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Curly Nikki

How Long Do You Deep Condition?

By January 27th, 202147 Comments
By Dr. Phoenyx Austin

How Long Do You Deep Condition?I’ve noticed that there’s a considerably broad range of times frames that women will deep condition their hair. For example, I know many women who are fans of deep conditioning treatments that can last from 30 minutes and up to 60 minutes. Then there are some women who like to deep condition their hair overnight.

I’ve heard all the debate and questions about whether deep conditioning is a myth and how long you should deep condition. I don’t concern myself too much with it. Overall, I’m a big advocate of going with what makes me and my hair feel good. Personally, I’ve found that 15 minutes with a small amount of heat is sufficient time for a deep conditioning treatment to work on my hair. That’s just how I do it and I don’t find longer times necessary.

Truth be told, there was even a time when I hated deep conditioning my hair. When I was a little girl, I got my hair deep conditioned on Saturday mornings. I still have flashbacks of those trips to the salon. That Jamaican stylist used to make me sit under that dryer with a deep conditioner for at least 45 minutes. Even then I would complain that 45 minutes was completely unnecessary for my hair. Those 45 minutes were some of the angriest moments of my life. And yes Mom, I’m still a little pissed off about missing episodes of The Smurfs.

How long do you deep condition your hair? Do you notice a difference in your hair when you deep condition for a longer period of time? What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon?

Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a physician, writer, lifestyle & natural hair blogger, and media personality. If you’d like to send a comment/question to Dr. Phoenyx Austin, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Coco W says:

    Since Saturday night (4 June) I have two strand twist my hair and have been sptizing it with a blend of water, drops of rosemary oil and rose oil, every night before going to bed. I sleep with a plastic csp and satin cap over it. Each morning my hair is twists are damp but I don't undo them as I'm also trying not to handle my hair for the week. It's been 4 days and I'm wondering if this is a bad thing for my hair. I've been natural now for over 4 years and my growth has been way too slow, i cannot bush it up into a top knot of do a cornrows wrap around my hair. So will my regimen with the addition of almond oil and jojoba work, you think. Opinions and advice are accepted. Thank you

  • Coco W says:

    Since Saturday night (4 June) I have two strand twist my hair and have been sptizing it with a blend of water, drops of rosemary oil and rose oil, every night before going to bed. I sleep with a plastic csp and satin cap over it. Each morning my hair is twists are damp but I don't undo them as I'm also trying not to handle my hair for the week. It's been 4 days and I'm wondering if this is a bad thing for my hair. I've been natural now for over 4 years and my growth has been way too slow, i cannot bush it up into a top knot of do a cornrows wrap around my hair. So will my regimen with the addition of almond oil and jojoba work, you think. Opinions and advice are accepted. Thank you

  • Anonymous says:

    The best conditioner I have ever used is Pro Naturals Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner, the argan oil hydrates and strengthens my hair making it nice and healthy. Plus the extra shine is appreciated! Thanks for the informative article 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    hello my fellow sistas-

    i am growing out my natural black hair and i love it. one question- is there a MAXIMUM time that i can stay under the hooded dryer with tons of home-made treatment in my hair before the heat begins to damage my hair? thanks a lot!

  • Jenn says:

    For my DC treatment, I use ic vitamin/protein reconstructor (green and white) AND Super Strength Henna 'n' Placenta (brown and white). They are both in packets and are found in the beauty supply store for about $1.25 each. I shampoo, towel dry, and put the ic in first. Sit under the dryer for about 10 minutes, rinse, then put in the Henna, and sit under the dryer for about 20 minutes and an extra 30-40 minutes with no heat before rinsing.

    I then spray a leave in treatment (I LOVE infusium 23)and blow dry until its almost completely dry. Then I use a round brush to blow dry each section and lastly flat iron. My hair is the softest and most manageable thats its ever been. I dont worry about the heat because I only use heat after I wash my hair. Never in between washes for daily styling. I either wrap and go or use pin curls for a wavy affect.

