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How Often Should You Condition Your Hair? (Men’s Guide)

Between shampoos and 3-in-1 body washes, “how often should you condition your hair?” isn’t even a question on the radar for many guys. Too many men don’t know all the good that conditioner could do for their hair.

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Why Use Conditioner?

Conditioner keeps your hair soft, glossy, full, hydrated, and tangle-free. If you haven’t been using a conditioner, you might be missing out on all the things that make hair great!

Like shampoos, conditioners contain surfactants that get your hair clean, but the similarities end there. Conditioners are packed with moisturizing ingredients, known as “humectants,” that coat each strand of your hair to protect it from dryness and breakage.

That’s especially important for guys with longer hair. Your roots tend to be pretty healthy (after all, they just grew in). But the tips of your hair are susceptible to split ends, dryness, and heat damage.

How Often Should You Condition Your Hair If You’re A Man?

The most generic rule: you should use conditioner as often as you use shampoo. For some guys, that’s every day, and for others, that’s a few times a week, or as little as once a month.

It all depends on your type of hair.

If you suffer from dryness and frizzy, fly-away hair, you should use conditioner more often. Maybe even more often than you use shampoo. Conditioner will give you glossier hair with less frizz.

Guys with thin, fine, and oily hair should only use conditioner once or twice per week. Your natural oils function a lot like conditioner, so you don’t need to use it as often. Just be aware, natural oils don’t smell great, and they’re better at causing scalp acne and folliculitis (which takes a great scalp acne shampoo to cure). 

The type of conditioner can also determine how often you should use it. 

You’re probably most familiar with rinse-out conditioners. You use them in the shower, right after shampoo, and rinse them out after a minute or two. They’re made for everyday use.

Types of rinse-out treatments include moisturizing conditioners for dry hair, protein conditioners for straight hair, cream-rinse conditioners for oily hair, and thickening conditioners for thin hair. 

“Deep conditioners” and “leave-in conditioners” are an entirely different beast. Deep conditioners are meant to be left in for over 30 minutes, so they’re really a once-a-month treatment for excessively dry, coarse, and curly hair. Leave-in conditioners are the opposite – apply them to wet hair and don’t rinse them out. They’re awesome for extra detangling power.

How Often Should You Condition Your Hair If You’re A Black Male?

As a baseline, you should definitely condition your hair whenever you use shampoo or another cleanser to wash it. Beyond that, it really depends on the style and length of your hair (and your personal preferences).

If you ask r/BlackHair, guys with shorter hair can get away with conditioning every other day – “co-washing.” If that sounds like your style, make sure you read the ingredient list. Conditioners that contain sodium lauryl sulfate (or a similar sounding ingredient) dry out your hair too much. You’ll look good in the short-term, but in the long run, sulfates can cause breakage, forcing you to shave off all your gains. Look for all-natural conditioner options without sulfates.

Longer Black hair does best when you consult a Black stylist for help. The answer for how often you should condition afros and dreads varies widely, depending on porosity. If you’re dead set on only using at-home treatments, try a leave-in conditioner or a deep conditioner. (And pair it with the best shampoos made for dreadlocks.)

How Often Should You Condition Your Hair If You Have Curly Hair?

Curly hair is picky about conditioner. In general, dry, frizzy curls need conditioner almost every day, but oily hair with curly ends only needs conditioner just a few times a week.

Conditioners are marvelous at enhancing waves and curls. They help create beautiful strands with fewer fly-away hairs. That’s the catch 22 for guys with oily, curly hair – you don’t want to over-condition because your natural oils do a lot for your curls, but you also don’t want to skip on the professional styling benefits of a conditioner.

If you have curly hair but can’t condition it often because of oily scalp, use one of the best conditioners for oily hair. They don’t over-hydrate your locks, so you get the gloss and curl without the excessive oil.

Is It Bad To Condition Your Hair Everyday?

If you’re using a grocery store conditioner, conditioning your hair every day can cause damage in the long run.

Plenty of store-bought conditioners contain sulfates, parabens, and detergents that clean your hair while also drying it out. That means you get short-term hydration, but long-term split ends and dryness.

It’s so much safer to use an all-natural conditioner if you have the type of hair that needs frequent conditioning. All-natural products use plant-based ingredients that are more gentle and hydrating than their commercial counterparts. And isn’t that exactly what you want in a conditioner? Gentle hydration?

Aside from using the wrong conditioner, conditioning every day is only harmful if you have oily hair, thin hair, or if you’re suffering from some balding. Over-conditioning your hair in those circumstances can cause scalp acne.

Can I Use A Conditioner Twice A Day?

Using conditioner twice in a day is excessive unless you have a really good reason (like needing to remove stubborn pomade from your hair).

Here’s the downside to conditioners: as good as they are for your hair, using too much can cause scalp acne. The oils and butters in conditioner are made for the tips and ends of your hair, but guys with short hair have no choice but to lather it into their scalp. The thickening ingredients clog your pores, causing breakouts.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use conditioner, but it does mean you should use conditioner sparingly. When you wield it correctly, conditioner is a powerful styling tool.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.