Bleached hair almost always looks extremely cool. Unfortunately, bleach also wreaks complete and utter destruction in its wake. To counteract that damage, try one of the best deep conditioners for bleached hair listed ahead, which are packed with nourishing ingredients like shea butter, keratin, biotin, or plant-based proteins and oils (such as coconut, argan, and avocado) to restore moisture, strengthen hair, and repair breakage, brittleness, and split ends. Any deep conditioner that features one or more of these ingredients should help soften and strengthen your hair after just one use. And unlike your typical conditioner, deep conditioners are often formulated to stay on for a while (up to 30 minutes or even overnight, depending on the product), so your hair has ample time to absorb these highly concentrated ingredients. In most cases, the longer you leave the deep conditioner on your hair, the more effective it will be.
It’s actually not hyperbolic to say that bleach destroys your hair. According to science, bleach penetrates the hair shaft, breaks down its stores of fatty acids in the process, then kills your hair’s natural pigment molecules. That’s what makes bleached hair look bleached, but it also makes hair brittle, dry, and, worst-case scenario, break off entirely. Hence the importance of using a deep conditioner to restore your hair’s moisture content and actively repair damage.
If your hair is extremely dry, damaged, or brittle, consider using a deep conditioner (or hair mask — the two are basically interchangeable) any time you wash your hair, in place of regular conditioner after shampooing. Otherwise, try to treat your hair to a deep conditioning treatment about once a week.
Whether you’re going for Debbie Harry, Kim Kardashian circa 2017, that swath of famous guys who all went platinum at the same time for some reason, or some other icy-haired idol, do so safely with the best deep conditioners and hair masks, featured ahead.
1. The Best-Selling, Fastest-Working, Drugstore Deep Conditioner
Cheap, quick, smells amazing, actually works: These are a few of my (and thousands of Amazon reviewers') favorite things about this Garnier Fructis hair mask. The mask pictured here is formulated to treat dry, damaged hair, thanks to strengthening papaya extract, sunflower oil, and coconut oil in the formula, though you can’t go wrong with Garnier’s other one-minute hair masks, most of which you can get on Amazon. They’re all suffused with deeply nourishing, softening, and strengthening fruit extracts, like avocado and banana, and they’re all suitable for color-treated hair. They’re multifunctional, too: Use them as a treatment mask, a rinse-out conditioner, or even a leave-in conditioner if your hair is thick and curly.
2. The Best Brightening Deep Conditioner
Purple shampoos, conditioners, or masks are ideal for reducing brassy or yellow undertones in bleached hair, so go with this one if you're looking to maintain a cool-toned shade of silver, white, blonde, or gray. (As you may remember from art class, purple is on the opposite side of the color wheel from yellow, which explains the theory behind how these products work). This mask has some added benefits beyond toning, too. Acai extract helps protect your color from fading over time while boosting your scalp health, and vitamin B5 works to restore hydration. Don't leave it on for too long lest you're aiming for lavender hair.
3. The Best Deep Conditioner For Curly Hair
This Carol’s Daughter Sacred Tiare mask is packed with natural ingredients that work to soften, detangle, and restore moisture to curly hair. Coconut oil, shea butter, babassu oil, and the titular tiare gardenia extract help repair brittleness and split ends, too — a requirement for treating bleached hair. Thanks to all that nourishment, your curls will look bouncier and more defined.
4. The Best Splurge
This cult-favorite conditioning mask from Briogeo is like chugging a protein shake followed by chugging a gallon of water. Not recommended for your body, but amazing for your hair. It’s infused with virtually every strengthening/moisturizing/repairing ingredient a person with bleached hair could reasonably ask for. A small sampling: Argan oil, rosehip oil, and avocado oils work to restore hydration, smooth frizz, and boost shine, while biotin, keratin, algae, and plant proteins help fortify broken hair. At $36 on Amazon, it’s more expensive than any other treatment on this list, but it’s honestly one of the best you can get.
5. The Pro Favorite
Olaplex is a staple in salons, but with their six consumer-facing products, plebes like us can take advantage of the brand’s patented repairing technology. You can’t go wrong with any Olaplex product if your hair is damaged or dry, but for today’s purposes, consider picking up their Bond Maintenance Conditioner. It works at a molecular level to rebuild broken bonds, so your hair will become silkier, stronger, and less prone to breakage the more you use it.