Got dry hair? Then you probably need a harder-working conditioner. The best deep conditioners for dry hair are loaded with nourishing ingredients like shea butter, proteins (such as keratin), and all manner of plant-based oils — avocado, coconut, argan, et cetera — which work to restore moisture, repair damage, and promote generally smoother, softer hair. Keep in mind that the longer you leave your conditioner on, the more effective it will be — so resist the urge to rinse it out after a minute so. Try to leave it on for at least five minutes, or, for severely dried-out hair, you could pop on a processing cap and sleep with it in overnight.
Some other tips to prevent exacerbating hair dryness? Try washing your hair less often — always making sure to use one of the best shampoos for dry hair when you do — cut back on heat styling, eat foods rich in fatty acids, protect your hair with a cap when you go swimming, and try to be generally gentle on your hair. That means wearing it down, or in looser styles, more often than not, and pulling it back with soft scrunchies (rather than tight elastics) when you do wear your hair up. Applying a leave-in conditioner or moisturizing serum post-shower is a must; using a heat protectant before styling your hair with hot tools is another non-negotiable. You can also invest in a microfiber hair towel and silk pillowcase, both of which are known to be extra gentle on hair.
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1. Best For Severely Dried-Out, Damaged Hair
Enriched with antioxidant- and fatty acid-rich ingredients like mango butter, shea butter, avocado, flaxseed, and coconut oil, Aunt Jackie’s Fix My Hair Intensive Repair Conditioning Masque works to strengthen and repair hair that’s become dry and/or damaged from things like dye, weaves, protective styles, or too much heat styling. While anyone can use this mask, it’s an especially good choice for people with curly hair; Aunt Jackie’s specifically shouts out hair types 2C-4C on their website.
2. Best For Color-Treated Hair
All of the deep conditioners/hair masks on this list are safe for use on color-treated hair; however, this mask from Pureology also helps protect your color from fading, thanks to the brand’s patented Antifade Complex in the formula. Nourishing plant-based oils (like avocado and coconut) work to restore moisture and hydration, while a blend of pineapple, coconut, and vanilla gives this mask an amazing, tropical scent.
3. Best For Frequent Washers
If you wash your hair frequently (although, if you’re dealing with perennially dry hair, maybe you … shouldn’t), go with a less intensive deep conditioner, like this one from L’Oreal’s Elvive line. It’s designed for daily use and doesn’t even require any leave-in time (the brand suggests just one minute). Because it’s relatively lightweight, this would be a good choice for fine, thin hair types.
4. Best For Travel
If you have dry hair, you’ll know that hotel conditioners are never sufficient — so throw a few of these packets from Palmer’s into your carry-on for your next trip. This deep-conditioning formula is infused with shea butter, olive oil, and the extracts of nettle, rosemary, and sage, which work together to strengthen hair, restore moisture, and counteract the effects of damage. At just $2 a pop — and you’ll probably get two uses per packet — it’s worth stocking up!
5. Best For Dry, Split Ends
I love applying this L’Occitane hair mask on my perennially dry ends to make them look (and feel) softer and smoother; I’ve even been known to apply it to damp hair as a leave-in (just on the ends!). The tiny tube is another great choice for stowing in your carry-on or gym bag, though you admittedly don’t get a ton of product for the price (again, why this mask is best reserved for dry ends only). Key ingredients in here include a blend of five essential oils, including ylang ylang and sweet orange, as well as fatty acid-rich shea butter. I particularly love the Insta-worthy pink packaging and delicious, herbal scent.
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