Healthy, shiny, bouncy, hair is the goal, right? However, “the effects of daily sun damage and the use of hot tools can cause dry, dull hair,” explains celebrity hairstylist Christopher Naselli. Good news for damaged hair: there are plenty of efficacious deep conditioners available at drugstore prices.
The trick is to find the right formula—one that’s replete with proteins to rebuild tresses, as well as humectants and hydrating ingredients that can reinvigorate the effects of damage and give hair a deep conditioning treatment needed for repair.
We conducted hours of research on the best deep conditioners for all hair types, evaluating different brands on their active ingredients, hydrating power, and results. After considering dozens of formulas and consulting with a textured hair expert, as well as two celebrity stylists, we landed on the following best in show.
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner
A little goes a long way
Aussie's super affordable deep conditioner has racked up a cult following as one of the best deep conditioners around. The product has thousands of positive reviews, with users commenting on its ability to lessen frizz and hydrate dry ends.
Hair Type: Dry | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
Hask Keratin Protein Smoothing Deep Conditioner Packette
Helps detangle hair
Takes time to sink in
With added keratin in the formula to help strengthen brittle hair, this deep conditioner by Hask has plenty of reviews raving about its effectiveness— it’s a great affordable option for whenever your hair needs an extra boost. The mask takes 10 minutes to settle in, so use this treatment when you really have time to nourish your strands.
Hair Type: Dry, damaged | Size: 1.8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Damaged Hair
L’Oréal Elvive Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm
Rich and creamy
A little heavy for fine hair
Infused with almond, protein, and ceramides, this unique deep-conditioning balm helps repair hair damage. It targets the five signs of damage—split ends, weakness, roughness, dullness, and dehydration—and is lightweight enough to be used daily for silky, smooth, and revitalized hair.
Hair Type: Dry, damaged | Size: 8.5 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
Best for Thick Hair
Mixed Chicks Detangling Deep Conditioner
Tamps down frizz
When it comes to thicker hair, Rugetti recommends thicker formulas that can coat all of the hair from root to tip in order to fully lock in moisture. This deep conditioner from Mixed Chicks does just that, working as a detangler and restorative treatment for dry, brittle hair. This formula specifically targets curly and coarse hair types, taming frizz and repairing damage from dyeing or bleaching.
Hair Type: Curly | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Curly Hair
Curl Theory Super Deep Conditioner
Leaves hair feeling soft
Created with curly textures in mind, this deep conditioner from Curl Theory penetrates deep into your hair. The formula includes ingredients like shea butter and jojoba oil, which helps to revive dry, brittle strands while boosting moisture and elasticity. Plus, the cruelty-free blend is free of silicones, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
Hair Type: Curly | Size: 12 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Natural Textures
Mielle Organics Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner
Not ideal for daily use
This strengthening deep conditioner is formulated with natural lipids and helps locks moisture into the hair shaft. The result: healthy, soft, and frizz-free hair that shines like no other. The formula is lightweight enough to be used daily by all hair types, but it’s specifically formulated to help restore moisture to dry and damaged natural textures.
Hair Type: Damaged | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best With Keratin
It's A 10 Miracle Deep Conditioner Plus Keratin
Keeps hair smooth in high humidity
When it comes to repairing weak and damaged hair, at-home keratin treatments deliver pretty unparalleled results. We love this deep conditioner mask which, thanks to this superstar ingredient, claims to restore the hair in ten minutes or less. The restructuring treatment smooths out the hair cuticle while lending a protective coating that resists heat, humidity, split ends, and sun damage.
Hair Type: Dry | Size: 5 / 17.5 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Chemically Treated Hair
Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask
Rich, creamy texture
Could be more hydrating
Chemical treatments can leave the hair damaged and brittle, and this plant-based deep conditioner mask works wonders on those with color, keratin, and Brazilian-treated hair. The rich, creamy formula, made with argan oil and plant protein, helps nourish and soften while increasing the hair’s strength and elasticity. Bonus? It has the most incredible floral scent.
Hair Type: Color-treated | Size: 16.9 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Blondes
Garnier Nutrisse Color Reviver 5 Minute Nourishing Color Hair Mask in Cool Blonde
Boosts color and shine
Contains mineral oil
Blondes know that brassiness can leave the hair looking dull and bland, which is why we love this color-depositing conditioning mask from Garnier Nutrisse. Enriched with avocado oil, the formula helps restore softness, shine, and smoothness while its cooling pigments refresh your color, making brassiness a thing of the past.
Hair Type: Dry | Size: 4.2 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
L'Oréal Paris EverCreme Deep Nourish Conditioner
Contains mineral oil
L'Oréal's Deep Nourish Conditioner is one of the best-reviewed drugstore deep conditioners out there. Users repeatedly comment on its ability to nourish hair without being too heavy. To top it off, this product is vegan and cruelty-free, and it doesn't contain sulfates.
Hair Type: Dry | Size: 8.5 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
Best for Fine Hair
OGX Thick and Full Biotin + Collagen Conditioner
Contains biotin and collagen to support hair health
Ingredients can build up over time
This formula contains biotin and collagen, both of which will help support your strands so that they are stronger and healthier. The formula also provides nourishment to help your hair grow faster. A big bonus is that it has notes of bergamot, jasmine and vanilla – so it smells like a dream.
