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How To Deep Condition Your Natural Curls

How To Deep Condition Your Natural Curls

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As a curl expert, you may already know that hydration is the key to bouncy, healthy curls. But which products offer the thirst-quenching moisture you’re after? When it comes to hydrated curls, there’s no go-to product quite like a deep conditioner.

Oil-rich & creamy, these products are perfect for lathering your locks & crafting show-stopping curl clumps. With a butter-like texture, regular deep conditioning wraps your strands in a hydrating hug, nourishing your curls like nothing else can.

With so many different types of conditioners to choose from, finding the best deep conditioner may seem tricky, especially knowing that each gorgeous crown is one-of-a-kind. That’s why we’ve created this deep conditioning guide, exploring why it's essential & how often you should deep condition & common mistakes to avoid so you get the most out of your next hydrating wash day.

Understanding Deep Conditioning: Why It's Essential for Natural Curls

So you know moisture matters, but what sets deep conditioning apart from other nourishing aspects of your hair care routine?

The loops & waves of your curls depend on the shape of your hair follicles, which is why there’s a beautiful variety of curl patterns, from loose waves to tight coils. The shape of your tresses affects the way sebum (the natural oils produced by your scalp) makes its way down the hair shaft, spreading moisture throughout your strands. 

The jaw-dropping shape of curls & coils paves a longer path for sebum to travel, so hydrating hair products like deep conditioner help fill in any moisture gaps, guaranteeing your locks stay hydrated from root to tip. 


How Often Should You Deep Condition Your Natural Curls?

Now you know the importance of regular hydration, but how often should you deep condition curly hair? To maintain the abundant bounce & definition of your curls, it’s a good idea to deep condition your natural hair every other week. If you live in a drier climate or are looking for an extra dose of hydration, you can even use this product once a week.

Your deep conditioning routine will probably depend on a few key factors, like your hair’s porosity (how freely moisture slips in & out of the hair shaft). For more porous curl types, a frequent deep conditioning regimen can help your curls avoid dehydration & ensure they stay their vibrant & voluminous selves.

On the other hand, if you have low porosity hair, consider deep conditioning once every few weeks for results that deliver high-power hydration without weighing down your strands. 

Choosing the Right Deep Conditioner for Your Curl Type

Understanding your hair texture, porosity & density makes it even easier to find the best deep conditioner for your strands. For example, tighter coils thrive on products that contain natural oils, like Acacia Decurrens Flower & Coconut Oil, while curlies with thick strands could benefit from products packed with Argan & Jojoba Oil. 

Not all deep conditioners are created equal, so keep an eye out for formulas that contain high-quality & nourishing ingredients, like:

  • Avocado Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Shea Butter

Both of the PATTERN Intensive Conditioner & Heavy Conditioner contain these three ingredients, but their subtle differences make them go-to products for curlies with a range of textures. Lucious & invigorating, our Heavy Conditioner has the signature “PATTERN slip” that makes detangling your strands a breeze. For all our coilies, our Intensive Conditioner offers an ultra-rich formula that fortifies every follicle long after you’ve washed it out.

How to Prep Your Hair for Deep Conditioning

For the best results, you want your deep conditioner to penetrate the hair shaft as much as possible so your strands can soak up the maximum amount of moisture. This means it’s essential to apply it to clean hair. 

If you notice some build-up or are after a scalp refresh, consider washing your strands with a clarifying product, such as the PATTERN Cleansing Shampoo, before following up with a deep conditioning treatment. This ensures your scalp is squeaky clean & your follicles are able to absorb as much hydration as possible.

Step-by-Step: How to Apply Deep Conditioner to Natural Curls

Propper application ensures you’ll get the most out of your wash day routine, so here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to deep condition curly hair:

Step One: Section Off Your Strands

Once you’ve shampooed & rinsed, it’s time to give your wet hair a light towel dry & section off your curls. This can help you apply deep conditioner equally across your locks. Depending on your hair’s density (how many strands grow per square inch across your scalp), you may want to separate your tresses into four, six or even eight sections. 

Step Two: Consider Your Hair’s Needs & Apply Deep Conditioner Accordingly

Contrary to popular belief, deep conditioning isn’t just for soothing curls that may feel a little dry from time to time. Deep conditioner can work wonders on naturally oily hair, too! If you’re looking to revive & hydrate your strands, you’ll want to apply the product at the roots & gently work it through your hair. 

If you have naturally oilier roots, apply deep conditioner about halfway down your hair shaft & lather it down to your ends, coating your strands in quenching goodness without adding extra hydration to your roots. 

