Hands Down, These Are the Best Deep Conditioners for Curly Hair
Living with curly hair has its highs and lows. Sure, everyone is envious of your practically perfect spirals, but the truth is, taking care of them can be a real hassle. And I know first-hand because I was born with a head full of ringlets.
If there’s one thing that’s helped me maintain some kind of control with my curly hair, it’s been consistent use of deep conditioners. Yes, styling products help maintain your curls, but curly hair can be dry, knotty, and prone to breakage, so deep conditioners are a great way to keep curls healthy and hydrated. It’s a definite must in my book.
But not just any ol’ deep conditioner will do the trick. You want to look for hydrating ingredients and formulas that are made to help repair and strengthen the hair strand. Because no matter how loose or tight your curl, moisture is key.
Ahead, we found the best deep conditioners for curly hair that will soften, strengthen, and condition your strands.
- Best Drugstore Option: Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Curls
- Best for Frizzy Hair: Macadamia Nourishing Repair Masque
- Best for Nourishing: Matrix BIOLAGE Hydrasource Conditioning Balm
- Best for Damaged Hair: Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3
- Best for Dry Hair: SheaMoisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
- Best for Tangled & Knotty Hair: Genedor Beauty Moisture Resuscitate Conditioner
- Best for Weak Hair: Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lavender Mint Deep Conditioning Mineral Mask
- Best for Color-Treated Hair: Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy Treatment for Deep Hydration & Superior Shine
Best Drugstore Option: Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Curls
When it comes to deep treatments, you usually have to set aside at least 20 to 30 minutes for it to work its magic. But let’s be real, it’s not always easy to find the time. For those days when you’re in a rush, reach for this drugstore option. All you need is three minutes, which is basically the amount of time it takes to do a quick shave and then rinse. Plus, it’s full of hydrating ingredients like coconut and jojoba oil that not only quench thirsty strands, but helps smooth frizz, too. And it’s all in the name. After 180 seconds of soaking this rich conditioner into your hair, you’ll surely experience a miracle.
Shop now: $5; target.com
Best for Frizzy Hair: Macadamia Professional Nourishing Repair Masque
All curly hair is prone to frizz, and even though we truly believe that frizz is beautiful, sometimes you just want help managing it. “This masque is an amazing reconstructive treatment that helps revitalize your curls while leaving it smooth and frizz-free,” stylist for The Salon by InStyle Inside JCPenney Jaimee Harris Smith says. And since it’s infused with glycerin, a humectant, we can guarantee that moisture will stay locked in and won’t seep out. It also helps to repair damage and defend against any future breakage so with consistent use, your curls are always protected.
Shop now: $27 (Originally $36); jcpenney.com
Best for Nourishing: Matrix BIOLAGE Hydrasource Conditioning Balm
Whether it’s caused by weather changes, styling products, or heat-styling, sometimes our curls get out of whack. That’s where this salon-level formula comes into play. National Artistic Educator and stylist for The Salon by InStyle Inside JCPenney Kellie Ferraro says this potent formula is one of her go-tos for treating curly strands. “This deep conditioner helps to reduce breakage by 70% and helps to moisturize and soften the hair,” she says. The combo of aloe-leaf juice, cupuacu butter, and apricot kernel helps to deeply condition the hair and increase moisture retention. It’s also paraben and silicone-free.
Shop now: $19; jcpenney.com
Best for Damaged Hair: Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3
If you’ve ever wondered how A-listers can go from platinum blonde to neon blue in a week, the credit is due to this product. Hairstylists swear by this brand and after using it on my curly strands, I understand why. It’s a concentrated formula that helps to strengthen and reduce breakage from the inside out. Thanks to the bond-building technology, broken bonds in the hair are relinked. The best part is it works on every hair type and will especially work wonders on your ringlets if you tend to style with hot tools.
Shop now: $28; sephora.com
Best for Dry Hair: SheaMoisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
It’s no secret that curly hair needs loads of moisture. And while you can get added hydration from oils and styling creams, finding a conditioning treatment that can restore moisture when tresses feel dry is key to healthy hair. This masque is just that. It’s full of super moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, argan oil, and avocado oil. And the formula is so rich and creamy, slathering this all over your curls will feel heavenly.
Shop now: $13; ulta.com
Best for Tangled & Knotty Hair: Genedor Beauty Moisture Resuscitate Deep Conditioning Treatment
The tighter your curls, the more likely you are to get knots and tangles. That’s why Smith recommends this pick for tightly coiled hair types. “The consistency is rich and it perfectly coats each curl,” she says. “Plus, it gives just the right amount of slip to help gently detangle curly locks.” She also raves about it leaving hair super soft and shiny thanks to a blend of moisturizing ingredients like honey, jojoba, argan, and pequi oils.
Shop now: $20; jcpenney.com
Best for Limp Hair: Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lavender Mint Deep Conditioning Mineral Mask
If your curls seem weak and lifeless, try this restorative deep-conditioning mask. Ferraro says you’ll fall in love with the scent and the manageability it gives your spirals. We also love that this mask can be used up to two times a week for those seasons when your hair just needs a little extra TLC. The essential minerals in this mask help to nourish and hydrate hair so your curls can be bouncy and full of life. And we’re thankful that this comes in individual packets so you don’t have to guess how much to use for each treatment.
Shop now: $4; ulta.com
Best for Color-Treated Hair: Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy Treatment for Deep Hydration & Superior Shine
When you’re conditioning color-treated curls, you’ll want to find a formula that will protect your dye job. No dull, brassy hair wanted here. And if color guru Rita Hazan formulated this deep treatment, you know it’s got to be good not only for your hair, but your color too. This two-step treatment is infused with an oil blend for a punch of hydration, rice protein to strengthen the hair, and specialty linseed extract to help preserve your color.
Shop now: $42; sephora.com