5 signs your curls might be over-conditioned

Knowing your curls well is the key to get them to behave the way you want them to. However easy this might sound, believe me, it’s one of the most difficult things in the life of a curly… Since we’re always told to keep our curls well moisturized, we sometimes overdo it when it comes to using conditioner on our curls.

My curly hair journey has provided me with some insight as to when I’ve over-conditioned my curls. The following 5 signs usually indicate that my curls have been exposed to conditioners and deep-conditioners too often. So, if you’re experiencing any of these 5 signs (especially in combination) you might want to consider using less conditioner:

1. Your roots look greasy – on your washing day!

For curly hair it’s almost impossible to look greasy right after you’ve washed it. If the roots of your curls look greasy, it could either be due to over-conditioning or because you’ve used too much of your styler (some stylers could leave your curls looking greasy). So try to use less styler first and if this doesn’t do the trick scale down with your conditioner.

2. You’re experiencing a really flat top

No matter how desperately you’re trying to clip your roots, they just can’t seem to hold their volume anymore. Having a flat top doesn’t automatically mean you’ve over-conditioned your curls. You should be watching out for “sudden” changes, e.g. your roots just seem to be extremely flat lately.

3. Your curls seem to have lost all their volume

Using too much conditioner on your curls will eventually cause them to hang down, so if your curls suddenly seem to be less voluminous than before, it could be due to over-conditioning. Please be careful when taking this sign as an indicator of having used too much moisture, as using a new styler could also weigh down your curls..

4. Your curls are super shiny

Having super shiny curls is actually a good thing we’re all looking to achieve. But if your curls are extremely shiny while you also notice another of these 5 signs, try to reduce the use of your conditioner a bit. If you’re looking to get shinier curls without over-conditioning, try this hair oil.

5. Your curls feel extremely soft, but somehow a bit stiff at the same time

The fifth sign is really hard to explain as having soft and at the same time stiff curls might seem contradictory. But I’ll give it a try: My curls sometimes are extremely soft and shiny, but when I try to move them into another position they are stubborn and just go back into their initial position. With these kinds of curls it’s almost impossible to do any kind of hairstyles.

So, if you think your curls are over-conditioned I suggest you to do the following:

  • Frances Magriz
    September 11, 2015

    I’m experiencing weighed down hair and flat top and I am sure it’s because I need a desperate trim since my hair is now past my shoulder, not because of too much conditioner. I’m getting a trim tomorrow if that doesn’t correct the problem then I’ll look into the conditioner. Thanks for the advice.

    • Sandra
      September 24, 2015

      Yes, this could also be the reason for having a flat top – how did your haircut turn out? Do you now have a better volume at the top?

  • Marc
    October 2, 2015

    Hi I’ve been told I have symptoms of over conditioned hair. I was also told that I could benefit from protein treatments from time to time.

    Almost a week I ago after my own research for a protein treatment I decided to buy a Shea Moisture Tahitian NONI Weekly hair and scalp therapy. I was told this would be considered a protein treatment.

    Followed the directions. Didn’t leave it in for 20-40 minutes, left it in for 5 minutes, rinsed well. Directions said to follow up with Shea condish product. Didn’t have that and asked if I could use Deva One Condish and that was ok.

    What happened was my hair got very soft, fluffy and lookes like I rubbed a balloon over my head’, curls are not defined but fluffy. Also products won’t really take well like gel or mousse.

    Was told that I over conditioned my hair.

    Now since I thought I was doing good with doing what I thought was a protein type treatment and also got the green light that it was a good product I don’t know what to do.

    • Sandra
      October 14, 2015

      What were your curls like before you tried the protein treatment? Are you sure your curls actually needed it?

  • Olive
    December 2, 2015

    I have dyed hair, so it’s pretty porous. I’m wondering if you have any tips / techniques for washing out the conditioner. Sounds silly and basic, but I don’t leave-in conditioner. However, when I rinse (&rinse &rinse) it feels like it’s all out, but when my hair is dry, it gets just a little bit crunchy at the ends as if there’s product in it. (when I’m not using product)

    • Sandra
      December 5, 2015

      I know exactly what you are talking about – my hair also does that! This is why I massage my scalp while washing out my shampoo or conditioner. By gently shaking you can wash out the products better – I have just published a video on my washing routine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU4sq5QFqyg

      • Jessica Rivera
        February 24, 2021

        How do u handle oily scalp with frizzy Caucasian/Latina curl / waves lol

  • Mattie
    January 1, 2016

    I have had curly hair my whole life, but I went through a phase of straightening it everyday and bleaching it every month so my hair became very damaged and just completely ruined my curls. I got my curls back and have very healthy hair now, but because of that phase my hair is thin. I also have very little volume, though I had never considered the excessive conditioning, I was just wondering if there was any way, or tips, for making my hair thicker. I would love to know! Thanks!

    • Sandra
      January 2, 2016

      Hi Mattie, how long ago was that phase when you used to straighten your curls? It does need a lot of time for your hair to “forget”, because it needs to be grown out (depending on your hair’s length this could take a couple of years). I am unfortunately not aware of any products that could thicken curls, instead I would just suggest using light styling products that don’t weigh your curls down. If you’re not struggling with frizz, I think you could also completely wash out your conditioner (to keep your curls as light as possible and thus getting more volume).

      • Mattie
        January 4, 2016

        I went through that phase about 2 years ago..but I have every last piece of the damaged hair gone, now it’s just all natural and a little past my shoulders. I did recently try using less conditioner, yesterday actually, and that did help a lot! I also used the tip for getting volume (with the Bobby pins) and that helped a ton too! Thank you so much!

  • Kristen
    September 19, 2018

    Thank you, thank you for this! Especially the point about your curls feeling both soft and stiff at the same time! I was having a hard time describing it, and I’ve spent weeks trying to figure out it it was too much moisture or too much protein. Thank you!

  • Amanda
    November 19, 2018

    I’ve been working on the CG method for about 4 months now. I have certainly made progress from where I was before, but I’m now feeling like I’ve hit a wall of failures. I have a deva cut scheduled for december (and hope this will resolve some issues) but I’m struggling to find the right combo of products. I am fairly confident my hair is fine with high porosity. I do not use anything with protein and have been using the bounce curl products. I’ve tried applying the cream and gel when my hair is soaking wet and with praying hands as well as microfiber towel dry with raking. I feel so frustrated that my hair is limp and not quite curly at the top. I run 6 days a week and try to make sure I use silk scrunchies in a pineapple bun. Refreshing my curls is a challenge with my sweating. Anyone have these issues? Any suggestions would really help me! I’m the only one in my family and close circle of friends with curly hair so I don’t know who to turn to.

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