Byrdie December 18, 2023



The 14 Best Drugstore Deep Conditioners of 2023


Deep hydration, unlocked.

Healthy, shiny, bouncy, hair is the goal, right? However, “the effects of daily sun damage and the use of hot tools can cause dry, dull hair,” explains celebrity hairstylist Christopher Naselli. Good news for damaged hair: the best drugstore deep conditioners on the market are affordable and work just as well as their more pricey counterparts.

The trick is to find the right formula—one that’s replete with proteins to rebuild tresses, as well as humectants and hydrating ingredients that can reinvigorate the effects of damage and give hair a deep conditioning treatment needed for repair1.  “If the hair is chronically dry or weak, then one may want to have a deep conditioner as a part of their regular hair routine,” Leigh Hardges, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago tells us. “If there had been damage from chemicals then one would only want to use until said damage had been corrected.”

We conducted hours of research and testing on the best deep conditioners for all hair types, evaluating different brands on their active ingredients, hydrating power, and results. After considering dozens of formulas and consulting with four hairstylists, we landed on the following best in show.


Best Overall

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Conditioner

What We Like

  • Smooths hair
  • Smells great
  • A little goes a long way

What We Don't Like

  • Contains methylisothiazolinone

Aussie's super affordable deep conditioner has racked up a cult following as one of the best deep conditioners around. The product has thousands of positive reviews, with users commenting on its ability to lessen frizz and hydrate dry ends thanks to a blend of hydrating jojoba oil and aloe vera. However, if you’re not a big fan of preservatives, you might want to steer clear of this product as it contains methylisothiazolinone. 

Who’s It For

This is a great product for someone in a time crunch who’s dealing with dry, brittle hair. 

Key Ingredients: Jojoba oil, aloe vera | Hair Type: Dry | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Budget

Hask Keratin Deep Conditioner Packette

What We Like

  • Strengthening formula
  • Convenient packaging
  • Helps detangle hair

What We Don't Like

  • Takes time to sink in

With added keratin in the formula to help strengthen brittle hair,2 this deep conditioner by Hask has plenty of reviews raving about its effectiveness—it’s a great affordable option for whenever your hair needs an extra boost. The mask takes 10 minutes to settle in (which might be too long for some users), so use this treatment when you really have time to nourish your strands.

Who's It For

If you don't mind saving some money but spending a little extra time on an intensive treatment for damaged hair, this is a great choice. 

Key Ingredients: Keratin, coconut oil, jojoba oil | Hair Type: Dry, damaged | Size: 1.8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Splurge

Kristin Ess Deep Treatment Mask

What We Like

  • Works with all hair types
  • Perfect for those with sensitive skin
  • Fragrance-free

What We Don't Like

  • Not the best detangler

While $15 isn’t a crazy splurge, it is a bit pricier than some other options on this list, but honestly it’s for a good reason! This deep conditioning mask from Kristin Ess is a versatile product that works with all hair types and is crafted with some amazing ingredients. "The Kristin Ess Hair Deep Treatment Mask is rich with oils from coffee seed, macadamia seed, olive, various fruit and leaf extracts as well,” says Hardges. “While ideal for those with sensitive skin, it is fragrance and dye-free.” And while this won’t replace your detangling products, it does help with nourishment and moisture.

Who’s It For

If you have color-treated or dry hair, this is an incredible product you should consider testing out.

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, macadamia oil | Hair Type: Dry | Size: 6.7 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Damaged Hair

L’Oréal Elvive Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm

What We Like

  • Rich and creamy
  • Smooths hair
  • Adds bounce

What We Don't Like

  • A little heavy for fine hair

Infused with almond oil, wheat protein, and ceramides, this unique deep-conditioning balm helps repair hair damage. It targets the five signs of damage—split ends, weakness, roughness, dullness, and dehydration—and is lightweight enough to be used daily for silky, smooth, and revitalized hair. The mask has a decadent whipped texture, and the creamy golden color infuses our bleached strands with a sunny glow. However, if you have super fine hair, you might find the formula to be a bit heavy.

