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13 Best Deep Conditioners for Every Single Hair Type (Yup, Even Yours)

If you’re here right now, I’m willing to bet you just got incredibly fed up with your hair, and you’re now frantically searching for a hair-restoring, life-changing deep conditioner that’ll fix all of your split ends, damage, dryness, frizz, poofiness, and general blahness overnight. But here’s a v important fact: Using the wrong deep conditioner can actually make your hair issues significantly worse. I know; I’m sorry, but it’s the truth, and nobody talks about it enough.

Some deep conditioners are meant to purely moisturize, and some are meant to repair and strengthen—but unless you’re absolutely positive of which one your hair needs (more on that below), you run the risk of adding fuel to the damage fire, like I once did with my own curly hair. But don’t worry—I gotchu, and I’ve helped many a friend find the best deep conditioner for their hair issues, whether they’re working with color-treated 4c hair, or ultra-fine, stick-straight hair.

So before you just blindly reach for a jar, please be sure of what you need first, starting with:

What are the best deep conditioners for damaged hair?

The best deep conditioner or conditioning mask for damaged, brittle, broken hair is going to be one that’s got a ton of moisture, and a bit of protein. Proteins help seal the holes in your damaged hair cuticle and give it strength and structure. “When you damage your hair with chemicals, heat, chlorine, or chemical treatments, you need to replace some of the protein that is lost,” says Gretchen Friese, BosleyMD-certified trichologist.

Usually, if your deep conditioner has any anti-breakage or tough-stuff lingo on the label (Strengthens! Restores! Repairs!), you can bet it’s packed with proteins. And, tbh, most deep conditioners are. But—here’s the super important part—too much protein will make your damage and breakage way, way worse. Why? Because when you use anti-breakage products 24/7, protein quickly builds up on your hair strand to the point of drying it out and breaking it off, which brings us to…

How do you pick the right deep conditioner?

Most people think they need a ton protein to fix their hair issues, when they actually need more moisture,” says trichologist and curly hair expert Audrey Sivasothy. Think: you, chugging a third iced coffee when your body is begging for water. So you need to figure out what your hair trying to tell you. Like, has your hair recently been bleached, or chemically treated, or subjected to 24/7 blowouts, flat irons, or curling irons? Then you could probably use a (once-monthly!) protein-packed deep conditioner to repair some damage.

But if you use heat tools sparingly, you rarely highlight or bleach your hair, and yet your hair is still feeling dry, puffy, frizzy, or damaged, you should start with moisture-heavy deep conditioners, like a weekly protein-free formula, or a bi-weekly low-protein formula (options for both below), and then see how your hair feels after six weeks (note: This is going to be especially true for anyone with curly or natural hair).

Does a deep conditioner need to be “designed” for my straight/wavy/curly/coily hair?

Don’t get hung up on whether or not a deep conditioner specifically says it’s for “wavy hair” or “curly hair” or whatever hair. Why? Because your dry, thick, straight hair may need a ton of butters and oils to stay happy, while my thin curly hair just needs a touch of moisture to stay happy. That being said, if your hair is super fine and prone to grease, maybe skip the deep conditioner that has seven types of oils in it, you know?

The bottom line:

Don’t stress too much. When in doubt, load on the deep conditioners filled with moisture and oils first, then spot-treat with repairing/restoring/anti-breakage formulas later. In my cabinet, I’ve got a rotation of both formulas depending on what my hair needs, so don’t be afraid to stock up and experiment. Now, keep reading to find the 13 best deep conditioners of 2021, below.

1

Best Protein-Free Conditioning Mask

Briogeo Curl Charisma Hydrating & Defining Hair Mask

✨ PROTEIN-FREE ✨

This protein-free deep-conditioning mask uses a mix of shea butter and hair oils (like, a lotta hair oils: castor, avocado, chia, linseed, and sweet almond oils) to deeply moisture your dry, curly or coily hair without causing build-up. Rake it through your damp hair in sections, let it sit for 10-20 minutes, then rinse and repeat weekly or bi-weekly.

2

Best Deep Conditioner for Damaged 4C Hair

Mielle Organics Babassu & Mint Deep Conditioner

MEDIUM PROTEIN 

This deep-conditioner has max moisture and medium-level protein (thanks to its mix of amino acids in the formula), making it a perfect monthly or bi-monthly deep conditioner for ultra-dry, damaged hair (like any color-treated type-4 hair types). Aside from the proteins, this conditioner is also packed with plant oils, like babassu, spearmint, peppermint, and sunflower, to help lock in hydration long after you rinse it out.

3

Best Deep Conditioner for Fine Hair

Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner

PROTEIN-FREE 

PSA: Thin, fine hair can also benefit from a monthly deep conditioning treatment, especially if you’ve spent a summer in salty/chlorinated water, or a winter in dry-as-hell temps. If you’re worried about grease, reach for this lightweight, protein-free deep conditioner that uses silicones and safflower seed oil to make your hair feel silky-smooth and ultra shiny—not weighed down.

