What Happens If You Leave Conditioner In Your Hair Overnight?

Deep conditioning overnight? Let’s figure out whether it is good or not!

Written by Kate Holmsy. Updated on What Happens If You Leave Conditioner In Your Hair Overnight

When we undergo various hair care procedures (no matter at home or in a salon), we hope that they will have a visible effect soon enough. Of course, all of us would like to see our hair glossy, healthy, and strong the next day after we apply that magical conditioner or any other product that promises us wonderful results! And this is why some girls decide that “the more the better” concept is exactly what can make it happen.

This is why there are so many questions about leaving a conditioner in hair overnight. Simply because most women believe it can help to get a desirable effect faster! But is it really so? And is it bad to leave conditioner in your hair like this? This is what we are going to figure out today.

What Happens If You Leave Deep Conditioner In Your Hair Overnight?

Simply speaking, sleeping with conditioner in hair is not recommended and even prohibited. Hair conditioners, and especially the deep conditioning products, come with the instructions for a reason.

It may seem that, if we leave hair conditioner in our strands during the night, the effect from this product will show up faster and will be more prominent. However, it is a huge mistake to think so! You would not take more than the prescribed dosage of medication just to make it work faster, right? Right, you would not because you know what the aftermath can be if you do so!

It is all the same with hair care products including conditioners. Practicing deep hair conditioning overnight can end up with quite an adverse effect on your tresses. See, deep hair conditioners are formulated to penetrate the hair shaft to be able to cure dry and brittle hair. According to the tests taken, you normally need to let the hair conditioner sit on your chevelure for fifteen to thirty minutes to allow the product to work as it should and moisturize your hair properly.

But if you leave in the conditioner overnight, this is what will happen to your hair. The moisture will be absorbed into the hair shaft making the inner hair structure – the cortex – swell. This will create tension on the hair shaft as it expands. And as your hair dries, it contracts back to normal.

However, since the product is there on your hair all night long, your tresses will undergo the constant expanding and further contracting. And this is definitely what they are not meant for! Such fluctuations will lead to what is called hair cuticle hygral fatigue. Simply speaking, too much moisture absorbed into the hair cuticle may force it to become way more fragile and lose its elasticity over time. That’s if you practice overnight deep conditioning regularly.

The repeating stress after the constant wetting and drying can even result in hair breakage!

What Happens If You Leave Deep Conditioner In Your Hair Overnight
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How to Use a Hair Conditioner Correctly?

But if sleeping with a deep conditioner in your hair is not recommended, how long to deep condition at all, you may be wondering? Well, this is not complicated at all! Of course, you can always find the instructions on the bottle of this hair product, but we think we could remind you of the basic sequence of actions so that you could always keep them in mind.

So to condition your strands properly, you will need to take the following steps:

  • After washing your hair, wring the excess water from your tresses
  • Take a dime sized amount of hair conditioner you usually use adjusting its quantity as per the hair length
  • Rub it between your palms and apply through the mid shafts to the hair tips
  • Leave your conditioner in your hair to work for at least five minutes, but don’t keep it on your hair for more than thirty minutes!
  • Rinse the product off with room temperature water

And to make sure that you will avoid making the most common mistakes that girls make when using hair conditioner, we suggest you look through these don’ts you should be aware of:

  1. Always apply hair conditioner to the wet hair
  2. Avoid roots and scalp when applying the product
  3. Rinse your hair thoroughly to avoid the product build up
  4. Use a deep conditioning hair mask at least once a week

Like this, you will be able to take care of your locks properly without damaging it.

How to Use a Hair Conditioner Correctly
Credits: pixelshot, via Canva.com

How Often Should You Condition Your Hair?

Most of us believe that hair conditioners should be used after each wash. However, this is not quite so. See, how often you should condition your hair depends on two factors:

  1. your hair type
  2. the type of conditioner you are using

If you misuse the conditioner you have, it may lead to your hair damage, which is not quite what you expect to get when using this hair care product. So in order to avoid such a scenario, grab a few handy life hacks on how often a hair conditioner should be used.

Rinse-Out Conditioner

Rinse-out conditioner is the most common type of this product that people use. It is usually applied after shampooing your hair and shall be rinsed it out after a minute or two. According to The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommendations, you should use rinse-out conditioners after every wash, ideally a few times per week.

However, if you have very oily or fine hair, you may want to condition it less frequently. If you keep on using this product after each wash, it can weigh your hair down. As a result, it may even lead to hair loss!

However, if you have dry, coarse, curly, or color-treated hair, conditioning your hair more frequently will be a much better idea: you can do it daily or every other day. These hair types tend to be rather dry, so they may only benefit from a little extra moisture.

Leave-In Conditioner

The leave-in conditioner is named so because it is meant to be left in your hair until the next time you wash it. This type of conditioner is used to moisturize mild to moderately dry hair.

Also, it is very good for repairing damaged hair. As a general rule, applying a leave-in conditioner once a week is more than enough to keep your mane healthy and thoroughly moisturized. But if your hair is curly, dry, or damaged, you might want to apply it more frequently.

Deep Conditioner

Deep conditioner should be left on your hair for around 30 minutes or more. This type of hair conditioner is heavier than rinse-out and leave-in conditioners because it is designed to help repair very damaged hair and hydrate very dry tresses. It usually should be applied every month or two.

Cleansing Conditioner

Cleansing Conditioner
marcink3333 via VistaCreate

A cleansing conditioner is a type of rinse-out conditioner that both cleans and conditions your hair. It eliminates the need for a separate shampoo as well, which is why people often choose this type of hair conditioner.

