just took WAY too much product to cover all my hair (texlaxed, MBL), so it just wouldn't be cost effective for me. I get such good results from t-shirt drying and then DCing that I won't be trying dry DCing again BUT I am glad it is working for the rest of you ladies! HHJ

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  10. what is pre-poo you keep mentioning?

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  11. It's the pre-shampoo step when one applies product to dry hair prior to washing. If you haven't tried it before I suggest you give it a shot!

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  12. So when u Shampoo after...wont dat wash away nutrients u put in?

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  13. @ Shamika-I shampoo with a cleansing conditioner so there isn't any soap suds to strip the hair. After using the cleansing conditioner, I reapply some regular conditioner and I rinse after about 10-15 minutes.

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