Step Three: Let the Conditioner Work Its Magic

Once you’ve applied the product throughout your curls, sit back & relax. If you’re in a rush, you can leave it on for five to ten minutes, but if you have the time, letting it sit for half an hour allows the deep conditioner to really work its magic. 

It’s the perfect time to pop on a playlist or catch up on a chapter of the book you’re reading. This is your time! 

Step Four: Rinse & Enjoy

Once you’ve allowed your luscious locks to revive & revitalize from a deep conditioning sesh, it’s time to rinse off the product. Unlike leave-in conditioner, it’s important to wash deep conditioner out of your tresses to avoid buildup on your follicles or scalp.

Then, you’re ready to style your crown. Whether you’re a fan of chic Bantu knots, stylish finger coils or romantic beach waves, deep conditioning provides your natural hair with a hydrated foundation for a sleek, soft finish every time. 

Rinsing & Styling: Post-Deep Conditioning Care for Natural Curls

After adding this game changer to your curl care routine, the right post-conditioning steps can help you make the most out of your hydrating treatment. Going the extra mile can ensure you reap all the benefits of deep conditioning (you know, keeping your strands healthy, shiny & soft). 

After rinsing out the deep conditioner, level up the moisture & lock in shine by adding our Leave-In Conditioner to your damp strands. Then you can layer on stylers like the PATTERN Styling Cream or Curl Gel for added hold, or leave your curls as they are for an effortlessly chic wash-&-go.

The Power of Heat: Incorporating Heat into Your Deep Conditioning Routine

Ready to become a deep conditioning pro? Take your treatment to the next level by adding the unexpected: heat. Applying heat to your curls helps open up the hair cuticle & aids in the absorption process by allowing the product to penetrate the hair shaft for a waterfall of moisture.

The next time you apply deep conditioner, sit back & enjoy the steam. You can also use a shower cap, warm towel or blow drier. Just apply the deep conditioner & apply heat in one form or another for 20 to 30 minutes so your hair has the chance to absorb its nourishing oils & hydrating ingredients. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Deep Conditioning Natural Curls

Now that you know how to deep condition curly hair, you’re ready to review some tips & tricks to ensure you avoid common mistakes. Here are some things to steer clear of when deep conditioning so you can showcase your soft, shiny strands with confidence:

  • Not deep conditioning frequently enough – One deep conditioning mistake (that’s easy to make) is not applying the product often enough. While you may not deep condition every wash day, feel free to enjoy this at-home spa treatment every one or two weeks. (You’ll be glad you did.) 
  • Not using the right amount of product – Using too much (or too little) deep conditioner can put a damper on its benefits, so it’s important to understand the amount your strands need to deliver the best results. As a rule of thumb, shorter, thinner or fine hair requires less product than curlies & coilies with thicker or more plentiful locks. 
  • Not leaving in the conditioner for the right amount of time – Leaving deep conditioner in your strands overnight is a major no-no since over-moisturized curls can have a hard time holding onto their shape & volume. Leaving your deep conditioner on for the right amount of time before rinsing can help guarantee moisture-balanced curls. Check your product’s label to take the guesswork out (& use your phone timer if you’re prone to distractions). 

Condition Your Curls for Maximum Moisture with PATTERN

Whether you have curls, coils, waves or a texture in between, deep conditioning your natural locks is a one-way ticket to happier strands. At PATTERN, we love all curls & textures, & care about providing you with products that care for your natural curl pattern. 

That’s why you’ll find luscious, oil-rich formulas like our Heavy Conditioner & Intense Conditioner in our line of moisturizing curly hair products. A conditioner for every curl type & density, you can give your locks the TLC they (& you) deserve with PATTERN.


Healthline. What Is Hair Density and Why It Matters. https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-density

Healthline. What Type of Hair Porosity Do You Have? https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-porosity 

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Reviewed by Ashley Ludgood

With over 12 years of experience in the beauty and fashion industry, Ashley Ludgood brings a wealth of expertise to her current role at PATTERN. Her insights have been featured in reputable publications like American Salon Magazine, American Spa Magazine, and Skin, Inc. Ashley has also shared her knowledge at conferences, including Face & Body, demonstrating her ongoing commitment to contributing to the industry. Having been an integral part of the team at PATTERN for nearly 4 years, Ashley continues to make significant contributions. Holding a degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, she remains passionate about her field. Among her favorite products, Ashley turns to the PATTERN Styling Cream, Moisture Milk, and the Cleansing Shampoo as her go-to essentials.

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