These 8 Deep Conditioners Will Totally Transform Your Hair

With the winter months upon us, the cold has an irritating tendency to suck all of the hydration out of our locks — leaving us with lackluster, dry hair. The solution to quickly adding a dose of TLC to your strands? Slapping on a good ol' deep conditioner.

Think of deep conditioners as a way of pressing the reset button on your hair. They help to restore strength and replenish moisture from normal, everyday stressors, leaving you with what will seem like a brand-spankin'-new — and healthy — mane.

But while hair masks are a widely known product, how to properly use them is still a topic of debate. Is leaving on overnight frowned upon? Should you apply before or after shampooing? And, of course, all hair masks aren't created equal. So which one should you actually be using?

For guidance, we consulted celebrity hairstylists Chuck Amos (he works with Solange Knowles, Jordin Sparks, and Tracee Ellis Ross) and Derek Yuen (clients include Jaime King, Joanna Newsom, and Constance Wu) to get the lowdown on all of these pressing questions and more. Click through for their pro advice, then feel free to add "taking better care of your mane" to your 2016 resolution list.
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Fine Hair
First things first: Both Yuen and Amos recommend using a deep conditioner once a week on fine hair, and always, always post-shampoo — not before. "Washing your hair rids [it] of unwanted dirt and oils the from scalp and shaft," says Amos. "When you deep condition, you restore the moisture and essential oils back to your hair after the cleansing process."

In fact, you can forgo your regular conditioner altogether on your deep-condition days, Yuen advises, and apply the deep conditioner selectively. "Hop out of the shower, towel dry, then apply enough conditioner to cover your length of hair — avoiding the first two inches of the roots," he says. After about five to 10 minutes, hop back in the shower (or use your trusty sink) to rinse the product out.

Yuen recommends Nioxin's masque for those with hair on the thinner side. "It has bilberry extract, which is used in skin and haircare as an antioxidant to protect from day-to-day free radicals and nourish dry hair," he says.

Nioxin Deep Repair Hair Masque, $17, available at Ulta.
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Medium & Thick Hair
Have full, thick locks? Both hairstylists put an emphasis on adding some kind of heat component after applying your mask, as the warmth and steam will help open the hair cuticle and allow the conditioner to penetrate deeper into the strands. Apply once a week after shampooing.

Amos recommends using a heated hair therapy turban wrap, which you can buy at a beauty supply store. Or, he notes, you can use a simple plastic shower cap and wrap it with a damp, steaming-hot towel "to encompass the heat of your scalp, creating a greenhouse effect." Leave it on for about 30 minutes for some major heated hydrating action.

For ladies with hair on the thicker side, Yuen says to reach for Oribe's Gold Lust masque. "[It] contains shea butter for deep moisture and Oribe's signature complex of fruit extracts to work as antioxidants to protect and restore from any damage."

Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Masque, $65, available at Oribe.
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Dry Hair
For those with hair that craves hydration, you might think that applying a mask overnight will automatically cure your tresses of their parched tendencies. But Amos and Yuen advise against this method.

"Over-conditioning hair can rearrange the keratin balance, causing it to break, shed, and split," says Amos. Yuen emphasizes this point, stating: "Hair is like a sponge, it can only hold so much." Both stylists advise using a mask for up to 30 minutes, or as long as the package instructions recommend, once or twice a week.

Crunched for time? We got you. Three minutes might not seem like long enough for a mask, but trust us, this bottle works wonders with the time allotted.

Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle Deeep Conditioner, $2.97, available at Walmart.
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Color-Treated Hair
Color-treated hair often falls into the dry category as well, so it should be treated the same way — once or twice a week, after shampooing, for up to 30 minutes — but with a mask designed for color-treated hair.

This option from Shu Uemura contains uber-hydrating rose oil, as well as goji berries, which will not only leave leave your hair super-conditioned, but will prevent your color from fading.

Shu Uemura Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Treatment, $68, available at Birchbox.
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Oily Hair
There's a slight conditioner conundrum for those with oily hair: You want hydrated locks without the burden of weighing it down or adding any excess oil to your already-slippery scalp. That's where a mask designed especially for oily scalps come into play, like Jericho's mud hair mask. It not only protects the health of the scalp, it also strengthens the hair roots — with the help of minerals straight from the Dead Sea.

Some takeaway tips: Focus the product onto the ends of strands, don't massage it directly onto your scalp, and don't leave the product in for too long (about five minutes is sufficient). Afterward, make sure to thoroughly rinse the product out to avoid any unnecessary extra buildup or oil.

Jericho Mud Hair Mask For Oily & Irritated Scalp, $25.89, available at Jericho.
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Curly Hair
Those with curly and natural hair probably already have the deep-conditioning game on lock; it's often second nature to most textured-hair ladies. But Amos says one thing to keep in mind is that the ends of your hair need more moisture and conditioning than the roots, since they're older and have seen far more damage in their lifetime, so focus your application on the ends of hair.

Amos swears by Ouidad's Deep Treatment. "The ingredients are so effective, you only need 12 minutes to get a deep-conditioning to your hair and scalp," he says. In general, use a mask or twice a week for up to 30 minutes.

Another tip for those with curly or natural textures: Add a special shampoo to aid in the penetration. "A pH-balanced shampoo or any shampoo that raises the pH balance in your hair is absolutely the best before deep-conditioning [on curly hair]," he says. "The pH opens the cuticles up on the hair shafts making the deep conditioner absorb and penetrate much more deeper, causing your natural hair and curls to be much more softer and moisturized." [Ed. note: We like OGX's Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo.]

Ouidad Deep Treatment Curl Restoration Therapy, $52, available at Sephora.
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Natural Hair
For those with hair on the coarser side should follow the same guidance as curly hair on the previous slide. Amos says you can also add in carrier oils, like avocado, olive, or everyone's favorite, coconut, into your deep conditioner to give your mask of choice an extra boost of moisture. This affordable, but effective, conditioner from Smooth 'N Shine already has olive oil and tea tree in the mix, or just hit the kitchen before hitting the shower.

Amos also recommends looking out for products with ingredients "like proteins and keratins to help rebuild curl patterns and strengthen curly and natural hair."

Smooth 'N Shine Polishing Olive & Tea Tree Revive Oil Deep Recovery Conditioner, $9.17, available at Walmart.
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All Hair Types
Not sure what type your hair fits into? Yuen recommends this quenching masque for ladies of all textures. Use it post-shampoo for 30 minutes once a week. It uses wheat and barley extracts to enhance moisture replenishment and contains aloe leaf juice for extra hydration.

Bumble and bumble Quenching Masque, $38, available at Sephora.
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