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5 tips for deep conditioning your hair using the curly girl method

If you follow the Curly Girl Method, deep conditioning is an important part of your hair routine. Maybe you used a hair mask before, and this is similar.

It is a conditioner that penetrates deeper into the hair and is extra nourishing. You can see it as an extra treatment to restore dry and damaged hair.

The benefits of deep conditioning are more beautiful, healthier and shinier curls that shape better. Curious how it works exactly? We help you with some useful tips!

But first we will dive deeper in what deep conditioners are and how it works on curly hair. If you’re wondering how to deep condition curly hair, continue reading to discover how it can benefit your natural hair type.

Also read: How to start the Curly Girl Method: steps for beginners

In this article:

In this article:

Deep conditioning: what is it and is it good or bad for your curly hair?

Deep conditioning is a treatment method for curly hair that aims to nourish your hair through the use of deep conditioners. Curly hair is naturally drier than straight hair. 

Adding a deep conditioner to your curly hair routine

The oils your scalp produces, unlike with straight hair, takes longer to reach your ends. That’s why deep conditioning is an essential part of your curly hair routine.

It takes time to deep condition, because you have to give your hair a chance to absorb all the moisture and nutrients deep into the hair shaft. This helps to prevent breakage and split end. And overall it helps to achieve a good hair health.

A deep conditioning treatment does more than only hydration

It is also a way to bring nourishment, hydration and strengthening to the hair. Depending on the type of deep conditioner, it not only hydrates, strengthens and nourishes, but also has a positive effect on elasticity and moisture content. 

They have a good effect on the health of your hair, making it easier to comb and manageable.

How often do you need a deep conditioning treatment?

Once or twice a week is more than enough to feel the benefits of deep conditioning: more beautiful, healthier and shinier curls that shape better!
Deep condition hair

Tip 1: Get a good deep conditioner or DIY buy

Buy a good deep conditioner for curly hair

A deep conditioner should feel like a thick, rich cream. It is not necessary to state a ‘deep conditioner’ on the packaging of the product. 

The ingredients contained in the conditioner are more important. You can also check the instructions on the label before using and starting with the hair treatment.

When buying the product, consider your curl and hair type and whether your curly hair needs more protein or hydration, so that the product matches your curls well. Protein makes hair strong and healthy. It restores damaged hair thanks to the deep condition you will give for example to your dry brittle hair.

It also ensures growth of the hair and determines the elasticity of your hair. As a curly hair type, it is very important that your hair has the right elasticity, because you want your curl to bounce back when you pull it. 

For strong and healthy hair, protein and moisture must be in balance. Have you found that your hair lacks protein and thus an overload of hydration? Than you need to restore moisture and repair damaged hair with hair masks or your favorite deep conditioner.

At last it is best to focus on adding proteins to your hair and less on hydration before your treatment.

Different conditioners for different hair types

If you have a thick hair type or more Afro-textured hair you will need richer ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil and argan oil.

There are a lot of deep conditioners who are made of 100% natural oils and or ingredients. Think of ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter and coconut oil.

Discover here: Our favorite masks & deep conditioners WITHOUT protein
And of course: Our favorite masks WITH protein

MAke your own edition of a deep conditioning curly hair

Fancy a DIY? You can also make deep conditioners yourself! In Lorraine Massey’s Handbook ‘Curly Girl: The Handbook’ you can find a number of recipes to get started in the kitchen. 

Deep conditioner recipes often include banana, Greek yogurt, egg, honey, mayonnaise, avocado oil, olive oil, and coconut oil. 

The choice you make depends on the needs of your hair: do your curls need protein? Then a recipe with egg and Greek yogurt is for you. 

Is your hair lacking in hydration? Then you better focus on deep conditioners that contain coconut oil and honey.

Also read: 5 ways to use coconut oil for your curls


Tip 2: apply the deep conditioner

First co-wash your hair

When you’ve found the right deep conditioner for your hair, co-wash first. This is short for conditioner washing, which means washing your hair with conditioner. 

It’s important to do that first so that you get rid of the build up– hair products that have built up in your hair. If you apply the deep conditioner like this, it will not get a good chance to absorb.

Divide your hair in sections

After shampooing, gently squeeze some water from your hair, but still leave it soaking wet. To ensure that your entire hair benefits from the deep conditioning, it is best to divide your hair into four sections. 

Or eight, if you have very thick hair. If you apply the conditioner all over your hair in one go, chances are that the treatment will not reach the middle part of your hair.

Then apply the deep conditioner to your wet hair from ends up to roots. Focus on your ends, because that’s where your curls are often the driest. 