  • Anonymous says:

    I suffered with Alopicia Areata for a while (horrifying for a 17yr old girl!) and had a substantial bald patch at the top of my neck under the hair, so luckily it wasnt too noticable, at this point, i stopped any form of heat styling and deep conditioned regularly. Used the 'Aussie; 3 minute miracle reconstructor' conditioner both in the shower and as a deep conditioner. I'd wash and condition in the shower and then towel dry hair to remove any excess water then lather the conditioner all over my hair and head and then wrap in clingfilm.
    I have DC'd over night with a range of times from 20 mins to a couple of hours. I can't say I saw (or remember seeing) a significant difference in my hair from a 20 min treatmean to overnight treatment.
    What i will say though, is that my hair did fully grow back… now, i dont know if it has anything to do with the conditioner or if it was just coincidence, (most probably the latter!) but either way, it grew back and *touch wood* the alopicia hasnt returned = VERY happy girly:)
    That said, I should really DC more often! Heat styling, colouring, brushing ect has left my hair looking rather dead! I am due a trim and will commence DC once all the dead hair has been cut off 🙂

    CAn anyone reccommend a good deep conditioner? I have thick-ish, wavy-ish (when not styled) hair.

    Fave saturday cartoon – cant remember if it was on saturday but POKEMON 😀

  • Anonymous says:

    It depends. If I'm styling my hair last minute I'll do about a half hour.

    Most of the time I leave it in from Saturday morning to saturday night, then I do an oil treatment and style.

    I did the same thing when I was relaxing 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    And i also stopped using shampoo, love the results! it takes about a month but it is worth it!
    -Same person as above ^ lol

  • Anonymous says:

    My hair has been a problem for me all my life, and even worse growing up my parents didnt know how to take care of it. I am mixed, black and white and have 2 hair types pretty curls on top and afro on the bottom resulting in pyramid head, lol i let my deep conditioner sit over night, almost every day, but i also extreme deep condition because it helps reform my curls and infuse much needed moisture. check Youtube if you don't know how. there's a couple videos. all you need is a straightening iron and aluminum foil! (and deep conditioner of course)

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm like SunnyGrl; I don't deep condition my hair anymore. I find it too time-consuming and I don't see much difference in my hair. Instead, once a week I pre-poo with oil and conditioner for 30 minutes and then detangle; then I co-wash or wash with a nonsulfate shampoo. I put conditioner on for a few minutes while I shower, then rinse out; after my shower I add a good amount of conditioner that I leave in my hair and other preferred styling products. At night, if I retwist, I usually add more conditioner. My hair stays nice a moisterized with this regimen.

  • stephanie says:

    15-30 minutes with heat or 40 minutes to overnight without. Overnight when I waited too late in the day to wash my hair, or when I took swimming classes at night. I don't know if there were any benefits to keeping the conditioner on longer, but there were no problems either, it didn't hurt either. My hair loves conditioner! I even wash my hair in the shower before work, put the conditioner in, pull my hair into a ponytail or bun and head out to work, and rinse when I get home. I am never robbed of time when I DC, I make it work for me and my hair feels good after the process is over

  • Ms. Msassy says:

    I have deep conditioned for 10 minutes under a dryer and I have done it for 10 hrs. I really have not noticed a difference and it really depends on the condidtioner. The last time I pre-pooed with EVOO and left it on under a shower cap for an entire day my hair was super soft. My favorite saturday morning cartoon was looney tunes

  • Anonymous says:

    I like to deep condition for 45min-1hr without heat. To be quite honest my dcing session can go on for more than 2hrs to overnight,depending on how lazy i am that day. Once done washing and out of the shower, i find it so difficult to go back in and rinse the goo out.

  • ShoeHOTLINE says:

    I deep condition for 15-20 minutes simply because its what I'm accustomed too. I have tried other time frames and haven't found any real benefit.

  • C. Stewart says:

    I faithfully deep condition my hair every weekend for a minimum of 24 hrs or the entire weekend if I don't have any plans. My hair is trained to expect it and by Friday I can see a difference in my hair. If don't do it over the weekend I can tell a difference by Tuesday… It's completely dry and won't last any style I try. Im currently transitioning and may try to do a short DC mid week in addition to the weekend since its now winter time.

  • BROWNBROWS says:

    My hair loves 45-60 minutes without heat. I gave up heat when I gave up perms.

