DIY Sauna Deep Conditioning
Think a sauna is just for working up a sweat? Think again! Maximize your sauna time with this DIY deep conditioning treatment.
When I was a little girl, I hated my curly hair so much that I dreamed of shaving it off and wearing a wig.
Although my hair is still a labor of love, I’ve thankfully outgrown this resentment. Nowadays I blow dry my own hair once a week, and occasionally indulge in a salon blowout. While I love the feeling of having someone else handle my hair (of which, a stylist once commented I had a “shit-load”), it can be pricey, and some stylists still don’t really know how to work with textured or biracial hair like mine.
So, I have taken my hair matters into my own hands, and I do my own blowouts. Since I frequently heat style my hair, I constantly look for ways to keep my hair moisturized and healthy. I have tried expensive and inexpensive products alike and experimented with various methods (avoiding shampoo, rinsing with ice cold water, drying with an old T-shirt) to no avail. What works best for me is using my gym’s sauna room to create my own deep conditioning treatment.
As part of my weekly hair-washing ritual, I apply my favorite conditioner and let it soak under a shower cap while relaxing in the sauna. What’s awesome about this method is that it’s a great way to maximize benefits from inexpensive products, since the added heat from the sauna really opens your hair follicle to absorb the benefits of the conditioner.
As part of my weekly hair-washing ritual, I apply conditioner and let it soak under a shower cap while relaxing in the sauna.
With my hair texture, it’s impossible to “wash and go” anywhere. If I’m going to spend a few hours styling my hair, I might as well luxuriate!
Going to the sauna has tons of health benefits:
1. It opens your pores so your skin is extra clean
2. Reduces stress
3. Improves cardiovascular health
Growing up with a Russian mom, I have been going to saunas for as long as I can remember. Going to the banya in the summer at my grandmother’s dacha in Russia was as sacrosanct as Saturday morning cartoons.
In the US, I noticed that most gyms offer some type of sauna / steam room facility, and they are so often empty. So go ahead and treat yourself! If I don’t have access to a sauna or steam room or are short on time, I recreate the effect by applying conditioner in the shower, putting on a shower cap, and standing in the steam of the bathroom for a few minutes. Indulging in a bath is a great idea too!
Here’s my weekly routine:
1. Work out! Whether it’s at the gym, outside, or at home, I like to get some exercise in first.
2. Shampoo and condition with your favorite products (I've listed mine below).
3. De-tangle your hair with a wide-tooth plastic comb while the conditioner is in. Note: I try to alternate shampoos and conditioners / deep conditioners each week. I’ve found this prevents my hair from looking “dull” from product buildup.
3. Without rinsing out the conditioner, put on your shower cap, and off to the sauna you go! Sometimes, I’ll loosely braid my hair before putting on the cap.
4. Steam, steam, steam! Embrace the heat. Steam like a delicious mussel in broth. The length of time is up to you and also depends on how hot the sauna / steam room is. In a really hot, wet sauna, I might stay for only 5 minutes. In a dry sauna, maybe 10 – 15. My mom’s advice to me was to “stay until my face starts to sweat.”
5. Hop back into the shower to rinse off.
6. Towel off, and style your beautiful, healthy hair!
You’ll really start noticing the improvement in your hair if you make this a regular routine. One day, my dream of having someone on-hand to wash and style my hair 24/7 will come true. Until then, you can find me in the sauna 😊
Shampoos and conditioners(I rotate through a shampoo / conditioner combo each week):
Aveda Sun Care Hair & Body Cleanser (although the bottle says it’s for post-chlorine / saltwater, but I use this about once a month to clarify and prevent product buildup)
Kevin Murphy Born Again Mask (it’s been discontinued but I occasionally find it on Amazon)