The conditioner works the best when applied on wet hair which is then exposed to some heat. Steam opens hair follicles and helps in absorption. You can also use a warm towel.

You see this especially if you have lifeless hair including dry, frizzy or heat damaged hair. Take each section of your hair separately and massage the product from root to tip. 

This way you cover the entire hair and it can absorb the deep conditioner to the maximum.

Curly Girl Methode - Deep Conditioning

Tip 3: leave the deep conditioning in

A deep conditioner for curly, coily or wavy hair is defined as any intense hydration treatment that works to put moisture and nourishment into the hair cuticle.

Leave the deep conditioner in for about 20-30 minutes. The secret to deep conditioning is in the time it takes to withdraw the product. 

Plan when you deep conditioning

It therefore takes a bit longer, so make sure you do this in the evening or on the weekend. Once in a while you can also choose to let the product soak in overnight.

Also read: The main techniques of the Curly Girl Method

Tip 4: cover and heat your hair

Cover your curls

Put on a shower cap to make sure your deep conditioner doesn’t get all over the place. A plastic wrap also works if you don’t have a shower cap. 

The natural heat on your scalp, which is kept well on your head by the shower cap, also helps the product to absorb better. If necessary, wrap a towel around it.

You can also give nature a helping hand by heating your scalp with a blow dryer. Actually, no heat products are used within the Curly Girl Method, but in combination with a deep conditioner it is very effective. 

The heat ensures that your hair cuticles open, so that the ingredients of the deep conditioner can be absorbed better and achieve healthy defined curls. You can use a blow dryer, hair dryer, steam device or by creating steam from a hot shower.

Use a heat cap

Another idea is to use a Heat Cap. This is comparable to an electric hair dryer. 

The difference is that it takes up less space, is wireless and you can walk around freely with it. The cap is filled with linseed, so it’s heavier than you might expect.

You only have to warm it up in the microwave before use, then you can use it immediately for deep conditioning. The linseed in the cap then retains the heat for about 30-45 minutes. The result is smooth and soft hair!

Tip 5: Rinse out the deep conditioning

Wash the conditioner from your hair with cool water. That indeed takes some getting used to and very cold, but this ensures that your hair cuticles close again. 

If you used a dryer or steam hood, let your hair cool down for a while before washing out the conditioner. You don’t have to rinse it out super carefully, because it’s not a disaster if some is left behind. 

After all, it’s grooming!

Is there a good conditioner to use when you have color treated hair?

You can safely condition your hair when you have color treated hair. Keep your hair hydrated because when you colour your finer curls it will result in dry hair.

So if you want to reduce frizz than you can use most hair masks or just mix up your regular conditioner with a deep conditioner.

Can I combine with other styling products?

Yes, after a deep conditioning you can easily use other styling products. As long as they are CG proof you are good to go. In between wash days you can use a leave in conditioner.

So curly girls; we are curious how deep conditioning suits you. Will you let us know in the comments below! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

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  1. Great article. thanks

    • Hi Widad,

      Thank you so much!

      – Team Kurlify 💜

  2. Step 2 says to co wash, but then it says “after shampooing…” should I shampoo after conditioning, or was this supposed to say after conditioning?

    • Hi Sally,

      Thank you for your question! It is in reference of the co-wash. Because co-washing works as shampooing.

      Hope this helps 😊,

      Team Kurlify 💜

  3. Hi Sally,

    You use a shampoo before you put in a conditioner. If your hair is not very “dirty,” you can also use a co-wash instead of a shampoo and conditioner. A co-wash does not cleanse the hair as thoroughly as a shampoo.

    Hopefully I have answered your question sufficiently. If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.



  4. Thanks so much for impacting us with your knowledge and time you spend to do research we appreciate.

    • Great for a newbe like me, thank you 👍

      • No problem! 🙂

  5. thanks for sharing the information with us

    • It’s our pleasure!

      – Team Kurlify 💜

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    • Thank you Archna! 😁

      – Team Kurlify 💜

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      – Team Kurlify 💜

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    • Thank you so much Djamila 😊!

      – Team Kurlify 💜

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    • Thank you Tita 😁!

      – Team Kurlify 💜

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    • Vous êtes les bienvenus!

      – Team Kurlify 💜

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    • So glad to hear this!!

      – Team Kurlify💜

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    • Hi Safia,

      So great to hear, thank you! ☺️

      – Team Kurlify 💜

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    – Team Kurlify 💜

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      – Team Kurlify 💜

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      – Team Kurlify 💜

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      – Team Kurlify 💜

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