  • Anonymous says:

    10 minutes, in the shower get it done.
    Love the Smurfs, I can still remember going to school in my uniform, ribbon in my hair, too large backpack and blue Smurfs lunchbox.

  • Anonymous says:

    30 minutes if I do it will exercising or a couple of hours if I get busy. The main thing is I make sure to keep it on long enough to get decent heat (body heat) going. That makes the biggest difference. I don't like the hassle and restriction of sitting under hair dryers.

  • newnatural101 says:

    When I deep condition, it's for 30-60 minutes. I don't use heat. I'm surprised so many people DC overnight.

  • Jami says:

    30 mins. No. Smurfs. peace

  • Holly says:

    I usually find that 1 hour is a good amount of time for a DC on my hair. anything shorter would probably require heat. Most of the time I leave it on longer so I can do something else (clean up, watch tv, cook, sleep, ya know…) LOL! But I know those super long DC's aren't really necessary for me.

  • Carla says:

    I usually deep condition for 15-20 minutes. If I just did a heavy protein treatment (Aphrogee for instance) or henna, then a deep condition for 30 minutes. If I do it for any longer its because I'm either sleeping or working out at the gym.

    30 minutes for my hair is the maximum benefit.

  • cellotlhicks says:

    I hate to sit under the dryer for even 15 minutes. Sometimes I do it anyways. When I know I need a good DC, I out on a bag, then cover it with a scarf and go for a walk with my dog. If its warm that is. I think the key is for me to be busy and go about my business while it sits. I even went to my dance class once with DC in under my scarf and bag.

  • MZ says:

    I deep condition overnight. One day I got carried away and dc'd for 36 hrs out of pure laziness. But my flat twist out looked exceptionally soft afterward. I have really thick hair so I have to condition extra long and I'm using Shea Moisture Raw Shea Deep Treatment so I think it needs extra time to …marinate?

  • CraftyScribbles says:

    I can go anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. No more than that as I don't see a difference.

    Favorite Saturday Cartoon: Toss-up among The Smurfs, Galaxy High, and Pee Wee's Playhouse

  • The Melanista says:

    I'll deep condition for anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours. I may go a little longer out of laziness, but I try to stay under a couple of hours. Now I deep condition before I wash and it's really working wonders for my hair.

  • SunnyGrl says:

    I don't deep condition. I cowash, leav in, and seal with olive oil and castor oil daily (wash and go girl all the way). Wash 1-2 a week, and detangle every other week. I'm very satisfied with the moisture levels/feel of my hair.

    I really think deep conditioning is a mind thing. But I could be wrong. I will most likely experiment with deep conditioning in a few months. I just started a biotin regimen, and want to see how that works for my hair before I start a new variable in my regimine.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have the same problem as anon @ 1:51pm. My hair gets oversaturated if I DC overnight and I end up losing more of it when I comb it after I rinse it out. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? Does anyone have any suggestions? I pretty much slap on the DC after I shampoo/henna/rinse out henna. After I put on the DC, I cover my head with a showercap, a bag & towel and that's it – I let my body heat do the rest (I'm pretty warm blooded).

  • Anonymous says:

    I can't do overnight conditioning treatments – it weakens my hair shaft too much and I lose was too much hair the next day when I try to style it. The longest I can do is 2 hours.

  • Anonymous says:

    what kind of doctor is she again?

  • Unknown says:

    I usually deep condition with my own homemade concoction anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours. But last night for the first time I DC'd overnight and the results were PHENOMENAL! My hair is sooo soft today 🙂

  • LM says:

    I deep condition weekly after my wash for about 45 minutes under a hooded dryer with a plastic cap. I notice a difference between doing it for a shorter periods of time. my hair looks and feel more moisturized and springy when i remove the plastic cap. Also, if i dont sit under the dryer long enough, when i take the cap off i still see the same amount of deep conditioner on my hair as i did when i first applied. After i've been under the dryer for 45 minutes, i barely see the conditioner and it feels like it has absorbed into my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm like @K above – a non-deep conditioner. After washing my hair every 7-10 days with shampoo, I put my leave-in conditioner in my hair for the rest of the shower, rinse out, then twist using the same leave-in and oils to seal. My 4c fine strands grow and are doing fine. I experimented for about a year and a half to find a simple but effective routine, and this works for me. I believe this routine works for me due to my genes–inheriting dense fast-growing hair from my father, a decent diet and lots of water, frequent trims of my ends, and handling my hair gently even tho I have to handle it a lot for twists.