Key Ingredients: Biotin, collagen | Free of: Silicones, sulfates | Size: 13 fluid ounces | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
All About Curls Divine Treatment
Contains biotin and collagen
It’s best when used overnight
While this mask works its magic best when it’s left in overnight, it is one of Gutterman’s favorites. “I always recommend my clients to sleep with a Mask in the hair,” says Gutterman. “I’m currently using the Divine Treatment hair mask by All About Curls and what I like to do is style my hair in a sleek low bun and put a mask on my ends! Nobody will know you’re masking while living your best life.”
Key Ingredients: Shea butter, coconut oil | Free of: Sulfates and parabens | Size: 8 fluid ounces | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Dry Hair
Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Moisturizing Conditioner
Great for damaged hair
Can be too thick for daily use
The texture alone perfectly communicates the rich nature of this conditioner. It’s especially great for coily hair and hair that has been color-treated or damaged. Ingredients like shea butter work to nourish the strands and moisturize the scalp, while argan oil works to make sure those nutrients stay put.
Key Ingredients: Shea butter, argan oil, sea kelp | Free of: Sulfates and parabens | Size: 16 fluid ounces | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Breakage
Native Vegan Hair Deep Conditioner
Gentle but effective
Shea butter helps mend split ends
Natural oils moisturize without weighing hair down
This product is made with 10 ingredients or less, which means that each ingredient serves a purpose. It also means that it’s formulated without any ingredients that can damage your hair, so it’s an especially great choice for those with breakage or split ends. It’s also packed with shea butter and plant oils that will provide your hair with nutrients and moisture.
Key Ingredients: Shea butter, almond oil | Free of: Sulfates and parabens | Size: 6 fluid ounces | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Our best overall pick is the iconic Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Conditioner, a cult favorite that leaves hair soft and silky. If your hair is extra dry, consider Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Conditioner, which contains natural oils to lock in moisture without weighing hair down.
Meet the Expert
- Sophie Gutterman is a celebrity stylist in Los Angeles who specializes in textured hair.
- Christopher Naselli is a celebrity hairstylist based in New York City whose work has been featured in top editorial publications around the world.
- Laura Rugetti is a hairstylist and the owner of The Beauty Can salon in Los Angeles. Her specialties include both color and extensions.
What to Look for in Drugstore Deep Conditioners
A Lightweight Finish
This is especially important if your hair builds up oil pretty quickly. Plant and nut oils like almond and jojoba are much thinner in texture, and tend to rinse out easily. These are great options for people looking for a way to add moisture without weighing their hair down. We love the Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Conditioner, which is packed with natural oils and humectants for a lightweight finish.
Thicker oils and butters, like olive and coconut oils and shea butter, are great hydrators. Not only are they thick, they sink into the hair follicles to moisturize a deeper level. Oils also work to hold the moisture into the strands so that the effects are lasting. Packed with coconut oil, the All About Curls Divine Treatment works great as a treatment mask because it’s a bit thicker.
Another important factor to keep in mind is the texture of the formula. The wrong texture has the potential to be totally ineffective or leave you an oily mess, depending on the thickness of your hair. That said, you'll want to shop smart. “Someone with thin and fine hair shouldn’t use a conditioner that will weigh down the hair or is too thick in texture, whereas someone with coarse hair should use a product that’s thick enough to coat all of the hair,” says Rugetti.
While this isn’t necessarily product specific, how you apply your deep conditioner will greatly affect the results—and how to do so varies greatly from person to person. “Application totally depends on hair texture,” says Rugetti. “For example, if your hair is oily and thin, I recommend only using it on the mid to ends of the hair, whereas if your hair is dry and coarse, I recommend applying it all over the head, from root to tip.”
How do you use a deep conditioner?
Apply a quarter size of deep conditioner to freshly washed, damp hair and comb through with a fine tooth comb. The length of time you leave the deep conditioner in your hair really depends on your preference—you can either rinse it out or leave it on overnight.
Is a hair mask the same as a deep conditioner?
No. Naselli explains that deep conditioners will make your hair smoother and softer, and should be considered more of a quick fix. “A hair mask is used as a reparative treatment for dry, damaged over processed hair that is in need of extra nourishment,” he says.
Can deep conditioner damage hair?
Since deep conditioners are packed with moisturizing ingredients, they can be too much for naturally oily hair types or if they’re not thoroughly rinsed out. “They can also cause your hair to become oily and appear greasy and can eventually clog the pores on the scalp and interfere with your natural biome,” says Naselli.
How often should you deep condition your hair?
You can use a deep conditioner a few times per week if your hair is especially dry. That said, if your hair tends to be oily, limit the use of deep conditioners to once per week.
Which is best: conditioner or hair mask?
Naselli and Gutterman love both for different concerns. “If you're looking for that daily instant fix then go for the deep conditioner,” says Naselli. That said, if your hair is super dry or damaged, they both recommend calling in a hair mask.
Should I leave the deep conditioner on my hair overnight?
Both Naselli and Gutterman recommend leaving conditioners or masks in overnight when your hair is experiencing excessive breakage or dryness. This is an especially good treatment if you’ve been using more heat tools than usual, or if your hair has been exposed to the sun.
How We Researched
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
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