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How To Deep Condition Your Hair: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

woman with wet hair deep conditioning

Of all of the hair products available on the market, deep conditioners may be the most polarizing. Some people don’t see the need for anything more than their regular conditioner, while others swear by deep conditioner for their Insta-worthy locks. We think everyone can benefit from an excellent deep conditioner—you just have to find the perfect one.

If you’re not sure how to deep condition your hair or which deep conditioner is right for you, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you have dark brown hair or highlights, we’ve got everything you need to know about deep conditioner.

What is deep conditioner?

A deep conditioner is exactly what it sounds like: a more concentrated conditioner. Deep conditioners typically have thicker formulas that are jam-packed with beautifying benefits. Additionally, a deep conditioner is typically left on your hair longer than traditional conditioner, giving it more time to penetrate your strands deeply.

Does everyone need a deep conditioner?

The answer to this question really depends on the way your hair looks and feels. If your strands look and feel healthy with your regular hair care routine of shampoo, conditioner, and styling products, you may not need to add a deep conditioner into your routine. If your basic hair care routine is not helping your hair look and feel its absolute best, however, it may be time to add a deep conditioner to your weekly schedule.

If you have dry, damaged, frizzy, or dull hair, a deep conditioner may be just the thing you need to make your strands look and feel their absolute best. You may not even need to use a deep conditioner all year round. Some people break out their favorite deep conditioners during the brutal winter months or after a summer spent splashing around in the pool and ocean.

How to properly deep condition your hair.

If we’ve convinced you that you need a good deep conditioner in your life—we’ve done our job. Before you reap all of the glorious benefits of deep condition, however, you must first begin with shampoo. Thoroughly cleanse your strands with your favorite shampoo to rid your locks of any greasiness and product build-up. Once your mane is squeaky clean, it’s time to apply your deep conditioner.

Take a dollop of deep conditioner and apply it to your ends, working the product up your strands near your roots. Unlike shampoo, you may want to limit the amount of contact deep conditioner has with your scalp. Allow the deep conditioner to penetrate your locks for three to five minutes. If you are unsure of how long you should leave the treatment in your hair, refer to the instructions on the label. Then, rinse the product out of your hair thoroughly before completing the rest of your styling routine.

If you’re in the market for a new deep conditioner, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites from the L’Oréal portfolio of products for every hair type.

If you have fine hair:

L’Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil Light Mask

If you’re worried a deep conditioner will weight down your fine strands, you’re in luck. The L’Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil Light Mask is blended with ginger essential oil and osmanthus extract to lightly nourish, detangle, and illuminate the look of hair. Hair looks smooth and shiny, with a lightweight finish.

L’Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil Light Mask, $41.00 MSRP

If you have thick hair:

Kérastase Nutritive Masquintense

Ladies with thick strands know how tricky it can be to find products heavy duty enough for your dense mane. Kérastase is here to save your rope-like strands with their Nutritive Masquintense deep conditioner. The exceptionally concentrated nourishing treatment provides lasting nutrition for dry, extremely sensitized, thick hair.

Kérastase Nutritive Masquintense, $53.00 MSRP

If you have dry hair:

Redken All Soft Mega Mask

If you have dry hair, chances are good you’re no stranger to deep conditioners. If your deep conditioner isn’t making your hair feel as soft as you like, we’ve got just the product for you. Add mega moisture and hydration to severely dry, coarse hair with the Redken All Soft Mega Mega Mask. Severely dry, coarse hair needs additional help to retain moisture and hydration. This dual formula combines the deep conditioning of a mask with the lasting benefits of a care extender. The mask provides nourishment for mega soft hair that lasts through three washes.

Redken All Soft Mega Mask, $29.00 MSRP

If you have damaged hair:

Shu Uemura Ultimate Reset Hair Mask

Damage can strike at any moment. From a botched dye job to a scorching hot flat iron, sometimes it feels like you’re just one misstep from irreversibly damaging your strands. Lucky for you, Shu Uemura created a deep conditioner for even the most damaged manes.

Shu Uemura’s Ultimate Reset Hair Mask is infused with Japanese-sourced rice extract renowned for its protecting virtues, to help deeply repair the fiber from root to tip while protecting hair against breakage. Hair is reset and embellished: Hair feels soft, strengthened, manageable, and shines in all its natural beauty.

Shu Uemura Ultimate Reset Hair Mask, $68.00 MSRP

If you have textured hair:

Mizani True Textures Moroccan Clay Steam Mask

Textured hair is notoriously difficult to manage but with the right deep conditioner, your hair can go from unruly to flawless in five minutes flat. Mizani’s True Textures Moroccan Clay Steam Mask is an intensive treatment that deeply conditions and defines texture. Formulated with a blend of natural oils and Moroccan lava clay, the mask leaves hair feeling clean, nourished and defined. Use with steam to enhance softness, shine, and bounce-back curls, while helping to reduce frizz.

Mizani True Textures Moroccan Clay Steam Mask, $30.00 MSRP


If you have color treated-hair:

Pureology Color Fanatic Instant Deep Conditioning Mask

Whether you’ve been coloring your hair since high-school or just took the plunge and dyed your hair last week, your color-treated strands can benefit from a deep conditioner. Pureology’s Color Fanatic Instant Deep Conditioning Mask is a rich deep conditioning formulated with camelina oil and the exclusive AntiFadeComplex treatment for normal to thick color-treated hair. The mask instantly detangles and helps fortify, moisturize, and discipline, while delivering 21 essential benefits.

Pureology Color Fanatic Instant Deep Conditioning Mask, $45.00 MSRP

Interested in more information about the right hair products for you? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

You may also like: How To Use Conditioner The Right Way: A Step-By-Step Guide

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