how often should you condition your hair

Conditioner serves as a moisturizer for hair and is made up of various components, including cationic surfactants, emollients, oils, and occasionally silicones. Silicones work by coating the hair to block humidity, reduce frizz, and add shine. 

Additionally, conditioner helps to replenish moisture that shampooing removes, moisturizes hair after chemical treatments, and aids in the recovery from heat damage inflicted by hair styling tools.

But how often should you condition your hair for healthy, shiny hair? With so many conflicting opinions out there, it can be tough to know what's best for your hair type. That's why we've created this comprehensive guide to help you discover the ultimate conditioning routine for healthy, shiny hair.

How Often Should I Condition My Hair?

You may wonder “should I condition my hair every day or how often should I use conditioner? How frequently you condition your hair will depend on your hair type and the type of conditioner you are using

Rinse-Out Conditioner

Rinse-out conditioners are the most common type, applied after shampooing and rinsed out after a minute or two.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)(1) recommends using a rinse-out conditioner a few times per week, but if you have oily or fine hair, you may want to condition it less often to avoid weighing down your hair.

If you have dry, coarse, curly, or color-treated hair, you may benefit from conditioning more frequently - even daily or every other day - to add much-needed moisture.

How Often Should I Condition My Hair

Leave-In Conditioner

The appropriately named leave-in conditioner is designed to remain in your hair until your next wash. Its purpose is to moisturize mildly to moderately dry hair and repair damaged hair. Generally, it's recommended to apply the conditioner once a week. However, for those with curly, dry, or damaged hair, you might want to apply it more frequently.

Deep Conditioner

Deep conditioner is heavier than rinse-out and leave-in conditioners and is designed to repair very damaged hair and hydrate very dry hair. You can use it every month or two, leaving it on for around 30 minutes or more.

Cleansing Conditioner

Cleansing conditioners are a type of rinse-out conditioner that combines both cleaning and conditioning properties, effectively eliminating the need for a separate shampoo. Due to their lightweight formula, they are a great option for those with fine or oily hair as they won't weigh the hair down. 

These types of conditioners can be applied as often as shampoo, usually daily or every other day for oily or fine hair. However, dry, coarse, and curly hair can go longer periods between washes, up to a week or more, although they require more frequent conditioning. Therefore, cleansing conditioners may not be the best option for these hair types.

Stunning Benefits of Using Conditioner

Benefits of Using Conditioner

Here are some of the reasons why using conditioner is crucial for maintaining healthy and beautiful hair.

Keeps Your Hair Well-Hydrated

Hair requires adequate moisture, just like the skin, to stay healthy. Using a moisturizing conditioner will hydrate your hair and seal the cuticle, providing a fuller look.

Protect Your Hair From Damage

Hair is exposed to stress from chemicals and styling tools, leading to damage. Consistently conditioning your hair can help to protect it from the harmful effects of blow dryers, curling irons, and other styling tools. Conditioner with UV protection will also shield your hair from the sun’s harmful rays.

Reduce Tangling

Tangles and knots are frustrating to comb through, causing pain and damage. Fortunately, regular conditioning can help reduce tangling and make combing through damp strands much easier.

More Elastic And Shiny Hair 

Conditioning the hair shaft strengthens and nourishes it, which improves the elasticity and shine of the hair. By keeping your hair conditioned, you'll prevent dryness and breakage, leaving you with smooth and healthy hair.

How To Properly Apply Conditioner

How To Apply Conditioner Properly

Conditioning your hair is an essential step that comes after shampooing, with the exception of using a cleansing conditioner. Shampooing cleanses your hair of sweat, dead skin cells, and hair products, but it can be harsh on your hair follicles due to the chemicals it contains.

After washing your hair, it can appear dry, dull, and challenging to style. To avoid this, you should apply a regular conditioner to make your hair manageable and softer.

Not only does conditioner make your hair more manageable, but it also protects your hair shafts from damage. To apply the conditioner correctly, here is what you should do for each type of conditioner.

Rinse-Out Conditioner

To properly use a rinse-out conditioner, start by washing your hair with shampoo and thoroughly rinsing it out. 

Next, apply the recommended amount of conditioner to your hair from the chin level down, making sure to avoid the scalp. Use your fingers or a comb to work the conditioner through the ends of your hair. 

After about two minutes, rinse off the conditioner completely, ensuring that there is no residue left in your hair.

Leave-In Conditioner

The leave-in conditioner is different from the rinse-out conditioner as it doesn't require washing out and can be left in your hair. It's formulated with lighter ingredients than regular conditioners, which means it won't weigh your hair down, making it ideal for use before blow-drying to protect your hair from heat damage. 

Moreover, the leave-in conditioner has extra moisturizing properties that can benefit those with natural or more textured hair. 

  • To apply leave-in conditioner:
  • After washing your hair, gently dry your hair with a towel to remove excess water.
  • Apply the leave-in conditioner, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Gently comb your hair with your fingers or with a comb. 
  • Air-dry it before styling it as you usually do.
How To Properly Apply Conditioner

Deep Conditioner

If you regularly bleach your hair and use hot irons for styling, it's important to use a deep conditioner to strengthen and repair the damage caused by these treatments. However, you should not overuse deep conditioner. It's recommended to use it once a week, or even just once a month.

To apply deep conditioner:

  • Read the label to check if your hair needs to be wet first.
  • Apply the conditioner to the ends of your hair, avoiding the roots.
  • Leave it in your hair for the recommended time, typically 10 to 30 minutes.
  • Wash and rinse your hair to remove the conditioner.

Cleansing Conditioner

As it combines shampoo and conditioner, a cleansing conditioner can be used like your regular shampoo. It is designed to balance the conditioning and cleansing properties, allowing both to work effectively.

To apply your cleansing conditioner:

  • Thoroughly wet your hair.
  • Apply the conditioner from the roots to the ends.
  • Rinse it out completely from your hair.

Signs of Over-Conditioning

Although conditioners can offer numerous benefits for your hair, it is important to be mindful of the amount you use, as over-conditioning can have adverse effects. Here are some signs that your hair may be over-conditioned:

  • Greasiness.
  • Lack of volume and buoyancy.
  • Excessive glossiness or shine.
  • More difficulty to style your hair with heat.

If you notice any of these signs, just reduce the amount of conditioner you use. You can experiment with the frequency and type of conditioner you use until you find the optimal balance of shine, buoyancy, and smoothness for your hair.

Signs of Under-Conditioning

Overconditioning isn't the only issue that can affect your hair, under-conditioning can also cause problems. Signs that you may be under-conditioning your hair include

  • Dry or brittle strands breaking easily.
  • Excessive tangling.
  • Frizz.
  • Dullness.

To address this, consider applying conditioner more frequently, and try incorporating deep conditioning treatments into your hair care routine to help maintain moisture levels.

The Bottom Line

So how often should you use conditioner for healthy hair? It depends on your hair type and the type of conditioner you are using. For those with fine or oily hair, using a rinse-out conditioner or cleansing conditioner several times a week is generally sufficient. 

In contrast, those with coarse, curly, or dry hair should condition their hair more frequently to maximize moisture and may want to consider using a leave-in or deep conditioner.


1. (2023). Tips for healthy hair. {online} Available at: