In all the years I’ve been natural, deep conditioning has always been a bit of a hassle. But it’s nonnegotiable: Incorporating heated deep conditioning into my routine really helped strengthen my damaged, permed hair at the start of my natural-hair journey. Up until last year, I relied on cheap hacks such as wrapping my hair by using any old plastic shopping bag I found around my house (effective, but ugly) to using the classic bonnet-hair-dryer attachment (that never stayed attached) and turned me into Megamind’s twin. I had a brief grace period with a budget-friendly electric steam cap, until Amazon recalled it after some users reported (I kid you not), electric shocks.
I desperately needed to find an alternative that would not only be safe to use, but be more sustainable than a plastic bag and actually work for my hair. After searching every corner of the internet, I came across a too-good-to-be-true review for Thermal Haircare’s Hot Head microwavable cap on Lydia Tefera’s YouTube channel. Like being berated by your mates to re-download Hinge after a string of shitty dates, I didn’t want to be let down again! But after hair influencer Bianca Renee posted enthusiastically about the same cap, my hardened skepticism finally cracked a little.
I bought my Hot Head from Naturalistic Products, which not only has a wide range of caps to choose from but is U.K.-based and Black-owned. There were a couple of design options, but I wasn’t fussed, seeing as I’d be only be wearing it indoors anyway. Most of the plain designs were sold out, so I settled on the ‘Zesty’ Hot Head. It arrived within days, but, determined to test its effectiveness, I put off using it until my hair was dying for some hydration.
Here’s how it works: I cleansed and deep conditioned my hair with my tried-and-true favourites — Alikay Naturals’ Black Soap Shampoo and Camille Rose’s Algae Renew Deep Conditioning Mask (which are both Black-owned). After that, I pop on a shower and place the Hot Head into my microwave for three 45-second intervals, flipping it inside out each time. I then place it over my shower cap (doing this ensures your Hot Head stays clean!), and let my hair marinate. Contrary to my skepticism, the cap gets pretty hot and feels like the warmest, coziest hug on my scalp. I couldn’t believe something made with mere flaxseed could produce just as much heat as my electric cap or Megamind attachment, but upon doing some research, I learned flaxseed is known for its ability to retain heat.
The Hot Head loses its initial intense heat after about 20 minutes, but because some heat is still trapped beneath the cap, my head remains very warm up to its 30- to 40-minute claim. (Thirty minutes is more than enough time for a decent deep conditioner to penetrate your hair.) But if my hair is particularly parched, I just reheat the cap for another 40 seconds, which works marvellously for my laziness. The fact that it’s cordless has drastically improved the quality of my wash days. No longer bound by a plug or irritated by the loudness of a hair dryer, the Hot Head gives me the freedom to multitask around the house or relax with my Spotify playlists undisturbed. My curls that were once dry and brittle always feel as soft and silky as baby hair after I rinse my deep conditioner out. Thanks to my Hot Head, regular deep conditioning has never been so easy. And while some may say beauty is pain, I’m bloody glad I no longer have to run the risk electrocution for Insta-worthy curls.
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