woman deep conditioning curly hair

Let's face it - curly hair and deep conditioning compliment one another, and if you haven't added it to your hair care routine, you're missing out on some fantastic benefits.

Applying a deep conditioner can solve many of the problems we curly girls face, like dry, lifeless, brittle, or damaged hair.

Here is what you need to know about deep conditioning.

Understand what your hair likes

You'll find this out quickly the more you experiment with the many different deep conditioners offered by curly hair care brands. Some are more expensive than others, and they have varying consistencies and ingredients formulated by hair concern.

When choosing a deep conditioner, it's always best to look at the ingredient list first and note its quality. If your hair is brittle, then you will want ingredients that improve elasticity, like coconut oil, olive oil and hydrolyzed protein. If you have high porosity, or your hair is damaged or chemically treated then you will want ingredients that can penetrate the hair like amino acids, and hydrolyzed palm oil. If your hair is low porosity you will likely want to use heat to help moisturize your hair. Understanding your hair type and its needs will impact which deep conditioner will work best for you. From there, decide if you want a thicker product from a jar, or one that's lighter and comes from a pump. Next, you'll want to look at pricing and sizes.

MORE: Why you NEED a deep conditioning mask

Adding a deep conditioner to your routine doesn't mean a longer wash day

It seems as if we automatically associate using a deep conditioner with a long wash day, and that isn't necessarily true. Some masques, like Aunt Jackie's Curls & Coils Flaxseed Recipes Fix My Hair Intensive Repair Conditioning Masque or Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask, only need to be left on for 5 minutes. Others may recommend 20-30 minutes. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package, and don't leave the product on overnight or longer than recommended.

You'll want to find a deep conditioner that fits your lifestyle and hair's needs. The most important thing here is to be honest with yourself.

MORE: It IS Possible to Have a 2-Hour Natural Hair Wash Day

You will most likely use a lot of product

Usually, no matter what deep conditioner you choose, the instructions will read something like, "Use a generous amount." They're not lying. You'll want to use more than a dime size this time. Deep conditioning means completely saturating your hair in product from root to tip.

This also means you'll have to take this into consideration when purchasing product. If you have long hair, or deep condition often, you might want to buy a bigger supply.

Slip matters

How easily a product applies to your curls is undoubtedly important, and "slip" refers to just that. You'll want a deep conditioner that easily glides down your hair shaft. The slipperiness of that product will also help prevent knots and tangles.

If you choose to detangle during this step, it will help cut down on time and, not to mention, your hair will feel freakishly soft after rinsing.

I'm a huge advocate for deep conditioners and quality matters more than anything in my book. I look for those that check all of the boxes above, along with those that are a thicker consistency since I have Type 4 curls. My top 3 deep conditioners can be found here.

Deep Conditioners Under $10

For those on a budget, here are five deep conditioners under $10.

Read next:

Don't know what your curl pattern is? Take our quiz.

This is the difference between daily conditioner & deep conditioner.

If you have Type 4C hair, here are our favorite 5 Deep Conditioning Masks for Under $20.