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If you have thick wavy, curly, or coily hair, then you know that great hair starts with a quality wash day routine. While shampooing and regular conditioning are a good start, trust us when we tell you that subbing in a deep conditioner regularly can help natural hair reach its full potential. The best deep conditioners make it easier to manage hair, offer increased elasticity, and an improved overall look, feel, and texture.
“Natural hair is always prone to dryness and breakage, so I would suggest deep conditioning weekly if you can get into the routine of it,” suggests Kendra Watson of Natural Sisters Salon. “If that’s too much for you, then aim for a biweekly session to get your healthiest hair.”
Meet the Expert
- Kendra Wason of Natural Sisters Salon in New York City. They create handmade beauty and wellness products and test them right in their salon.
- Ashley Lee, an NYC-based hairstylist, texture expert, and color connoisseur.
- Caaliyah Greer, an influencer who takes to YouTube to explain curly hair, and owner of Goddess Curls.
Ready to define your curls and give your natural hair the extra TLC that it needs? Keep scrolling for our picks of the best deep conditioners for natural hair, including favorites from influencers with an array of curl patterns and textures (yes, we asked them!).
Best Overall: Camille Rose Naturals Algae Renew Deep Conditioning Mask
Contains 65 vitamins
Including biotin to promote growth
Could have more slip
The Camille Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioner is packed with 65 vitamins to give you stronger hair to retain length. Biotin extracted from algae is paired with cocoa and mango butter to stimulate growth and promote soft, manageable hair. You’ll especially love the ingredient list full of names that you can say 10 times fast and (more importantly) trust.
Key Ingredients: Blue-green algae, mango butter | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Budget: Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner
Could be better at detangling
Whether you wear your hair straight or curly, the Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner will bring your dull hair back to life in just three minutes. Year after year, this product receives praise for leaving users with shiny, moisturized hair in no time flat and without breaking the bank.
Key Ingredients: Jojoba seed oil, avocado oil | Size: 8 or 16 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Drugstore: Mielle Organics Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner
Made with certified organic ingredients
Could have more slip
Mielle Organics is an organic hair care line that is made with ingredients you know and love. The Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner has become a fan favorite for its quick-penetrating formula and drugstore-friendly price point. Even those with low-porosity hair rave that the babassu oil helps to smooth brittle ends and reduce breakage.
“It is a protein and replenishes moisture, so it makes my hair super soft while also strengthening it during the colder months—which can dry out my hair,” influencer Caaliyah Greer says.
Key Ingredients: Babuso oil, rosemary extract, peppermint oil | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Value: Eden Bodyworks Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner
This fan-favorite deep conditioner has a reputation for bringing thick, damaged hair back to life. Formulated with nourishing coconut oil, jojoba oil, and Monoi oil, reviewers say that it helps hair feel stronger, softer, and more manageable. Plus, you get 16 ounces of conditioner for just 10 bucks, making it a great value.
Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, jojoba oil, tea tree oil | Size: 16 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Scalp Health: Mizani Scalp Care Deep Conditioner
Not ideal for fine hair
For those with an itchy, irritated scalp—relief is finally here! This soothing deep conditioner was specifically formulated to soothe itchy, red, flaking scalps for a clear and dandruff-free ‘do. NYC-based hairstylist Ashley Lee says, “I love how it makes my hair feel even though it’s also designed for a healthy scalp. The aloe vera and avocado oil make it intensely moisturizing for the hair and scalp, so I love everything about it.”
Key Ingredients: Aloe vera, avocado oil | Size: 16.9 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Frizzy Hair: CURLS Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Mask
Not ideal for fine hair
The Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Mask works exceptionally well for frizzy curls. With blueberry extract, aloe leaf juice, and chamomile extract, you bet this product smells amazing, and—better yet—it's clinically proven to restore and repair your curls. Your hair will feel soft and easier to detangle, resulting in curls that are more defined.
Key Ingredients: Certified organic blueberry extract, aloe leaf juice, and chamomile extract | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
For best results, consider the entire Curls Blueberry Bliss product collection, including the Curls Blueberry Bliss Hair Wash and Curls Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly.
Best for Split Ends: Coco & Eve Like A Virgin Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Masque
Great for all hair types
People of all hair textures are raving about this hair mask. The coconut and fig formula transforms hair, leaving it shiny and hydrated. Users say that this product gives them instant results, including taming frizz, treating split ends, and improving texture. Best of all, this mask comes with a complimentary detangling brush to help prevent hair breakage.
Key Ingredients: Raw virgin coconuts, fig, and shea butter | Size: 7.2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for 4C Hair: As I Am Hydration Elation
Promotes scalp health
Could have more slip
Beautiful kinky coils are often prone to breakage, and that’s why you’ll need a conditioner that strengthens as it moisturizes, like As I Am Hydration Elation. This deep-down treatment promotes healthy hair growth from the follicular level and repairs weak hair, leaving curls more manageable and noticeably stronger.
Key Ingredients: Coconut, sugar cane, green tea | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
It's recommended to leave this creamy conditioner on for 15 to 30 minutes while wearing a plastic cap. Allow the product to penetrate under a hooded dryer for an even deeper treatment.
