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Home arrow Beauty arrow Hair arrow How to Deep Condition Hair: A Complete Guide to Revive Your Locks

How to Deep Condition Hair: A Complete Guide to Revive Your Locks

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: April 27, 2023
6 min read 786 Views 0 Comments
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If you’re constantly battling dry and brittle hair, it might be time to add a deep conditioning treatment to your haircare regimen. Learn how to deep condition at home for healthy hair strands with reduced frizz and breakage.

how to deep condition hair

Dry hair lacks elasticity and is more fragile and prone to breakage. Most of all, it lacks moisture, making retaining a healthy shine and texture impossible.

One way to restore moisture is with deep conditioning treatments. Applying the right restorative formula to the scalp and hair shaft helps nourish, strengthen, and protect it from damage.

Explore how to breathe life back into your hair with deep conditioning.

How to Deep Condition Your Hair the Right Way

You can deep condition your hair at home with a simple regimen. Doing it right means finding the most effective formula and applying it to damp or wet hair for the appropriate amount of time. It’s easy to deep condition properly after assessing your hair’s needs.

The best practices to get the most out of deep conditioning are to shampoo first, condition regularly but not too often, and rinse with cool water. You should also consider your hair type to ensure that your regimen is appropriate for your hair’s characteristics.

What Is Deep Conditioning?

Deep conditioning is the application of an intensive conditioning treatment to your hair. Deep conditioners are made with a higher concentration of ingredients than your daily, standard conditioner. They work to deeply penetrate the strands to restore your hair’s moisture levels.

A deep conditioner can produce more long-lasting results. While a regular conditioner is necessary for detangling and softening your hair after shampooing, it only treats the hair’s surface. A deep conditioner, however, works deeper, harder, and longer to deliver results.

Deep conditioners are usually left on the hair for 20–30 minutes. They are primarily designed for extremely dry hair or used before chemical treatment. However, almost all hair types can benefit from using a deep conditioning mask now and then to improve hair health.

Benefits of Deep Conditioning

Deep conditioning offers a ton of benefits. It does more than improve your hair’s visual appearance. It treats the hair from within to improve texture and protect hair structure.

Here are 5 things you can expect from regular deep conditioning.

#1 Moisturizes your hair

Deep conditioning is the ticket to restoring moisture to your locks. Deep conditioners contain some key ingredients, such as humectants, which draw water into the hair shaft, and emollients, which create a protective barrier to soften and smooth out your hair.

#2 Nourishes your hair

A deep conditioner provides intense nourishment, much more than your average conditioner. It works deep into the hair cuticle, delivering moisture and essential nutrients for better hair health. 

Vitamin D, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids are some important nutrients for hair as they add moisture, encourage blood circulation, and support hair growth. You can get these nutrients from common ingredients found in hair conditioners, like jojoba oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil.

#3 Improves shine and smoothness

After rinsing out the deep conditioner, you can expect instant smoothness and your hair to look and feel softer. The added moisture gives hair a natural shine – something you don’t get with dull and dry strands. That’s because fatty acids, such as those in coconut oil, smooth out the cuticle, allowing light to bounce off the surface.

#4 Reduces frizz

Deep conditioning is great for frizzy hair because moisture helps soothe frizz and flyaways. The leading cause of frizz is a lack of moisture in the hair, making deep conditioning a game-changer.

#5 Prevents breakage

Strengthening hair with deep conditioners is essential to prevent breakage. It helps to improve hair elasticity, which refers to how far a strand can be stretched before it returns to its original length. It does this by adding moisture from nourishing ingredients to give the hair more stretch. 

Poor elasticity can cause hair to become more brittle and fragile.

How to Use Deep Conditioner: Do’s and Don’ts

There are a few do’s and don’ts when deep conditioning your hair. Following these tips will ensure that you deep condition properly and get the best results from your haircare routine without calling a professional.

Here’s how to use a deep conditioner properly.