Who’s It For

Anyone with dry or damaged hair is going to fall in love with this easy-to-use product.

Key Ingredients: Almond oil, wheat protein | Hair Type: Dry, damaged | Size: 8.5 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Thick Hair

Mixed Chicks Detangling Deep Conditioner


What We Like

  • Nourishing formula
  • Softens curls
  • Tamps down frizz

What We Don't Like

  • Some users claim it leaves a film on their hair

When it comes to thicker hair, Rugetti recommends thicker formulas that can coat all of the hair from root to tip in order to fully lock in moisture. This deep conditioner from Mixed Chicks does just that, working as a detangler and restorative treatment for dry, brittle hair. This formula specifically targets curly and coarse hair types, taming fly aways, and repairing damage from dyeing or bleaching. While this product is highly reviewed, we did notice that some people have mentioned that the formula leaves a slight film on their hair, which honestly might just be user error. 

Who’s It For

Thick-haired folks. this product will style stubborn hair into silky, moisturized, healthy, easy to maintain tresses.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, safflower seed oil | Hair Type: Thick | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Curly Hair

Carol's Daughter Strength Repairing Mask

What We Like

  • Great for curly and coily hair types, specifically 2A-4C
  • Free of parabens and mineral oil
  • Moisturizes and nourishes hair

What We Don't Like

  • Some users aren’t fans of the packaging

"This is a great product due to the silk proteins and amino acids in this deep conditioner,” says Hardges. “It has a fiber-like texture that adheres and penetrates the hair strand and the silk proteins repair broken disulfide bonds in weak and damaged hair.” We especially love this product for curly hair, as it was formulated with 2A-4C hair in mind. And while some users don’t like the tub packaging because it can get a bit messy, we don’t think it’s too big of a deal if you keep it in the shower. The benefits far outweigh the packaging, as it leaves hair less prone to breakage and will even leave it feeling softer and more nourished. 

Who’s It For

This is the perfect product for anyone who has damaged, curly hair.

Key Ingredients: Castor oil, wheat protein, amino acids | Hair Type: Curly | Size: 12 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for 4C Hair

Mielle Organics Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner


What We Like

  • Lightweight
  • Boosts shine
  • Good value

What We Don't Like

  • Not ideal for daily use

This strengthening deep conditioner is formulated with natural lipids and helps lock moisture into the hair shaft. The result: healthy, soft, and smooth hair that shines like no other. The formula is lightweight enough to be used by all hair types, but it’s specifically formulated to help restore moisture to dry and damaged 4C hair. It’s not meant to be used daily, which is something to keep in mind.

Who’s It For

If you have damaged 4C hair, you’ll appreciate the benefits this product offers thanks to a blend of babassu oil, sunflower oil, lavender oil, and more.

Key Ingredients: Babassu oil, sunflower seed oil, lavender oil | Hair Type: Damaged | Size: 8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best With Keratin

It's A 10 Miracle Deep Conditioner Plus Keratin

What We Like

  • Keeps hair smooth in high humidity
  • Boosts shine
  • Smells great

What We Don't Like

  • May be too scented for those who are sensitive to scents

When it comes to repairing weak and damaged hair, at-home keratin treatments deliver pretty unparalleled results. We love this deep conditioner mask which, thanks to keratin and a blend of plant oils, claims to restore the hair in 10 minutes or less. The restructuring treatment smooths out the hair cuticle while lending a protective coating that resists heat, humidity, split ends, and sun damage. Anytime we use it on our strands hair, they look freshly toned.

Who's It For

Anyone who has bleached, chemically damaged hair will adore how this mask gives them fresh-out-of-the-salon look.

Key Ingredients: Keratin, almond oil, aloe vera | Hair Type: Damaged | Size: 5 / 17.5 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Chemically Treated Hair

Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask

What We Like

  • Rich, creamy texture
  • Cute packaging
  • Smooths hair

What We Don't Like

  • Could be more hydrating

Chemical treatments can leave the hair damaged and brittle, and this plant-based deep conditioner mask works wonders on those with color, keratin, and Brazilian-treated hair. The rich, creamy formula, made with argan oil and plant protein, helps nourish and soften while increasing the hair’s strength and elasticity. Bonus? It has the most incredible floral scent. Although, we do think the formula could be a bit more hydrating. 

