Dry Hair After Deep/Leave-in Conditioning? Here’s Why & Best Way To Fix It!

Deep-conditioning your hair is an important part of your hair care routine, but if done incorrectly, can do more harm than good! I’ve done some research into this, and here’s what I’ve found.

If you have dry hair after using a leave-in conditioner, you may be overdoing it. Only use leave-in conditioners 2-3 times a week as too much can make your hair dry and brittle due to an overload of proteins found in leave-in conditioners and your hair. Switching out a leave-in conditioner for a deep conditioner now and again can restore moisture.

Didn’t expect that, did you? Well, keep reading to find out how you can reverse this damage, and how you can prevent it from happening again in the future!

How To Fix Dry Hair After Deep-Conditioning

How to deep-condition natural hair properly

If your hair is looking and feeling super dry after a few too many deep-conditioning treatments, it’s time that you do some damage control—and fast!

The best way to fix dry hair after deep-conditioning is to follow-up the deep-conditioner with a water-based leave-in conditioner or a hair moisturizer while your hair is wet to trap moisture, then using an oil or hair butter to seal moisture in.

The good news is that you should be able to restore your locks in a couple of easy steps, so keep reading to find out what to do.

01. Use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.

If your hair is over-saturated with protein and this has caused it to become dry and brittle, I recommend that you cleanse your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.

Just make sure that you check the ingredients on the bottle to be sure that it does not contain any of the following protein ingredients:

  • Keratin
  • Oat flour
  • Silk protein
  • Hydrolyzed collagen
  • Wheat, quinoa, or soy protein
  • Amino acids

While these are generally good for your hair, you want to avoid them during this time. The aim is to avoid protein-boosting ingredients to give your hair time to recover from the protein overload!

02. Clarify your hair.

Clarifying your hair is basically like a reset button to your hair! It means you can start on a clean slate, and remove all excess oils, dirt, and build-up of proteins that are causing your hair to feel dry and brittle.

Use a good deep cleansing/clarifying shampoo to do this. I recommend taking a look at the top 15 best clarifying shampoos on Amazon. You can choose which one suits you best, as well as which price range suits your budget.

03. Use a homemade hair mask.

Once you have clarified your hair, you’ll need to add in a little bit of moisture to prevent your hair from drying out, as you have now essentially stripped it of everything.

I recommend using an all-natural mask, as this won’t overload your hair with protein again, but will also provide it with the moisture and nutrients your hair needs.

I recommend a honey, egg, and apple cider vinegar mask for hair that is dry and brittle. It is excellent for hydration, and it provides shine and nourishment without weighing down your locks, which is what many leave-in conditioners tend to do!

Simply combine 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 egg, and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a smallish bowl and apply it to your hair for about 30-40 minutes. Rinse when complete.

04. Avoid harsh styling.

You’re going to want to avoid hot styling tools such as straighteners and blow-dryers while you wait for your hair to recover, as these will only dry your hair our further.

Rather allow your hair to recover for a few days by leaving it to air dry, and you’ll notice the difference in the smoothness and texture of your hair!

How To Prevent Dry Hair After Deep-Conditioning

Dry hair after deep-conditioning is not an unusual result when you make a few common mistakes that are easily avoidable!

The best way to prevent dry hair after deep-conditioning is to keep your hair moisturised. You can do this by following up your deep-conditioning step by applying a water-based moisturizer and sealing that with olive oil or hair butter.

Keep reading to find out where you may be going wrong, and how to deep-condition your hair correctly:

01. Deep condition after you cleanse.

Many women deep-condition their hair before they have properly cleansed their hair and removed the build-up of dirt and oils. Shampoos usually have a pH balance of 8, which means it is slightly alkaline. This means the hair shaft swells and raises the cuticles for a deep and thorough cleanse.

Deep conditioners usually have a pH balance of 3.5-6, which should close the cuticle to trap moisture. Cleansers attract dirt and oil, whereas conditioners leave a film containing moisture on your hair. If your shampoo is too harsh, this means that your deep-conditioner won’t work and your hair will be left dry.

I recommend using Giovanni 50:50 pH Balanced Hydrating & Clarifying Lightweight Shampoo before you apply your deep conditioner.

02. Only focus on the ends.

Applying a deep-conditioner to your entire head of hair is a big mistake! You should only be focusing on your ends, as these tend to be the most dry.

This is because natural oils take some time to work down the lengths of your hair. Applying deep-conditioner to your ends will restore these oils, and this will help prevent dryness, breakage and split ends.

03. Read the label.

I cannot emphasize how important this is! Every deep-conditioning treatment will have different ingredients, and some will be stronger than others.

While it may be OK to leave certain products in your hair for longer, others may damage your hair and dry it out if left in for too long. You can prevent this by reading the label of the product first and carefully following the recommended directions for use.

I always recommend using deep-conditioner with all-natural ingredients to prevent buildup or damage to hair due to the product being too strong.

My favorite pick is PURA D’OR Healing Argan Oil Conditioner. It contains all-natural ingredients, and is 100% sulfate-free!

04. Only leave conditioner on for 20-30 minutes.

The time required for how long you leave your conditioner in does vary from person to person, so trial and error may be the only way.

However, if your hair tends to become dry faster, you may want to be careful about how long you leave the product on your hair!

I recommend leaving it in for 20-30 minutes just to be safe. Some women leave the product overnight, but this could cause your hair to become dry if your leave-in conditioner is very strong.

05. Heat your conditioner up.

Your deep-conditioner may be leaving your hair dry because it is not absorbing into your hair properly! If you want super smooth, silky hair, heat it up to about 95 degrees Fahrenheit to increase the effectiveness and absorption of the deep-conditioner.

The easiest method is to heat up a damp towel and wrap it around a vinyl cap surrounding your hair and leave in on for 20-30 minutes.

06. Rinse with cool water.

Always rinse your hair with cool water after you have applied a leave-in treatment.

The reason behind this is because hot water dries your hair out, as it opens the cuticle of your hair and allows moisture to escape. Coldwater, on the other hand, closes the hair cuticle and helps your hair retain moisture.

Related Questions

How often should I deep-condition my hair?

This depends entirely on the state of your hair and the type of deep-conditioner you are using. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend conditioning your hair when you can look and feel that your hair is in need of some care! Getting your hair colored or using lots of heat tools can be very taxing on your hair, so I always recommend doing a treatment in those situations or alternatively, 2-3 times per week is more than enough to keep your hair healthy and moisturized.

Want to learn more about how to revive dry, damaged hair after coloring? Read our article here for some really helpful tips and tricks!


Hey, I’m Jodie, the gal behind CraftyHairHacks. I have a deep passion for hair extensions, hairstyles, and almost anything that has to do with hair, which leads me to the writing and research I do for this website daily. Our site is still small, however, we’re pushing to get the best hair hacks out to as many as people as possible. ENJOY!

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