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Coloring, bleaching, processing, and heat styling can wreak havoc on your hair. A good deep conditioner can help restore damaged hair and replace vital hair nutrients. Key restorative ingredients to look for include proteins like keratin to rebuild and oils to smooth the shaft.
Byrdie Researched & Approved
We conducted hours of research on the best deep conditioners, and put one of the highest rated products out there to the test, evaluating how well it repaired and infused hydration back into our locks. We then combined these results with our own research and other top-ranking products to compile this list, rating each on active ingredients, formula finish, and targeted concerns. We also took into account a variety of different hair types and textures.
Ahead, find the best deep conditioners for nursing your hair back to health.
Best Overall: Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
Patented and proven technology to repair broken bonds for stronger hair
Strengthening and restorative blend of botanical oils add luster
Who else recommends it? Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, and Women's Health Mag all picked the Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner.
What do buyers say? 92% of 52,200+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
A favorite among hairstylists, Olaplex No. 5. was once only available as a salon treatment. The cult-loved brand is coveted for its breakthrough reparative technology that includes Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, a patented and proven ingredient to repair broken bonds for stronger hair. The formula also contains a blend of botanical oils to help add visible shine and luster to hair. This formula is a must for colored hair, and works particularly well on bleached hair, although anyone can benefit from using it.
Hair Type: Color-treated | Size: 8.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
"Olaplex saved my hair. Full stop. In my mid-20s, my hair texture went from healthy to extremely dry and brittle. I had been on a journey to grow it out past shoulder length, and it just wasn’t happening. So after a fellow beauty editor recommended it, I decided to try out this miracle product. After the first use, I could feel an immediate difference in my hair. It felt softer, moisturized, and even healthier. And after a few months of diligent application, I finally reached my hair length goals." — Madeline Hirsch, Sr. News Editor
Best Budget: Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner
Avocado and Australian jojoba oil add hydration
Suitable for daily use
When it comes to deep conditioners, Aussie 3 Minute Miracle is a classic, offering hydration and a silky-soft finish on all hair types with a botanical oil formula that's lightweight enough for daily use.
Hair Type: All | Size: 8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
"This product's title doesn't lie. It works miracles. My curls require intensely hydrating conditioners, and this one always leaves them looking healthier and thoroughly moisturized." — Olivia Hancock, Associate Editor
Best Drugstore: L’Oréal Elvive Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm
Almond oil and clinically backed protein-rich formula rebuilds hair
May leave a residue
L'Oreal's multi-use Elvive Total Repair 5 can be used as a co-wash, rinse-out mask, or leave-in treatment. This deep conditioner addresses split ends, brittle hair, and color damage with a blend of oils and proteins, while detangling hair and leaving it ultra-smooth and shiny. Plus, it protects against heat styling up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hair Type: Dry and color-damaged | Size: 8.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Splurge: Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Oil
Contains prickly pear oil for hydration
Contains plant ceramides to repair shafts
If you're willing to splurge on a high-end product that delivers salon-level results, consider Christophe Robin's Regenerating Mask with a blend of good-for-hair ingredients like plant ceramides and prickly pear oil.
Hair Type: Fine | Size: 8.3 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Reparative: Kérastase Résistance Masque Therapiste Hair Mask
Contains Pro-Keratine Complex to repair visible damage
Contains ceramides to smooth hair’s surface
If your hair is visibly damaged, Kérastase Resistance has your name on it. This deep conditioning mask is chock full of protein-rich ingredients including a Pro-Keratine Complex, a blend of protein and amino acids, including serine, arginine, and glutamic acid. Ceramides help mend breakage, smooth hair follicles, and fortify brittle hair.
Hair Type: Damaged | Size: 2.6 or 6.8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Hydrating: Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
Contains proprietary NOVA Complex® (natural oils, vitamins and antioxidants)
Award-winning formula is free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, and phthalates
May take weeks to notice a difference
Briogeo's take on deep conditioner is this transformative, ultra-hydrating mask with clinical backing behind it. We love that the formula strengthens, deeply hydrates, and protects straight, wavy, curly and coily from future damage.
Hair Type: Dry | Size: 8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Softening: Bread Beauty Supply Hair-Mask Creamy Deep Conditioner
Australian Kakadu plum supports collagen and elastin levels in scalp
Starflower oil softens and strengthens hair
May leave a residue
Bread Hair-Mask was formulated with coily, curly, and wavy textures in mind, but all hair types can reap the benefits of this extra-creamy deep conditioner that contains a blend of nutrient-rich oils. The notably lightweight yet ultra-velvety emulsion pulls out all the stops to soften, strengthen, and moisturize your hair.
Hair Type: Curly | Size: 12 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Natural Hair: Pattern Beauty Intensive Conditioner
Avocado Oil, shea butter, safflower oil coat strands to repair and soften
Restores natural patterns
Nourishing for low porosity hair
Formulated to restore natural curl patterns and tight textures, Pattern Intensive Conditioner is jam-packed with nourishing, hydrating ingredients that define, revive, and protect. This award-winning formula of botanical oils coats to strengthen and define, while also preventing future damage.
Hair Type: Curly | Size: 13 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Curly Hair: Curls Dynasty Pumpkin Mint Deep Treatment Masque
Antioxidant-rich formula adds moisture
Pumpkin and mint extracts promote hair growth
Adds definition to coils and curls
May be too heavy for fine hair
Curls Dynasty makes an indulgent creamy pumpkin-infused mask that's packed with a clean, antioxidant-rich formula that not only fortifies and rebuilds hair shafts, but also promotes new growth. We love that this formula infuses and restores moisture at the cuticle level.
