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Leave-in, Daily, and Deep Conditioners: What’s the difference?


Photo Credit: Takashi Ota
Photo Credit: Takashi Ota


Natural hair and conditioners are two peas in a pod, and is a vital part when it comes down to the infamous wash days. However leave-in conditioners, daily conditioners and deep conditioners are, despite sharing a word, very different. I’m heading somewhere important with this, I promise! Understanding the variances and similarities between all of these brings you once step closer to getting to Nirvana, aka the best outcome for your hair!

With deep conditioners (DCs), it’s of a heavier, thicker consistency and has a longer treatment time of a minimum of 30 mins. They are used to restore the internal hydration to the hair, whilst applying intense moisture! Awesome.

Now this is where it gets scientific. The ingredients of DCs is different as it includes humectants to hold moisture and can be provided through natural oils; a pH balance between 6-7 that increases absorption into the hair strands; and those lovely amino acids that provides strength and promote of hair growth! The body does produce natural amino acids on its own accord, but DC’s provide a more direct approach to the situation. In my view, this is where homemade DC’s fall short: using a daily conditioner as base is great for mixing and ease of application. But doesn’t penetrate the hair as well as it wasn’t specifically made for that use.

Overall, the effects of deep conditioners last loads longer and with lasting sustainability.

Next level down are daily conditioners. This is in no way saying they are less helpful to your but they do have a different purpose than of DC’s. Daily conditioners I would categorise as a product that has an accompanying shampoo that is to be used in conjunction with it. Or by itself if you’re a co-wash kind of woman/man. The recommended time is typically 3-5 minutes before being rinsed out, thus being gentle enough for daily use. Cause we all know how fragile our coils can be when washing.  Daily conditioners are usually less viscous products that DCs and helps to smooth the hair to combats frizz. A great trait when all the manipulation of washing can take its toll.

And lastly, leave-in conditioners are used as a ‘pick-me-up’; a kind of refresher for your hair so they are pretty straight forward. The best ones contain water in the first 5 ingredients, as well as humectants, as the whole purpose is to hydrate your hair. So make sure to seal afterwards! But no matter how much you believe in it, leave-ins cannot be used as replacement for a DC or a daily conditioner.

All conditioners have the ability to attach to the surface of the hair for excellent conditioning qualities. But each has their own role to take.

Comment below and let us know what you think of Leave-in, Daily, and Deep Conditioners: What’s the difference? If you have any hair style tips and advice, contact us here and share it on Hey Naturals website.

Kassandra Bourne
Kassandra Bourne is born and bred in North-West London. She has been natural since February 2012, and her love and knowledge of natural hair has grown exponentially with her tresses. With a degree in her back pocket, she often wonders about her front pockets. Her hobbies includes videos games, vintage video games, Comicon, and...oh! running a hair blog.

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