My Experience With Steaming

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Because I ended my natural hair transition and big-chopped near the beginning of winter (December 2010), I have since been trying to do what I can to keep my hair as moisturized as possible in this cold/dry winter weather. After hearing so much about hair steaming during my transition, I ordered my first steamer in early January shortly after my big-chop and have been using it consistently since then. I haven't necessarily been steaming on a specific schedule, but I steam whenever I feel the need to further "deepen" the moisturizing effects of my deep conditioning treatments - which I do fairly often (I deep condition at least once a week, but many times more often that that). To date, I have used my steamer approximately 2-3 times per month for about 3 months, with each steaming session lasting anywhere from 15-30 minutes. The key benefit of steam is that it encourages healthy blood-flow and circulation of the scalp and opens the hair follicles in order to maximize the amount of moisture that can be absorbed into the hair shaft. Most of the time I have steamed with some sort of moisturizing deep conditioner slathered on my hair, and the added steam enables my deep conditioner to condition even deeper. However, steaming with a deep conditioner slathered on is not required, as steaming wet hair alone (without product) can completely hold its own as a deep moisturizing treatment for the hair shaft.

So far, I can say that I really like steaming - especially in these past few cold weather months when pretty much all I need to do is step outside for a couple hours for my hair to start feeling dry and looking thirsty. When I incorporate steam into my regular deep conditioning treatments, I can both see and feel a distinct difference in the overall condition of my hair. My hair usually feels softer and more supple; it is usually really easy to detangle right after steaming; and my curls and coils just seem to "pop" and "boing" more (LOL...I so wish that I could find more technical/scientific terms to use than "pop" and "boing", but hopefully those terms still adequately convey what I'm trying to describe). I intend to continue steaming my hair regularly as a part of my deep conditioning regimen, but I may decrease my frequency of steaming once the weather gets a bit warmer and the dew points are more moderate. Ultimately though, no matter what time of year it is, I will continue to listen to my hair and not even think twice to bust out the steamer whenever my hair feels like it could use an added shot of moisture.

My typical steamer setup (I usually have to
prop it up on a book for added height)
I have purposely have not focused on the brand of steamer that I decided to purchase because in my opinion most steamers - while having a few differences in how they are constructed and how they function - yield pretty similar results. So ultimately it doesn't matter to me what steamer is being used - as long as steam is being incorporated in a person's hair-care regimen I feel like hair will respond favorably. But in the spirit of full disclosure: I chose the Huetiful Hair Steamer over other similarly-priced free-standing steamers available on the market at the time because it is a compact tabletop steamer that I can easily store away when I'm not using it (This was an extremely important feature to me because I do not have a lot of storage space in my home and I didn't want a steamer just chilling in plain sight when it wasn't in use). I also liked that it was easy to put together and that it didn't require the use of distilled water, as many other free-standing steamers do.

The average salon steam treatments cost around $20 a pop, so my steamer has already more than paid for itself in the three months I've been using it. But if dropping money on a steamer isn't your cup of tea, there are definitely cheaper and more manual ways to incorporate steam into your regimen outside of using a commercial steamer (For example, if you have regular access to a sauna - that is a great way to steam your hair. Click here to learn other ways to manually steam hair).  Unfortunately, I don't have regular access to a sauna, and I am also waaaay too lazy and impatient to deal with the prep work involved with steaming manually (don't judge Quite frankly, I'd much rather invest the whopping 3-5 minutes it takes to pull my steamer out of the closet and fill it with water, press the "on" button and sit under it once the steam starts going for a salon-like The fact is, I am much more likely to steam if it is easy and accessible enough for me to do so on a moment's notice whenever my hair feels like it needs it :-)

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