Here are the questions I ask myself when searching for a good deep conditioning product.
1. Is the conditioner thick or thin?
I prefer thick conditioners, but in the end that really does not matter.
2. Do you have to use a lot or a little DC for the product to do its job?
This can become a very important question. Are you going through so much product that the price is way too much? Is it really doing its job if you have to use the whole jar/bottle to make it work?
3. Do you like the product ingredients?
I have found many products that work, but have mineral oil, sulfates or cones. Those three ingredients are often not good for your hair in the long term. If you do choose to use a deep conditioner with these ingredients, what steps are you going to take to counteract their effect on your hair?
4. Does the conditioner leave your hair detangled, the same as before you applied, or a tangled mess?
If it leaves your hair tangled, get rid of it! Otherwise, as long as your hair is not tangled, I would keep it. However, if you are looking for a DC and detangling product in one, then your search may not be over.
5. Does your hair feel soft when dry?
Soft hair when dry is a must! Dealing with dry hair leads to breakage. Even protein conditioners should not leave your hair dry (that means your hair did not need the protein).
6. Does the effect of the conditioner last at least a week?
So very important. If your hair is feeling less than great two days after Deep Conditioning then your hair really is not deep conditioned. The effect of a deep conditioner should not be temporary, but instead long lasting. Your leave-in and moisturizer are just an aid in retaining moisture and strength, not the main source of nutrients.
7. Does the price outweigh the results?
This for me is always a question. I love many really expensive deep conditioners, but I just cannot see myself spending a ton of money on a conditioner as a student on a budget. I am at the point in life where I need to save, save, save; so why would I go and spend a ton of money on conditioner when I can find just as good conditioners that are less expensive.
8. Does the smell agree with your nose?
I personally cannot continue to use a product that makes me feel nauseous due to smell. No matter how good a product may be, if you cannot stomach the smell, then is it worth it?
Those are my criteria and they are harder to meet than one might think. There are so many so called deep conditioners on the market and often times trying them is the only way to determine their worth. However, once you do find that holy grail product, your hair will thank you forever!