These conditioners are typically lighter than other types, so they won’t weigh down your hair. That makes them a good choice for people with fine or oily hair.

Cleansing conditioners are used like shampoo, which means they can be applied as often as you would apply shampoo. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to use it daily or every other day for oily or fine hair.

For dry, coarse, and curly hair, you can set longer periods between washes, often up to a week or more. However, these types of hair should be conditioned more regularly, so a cleansing conditioner might not be the best choice for these hair types.

What Happens to Your Hair If You Don’t Use Hair Conditioner

People ask this question quite frequently, so we find it necessary to give a reply. So what could happen to your hair if you skip the conditioning stage of the washing process? Well, it depends on the type of hair you have first of all.

What Happens to Your Hair If You Don’t Use Hair Conditioner
VitalikRadko via VistaCreate

See, if your hair is dry or very dry, or if your mane has been frequently dyed before, you simply can’t skip conditioning! Your hair needs moisture and if you don’t give it to the tresses, they will become brittle, get dryer, and may develop split ends and other unpleasant issues.

But even if you are a lucky owner of basically healthy and strong locks, it still doesn’t mean that conditioning is not for you! The shampoo that you use regularly is typically very drying.

So unless you are only using all-natural sulfate-free and chemical-free shampoo, your hair also needs proper moisturizing to restore its texture after the application of the washing product.

In addition, conditioned hair is less susceptible to damage caused by various styling tools and procedures. Even drying your mane with a blow dryer can sooner or later damage the chevelure if it has not been properly moisturized previously!

Common Mistakes to Avoid In Hair Conditioning

There are several common mistakes people make when using hair conditioners, and below you can find a complete list so that you will be able to avoid them.

Not Using the Conditioner

You shouldn’t skip this stage of the hair cleaning process. Since shampoo cleans your hair and helps remove any buildup of product, oils, and impurities, conditioning is adding moisture back into the hair. It restores hydration to your strands, as well as smooths your mane.

You Use Too Much Of It

When it comes to conditioner, less is more, especially if you have fine hair. When you condition too much, it can make your hair weighed down. A good rule of thumb is to use one or two quarter-sized dollops of conditioner, depending on the thickness and length of your hair.

You Use Too Much Of It
jolopes via VistaCreate

You Apply It On the Roots

Hair conditioners should be only applied where they are needed the most, e.g. your tips or the mid-length to the tips. If you apply it to the roots, your hair will be weighed down, making the roots appear greasy.

You Don’t Rinse It Out Properly

You Don’t Rinse It Out Properly
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It’s a bit harder to figure out when all the conditioner is rinsed out of your mane, but it’s important to do it. If there is just a bit of its residue on your hair, it may become weighed down and look greasy. 

What Does Deep Conditioning Do to Your Hair?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? We are pretty sure you have! And if you haven’t found the answer yet, we are here to provide you with it. See, in general words, hair conditioners are made to make your hair feel softer, lustrous, and manageable.

These products contain cationic surfactants. These surfactants have positively charged hydrophilic heads that stick to the negatively charged hair strands and form a sort of protective coating that reduces static electricity and friction. In addition, hair conditioners improve the shine and color of our strands.

Can I Use A Rinse-Out Conditioner As A Leave-In?Can I Use A Rinse-Out Conditioner As A Leave-In?

What to Do If You Notice the Symptoms Of Hygral Fatigue On Your Hair?

As you already know, excessive hair conditioning may lead to hygral fatigue. But how do you know that your tresses are affected by it? Simply check your hair for one or several of these symptoms:

  • tangling
  • frizziness
  • dullness
  • brittleness
  • constant hair breakage
  • a gummy texture

If you notice that you have it, don’t panic. Hygral fatigue can be treated quite easily, and you can start with one of the suggested solutions.
First of all, try to change your hair product and washing routine. If the reason for your hygral fatigue is over moisturized hair, minimize the use of shampoo and conditioners, and also reduce the frequency of hair washes.

Also, if you reduce other sources of damage, it may help a lot. What do we mean? Don’t towel-dry your hair, stop chemical treatments, straighten your hair less, use blow dryer less frequently, and avoid dyeing your chevelure too often.

What to Do If You Notice the Symptoms Of Hygral Fatigue On Your Hair?
studioDG via VistaCreate

And follow a few simple rules to be able to avoid the development of hygral fatigue in future:

  • shampoo your hair gently
  • wear a swim cap when in a swimming pool
  • after washing, let your hair dry itself before you brush it
  • use shampoos with a low pH
  • apply coconut oil as a pre-wash

With that in mind, you will restore the health of your tresses and your hair will be thick, healthy, and strong again.

So, this is actually what we wanted to share with you on the subject of proper hair conditioning. Now you already know whether or not you should leave deep conditioning products in your hair during the night. Also, you learned what can be the effects of such hair “treatment”, and what it may lead to.

We also gave you a brief guide on how to condition your locks properly and what to do if you notice they develop the symptoms of hygral fatigue which is a frequent aftermath of improper hair conditioning.

With all that in mind, we hope you will take care of your mane delicately and with proper attention!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Can you leave conditioner in your hair without rinsing?

No, hair conditioner must be washed off.

⭐ Can you leave a hair mask on overnight?

No, hair masks must be kept on your hair according to the instructions.

⭐ What can be the reasons for hygral fatigue?

It can be an excessive hair moisturizing, genetical causes, damaged hair, loss of protective oils, loss of pH balance, and more.

Written by
Kate worked in "The Fashion Magazine" for four years as a freelance writer and loved to consult and help people with their style. How to create your own style, how to look beautiful, and select trendy colors for your hair - these are just a few of many issues Kate will happily explain in Beezzly Beauty blogs!
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