Seriously though, I've been reading a lot about steamers now. Apparently they're really popular. I'd completely forgot about them until recently, and then did some research. According to one of the company's sites, steamers help open hair follicles and cuticles more (and faster - just 20 minutes) than just wearing a plastic cap for hours, and this allows the moisture from the steamer and deep conditioning treatment to get into those areas, leading to increased moisture retention and softer hair.
As I read up on them, I suddenly remembered that I have been under a steamer before. Back when I was in college and relaxed my hair, I used to go to this salon called Liz's Hair Care up in Boston by Northeastern University (if you're up that way I HIGHLY recommend paying Liz a visit - she is very professional and the service is great). It was a bit of a hike for me but it was soooo worth it. Liz is awesome! Even though it isn't a natural hair salon and she does put in relaxers, she doesn't believe in using direct heat on hair, so my hair was always dried under a dryer on rollers. It felt like it took forever for my hair to dry, and my scalp was sore by the end, but my hair alllllways came out wonderfully soft and feathery. I loved it! And one of the things Liz would do before she set my hair in rollers was sit me under a steamer. At the time I had no idea why or the benefits I was reaping from it, but now that I think about it, I think I can largely attribute all that softness and moisture to the steamer.
Even though steamers are popular, they're also expensive. I only looked at one company's site, but their steamer is $115. For that price, it seems like some naturals prefer to stick to their plastic cap and hot towel. But for others it's an investment that's worth every dime and they can't live without it. I think I'll eventually get one because I know they work well for my hair.
Do you own a steamer? Is it worth it??