19 Deep Conditioners and Masks Your Curly Hair Will Love

Say hello to springy, quenched curls.

19 Deep Conditioners and Masks Your Curly Hair Will Love
(Image credit: Getty Images ¦ MStudioImages)

It’s well-established that deep conditioner is a critical part of any curly hair routine, especially if your strands fall on the more damaged and dry end. Protein and moisture are even more important for hair that's prone to frizz to keep strands from being damaged from environmental exposures. If your hair is curly and you swear it's more dry than the strands of your straight or wavy-haired peers, you're not imagining it. Here are the facts: On the surface of your hair, cuticles lay in an interlocking pattern, working like little shields to keep moisture inside the shaft. When your hair is curly, those cuticles lift up, meaning that hydration can seep out. The result? Hair that looks frizzy, not fresh; curls that look diffused, not springy; and a coiled pattern that can be irregular. 

The good news? There's a relatively easy solution to all of that. It’s what we mentioned above: Deep conditioning, in all its glory. As with any beauty endeavor, all deep conditioners aren't created equal. For starters, you'll want to look for something without sulfates—they end up lifting cuticles even further. 

How do deep conditioners work on curly hair?

Why you can trust Marie Claire Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

A deep conditioner is defined as any hair treatment that works to put moisture and nourishment into the hair cuticle, and is washed out after 30-45 minutes. And before you ask: Yes, there is such a thing as leaving hair masks and creams in for too long. The weight of the product can flood the hair and cause curls to fall flat from over-moisture. Depending on your hair type, porosity, and damage level, leaving on a deep conditioner for longer than an hour or designated on the product isn’t recommended. Sometimes hair oils and leave-in conditioners will be used for deep conditioning, but it's always a smart practice to wash out any excess product to avoid limp curls. Ahead, deep conditioners for curly hair that curly-haired editors swear by.

Hannah Morrill

Hannah Morrill is a writer and editor based in Portland, Maine. She’s an avid reader, an indifferent face-washer and a sunscreen/retinol evangelist.