  • Do shampoo first: Cleansing your hair beforehand opens the hair cuticle, allowing your strands to soak up the treatment mask. You might skip the pre-shampoo if your hair and scalp are already clean, but you’ll still need to apply it to wet or damp hair.
  • Do make it a regular thing: You should aim to deep condition your hair regularly, just like regular conditioning when you wash your hair. Doing so will ensure your hair remains more manageable while preventing breakage and split ends. You can judge how often to deep condition based on your hair’s condition. You may need to use a treatment once a week if you have very dry or damaged hair, whereas a couple of times a month should suffice for generally healthy hair.
  • Do consider your hair type: It’s best to avoid deep conditioner on your roots if you have an oily scalp, as you’re already producing enough natural sebum (and moisture) in this area. Stick to the mid-length to the ends. Those with dry hair may benefit from application throughout the hair, including the roots, for a full-head hair mask.
  • Don’t over-condition: Over-conditioning can dry out the hair shaft and make it more vulnerable to breakage. It can also increase the risk of hygral fatigue, where repetitive swelling and deswelling damage the hair follicles. You should deep condition no more than twice per week to ensure you reap the benefits without overdoing it.
  • Don’t wash it off too soon: Rinsing too quickly won’t give it time to work – you should leave the formula for up to 30 minutes to work its magic.
  • Do rinse with cool water: Rinse your hair with cool or cold water to close the hair cuticle and seal the goodness into the hair.

Be mindful of the ingredients when purchasing store-bought deep conditioners. Some contain components and fragrances that might irritate a sensitive scalp. For example, nickel and fragrance are allergens associated with shampoos and conditioners that may cause allergic contact dermatitis

It can help to create your own remedies at home to ensure the ingredients are safe and suitable for your skin.

How to Make a Deep Conditioner at Home: DIY Recipes to Try

Homemade deep conditioners make excellent haircare remedies for a fraction of the cost. The best treatments contain hydrating ingredients, such as natural oils and fatty acids.

Below are two super simple DIY recipes for boosting your hair health.

#1 Eggs and olive oil


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Crack an egg, and separate the yolk from the egg whites.
  2. Mix the egg yolk and olive oil thoroughly.
  3. Apply to the hair and leave for at least 20 minutes before rinsing with cool water.

#2 Coconut oil and shea butter


  • ½ cup raw shea butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp argan oil


  1. Soften the shea butter to ensure easy application. Then, add the coconut and argan oils and mix thoroughly.
  2. Apply the mixture to your hair and leave it for 30–45 minutes. While waiting, you can cover your hair with a shower or plastic cap to retain moisture.


How long should you deep condition your hair?

A deep conditioner works best when you leave it long enough to do its job. Generally, 20–30 minutes is sufficient before washing with cool water.

Can you deep condition with a regular conditioner?

You can leave your regular conditioner in longer as a treatment, but it doesn’t have the same concentration of emollient and humectant ingredients as a deep conditioner. Therefore, it will not deliver the same long-lasting benefits.

Do you deep condition before or after the shampoo?

It’s best to deep condition after shampooing your hair. This opens up the hair cuticle and prepares your hair to devour the goodness that your deep conditioner brings.

How often can you deep condition your hair?

Most people can benefit from deep conditioning 2–3 times per month, but those with overly dry or damaged hair should deep condition once a week.

A Word From a Trichologist

Deep conditioning your hair is a primary way to revive your strands. They tend to have the most benefits for dry, brittle, or bleached hair that require more care to stay healthy. However, even those with strong hair can maintain good hair health with regular conditioning.

In between conditioning treatments, you can use other conditioning agents, like oils, to further nourish your hair. Oils add moisture, aid breakage prevention, reduce hair loss, and support healthy hair growth. Avocado oil, pumpkin seed oil, and castor oil are some good examples.


Regardless of hair type, everyone can benefit from using a deep conditioning treatment as part of their self-care regimen. These nourishing formulas keep your hair hydrated and protect it from damage and breakage.

We all have unique hair needs, so find a deep conditioning regimen that works for you. Color-treated, curly, and coily hair types tend to need deep conditioning the most because they are naturally more prone to dryness.

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Rosmy Barrios, MD, is a medical advisor for the Health Reporter, the head of the anti-aging department, and a regenerative medicine specialist in several medical institutions with years of experience in aesthetic medicine and cosmetology.
The article was fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
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Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: April 27, 2023
6 min read 786 Views 0 Comments

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