How Often Should You Use Conditioner for Curly Hair? [How to Decide?]
Those who follow the CG method know that conditioners are their best friends. Curly hair is unique in its texture and porosity. It becomes dull and dry very soon as it’s unable to hold its natural oils. Hence, Curls demand effort and hard work.
Voluminous and healthy curly hair is a sight you can’t ignore. But dehydrated and unmanageable curly hair is a nightmare.
It’s very important to condition your hair in order to add much-needed moisture. Conditioning not only hydrates your curls but also locks in nutrients and prevents split ends.
As much as your hair loves moisture, is it okay to condition your hair every day? This can be a major question lingering in your mind if you start your curly hair journey.
Here we are with a detailed guide to help you with everything you need to know about the frequency of conditioning your curly hair.
Does Conditioner Make Your Hair Curl?
No, conditioners cannot make your hair curl if you don’t have naturally curly hair.
However, for people born with curls, the right hard conditioner, coupled with curl-defining products can improve the curls on your hair to a large extent. So, it is very important to pick the right conditioner if you are concerned about your curly hair.
A point worthy of note is that excessive conditioner application can result in your hair becoming too greasy while insufficient amounts can lead to dryness, breakage, or split ends.
Is conditioning curly hair everyday bad?
Conditioning curly hair every day is bad for your hair as it weighs it down and disrupts it’s protein-moisture balance. Unlike the popular belief that there is nothing such as “too much moisture” for curly hair, conditioning it every day can hamper its texture and make it’s lifeless.
Your hair should have a balanced equation of protein and moisture. Overloading your hair with back-to-back conditioners, overnight moisturizing hair masks and conditioning oils is the perfect recipe to hamper this balance.
As a result, you are left with limp and shapeless curls which feel weak and dry. The best way to find out if you have over-conditioned your hair is when you find it difficult to hold a style.
How often should you use conditioner for curly hair?
In general, you can set a great conditioning routine by conditioning your curly hair on a weekly basis. All curl types are going to be benefitted from weekly treatments with regular or daily conditioners.
Those who have dry hair can multiply their hydration by using a regular conditioner once a week and a deep conditioner on a bi-weekly basis. You can also choose to add hair masks instead of deep conditioners in your bi-weekly curly hair care routine.
Those who have thin or fine hair can use a regular conditioner every time they shampoo their hair and a deep conditioner once a month.
You can also use a leave-in conditioner after conditioning your hair with a regular conditioner if needed or you can simply use some amount of your regular conditioner as a leave-in.
However, curls have a mind of their own. It’s not important that what works for one curly hair type may work well for another. Your conditioning frequency depends on other factors as well, like – shampoo frequency product type.
1. Condition your hair according to your shampooing frequency
Shampoo and conditioners go hand in hand. If someone shampoos their hair on a daily basis then they must condition their curls every day.
Though, curls usually tend to be dry and cleansing them on a daily basis will make it worse. Thus, shampooing on a daily basis is not recommended at all for curly hair types.
Even if you are hitting the gym, refrain from shampooing your hair every day. Sweat is already drying your hair out and you don’t want to worsen the situation.
In this case, the best way to get clean and hydrated curls is to co-wash your hair using a cleansing conditioner. These sulfate and detergent-free formula are designed to mildly cleanse and condition hair in one step.
However, it is advised to use a separate sulphate-free shampoo meant solely for the cleansing purpose every once in a while to carry out the cleansing process effectively. Otherwise, you may experience product build-up and residues on your scalp and hair.
It doesn’t matter if you are shampooing your hair once, twice or thrice a week. It is essential to follow up with a conditioner after every wash.
It’s also perfectly fine if you are shampooing just once or twice a month based on your hair type and preference.
You still need to condition your hair at least once per week as curly hair tends to get dry and needs hydration. You can also go for deep conditioners to deeply nourish and moisturize your hair.
2. Condition your hair according to the product type
Your conditioning frequency should also depend on the type of conditioner you are using. There are specifically three distinct categories of conditioners to take care of curly hair –
a. Daily conditioners
These conditioners are made with a lightweight formula to ensure they don’t weigh down your hair. These conditioners are meant to be rinsed away after a few minutes of application. Daily conditioners are meant to hydrate your hair while leaving them soft and nourished.
