The topic of deep conditioners is a favorite among the Who What Wear beauty team. Although we all have different hair types and lengths, there's nothing we love more than gushing about our new favorite formulas in our Slack channel. My own hair journey hasn't been without its challenges, but I now have a handful of conditioning formulas I absolutely swear by for thick, curly hair and will tell anyone who will listen how good they are.
For those with a similar hair type, you're going to want to keep reading below. I'm sharing my favorites along with recommendations for all hair types from NYC hairstylist and salon owner Mahogany Grace.
What to Look for in a Deep Conditioner
When shopping for a deep conditioner for your hair, Grace says there are some key things you need to keep in mind. Not only should you consider your hair type, but you should also know how to apply your mask to get the best results. "To make an informed choice on a deep conditioner, it’s important to pinpoint [your] specific hair concerns," she explains. "Deep conditioners are highly effective in revitalizing dry and lackluster hair, providing essential moisture to dull curls and mending damage caused by heat, coloring, and chemical treatments. Consistency is crucial for all hair types to maintain hair health. Using steam, covering the treatment with a plastic cap, and allowing the conditioner ample time to penetrate the hair cuticle ensures effective absorption into the shaft."
As for picking the right one for you, Grace says, "When selecting the right deep conditioner for your hair concerns, consider various ingredients based on your hair's needs. Damaged, textured (curly and wavy), colored, and chemically treated hair often benefit from moisture and hydration, making ingredients like butters, various oils, aloe vera, and honey highly effective. For strengthening deep conditioners, seek ingredients such as amino acids, keratin, and hydrolyzed proteins. Normal to fine hair can also benefit from maintenance or lightweight repair with deep conditioners. Concentrating on the lower portion of the hair, reducing the treatment time, and thoroughly rinsing can prevent a heavy, greasy feel. These practices will [also] help maintain your hair's best pH level."
Take a peek at Grace's deep conditioner recommendations for each hair type below.
Best Overall: Olaplex No. 3 Repair Perfector
Pros: Great for all hair types, helps repair bonds and reverses chemical damage, reduces breakage and split ends
Olaplex's classic No. 3 formula comes recommended by Grace because it works well for all hair types, helps repair broken bonds in the hair, reduces breakage, and even helps reverse chemical damage done by relaxing or bleach.
Customer Review: "Love this product—got a small sample with my recent order, left it on for 45 minutes, wash, shampoo as usual. Made my wavy hair extra bouncy and wavy plus super soft with added volume. Definitely will purchase this product in the near future."
Best Drugstore: Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Strengthening Hair Masque
Pros: Affordable, infused with biotin to help encourage healthy hair growth, strengthens hair
Cons: Thick texture, may be too thick for finer hair types.
You may already be familiar with Mielle's viral Rosemary Mint Strengthening Oil ($8), but did you know the brand also utilized these same ingredients in its Strengthening Hair Masque? It's infused with hair-strengthening ingredients like biotin and rosemary while also helping to repair damage.
Customer Review: "This hair mask is golden! It’s a thicker mask, so if you don’t like a heavy hair mask, this isn’t for you. But it is an incredibly nourishing treatment for dry, damaged, or distressed strands. And for $10 or less it is some thing I plan to always have on my shelf."
Best for Fine Hair: Shu Uemura Muroto Volume Lightweight Care Treatment for Fine Hair
Pros: Lightweight texture, adds volume to fine hair
Grace loves this mask from Shu Uemura for finer hair types because it helps rebalance the hair's natural oils, protects against damage, and adds extra hydration without weighing the hair down.
Best for Thick Hair: Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
Pros: Conditions thick hair without weighing it down, strengthens damaged hair, provides long-lasting hydration
This is one of my all-time-favorite masks for thick, curly hair. I use it once or twice a week, and it leaves my hair so incredibly soft. The hydration it offers is also extremely long-lasting—a rare feat when you have dry, coarse, curly hair.
Customer Review: "I got this in a trail size and had to purchase [a] full size! When you you wash it off in the shower, you don’t feel that smooth run-your-fingers-through-your-hair-feeling, which I really like, but once your hair dries it feels so strong and non-frizzy."
Best for Curly and Coily Hair: Ouidad Coil Infusion Triple Threat Deep Conditioner
Pros: Black castor oil strengthens hair against breakage, botanical oils deeply moisturize curls and coils
Cons: Texture is a bit thick
Grace loves this mask from Ouidad for curly and coily hair types because a blend of botanical oils deeply hydrate the hair and help bring out your natural curl pattern.
Customer Review: "This is the holy grail! I love these products so much. I wish I found them sooner! Of your curly hair gets dry or even frizzy, this will save you!"
Best for Straight Hair: Moroccanoil Weightless Hydrating Mask
Pros: Provides weightless hydration without weighing hair down, infused with argan oil to help improve dry, fine hair
Moroccanoil has a suite of incredible products, but Grace loves this weightless hydration mask for straight and fine hair types. It adds a lot of extra moisture to the hair with argan oil without making it feel greasy or heavy.
Customer Review: "Run and buy it! It has that wonderful scent to it, and your hair will thank you! I truly feel a difference after use! I think other masks will do similar, but the scent really does it for me!"
Best for Wavy Hair: Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask
Pros: Contains rejuvenating monoi oil, bamboo water helps rebuild damaged hair, hydrolyzed silk fortifies the hair
Cons: Texture is a bit thick
For wavy hair, Grace says this repairing hair mask from Carol's Daughter can work well. Repairing monoi oil and bamboo water can help repair damage but also hydrate and bring out hair's natural wave pattern.
It combines rejuvenating monoi oil with rebuilding bamboo water and protective hydrolyzed silk to fortify fine, fragile or chemically treated hair.
Customer Review: "This product has helped me to manage my hair in an amazing way. In the past, I actually hated to wash my hair, but this product has helped me manage my hair without tangles and hassles. It softens and makes it 100% manageable! Love it! Can't live without monoi! Excited to use the other monoi products."
Best for Dry Hair: Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Deep Conditioning Treatment
Pros: Delivers a surge of moisture to damaged or dry hair, fragrance-free
Grace loves this elasticity-boosting treatment from Philip Kingsley because it delivers a surge of intense moisture to the hair, giving it more bounce, elasticity, and shine instantly.
Best for Damaged Hair: Oribe Signature Hair Mask
Pros: Nutrient-rich formula revives dull or damaged hair, contains Oribe's signature complex that defends hair from environmental damage
This Signature Mask from Oribe is definitely a *luxury* option, but Grace swears by it for damaged hair. It's rich in ingredients like mango butter and macadamia seed oil to provide rich hydration to the hair. It also contains Oribe's signature complex, which is designed to protect the hair against environmental damage and the deterioration of natural keratin.
Customer Review: "I used it on my daughter's hair who is naturally curly hair and the result was incredible!!! Hydrated hair, defined curls and frizz free. I highly recommend this product."
Best for Color-Treated Hair: L'Oréal Paris
Pros: Affordable, designed to be gentle on color-treated hair, contains hydrating apricot oil
For color-treated locks, Grace recommends this deep conditioner from L'Oréal, which is sulfate- and silicone- free but locks in extra moisture.
Customer Review: "LOVE this conditioner. No silicones and still makes my hair feel smooth and soft. Not too heavy and a little goes a long way. My favorite drugstore conditioner."
More Deep Conditioning Masks Grace Recommends