Who’s It For

You should try out this product if you have color or chemically-treated hair.

Key Ingredients: Argan oil, jojoba oil, vitamin C | Hair Type: Chemically-treated | Size: 16.9 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Blondes

Garnier Nutrisse Color Reviver 5 Minute Nourishing Color Hair Mask in Cool Blonde

What We Like

  • Boosts color and shine
  • Works quickly
  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like

  • Contains mineral oil

Blondes know that brassiness can leave the hair looking dull and bland, which is why we love this color-depositing conditioning mask from Garnier Nutrisse. Enriched with avocado oil, the formula helps restore softness, shine, and smoothness while its cooling pigments refresh your color, making brassiness a thing of the past. It's especially good to use in conjunction with a great purple shampoo for blonde hair. We wish it wasn’t formulated with mineral oil, but if that doesn’t bother you, we think this is a great option.

Who's It For

Anyone with bleached hair should try out this stellar product to keep brassiness at bay and hydrate fried hair.

Key Ingredients: Avocado oil | Hair Type: Bleached | Size: 4.2 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Fine Hair

Pantene Deep Conditioning Hair Mask Treatment

What We Like

  • Weightless hydration
  • Protective antioxidants
  • Pleasant scent

What We Don't Like

  • Water collects in the cap

Those with fine hair know the struggle of finding a conditioner that hydrates yet doesn't weight the hair down. This "miracle" mask from Pantene offers weightless hydration thanks to a blend of avocado oil, argan oil, and amino acids. It also preps hair for a faster dry time.

Who's It For

If you have very fine hair, you’ll find that this product isn’t stripping or too heavy, but rather, will leave you with silky strands.

Key Ingredients: Avocado oil, argan oil, amino acids | Hair Type: Fine | Size: 13 oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Mask

All About Curls Divine Treatment

What We Like

  • Contains biotin and collagen
  • Hydrating

What We Don't Like

  • It’s best when used overnight

While this mask works its magic best when it’s left in overnight, it's a favorite of celebrity stylist's Sophie Gutterman. “I always recommend my clients to sleep with a mask in their hair,” says Gutterman. “I’m currently using the Divine Treatment hair mask by All About Curls and what I like to do is style my hair in a sleek low bun and put a mask on my ends! Nobody will know you’re masking while living your best life.” Plus, it contains good-for-you ingredients like biotin and collagen.

Who’s It For

If you have curly hair that’s prone to breakage, your hair will reap the benefits of this product.

Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, shea butter, soybean oil | Hair Type: Curly | Size: 8 oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Dry Hair

Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Conditioner


What We Like

  • Amazing ingredients
  • Great for damaged hair
  • Perfect for curly and coily hair

What We Don't Like

  • Can be too thick for daily use

The texture alone perfectly communicates the rich nature of this conditioner. It’s especially great for coily hair and hair that has been color-treated or damaged. Ingredients like shea butter work to nourish the strands and moisturize the scalp, while argan oil works to make sure those nutrients stay put. The formula is a bit thick, so it’s best to avoid using it daily.

Who’s It For

If you have damaged hair that’s curly or coily, this conditioner will nourish from the inside out.

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, argan oil, sea kelp | Hair type: Curly | Size: 16 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Breakage

Native Vegan Hair Deep Conditioner

What We Like

  • Clean
  • Gentle but effective
  • Shea butter helps mend split ends
  • Natural oils moisturize without weighing hair down

What We Don't Like

  • Smaller bottle

This product is made with 10 ingredients or less, which means that each ingredient serves a purpose. It also means that it’s formulated without any ingredients that can damage your hair, so it’s an especially great choice for those with breakage or split ends. It’s also packed with shea butter and plant oils that will provide your hair with nutrients and moisture. The bottle isn’t too big, but it sure is mighty.

