What Will Happen If You Leave A Deep Conditioner On Too Long?


Deep conditioner could very well be your hair’s savior, but you won’t get the results you’re looking for if you misuse it. You may have heard that it should be left on for a specific amount of time to be most effective. But what happens if you go a little overboard?

We’ve got the answers you need. This article will address what will happen if you leave a deep conditioner on too long. Let’s get right into it!

What Happens if You Leave a Deep Conditioner On Too Long

If you leave your deep conditioner on for too long, several things could happen. These effects are primarily negative. Keep reading to find out what they are:

Moisture Overload

Moisture overload is something you should avoid, like the plague. It happens when your hair gets too moisturized, and its structure suffers. Those with moisture overload often experience gummy hair that's more prone to breakage.

Protein Overload

Protein overload is an unfortunate consequence of using protein-based conditioners overnight or too often. It changes your hair’s structure by making it overly rigid, drier, crunchy, and prone to breakage. So, leaving a protein-based conditioner on too long is never a good idea .

Lack of Volume

If you struggle with volume, leaving deep conditioner on for a long time is not the answer. These dense, heavy products can leave a lasting impression on your hair long post-rinse. The longer they stay on your hair, the higher their potential to weigh it down.

Mold and Mildew Growth

Mold and mildew like moist, dark, warm environments. And when you leave deep conditioner on your hair for an extended amount of time, that’s precisely the environment you create. If you want to prevent mold and mildew growth on your hair and scalp, it’s best to rinse and dry your hair before hitting the hay.

Nothing at All

If you leave a deep conditioner on too long, there may be no effect - no magic results. And sleeping with a head of damp, sticky hair isn't the most comfortable thing in the world.

The thing to know is that deep conditioners are most effective and transformative within the first half hour of application. After that time, you likely won’t incur additional benefits.

How Long Should You Leave Deep Conditioner In?

The amount of time you’ll leave your deep conditioner in depends on the state of your hair and the product in question. Virtually every deep conditioner comes with specific instructions for how long you should leave it in; it usually spans from 3 to 30 minutes. Occasionally, you may come across one with a 1-hour processing recommendation.

Other times, you’ll see time ranges - 3 to 5 minutes, 5 to 10 minutes, 15 to 30 minutes, etc. In these cases, you’ll have to choose exactly how long (within the given range) you’ll leave the product on. And that’s when the condition of your hair comes in. If it’s damaged or needs serious moisture, you’ll err on the higher side of the range. If your hair is reasonably healthy, leave it on for a shorter time.

So, there you have it - though you can leave deep conditioner on as long as you want, overdoing it is generally not a good idea. We hope you found all the information you were looking for, and we wish you the best with your hair!




Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.