When to use:
- You can use this conditioner every time you shampoo your hair.
- Don’t leave it for more than 5 minutes in your hair.
b. Deep conditioners
These conditioners are heavier than regular conditioners. Such conditioners are thicker and deeply penetrate the cuticles of your hair to transmit moisture and nutrients. These conditioners are not meant to be used on a daily basis due to their high porosity quality.
When to use:
- You can use this conditioner every time you feel your hair needs extra hydration that it cannot achieve from a regular conditioner.
- Leave this conditioner for 15-30 minutes.
- Use this conditioner twice a month or not more than once a week.
c. Leave-in conditioners
These conditioners do the same work as that of a regular conditioner. The only difference is that while regular conditioners are rinsed off, these conditioners stay in your hair for longer to lock the moisture.
You can also choose to leave a tiny amount of your regular conditioner as a leave-in conditioner in your hair after shampooing.
When to use:
- You can use this conditioner after every shampoo session.
- You can also choose to shampoo, condition with a regular conditioner and then apply the leave-in conditioner for extra and prolonged hydration.
How to select a Perfect Conditioner for Curly Hair
Selecting a perfect conditioner for your curly hair is not a cakewalk. You have to be extremely cautious about the ingredients list before making your purchase decision.
1. Choose water soluble silicones over silicones that are insoluble in water
Water-soluble silicones are good for detangling your hair and adding some extra shine. On the other hand, silicones that are not soluble in water are the worst enemy of your curly hair.
Such ingredients do more harm to your hair than good by giving it a fake shine. It coats your hair to make it shine and resists moisture from penetrating your hair. This leaves you with dry hair.
The product also builds up on your hair over time and is hard to remove without using harsh ingredients like sulfates. Hence, avoid such ingredients in your ideal conditioner at all costs. Look out for ingredients ending with words like “-cone”, “-col”, “-xane” and “-conol” and avoid them.
The most common silicones that are not soluble in water and are used in conditioners are cetyl dimethicone, Cetearyl methicone, dimethiconol, stearyl dimethicone and dimethicone.
Instead, choose ingredients like hydrolyzed wheat protein hydroxypropyl polysiloxane, lauryl methicone copolyol and dimethicone copolyol. Silicones that have PEG or PPG in front of their names are water-soluble.
2. Replace silicones with chlorides
You can also choose to avoid silicones altogether by shifting to certain chlorides for lubrication and detangling purposes.
Look for chlorides like distearyldimonium chloride, behentrimonium chloride, polyquaternium 55, dicetyldimonium chloride and cetrimonium bromide.
3. Look for the “sulfate-free” label
Sulfates are surfactants that are not at all good for your hair. It strips your hair of its natural oils which are required to keep your hair healthy. Curly hair needs extra care. Hence, make sure your conditioner doesn’t have sulfates in its ingredients list.
Many conditioners are labeled as “sulfate-free” but actually have sulfates in them. In this case, the manufacturer is only considering immensely damaging sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate.
Hence, check the ingredients list even if the product is labeled as “sulfate-free” and look out for ingredients ending with words like “sulfate”, “sulfonate” and “sulfoacetate”.
The most common sulfates are -sodium cocoyl, alkylbenzene sulfonate, ammonium or sodium xylenesulfonate,sarcosinate and dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate.
Sulfate is not advised but your hair still needs surfactants. Hence, be wise while choosing your surfactants and go for ingredients that are not harmful for your hair, like – coco betaine, cocamidopropyl betaine, lauroamphoacetate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, sodium cocoyl isethionate and cocoamphodipropionate.
4. Switch to hydrating alcohols over drying ones
Alcohols are usually drying. Hence, it’s better to avoid conditioners including this ingredient for your curly hair.
However, you can always switch to hydrating alcohols over the drying ones to take your curly hair. The list of hydrating alcohols includes cetyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, lauryl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol.
5. Choose based on Hair Type
a. Wavy Curls
Although wavy hair isn’t as dry as normal curly hair, it is usually frizzy in the wet season or grows lifeless and limp in the dry season.