Who’s It For

Damaged, prone to breakage hair will work best with this deep conditioner.

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, almond oil | Hair Type: Damaged | Size: 6 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Where We Stand

Overall, our favorite deep conditioner is the iconic Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Conditioner, a cult favorite that leaves hair soft and silky. We also love Hask’s Keratin Protein Smoothing Deep Conditioner Packette because it’s budget-friendly and comes in convenient packaging.

How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market, evaluating their key features in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We also consulted experts for their opinions. We then used this research to choose the best picks to inform this article. 

Attributes we evaluated each vitamin for clear skin on:

  • Ingredients
  • Texture
  • Customer reviews
  • Brand Promises
  • Overall Results
  • Design

What to Look for in Drugstore Deep Conditioners

  • Hydrating ingredients: “You want to look for hyaluronic acid, glycerin, panthenol, sorbitol, and propylene glycol all help to hydrate the hair," says Hardges. "But oils like argan, jojoba, and grapeseed help to seal in hydration in the hair strands." Packed with coconut oils, the All About Curls Divine Treatment works great as a treatment mask because it’s a bit thicker.
  • Bond Builders: When looking at deep conditioners, pay special attention to bond builders like keratin, biotin, and collagen, since they’re great for nourishing and providing the hair with moisture. “Amino acids like cysteine and methionine, lipids, and proteins help to reform bonds in the hair broken from thermal and chemical damage,” adds Hardges. Our favorite product on this list with bold builders (and specifically amino acids) is the Carol's Daughter Repairing Mask.
  • Texture: Another important factor to keep in mind is the texture of the formula. The wrong texture has the potential to be totally ineffective or leave you with an oily mess, depending on the thickness of your hair. “Fine hair will yield the best results with lightweight, water-based products. Heavy products can weigh down the hair strands and as a result, lose volume and body," says Hardges. "Thicker hair fairs better with a more viscose product. If too lightweight of a product is used then dry, malnourished, frizzy hair is the end product.” We like Pantene Hair Mask, Miracle Rescue Deep Conditioning Treatment and the rich Mixed Chicks Detangling Deep Conditioner for thick hair.


How do you use a deep conditioner?

When in doubt, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Every deep conditioner is made different! However, a general rule of thumb to follow with most is to apply a quarter size of deep conditioner to freshly washed, damp hair and comb through with a comb. The length of time you leave the deep conditioner in your hair really depends on your preference—you can either rinse it out or leave it on overnight. And there’s no set amount of times you can use a deep conditioner, as that, too, depends entirely on the product. Some are meant to be used daily, like L’Oréal’s Elvive Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm, while others should only be used once a week. 

Is a hair mask the same as a deep conditioner?

At the end of the day, deep conditioners and masks are essentially the same. “They are the same in that they are highly concentrated in specific ingredients to address an issue in the hair,” says Hardges. “They really aren’t that different, just a different name.”

Should I leave the deep conditioner on my hair overnight?

Both Naselli and Gutterman recommend leaving conditioners or masks in overnight when your hair is experiencing excessive breakage or dryness. This is an especially good treatment if you’ve been using more heat tools than usual, or if your hair has been exposed to the sun. “If the manufacturer's ingredients say that you can, then go for it,” says Hardges. “If it says to rinse after a specific amount of time, then do that. They would know, they made it!”

Why Trust Byrdie

Taylor Augustin is a freelance beauty and fashion writer based in Newport Beach, California, with bylines in Brides, Popsugar, Who What Wear, Women’s Wear Daily, and more. She’s been reviewing beauty products for years and is an expert at finding the best items on the market.

Byrdie consulted these experts when working on this story:

Sophie Gutterman is a celebrity stylist in Los Angeles who specializes in textured hair.

Christopher Naselli is a celebrity hairstylist based in New York City whose work has been featured in top editorial publications around the world.

Laura Rugetti is a hairstylist and the owner of The Beauty Can salon in Los Angeles. Her specialties include both color and extensions.

Leigh Hardges is a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. She specializes in natural hair.