4

Best Deep Conditioner for Curly Girl Method

Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment

✨ PROTEIN-FREE ✨

If you’re following the Curly Girl Method (CGM)—aka the v popular method of taking care of your curly hair—meet your new moisturizing BFF. This protein-free deep conditioner is free of silicones, alcohols, and waxes (so it won’t build up on your curls),  but still manages to hardcore moisturize shea butter, cocoa butter, and avocado oil. Let it sit on your damp hair for up to an hour, then rinse and repeat weekly or as needed.

5

Best Deep Conditioner for Brittle, Broken Hair

It’s A 10 Miracle Deep Conditioner

HIGH PROTEIN 

If you just got a head full of highlights, or went bleach-blonde, or relaxed your hair, you can guarantee that it needs a bunch of TLC right now—including a big dose of healing proteins. Enter: this deep conditioner, which uses a combo of glycerin and aloe leaf juice to lightly hydrate hair, along with a hefty shot of keratin amino acids and hydrolyzed keratin to strengthen. Use this one every 3 to 4 weeks, along with a weekly (!) moisture-only mask from this list. 

6

Best Toning Deep Conditioner for Blonde Hair

Amika Bust Your Brass Hair Mask

MEDIUM PROTEIN 

This deep-conditioning mask deserves a billion gold stars for its ability to keep blonde hair bright and fresh. The formula is spiked with purple pigments that help neutralize brassy orange tones on blonde and silver hair, while its mango and shea butters keep strands soft and moisturized. It does have some protein, though, so make sure to alternate with a protein-free deep conditioner to keep your moisture balance in check.

7

Best Deep Conditioner for All Dry Hair Types

The Mane Choice POW! Mask

PROTEIN-FREE 

This deep-conditioning mask is the ultimate fix for dry, undefined, angry hair. It’s formulated with hair-loving oils (hi, coconut, sunflower, evening primrose) that help seal moisture into dry hair to keep it hydrated. To get the best smoothing benefits, rake the conditioner throughout your damp hair, throw on a plastic cap, and sit under a hooded dryer. After 15-20 minutes, rinse and live your best (hair) life.

8

Best Deep Conditioner for Fine, Damaged Hair

Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner

LOW PROTEIN ✨

This bond-repairing deep conditioner uses a patented, tongue-twisting ingredient called bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate to reconnect broken hair bonds caused by excessive hair coloring and chemical treatments. And, surprisingly, it’s low in both proteins and moisture, making it perfect for damaged hair that’s also fine, thin, and easily weighed down. Use it once a week, in conjunction with another moisturizing deep conditioner on this list for added hydration.

9

Best Deep Conditioner for Frizz

Redken Frizz Dismiss Hair Mask

PROTEIN-FREE ✨

If your ultimate dream hair is sleek, smooth, and totally frizz free (hi, me after blowing-out my curly hair), try loading up on this weekly conditioning mask that uses a touch of lightweight babassu oil and shine-enhancing silicones to softly moisturize hair while cutting down on flyaways and frizz caused by humidity. 

10

Best Deep Conditioner for Bleached Hair

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

HIGH PROTEIN 

We’ve got all the MVP proteins in this deep conditioner: hydrolyzed corn, wheat, and soy proteins, all of which work together to fill in the damaged gaps of your hair cuticles, giving them strength and structure (which is especially important after bleaching or chemically treating your hair). Once a month, post-shampoo, comb or rake a blob of this mask from roots to tips, leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse and follow with your usual conditioner.

11

Best Drugstore Deep Conditioner

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner

LOW PROTEIN 

This drugstore deep conditioner is 99 percent moisture, 1 percent protein (that’s how hair math works, right?), making it a great weekly or bi-weekly deep conditioner for dry hair on a budget. Just smooth it through damp hair and wait three minutes for the avocado and jojoba oils to work their magic. You’ll be left with extra-smooth and soft hair, fast.

12

Best Silicone-Free Deep Conditioner

Davines The Renaissance Circle

PROTEIN-FREE 

Finding a deep conditioner that’s free of silicones and proteins, and also happens to look v cute sitting in your shower? I mean, basically impossible—until Davines did it. This deep conditioner uses a rich dose of babassu butter that’ll help take your hair from super-dry to soft and silky, without making it feel greasy or weighed down.

13

Best Deep Conditioner for Over-Processed Hair

Kérastase Resistance Mask for Damaged Hair

HIGH PROTEIN 

We all have that one friend with a horror story about a chemical treatment gone wrong (shout out to my bestie Liz who tried to highlight her hair at home and then it burned off!). If that sounds like you, then (1) Go to a professional immediately for damage control, and then (2) Grab this deep conditioner. It’s uses a strong combo of keratin and amino acids to rebuild broken bonds along your hair shaft, along with ceramides to help smooth your ragged hair cuticle.

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