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How To Deep Condition Your Hair For Soft, Smooth Strands

Deep conditioners can help nourish your hair when it’s dry. Here at Kiehl’s, discover our best deep conditioning hair treatments and learn how to use them.

If we were to take a peek inside your shower, chances are good we’d find a shampoo and conditioner. These two staples are must-haves—shampoo, of course, to remove dirt, oil, and grime, and conditioner to replenish your hair after scrubbing it clean. In addition to these everyday essentials, many use intensive deep conditioning treatments—like hair masks—to help restore moisture to dry, depleted hair.

If you’re not familiar with deep conditioning, that’s okay—we’ll review it all here. You’ll discover some of Kiehl’s favorite hair conditioning treatments and learn how to deep condition your hair for softer, healthier-looking strands. Get ready to meet your new hair hero, ahead.

What Is Deep Conditioning?

Like your daily conditioner, deep conditioning treatments are primarily designed to help nourish and hydrate the hair (and, in some cases, scalp). They provide intensive hydration—more so than your typical daily conditioner—and may also help address specific hair concerns, like frizziness or excessive damage, though the benefits will vary depending on the formula.

Unlike standard conditioner, which can be used every time you lather up, deep conditioners are typically reserved for occasional use (again, frequency varies from product to product). They also tend to be thicker and denser than daily-use conditioners. On the whole, deep conditioners can be suitable for all hair types, but as with anything else, you’ll have the best results if you use a formula made for your unique needs, whatever they may be.

Kiehl’s Best Deep Conditioning Hair Treatments

Now that you know what deep conditioner is, keep scrolling for details on two deep conditioning treatments that deserve a spot in your routine.

For Your Hair:

Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Reparative Hair Mask

When your hair feels dry, damaged, or like it just needs a little bit of TLC, we recommend reaching for Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Mask. This nourishing hair mask deeply moisturizes hair depleted by exposure to stressors, like repeated chemical processing or excessive heat styling. When used consistently, it also helps protect the hair from future damage, leaving your strands stronger and shinier over time. The creamy formula with olive fruit oil and avocado oil is best suited for those with dry, frizzy, or damaged hair, and it can be used weekly to help restore your hair’s healthy appearance.

For Your Scalp:

Amino Acid Moisture-Restoring Dry Scalp Treatment

While more akin to a skin moisturizer than a hair conditioner, our Amino Acid Moisture-Restoring Dry Scalp Treatment is a must-have for those who suffer from scalp dryness and discomfort. Formulated with coconut oil and a triple amino acid complex, this ultra-hydrating treatment helps replenish your scalp’s moisture without weighing down your hair. The moisturizing formula also helps protect your scalp from the harsh effects of external stressors like heat and hard water. This deep conditioning mask is suitable for all hair and skin types and can be used regularly to help promote a healthy-feeling scalp (and strands).

How Often Should You Deep Condition Your Hair?

Usage instructions for deep conditioning treatments vary depending on the formula, who it’s designed for, and what it’s meant to do. Generally speaking, though, Kiehl’s deep conditioners can be used whenever your hair needs a boost. Some may find that twice-weekly usage suits them, while others may prefer deep conditioning once or twice per month. Whatever schedule suits your needs is fine.

That being said, using deep conditioning treatments too frequently can result in product buildup. If left unaddressed, this buildup can give your hair a dull, limp appearance. To help your scalp breathe, we suggest adding Amino Acid Scalp Scrub Detox Treatment to your haircare arsenal. The gently-exfoliating formula, which contains sea salt and salicylic acid, helps remove excess oil, product buildup, and other residue without drying out the scalp. It’s suitable for all hair and skin types and can be used weekly (or as needed) to help promote a clean, fresh-feeling scalp.

How To Deep Condition Your Hair

If you can condition your hair, you can deep condition it—the process is pretty straightforward. Here, discover how we recommend using deep conditioner in your haircare routine.

Step 1:

Wash Your Hair

Begin your deep conditioning routine with a gentle shampoo, like Amino Acid Shampoo. The customer-favorite formula helps wash away impurities while adding body and shine for hair that feels soft and clean. It’s suitable for all hair types, but if your strands are super dry or damaged, we recommend Nourishing Olive Fruit Oil Shampoo instead. The olive oil-infused formula moisturizes dry hair while it cleans to help improve manageability and restore your hair’s healthy appearance.

Whichever shampoo you choose, you don’t need much to get the job done. Massage a nickel-sized amount of your chosen formula onto your scalp and work it into a lather. Then, rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. If desired, you can repeat this process to ensure your hair is completely clean before proceeding on to the next step.

Step 2:

Apply Your Deep Conditioner

After rinsing out your shampoo, turn off the water (or simply move so you’re not directly under the showerhead). Squeeze excess water out of your strands and gently blot your hair dry with a clean towel. Then, apply a generous amount of your chosen deep conditioner to your mane. If you’re using a hair mask—like Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Reparative Hair Mask—we recommend starting at the ends of your hair and working your way up toward your roots. You can apply the mask to your scalp, too, but try to keep the focus on your hair.

Alternatively, if you’re using a scalp mask (like Amino Acid Moisture-Restoring Dry Scalp Treatment), you’ll want to apply the formula directly to your scalp. Massage it through your roots and work any excess conditioner throughout your hair.

Kiehl’s Tip: Note that though deep conditioning isn’t a daily undertaking, regular conditioning is. Keep your hair soft and hydrated between deep conditioning treatments with a gentle daily conditioner that suits your hair’s needs. For best results, we suggest using a conditioner that corresponds to your chosen shampoo—Amino Acid Conditioner if you’re using Amino Acid Shampoo and Nourishing Olive Fruit Oil Conditioner if your cleanser of choice is Nourishing Olive Fruit Oil Shampoo.

Step 3:

Rinse With Lukewarm Water

Once your deep conditioner is applied, start the timer—you’ll want to let it sit for several minutes (at least three for our hair mask and up to 15 for our scalp mask). While you wait, go ahead and complete the rest of your shower routine. When you’re finished, rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water, then turn off the shower and wrap your hair in a clean, dry towel.

Step 4:

Dry and Style As Usual

At this point, your weekly deep conditioning treatment is done. While your hair is still damp, detangle it with a wide-toothed comb, then let your hair air-dry and style as usual. If needed, you can apply a leave-in treatment for added softness and shine.

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