  • KB says:

    I usually deep condition overnight but ONLY because I tend to wash my hair on Tuesday nights after I get home from hot yoga. By the time I'm out of the shower it's after 11 and I have to be up at 6. So I detangle, throw in the deep conditioner. Depending on how tired I am, I sit under my dryer for 20 minutes, then wrap it up and hit the sack. If I'm already super sleepy, I just go right to bed with my hair saturated with conditioner and baggied. In the morning, I rinse and throw it in a bun. I haven't really noticed any difference between this and when I would just deep condition under the dryer for 20 minutes, rinse and style.

  • Bootzey says:

    When my hair was loose and natural, I would condition over night using my head as a heat source. I learned long ago that the blow dryer was NOT my friend. But now that my hair is loc'ed, I condition (some say I shouldn't, but my hair tells a different story) in the form of co-washes only while in the shower. And that's pretty much it. It's growing and I haven't lost a loc yet!

  • MartiniCocoa says:

    I deep condition my hair overnight, rinse and enjoy the softness.

    My favorite cartoon: Josie & the Pussycats.

  • Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty says:

    I DC for about 20 minutes with heat. I've done the overnight and the 45 mins and honestly, there didn't appear to be a difference.

    As long as the hair shaft is able to swell open from the heat and a sufficient amount of time given for the conditioner to work, I don't see the necessity of longer times. However, it can be sort of spa like and certainly can't hurt 🙂

  • NaturallyME says:

    I typically deep condition for about 30 mins and then rinse. Haven't tried overnight though now I might after reading some of the comments of the after results.

    Saturday mornings (in present day) I tune in to SpongeBob but in my adolescent years, it was The Smurfs. Watching cartoons is relaxing to me……

  • keisha says:

    i've done both 20 min and overnight treatment. i haven't really noticed a difference in the two methods but i do need to do more of them consistently. btw how do u stretch ur hair to do your twists? love the pic!

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm an overnighter. I've done both and will still do a shortened version ( 30 minutes minimum) on occasion.

    My hair stays well moisturized longer and feel more thoroughly moisturized with weekly overnight treatments.

    Back in the day, when I actually watched weekend cartoons, I liked Fat Albert. 🙂

  • K. says:

    I probably wouldn't be considered a deep condition-er. I only have the condish in my hair til I finish showering. I don't have time for all that other ish and my hair feels the same either way.

  • NiqueAMo says:

    I have tried both as well and even though I have not noticed a difference I prefer overnight. In my mind overnight treatment gives me moisture for a longer period of time. (not proven just how I think…lol)

    My favorite cartoon not sure if it comes on Saturday morning but I catch it I usually tend to watch…..Dragon Tales…SMH

  • Anonymous says:

    I dc for about an hour with no added heat.

  • Anonymous says:

    I typically do over night twice a week. It is juts easiest for me. I can rinse and rock a wash n go.

  • MrsWardy88 says:

    Ummm if I have egg and mayo in my hair its less than an hour. If its just a hot oil treatment, I throw on a turban and let it sit. I dont really feel a difference when it comes to time.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm an over-nighter. Wash days for me are typically in the evening. So when I get out the shower its already 11:45 pm or later and I dread to go back the shower :/ I seat under the hooded dryer for at least 20 mins, then tie my satin scarf around the baggy and off to bed. The next morning after my work out, I rinse the conditioner out.

    For me at least, the conditioner penetrates the shaft of my beast better, in turn the end result is 100 times better then the 20 mins under the dry.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have tried both-conditioning overnight but not noticing any added moisture in my hair, to just conditioning for about 20 minutes. But just a few days ago i tried a protein deep condish on my thinning hair, and fell asleep watching tv. When i rinsed the next morning and my hair fully dried, it looked thicker and moist-er (made up word, ha!) then it's been in MONTHS. So I'm adding this overnight conditioning to my regimen with this particular product.

    Fave Saturday morning: Pinky & the Brain, and yes I watched it in my twenties.

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