Your Guide to Hair Conditioners

moisturizerConditioning your hair is probably the number one thing you need in your regimen for healthy hair of any length.  Relaxed, texlaxed, texturized, transitioning, loc’d, natural – it doesn’t make an ounce of difference, you need to condition your hair regularly.  However, there are several different hair conditioners for different purposes and they are not all created equally, so it can be a bit confusing.   Most of the time when someone uses the term ‘conditioner’ on Black Hair Media and other online healthy hair resources, they are referring to a deep conditioner that has the ability to penetrate the cuticle of your hair strand to provide nourishment, protein and/or moisture to your hair.

These deep conditioners have the most benefit to the hair which include but are not limited to protecting, enhancing, detangling, smoothing, de-frizzing, softening, strengthening the hair.    They normally fall into one of two categories:   protein or moisture based, although some formulations have both properties.    Protein deep conditioners strengthen the hair, stop or prevent breakage, and add resiliency.   Moisturizing deep conditioners are pretty self explanatory.   Most professionals and “DIY’ers” agree that deep conditioners should be used approximately once a week to maintain hair at its optimal health.   It is my personal opinion that all deep conditioners are most effective when used with heat, which helps open the hair cuticle and allows the product to penetrate more deeply.

Types of Conditioners

How do you recognize if a hair conditioner is moisture or protein based?   The name of the product and the description can help, but you absolutely must examine the ingredient list.  Moisturizing conditioners include things like water, glycerin, and panthenol high on the list.   Protein conditioners are comprised of things like hydrolyzed silk protein, wheat protein, hydrolyzed keratin, etc.   Both normally have lightweight oils such as cetaryl alcohol to help lubricate the hair.

In addition to deep conditioners, there are also instant conditioners, leave-in conditioners, detanglers, and oils/serums/elixirs that all fall under the umbrella of conditioner.  To understand how each of these differs and their proper use, see the table below.


Common Names


Best Use


Deep Conditioners

Masques, Treatment, Hydrators Restore hair’s suppleness, strengthen, soften, moisturize and improve (or maintain) hair’s health Weekly with heat (Electric heating cap, hooded dryer, steamer, etc) Olive Oil Replensishing Pak, Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment, Carol’s Daughter Tui Moisturizing Hair Smoothie

Instant Conditioners

Daily conditioner, rinse out conditioner Restore hair to its natural pH, lightly moisturize and lubricate. Mid week between deep conditioning sessions, In place of shampoo when hair needs gentle cleansing. Vo5 Moisture Milk, Aussie Moist, Bee Mine Bee Lovely Moisturizing Daily Conditioner


Revitalizer, Spritz, Detangler Smooths cuticles, moisturizes hair, helps protect against styling Whenever hair has been wet (conditioning or co-washing), as a daily moisturizer Bee Mine Deja’s Hair Milk, Mizani D’Tangle Moisturizing Leave-In, Jane Carter Revitalizing Leave-In


Elixer, Oil treatment Smooth cuticles, seal in moisture, heat protection After deep conditioning, before heat styling, great for roller setting and air drying. Morocan Oil Treatment, Kerapro Anti-Frizz Elixer, Giovanni Frizz Be Gone

Author: EbonyCPrincess

EbonyCPrincess, a self proclaimed hair care enthusiast who began her quest for long healthy hair in 2009. Her hair is relaxed and type 4b (kinky, very tightly coiled). You can find more information about Ebony and her journey on her personal blog, or her YouTube channel (

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  1. Good info! For my daily conditioner I use Clear with Shea for natural or relaxed hair, it really helps using it every day.

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  2. thank you so much for the info, very useful, I use a great conditioner that is helping me a lot. it’s Pro Naturals Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Conditioner which keeps my hair shiny, soft and healthy. 😀

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  3. Thanks for the post! My hair is thick and curly and the best product I’ve used to take care of dryness is Pro Naturals Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner, my hair is hydrated and healthy now, plus it’s shinier than before 🙂

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