Best Protein-Free Treatment: Curlsmith Double Cream Deep Quencher
Not ideal for fine hair
When your dry curly hair needs an intense pick-me-up, reach for this ultra-rich deep conditioner. It has a thick, buttery texture that delivers the moisture you need without weighing your hair down. It’s best for those with medium to coarse thickness, plus it’s protein-free, so you can use it frequently. Just leave it on for 15 to 30 minutes once a week and watch the moisture magic happen.
Key Ingredients: Sunflower oil, apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, shea butter, avocado oil | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Protein-Moisture Balance: Curls Dynasty Pumpkin Mint Deep Treatment Masque
When your hair needs a little TLC, this restorative treatment masque is the way to go. It’s formulated to deeply penetrate your hair with all-natural vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants for healthier and stronger hair. Enjoy the intense moisture and lightweight feel.
Key Ingredients: Aloe juice, blood orange extract, pumpkin extract | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Curl Definition: The Doux That's Deep 5-Minute Deep Conditioner
Helps with detangling
This deep conditioner treats your scalp and your thirsty hair in just five minutes. The stimulating formula promotes the secretion of natural oils from your scalp and softens hair to reduce frizz. Plus, it’s enriched with honey and green tea to promote easy detangling, resulting in less breakage and more length retention. It’s the ultimate combo for a healthy scalp and enhanced curl definition.
Key Ingredients: Honey, green tea, mint extract | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Dry Hair: Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Hair Masque
Hello, hydration! This moisturizing treatment infuses hair with a powerful dose of nutrients and moisture to bring dry hair back to life. It fortifies follicles for stronger, healthier, less frizzy hair. It’s also infused with antioxidant-rich vitamin C and mafura oil, which work to protect hair from future damage.
Key Ingredients: Manuka honey, mafura oil, fig extract | Size: 12 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Strengthening Treatment: Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Strengthening Hair Masque
Promotes scalp health
Not ideal for fine hair
Mielle makes our list once again for this creamy, rich deep conditioner works wonders on weak, brittle hair. It’s infused with rosemary, mint, and biotin to stimulate the scalp and promote healthy growth while penetrating deep into the shaft with honey and coconut oil to strengthen and soften.
Key Ingredients: Rosemary, sunflower seed oil, biotin | Size: 12 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
For frizzy hair that needs a reparative treatment, we recommend the Camille Rose Naturals Algae Renew Deep Conditioning Mask or the CURLS Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Mask. Conditioning in a time crunch? The budget-friendly Aussie 3-Minute Miracle is always a safe bet for shiny, moisturized hair. To deeply penetrate the hair with moisture without weighing it down, try the Curls Dynasty Pumpkin Mint Deep Treatment Masque.
What to Look for When Buying a Deep Conditioner
Ashley Lee recommends starting with your hair’s needs. She says, “Finding the perfect deep conditioner requires analysis of your hair. Do you need moisture? Is your hair damaged? Color-treated? You want to find a deep conditioner that directly addresses your hair needs.” If your hair is color-treated, highly porous, or damaged from heat or other processing, you might need a deep conditioner with protein to strengthen your hair and bring it back to life. However, if your hair feels stiff or rigid, avoid protein and go for something that’s going to pack on the moisture.
Kendra Watson says, “The biggest thing you want to consider is moisture. To do that, you want to make sure the ingredients are organic, without parabens, or anything unnatural. Tea Tree oil is a great ingredient to look out for. It’s ideal for hair growth because it stimulates your scalp and helps fight bad bacteria and fungus to keep your hair growing. That’s why our Tea Tree & Rosemary Deep Conditioner is my all-time favorite. It promotes a healthy scalp and strong, elastic strands, which are the keys to healthy hair.”
Emollients and Humectants
If you’ve ever heard a conditioner praised for having “good slip,” it's referring to these two qualities. Emollients spread evenly and penetrate the hair to reduce moisture loss (think coconut, argan, avocado, and olive oils). Humectants are sealants that coat cuticles to reduce frizz and promote shine (like honey, shea butter, aloe vera, and vitamin B5). These ingredients are key for hair that is hydrated and manageable, plus they make the detangling process so much easier so you can avoid knots and breakage. “In terms of consistency, thickness is not always the key,” says Ashley Lee, “but something that has good spreadability and also can be absorbed into your hair is important.”
How do you use deep conditioners for natural hair?
Textured hair expert Ashlee Lee says, “Deep Conditioners are to be used directly after your last shampoo on towel-dried hair. Most deep conditioners can be left on the hair anywhere from five to 30 minutes, but it is best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which are normally listed on the back of every product.”
Why is deep conditioning important?
“Deep conditioning is truly on a case by case basis,” says Ashley Lee. “It’s more important to respond to what your hair needs versus just having a frequency that you’re aiming for. Everyone’s hair needs are different, and weather/environment are variables that affect changes in our hair. Deep conditioners are important because they replenish what may be lost in our hair. It’s important to lock those ingredients that products provide into our hair so that it can thrive and flourish.”
Do deep conditioners expire?
Ashley Lee recommends making a note of when you first purchased your product because “all products have a shelf life. Most commonly, conditioners last between 12 and 24 months.”
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Kindra Moné has seven years of experience as a style and beauty writer with first-hand experience in natural hair. She has personally reviewed: Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner, The Doux THAT’S DEEP 5-Minute Deep Conditioner, Coco & Eve Like A Virgin Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Masque, Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Hair Masque, and the Curls Dynasty Pumpkin Mint Deep Treatment Masque, which is her current favorite.
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