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Consider the stress you put on making time for relaxation, a weekly HIIT class, or ditching screens to curl up with a book. The same way breaking up your daily routine is a must, so is taking up a few extra minutes in the shower to nourish your natural curls, coils, and waves with a deep conditioner.
Weather, pollutants, dyes, even your washing and styling routine—regardless of the extracts in your sulfate-free shampoos and styling jellies—will, over time, strip your hair of its natural shine and stress it out. “Deep conditioning fixes dry, frizzy hair. It brings out the natural texture, and is often the best method for defining curls,” says celebrity hair stylist Marcia Hamilton. Not to mention, it hydrates the sh*t out of your locks.
To get the most out of your deep conditioner, Hamilton recommends heating it up pre-shower. “Heating any conditioner up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) increases the amount and effectiveness of absorption of the conditioner,” she explains. Once you’re ready to apply it, start with your ends, the driest and most brittle part of the hair, to “[allow] them a little more time to soak up the nutrients.” From there, move upward to your roots and then gently comb through your strands to help distribute. If you have a hooded dryer like those at a salon, steaming your hair while the deep conditioner sets is always a good move, but if you don't, letting your locks drink up the treatment sans steam works just fine too.
The caveat: The same way you wouldn’t wait until you were completely burned out to go on a vacay, you shouldn’t wait until you notice your hair is tangled and brittle before starting your search for deep conditioner. “Hair that’s deep conditioned regularly is more manageable, softer, less prone to breakage and frizz, and is able to retain length,” says Hamilton. AKA, these treatments should be a permanent part of your haircare lineup.
To help you pick the top contenders from the many, MANY options out there, natural haircare experts weighed in on the ones that are basically a spa day for your strands. Ahead, check out a few of the deep conditioners that deserve a spot in your cart.
Danielle is the beauty editor at Women's Health. Her apartment is currently littered with beauty products, but when she's not testing them all out, you can find her watching facial ASMR videos on YouTube, binge-watching The Golden Girls on Hulu, and reading rom-coms.
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