When seeking the best product for wavy hair, you need a product that can strike a balance between hydration and definition. Many conditioners might focus only on moisturizing, but you need a conditioner that will keep your curls defined while providing hydration.
If you want waves that are soft to the touch and beautiful, look out for conditioners that contain natural oils to prevent dryness, and amino acids to keep your hair free from frizz-causing environmental moisture.
Briogeo Charisma Curl Defining Conditioner, containing Rice amino acids, tomato fruit and mollis leaf extract for curl definition is a great option.
Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk 4 in 1 Combing Creme for Curls, Coils and Waves is a lightweight conditioner that provides the oil your hair needs to prevent it from going limp while maintaining the waves.
b. For thick curls
If you have thick curls, you need a deep hydrating conditioner to moisturize your hair. The extent of your curls determines how dry your hair will turn out.
The natural oils your scalp produces find it difficult to reach the ends of your hair shafts and it worsens depending on the depth of your curls.
Therefore, in the absence of a deep hydrating conditioner, it will be difficult to make up for the inability of the oils to reach the shafts. It is only with deep hydrating conditioners that you can prevent the dullness, frizz, and dryness of your curls.
Mielle Organics Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner is a great product for your conditioning process.
c. African-American pure afro hair
Afro-American hair should also be treated in a similar manner as thick curls. They are usually referred to as kinky because of how deep the curls are.
You can apply leave-in conditioners in form of sprays every other day to maintain richer and healthier curls.
Below are two conditioners that are great for thick, curly hair:
- Dove Amplified Textures Leave-in Conditioner for Coils, Curls and Waves
- SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Conditioner for Thick, Curly Hair
Top 5 Conditioners for Curly Hair
Hundreds of hair care brands are not manufacturing curly hair products given the huge market demand. However, a few brands like Cantu, Shea Moisture, Carol’s, DevaCurl and Mielle are designed specifically for protecting and caring for curly hair types.
The conditioners from these brands truly suit this hair type and nourish soft and perfectly shaped curls. The best thing about these conditioners is that all of them are CG friendly.
1. Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Hydrating Cream Conditioner
Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Cream Conditioner is a sulfate-free formula formulated without any harsh chemicals that are harmful to the hair. It is made with pure shea butter which is well-known for protecting and nourishing curly hair.
Being the main ingredient of the conditioner, shea butter hydrates dry and brittle hair with ease. It also prevents split ends by retaining the natural oils of your curly hair. It also provides an ample amount of slip to reduce breakage.
The conditioner is formulated to suit and strengthen wavy, curly and coily hair.
The best thing about this conditioner is that it is free from all harmful ingredients like sulfates, silicones, mineral oil and parabens. Yet, it hydrates your hair, leaves it feeling immensely conditioned and provides great slip to detangle.
- The formula is unique and doesn’t make your curls greasy unlike other conditioners.
- The conditioner is pocket-friendly and gives better results than many high-end brands.
- We didn’t notice any major drawbacks
2. Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl and Shine Conditioner
SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl and Shine Conditioner is an intense hydration hair treatment that restores your hair’s smoothness and hydration. The lightweight formula gives your hair a healthy and shiny finish right from the roots to the tips.
The fact that it is formulated with no silicones, sulfates, mineral oil or parabens makes it a great fit for natural hair. Another impressive thing about this brand is that all the products are highly hydrating and cruelty-free.
The highly nourishing properties of Shea Butter, Coconut oil, Silk Protein and Neem Oil make this conditioner the perfect love for curly hair.
Shea butter provides hydration to dry and damaged curls. It also repairs over-processed hair and makes it healthy.
Coconut oil softens your curls and gives them a natural shine. Neem oil and Silk Protein give you beautiful curls and ensure your hair glow with a healthy shine.
- The intense moisturisation of this conditioner doesn’t disrupts your curl patterns.
- The formula is thick yet it is lightweight. This ensures even curly hair types 3-4 are also going to get benefitted from it’s hydration.
- The conditioner can weigh your hair down if you have thin and flat hair.
