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FEATURES Jul 4 2012 5:32PM

The Importance of Deep Conditioning Weaves

by Garbielle Corney
More and more women are experiencing hair breakage because of improperly cared for weaves. They get a bad reputation for the damage they can cause but actually promote growth if cleansed and deep conditioned regularly. 
It's essential to shampoo and CONDITION CONDITION CONDITION your natural hair while "installed" in a weave. Start off by choosing a shampoo. Hair is similar to skin, some are oily while others are dry and some are both! I recommend using more than one especially if you have combination hair.
Two of my favorite shampoos to use on natural hair while "installed" are clarifying and repairing shampoos. Clarifying shampoo washes away build up from styling products without stripping your natural moisture. Repairing shampoo rejuvenates and strengthens distressed hair.
We naturally shed 40-120 hair strands a day depending on how much hair you have, your age and your hair's growth cycle. The base of a weave is braided down for approximately 6-8 weeks before it needs to be refreshed. That can be quite a bit of shedding upon removal. That's why deep conditioning is essential for promoting healthy hair while wearing a weave.
Some of the most frequently asked questions are How often do I shampoo my weave? Should I deep condition my weave every time I shampoo? How do I deep condition my hair while it's in a weave? Won't my hair be greasy or built up after-wards? How do I remove the excess conditioner from the braids underneath? 
I recommend shampooing the weave as often as you shampoo your natural hair. Whether it's weekly or on a bi weekly basis you should deep condition every time. A weave should be pre-conditioned. A pre-conditioning process is applying the conditioner BEFORE you shampoo your hair. By doing this, the natural hair receives the benefits without feeling weighed down or heavy after styling.
In a pre-conditioning process the hair should be thoroughly rinsed with warm water, removing the natural oils and or styling products. Once completely rinsed, apply the conditioner to hair while dripping wet, making sure you saturated from the root to ends. The excess water helps the conditioner penetrate the base of the weave. Gently massage with the balls of the fingertips to evenly distribute conditioner. Add more water if needed. The key to the pre- conditioning process is to insure the base or the braids get the benefits of the deep conditioner. Sitting under heat (like a hooded dryer) offers the hair loads of benefits. Heat opens the hair cuticles, open cuticles enable the deep conditioning product to penetrate the hair shaft. If a hooded dryer isn't available then use a plastic cap. The cuticle will already be open from the warm water rinse. After 10-15 minutes you’re ready to rinse and then here comes the fun part, the shampoo. Lather up three times making sure you rinse the hair completely after each shampoo. This will remove any excess conditioner and/or shampoo that may leave a residue on the hair. Take your time and cleanse it thoroughly and rinse with cool water. Cool water closes the hair cuticle, which will lock in the natural shine. Before you dry the "install" use a liquid leave in conditioner. Depending on the liquid leave in, it will help detangle, provide additional moisture and restore suppleness to the hair.
The drying process is just as important as the pre-condition and shampoo. Allow the base of the weave to dry completely prior to styling for two good reasons. Shortening the length of your install and mildew. Improperly drying the base can cause the braids to unravel prematurely. Which shortens the length of the install, mildew can increase the shedding upon removal and actually smell pretty bad. Using a hooded dryer is the most effective way to completely dry the base of your weave, it can also air dry over a 24 hour period before styling with a hot tool like a blow dryer and or curling iron.
Pre-conditioning weaves while their installed helps to strengthen the braids underneath, moisturize the hair that's left out (if any), nourishes the scalp and promotes the growth process. Which reduces the amount of shedding upon removal. We want the hair to remain healthy while wearing weaves after all it is... The ULTIMATE accessory.
Gabrielle Corney
Hairstylist 2 The Stars inc.
Email: hairstylist2thestars@gmail.com
Facebook: Gabrielle Corney
Twitter: @gabidoeshair
Instagram: @hairstylist2thestars


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