Conditioning Heat Caps vs Steamers | Which One Is Better?

When I first started my hair journey in 2009, I relied of my Gold ‘N Hot Conditioning Heat Cap for my deep-conditioning-with-heat needs. Last October I purchased a Secura Steamer (same set up as the Huetiful Steamer but costs less) and this month I bought a Hot Head heating cap. While it’s not written in stone that I must deep condition with heat, I always do because the use of heat helps the conditioning agents penetrate the hair shaft. After all, if I’m taking the time to deep condition I might as well make sure my hair is receiving all the moisturizing goodies it can.

There are several types of conditioning heat caps and steamers on the market but I’ve limited my point of view to the ones I’ve tried:

Gold ‘N Hot Conditioning Heat Cap

• Cost: $35.00 // I purchased from Sally Beauty // also available on Amazon
• Pros: This cap gets pretty warm but the heat never reaches an uncomfortable level. It actually auto-cycles on and off, with a noticeable “CLICK” that sounds when it’s turning off for 60 seconds before it starts to warm up again. The cord is plenty long as well. There are three settings: low, medium, and high. I’ve never used it on anything other than the high setting. Even though this conditioning cap doesn’t get the best reviews, it hasn’t failed me in the 4 years I’ve had it. It has worked well for me,
• Cons: This has one design flaw: unless I rest my head back on the couch or lay back in bed when wearing this cap, the back of the cap doesn’t touch my nape.

Hot Head Heating Cap

• Cost: $29.95 // Purchased from Hot Head Etsy Store
• Pros: Unlike my steamer or my Gold N’ Hot Conditioning Cap, this heating cap doesn’t need to be plugged in. You pop it into the microwave for 1 minute, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
• Cons: This heating cap has is that it doesn’t get as warm as the Gold N’ Hot, but I never expected it to because it is not powered by electricity, and it only stays warm for 30 minutes. The six flax seed packs into the cap are located at the top and spaced out on the sides of the cap, sort of like a flower. Because of how the flax seed packs are arranged, there are gaps on the side where there is no heat. In order to get the maximum use of heat from this cap you have to place most of your hair on top of your head.

Secura Steamer

Full review of this steamer is posted here.
• Cost: $80.00 // I purchased from Amazon, it’s (listed as Secura S-192 Hair and Facial Steamer)
• Pros: After using this steamer to deep conditioner, my hair is softer, remains moisturized longer after the initial DC (tested this out my not moisturizing and sealing for a few days after wash day). My conditioners also sink in more. When deep conditioning with my steamer, my hair is definitely more moisturized after. Unlike the conditioning caps that simply warm the conditioner up to help it better penetrate into the hair shaft, my steamer is goes one step more and gives my hair an extra boost of moisture via the steam. When I use my steamer, my hair stays conditioning longer during the week.
• Cons: This steamer has a similar flaw as the Gold N’ Hot Conditioning Cap. In order for the steam to reach my nape, I have to flip around halfway through my steaming session. Because of the way the dome is angled, it the steam is focused at the crown and sides of my head. I’m not sure if this can be really be called a flaw but the plastic of the dome is pretty flimsy. Being the clutz that I am, I dropped the dome once – on carpeted floors I might add – and the lip of the dome cracked.

So which is better?

If you’re taking into account cost, ease of use, and ease of storage well then the Gold N’ Hot Conditioning Cap and the Hot Head Heating Cap are the better choices. The Hot Head Heating Cap (to me) works better in shorter deep conditioning sessions. For a longer deep conditioning sessions I can see myself getting annoyed pretty quickly if I have to get up to heat the cap up repeatedly so in those situations the Gold ‘N Hot Conditioning Cap wins.

If you’re assessing on the basis of which conditioning tool helps the most with moisture, then the steamer wins because it’s helping condition your hair on two fronts: the heat it produces is helping the conditioner penetrate into the hair and the steam itself is helping pump hair with moisture. When I deep condition with my steamer, my hair stays moisturized longer which really helps keep my new growth moisturized during the week.

My bottom line: steamer wins.

A few questions JGAers had:

[blockquote align=”none” author=”Kem”]If you were on a deserted island that somehow had electricity and you had to pick between your steamer and conditioning cap which one would you choose?[/blockquote]

Hmmm, I think I’d choose the steamer. It adds additional moisture to my via water and my hair reaps the benefits of its use in a short amount of time: I’m good to go in 15-20 minutes.

[blockquote align=”none” author=”Gael”]Are there certain times you’ll choose to steam instead of use a heating cap?[/blockquote]

Generally, when I’m not in the mood to sit and would rather nap while deep conditioning haha.

[blockquote align=”none” author=”Tiffany”]Do I have to use heat when I deep conditioning at all? Is it necessary?[/blockquote]

No it’s not necessary, just beneficial. You could forgo using heat when deep conditioning if you wanted.

[blockquote align=”none” author=”Pauline”]Can I use a hooded dryer when deep conditioning instead of a steamer or heating cap?[/blockquote]

Yes you absolutely can!

Do you deep condition with heat? What’s your preferred method, steamer or a conditioning cap?

22 Comments


  1. I've been searching for a good (non expensive) hair steamer for months! I do have this heating cap and love it just can't stand the way that it fits. Great post very informative 🙂

  2. I am in NY city and I don't know where to buy a Heat cap. Can you help me? Thank you

  3. I love my skin !!

    My skin looks great since I've been using this Face Steamer for 8 weeks. It is great for daily skin care and sun protection.

  4. I would love to but a streamer but my gold'n'hot is so awesome! For the nape issue I flip my cap backwards, so the cord ifs in front of my face. It's a bit annoying but everything gets warmed up. I've had my heat cap for almost 6 and it's my bff. Use it for my daughter too.

  5. I definitely prefer my steamer when I deep condition. Since I deep condition twice a week , I do one steaming session and the other session I use my Bonbon Cheveux Deep Conditioning Bonnet. I don't feel like setting up and taking down my steamer ever twice a week. Lol

  6. I have the same heat cap and it's the bee's knees! I wish that I could convince myself to buy a steamer. But I think that it would end up in the same dark corner collecting dust as my hooded dryer. Ha-ha! Thanks for this post!

    KLP @ SavingOurStrands

  7. I've had both a steamer and currently have the Gold N Hot conditioning cap. I love my conditioning cap more because it doesn't require me to add water and is not as bulky! My Gold N Hot cap has been going strong for about 4 years!

    -Courtnea @ Finally Growing!

  8. I love me some Gold N Hot heat cap anytime, anyday..It simply rocks all the time.

    1. Author

      Gotta love it! Hasn't let me down if 4 years

  9. I love my steamer, but because I'm too lazy to get it out and usually don't feel like sitting for 30 min to an hour I use my heating cap more. I've fallen asleep with it on my head quite a few times. ha ha! Great post!

  10. STEAMER ALL THE WAYYYYY!! The best investment I've ever came across in my hair journey….

  11. I like using my hair dryer to deep condition my hair when I have the time to sit in one place.

  12. I ordered me a steamer last week and it will be here tomorrow. I can't wait to test it out and reap the benefits! Would you say that that steaming your hair help out some breakage issues you may have?

    1. Author

      Only when the breakage is cause by lack of moisture because the steamer helps up my moisture level. Enjoy your steamer!

  13. I LOVE my hooded dryer for deep conditions. Since wash days usually coincide with homework days, I can sit under there for 30 minutes, and have a power session getting through all my homework 🙂

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