Thursday, January 23, 2014

Over-Conditioning: What is It and How to Fix it!

Hi curlies!

I got a great question on another blog post asking about over-conditioning.  Daphna asked
I am wondering about hair being overmoisturized. Is there any way to prevent that? And is it something only fine-haired curlies need to worry about, or can it happen to anyone, regardless of hair qualities?
 Sometimes I feel like my hair is so dry all the time that it cannot be possible to overcondition it.  But a few years ago, I started experiencing the tell tale signs of over-conditioning (or over-moisturizing) and I had to learn how to correct for it.

The Symptoms
1) Hair feels very soft. Like abnormally soft. Too soft
2) Hair feels squishy/fluffy
3) Hair is uncharacteristically limp and lifeless
4) When you perform a strand test (take a couple strands of shed hair and hold the ends with your finger tips of one hand, then lightly tug and release the ends with your other fingers), the hair simply stretches without bouncing back to its original position

The Fix
Luckily, the fix is really simple.  You need more protein.

Hair needs both protein and moisture.  Fine haired curlies need more protein than coarse haired curlies.  This is because of the structure of the individual strands of hair.  Coarse hair has something called an inner medula which fine hair lacks.  With fine hair, you have a cuticle (made up of shingle like structures) that forms the outside of the strand and an inner cortex.  With coarse hair, you also have the cuticle and cortex, but there is a third distinct layer of the hair called medulla.  With fine hair, protein will help plump up the inner structure of the hair where the medulla is missing.  With coarse hair, you need much less protein because there is already something in the center of the hair strand.  So while every curly (and really anyone with hair!) should strive to achieve a balance of protein and moisture, fine haired curlies are starting out needing more protein than coarse haired curlies, and thus fine haired curlies are more prone to pushing the moisture-protein balance too far to the moisture side.

To fix your over-moisturized hair, you should give yourself a protein treatment!  Nexxus Emergencee is great for a huge boost of protein quickly and you can find it at most drugstores or on Amazon (note: if you're looking in the drug store, it's usually packaged in a box, so look for a small, boxed product usually on the bottom shelf)

 Once you've given yourself a big boost with a protein treatment, you should consider adding in protein as part of your regular routine until you get your hair well balanced.

Protein Heavy Conditioners
  • Aphogee Two Minute Keratin Reconstructor (available at Sally's Beauty Supply or on Amazon)
  • Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner (available at Whole Foods, some organic sections, or on Amazon) (fair warning, this conditioner is very strongly scented. It's not an unpleasant scent, but just be aware if you're sensitive to fragrance).
  • Curl Junkie Beauticurls Strengthening Hair Conditioner (available from or on Amazon)
  • It's a 10 Keratin (note: not CG; available at Ulta, many drugstores, and on Amazon)

Protein-Light Conditioners
  • Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Conditioner (available at Trader Joe's)
  • Nature's Gate Hemp Conditioner (available in various organic sections or on Amazon)
  • Vo5 Conditioners (available at many drugstores, look for the Strawberry Smoothie variety for an amazing scent!)
  • Mop Top Daily Conditioner (available on Amazon and from some specialty retailers)


Daphna said...

Laura, thank you very much for answering my question! I definitely have a better handle on overmoisturizing now. Thanks for doing a post about it, I really appreciate it! :)

curlshairs said...

very informative post, thanks for sharing this post...