Hair Type: Curly | Size: 8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Fine Hair: Kevin Murphy Body Mass Leave-In Plumping Conditioner
Lightweight enough to be used on scalp
Oleanolic acid helps support growth and thickening
Kevin Murphy Body Mass for thinner hair is a lightweight formula that can be used on the scalp and shaft, and is formulated with oleanolic acid to helps support hair growth and thickening, while leaving hair soft and with increased volume.
Hair Type: Fine | Size: 3.4 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Bleached Hair: Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Purple Intense Repair Hair Mask
Mango butter extract, borage oil, and shea butter nourish bleached hair
Minimizes brassy tones with ultraviolet pigments
If you have balayage, highlights, ombre, full-on platinum dye job, Bust Your Brass moisturizes chemically lightened hair and delivers noticeably brighter hair while neutralizing any brassy, orange hues. A clinically backed study supports reduced breakage with continued use. Some reviewers note that if you leave the treatment on too long, the formula can turn hair purple, depending on porosity, so be sure to monitor appropriately.
Hair Type: Color-treated | Size: 8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Mask: Camille Rose Naturals Algae Renew Deep Conditioning Mask
Botanical blue-green algae helps stop breakage, shedding, and thinning
Mango butter adds moisture
Works on wet or dry hair
May be too heavy for fine hair
This brilliant mask from Camille Rose deeply conditions and hydrates tired hair. It's a go-to for curly and natural hair, but the softening, stimulating recipe is versatile enough to give anyone a moisture boost. We also love that you can use this botanical formula on wet or dry hair to support natural growth.
Hair Type: Curly, natural | Size: 8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Leave-In: CHI Keratin Leave-In Conditioner
Contains keratin to repair and rebuild
Suitable for daily use
CHI Keratin Leave-In Conditioner is an everyday no-rinse option that boasts a keratin-infused blend to repair the hair cuticle, improve elasticity, and protect against future breakage.
Hair Type: All | Size: 6 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
LolaVie Glossing Detangler
Vegan thermal shield protects hair from heat styling
Vegetable ceramides nourish and smooth hair
Adds high gloss shine to thin or fine hair
Jennifer Aniston's haircare line, Lolavie is not only clean and botanically rich, it's designed to garner excellent results. We love the Glossing Detangler, a Byrdie Eco Beauty Award Winner, to gently detangle hair without breaking it and protect and nourish during heat styling. Lemon extract, chia seeds, and vegan ceramides make this leave-in spray formula a powerful conditioner that's lightweight enough to use as daily as a detangler for a high-gloss effect.
Hair Type: All | Size: 5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Drugstore: Pantene Pro-V Overnight Restoring Serum
Free of sulfates, parabens, dyes, and mineral oil
Castor oil smooths hair and supports growth
A drugstore favorite, the Pantene Pro-V Overnight Restoring Serum is has a color-safe formula that is safe for chemically treated hair and is designed to work while you sleep. The active ingredient is castor oil from seeds of the Ricinus Communis plant, which helps smooth the hair cuticle and leave hair softer with added sheen.
Hair Type: All | Size: 3.2 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Our best overall pick is, Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, which contains a patented bonding ingredient to repair and revive even the most damaged, brittle, processed hair. For a more affordable pick, consider the classic jojoba and avocado oil-infused 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner.
Meet the Expert
What to Look For in a Deep Conditioner
In addition to deeply moisturizing the hair, hairstylist and artistic director at Matrix Michelle O’Connor recommends reaching for a product that also has strengthening properties. She explains that lackluster hair in need of repair is usually experiencing some degree of breakage, so it needs to get the strength it needs from proteins and oils. Keratin and oils like argan oil are two great examples of ingredients to keep an eye out for.
A Concentrated Formula
O’Connor also recommends looking for products with a concentrated formula since they tend to better penetrate the hair shaft. “When the penetration ability is heightened, the deep conditioner fills in the gaps and nicks that are present in the surface of hair that’s damaged,” she says. This will lead to hair that's smoother, shinier, and stronger.
A Lightweight Finish
While you'll want your deep conditioner to truly nourish the hair, you also don’t want it to leave it oily or weighed down. Look for formulas that will ramp up hydration while still providing a lightweight finish sans any heavy or sticky residue.
Can you use a deep conditioner with regular conditioner?
According to O’Connor, if your hair is very damaged, you can (and should) still use both. She recommends applying your traditional conditioner as you normally would followed by a deep conditioner as an extra reparative measure.
How long should you leave deep conditioner in your hair?
How long you’ll need to keep your deep conditioner on will vary from product to product, so be sure to read through any directions on the packaging thoroughly. However, O’Connor mentions that leaving a deep conditioner on for longer than recommended won’t harm your hair. “In fact, many people with curls and coils love to add time and elements of steam and heat to further enhance penetration,” she says. “This is especially key when you have low porosity hair.”
Are deep conditioners suited to all hair types?
Why Trust Byrdie
Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer specializing in beauty. For this roundup, she considered dozens of deep conditioning treatments, evaluating each on active ingredients, formula finish, and targeted concerns. She took into account different hair types and textures, sourcing top-rated products for each. Additional input was provided by celebrity hairstylists, Sally Hershberger, and Michelle O’Connor, the Artistic Director at Matrix.
Basit A, Asghar F, Sadaf S, Akhtar MW. Health improvement of human hair and their reshaping using recombinant keratin K31. Biotechnol Rep (Amst). 2018;20:e00288. doi:10.1016/j.btre.2018.e00288
The 21 best deep conditioners your hair needs right now. Harper's Bazaar. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/hair/g26343581/best-deep-conditioners
15 best deep conditioners for every single hair type. Cosmopolitan. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/g28313157/best-deep-conditioner
13 best deep conditioners for reviving dry, brittle hair, according to stylists. Women's Health Mag. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/g29430886/best-deep-conditioners