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Conditioning vs. deep conditioning for curly and textured hair

If there’s one thing we know about curls, it’s that they need a lot of TLC. They love a good blast of water, heaps of nourishment and conditioning. Lots and lots of conditioning.


In fact, the spiralled structure of the strands actually makes curly hair drier than your average head of hair. This is because the oils that are produced by the scalp take much longer to travel down from the roots to the ends to lubricate the strands. The coiled shape of the curl also forces the cuticles open, which lets precious moisture escape.


That’s why it’s super important to give your curls a good dose of conditioning every time you wash your hair. But what conditioners should you be using for your curls? And how often should you give them some deep-conditioning love? Here’s the lowdown on how to properly nourish your curls.


What is a regular conditioner?

Regular conditioners are designed to strengthen, soften and smooth the surface of your hair. They work by conditioning the cuticles so they lie flat against the hair shaft, giving your hair a smooth shine. Usually, you would apply this conditioner after your shampoo (unless you’re co-washing, where you replace shampoo with a conditioner or co-wash).


You can leave a regular conditioner in your hair from 1 to 5 minutes, but even if you leave it on for much longer, you still won’t get the mega-moisturising effects that a deep conditioner can give your curls. This is because regular conditioners aren’t formulated to fully penetrate into the hair cortex – this is where you need a deep conditioner. 


What is a deep conditioner?

If your strands are snapping like straw and you’ve got frizz flying left, right and centre, it’s time to go deep. The thicker consistency of a deep conditioner is designed to give you a longer-lasting effect by penetrating deep into the hair shaft. Look for ingredients like coconut, olive, argan and baobab oils whose fatty acids nourish, soften and moisturise your curls.


This means smooth shine on the surface and conditioned cuticles within the strand. You can leave a deep conditioner in your hair for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes – the longer the better. Turn up the heat to boost absorption by popping on a shower cap while the ingredients work their magic on your curls.


So what’s the difference between conditioning and deep conditioning?

A regular conditioner is for detangling, moisturising and softening your hair after cleansing with shampoo, but it only works on the surface of the strands. A deep conditioner is for a longer-lasting treatment that restores, repairs and rebuilds your strands from the inside out.


So if you’ve got dry and damaged hair, you should definitely be using a deep conditioner as part of your hair routine. Even if your curls are healthy, it’s always nice to give them a little extra love.


Should I use a deep conditioner every time I wash my hair?

This depends on your curl type and how dry and damaged your hair is. The twists and turns of spiral, tight and kinky curls make dehydration a risk at every turn. For these drier and more porous curl types, you’ll want to maximise moisturise to avoid dehydration.


This means using a deep conditioner either every time you wash your hair (we recommend washing once a week for all curl types) or a couple of times a month. For wavy curls that aren’t so dry, we’d recommend using a deep conditioner once a month to keep your curls nice and nourished.


Looking for the dream conditioning duo?

Curl conditioner

Made with nourishing baobab oil and cupuaçu butter (aka one of nature’s most powerful moisturisers) to keep your curls as soft as a baby's bum. With sweet orange essential oil and other citrusy scents for wash day bliss.


It also contains yucca plant extract, a natural and gentle cleanser perfect for co-washing dry and damaged hair.

Curl mask


Damage, dryness and dullness are no match for this dreamy deep treatment. Formulated with fancy Fiberhance to penetrate deep into the hair shaft to strengthen, repair and restore your curls.


Moisture-boosting shea butter and nutrient-rich baobab oil work together to nourish, soften and hydrate, while some coco-love boosts shine.

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