3. Carol’s Daughter Crème Curl Quenching Conditioner
Carol’s Daughter Coco Cream Conditioner is a creamy formula designed to moisturize the driest and curly hair. The conditioner also suits coily hair types with its great moisturizing properties that it derives from coconut oil and mango seed butter.
The nourishing Coco Crème system of this conditioner ensures your hair is hydrated from roots to ends. It is meant to add extreme moisture and an instant healthy shine.
The conditioner is suitable for all naturally curly hair types from 4c to 1c waves and manages the thickest of the curls with ease.
The best thing about this conditioner meant for extremely dry, curly and coily hair is that it isn’t made of silicones at all.
This makes this conditioner the best choice for curly hair as it doesn’t coat the hair strands and blocks it from absorbing moisture from other hair care products like leave-in conditioners or hair gels.
- It contains murumuru butter which works as a magic to repair immensely dull and damaged hair.
- It works for long time.
- The conditioner comes with a strong scent which may be a problem with people who are allergic to strong fragrances.
- The paste is very thick and may take some time to rinse off.
4. Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Moisturizing and Detangling Conditioner
This conditioner is meant for textured hair and is made up of natural ingredients. The conditioner consists of no harmful chemicals or preservatives that can harm curly hair in any way.
The nourishing formula made with organic ingredients locks in moisture and strengthens your hair strands with ease. Ingredients like Sacha Inchi oil, almond oil and sub-Saharan African mongongo oil make your curls softer and healthy.
Detangling curly hair is a tiring process. Well, the best thing about this CG-friendly conditioner is that it makes you love your curls with its superior slip. This makes detangling simple, easy and gives you an opportunity to style your hair in any way you want.
- The prolonged use of this conditioner strengthens and makes your curls more defined.
- The amalgamation of the three oils cures the issue of split ends.
- The conditioner works best for thick and Type 4 curly hair and may weigh down lighter hair types.
5. DevaCurl One Condition Original Conditioner
DevaCurl One Condition Original Conditioner is the right choice for you if you want bouncy and frizz-free curls. Enriched with moisturizing olive and lemongrass, the conditioner makes a great fit for protecting and hydrating your curls.
The creamy formula formulated with Olive oil nourishes and locks in moisture in your hair shafts. It tames unmanageable hair and prevents flyaways.
The conditioner not only leaves your hair soft but also smells great. The herbaceous fragrance of Lemongrass is all you need to refresh your senses.
The ingredient list of this conditioner is designed to give you gorgeous curls without harming your curl pattern with harmful chemicals. All the products from the brand are 100% sulfate, silicone and paraben-free. The formula is vegan and cruelty-free as well.
- The conditioner is formulated to nourish every hair type and is CG approved.
- The formula doesn’t weighs down your hair.
- The conditioner and other products from this brand are a bit heavy on the pocket.
Comparison of above listed curly hair conditioners
|Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Hydrating Cream Conditioner||Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl and Shine Conditioner||Carol’s Daughter Crème Curl Quenching Conditioner||Mielle Organics Pomegranate &Honey Moisturising and Detangling Conditioner||DevaCurl One Condition Original Conditioner|
|Main ingredient||Shea Butter||Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Silk Protein, Neem Oil.||Mango Butter, Murumuru Butter, Coconut Oil, Coconut Milk||Sacha Inchi Oil, Almond oil, sub-Saharan African Mongongo Oil||Olive oil, Lemongrass|
|Sulfate-free||Sulfate and silicone-free||Sulfate and silicone free||Sulfate and silicone-free||Sulfate and silicone free||Sulfate and silicone-free|
|Slip||Great slip||Great slip||Great slip||Superior slip||Great slip|
|Formula density||Medium weight||Lightweight||Thick||Thick||Lightweight|
|Best-suited for||All curly hair types||Type 3-4||All curly hair types||Type 4||All curly hair types|
Healthy and voluminous curls are obviously a head-turner. Though, it requires consistent care and effort. But believe me, if you give your curly hair all the love it deserves then there’s no better crown for your head than beautiful curls.
Conditioning is one of the most important part of a curly hair care routine. While conditioning every day can weigh down your hair and make it lifeless, finding the right duration to hydrate your curls can change the game.