Skip to Content

Can You Leave Conditioner in Your Hair Overnight?

Can You Leave Conditioner in Your Hair Overnight?

When you are taking care of your hair, the conditioner you use can be even more important than the shampoo.

The right conditioner should offer your hair the nutrition it needs as well as the right level of hydration. An important aspect is also how long you leave the conditioner in your hair. We will discuss these aspects below.

So, by the time you finish reading it, you will know exactly how long you can leave the conditioner in your hair and why. Should you leave the conditioner in your hair overnight?

The short answer is no, you shouldn’t. And we will discuss all the details related to this aspect so keep on reading.

Why You Shouldn’t Leave the Conditioner in Your Hair Overnight?

The saying “too much of a good thing can turn out to be bad for you” is actually very true.

When it comes to leaving the conditioner in your hair, you can use this saying in the literal form. You might be tempted to leave your conditioner in your hair overnight especially if you have curly hair or very dry hair.

While in theory, over conditioning your hair might seem like a good idea, this is not always the case.

You can develop hygral fatigue. Hygral fatigue is the most evident consequence of leaving the conditioner in your hair overnight.

This is a condition that develops when your hair is exposed to a level of moisture that is too high. It can happen if your hair stays wet too long as well as if you expose it to conditioner for several hours.

Keep in mind that this risk is present regardless of the type of conditioner you are using.

When the moisture in the conditioner reaches the hair shaft, your hair cortex will swell. Because this process will cause your hair shaft to expand, it will also bring tension to your hair.

When you will dry your hair after an overnight conditioning process, the hair shaft will have to contract back to its size before the expansion took place. Going from these extremes, expansion, and contraction, will generate hygral fatigue.

If you have hygral fatigue, your hair will become too fragile and more difficult to take care of as it will break easier.

Depending on how often you expose your hair to this process of overnight conditioning, you might end with permanent or temporary damage. too much conditioning will definitely harm your hair one way or another.

How to Overcome Hygral Fatigue?

If you already developed this unpleasant condition known as hygral fatigue, there are ways to help your hair get better.

People with hygral fatigue have very fragile hair that tends to break a lot easier than it would be normal. If this is the case, you might notice that your hair is thinner than it should be and it lacks shine.

Hygral fatigue makes the hair look unhealthy and it is difficult to arrange it in any type of hairstyle. You might notice that the texture of your hair becomes gummy, especially when you wash it or get it wet.

So, naturally, you will think to stop using conditioner all together since it seems to be the main culprit for your hair condition. But this would be a mistake. Here is how to take care of hygral fatigue and turn it around by limiting the side effects to the minimum.

Wash your hair as you need

Not washing your hair is not a solution for hygral fatigue. Even if you get the gummy texture that is hard to manage when your hair is wet, you still have to clean it. You don’t have to wash your hair daily, though. Reduce your washes to twice a week in the first phase. This will maintain your hair healthy and clean while it will not aggravate the hygral fatigue condition.

Use the conditioner according to the instructions

You can still use conditioner as your hair will need nutrition and moisturizer in order to get its strength back. But you should use your hair conditioner according to the instructions on the package. Don’t leave it in your hair more than the recommended time frame and rinse it with warm water.

It will be a good idea to invest in a conditioner for fragile and flimsy hair that breaks easily. Usually, these conditioners have a higher power of strengthening your hair shaft and reversing the hygral fatigue that you developed.

Besides using a conditioner, you can also invest in a hair mask or treatment rich in protein. Adding protein to your hair will make it firmer and will give its strength back. Just be careful to not overdo the protein as it can also have side effects. If you decide to use a protein-based treatment, apply it once a week. See how your hair reacts to it before increasing the frequency.

Stay away from the blow drier

Your blow drier is not your best friend while your hair is so damaged. As convenient as it may be to dry your hair with a blow drier you might want to use a towel for some weeks. The blow drier will get your hair too dry and therefore increase the fragility level.

The Risks of Leaving the Conditioner in Your Hair Too Long

If you leave the conditioner in your hair for a few minutes more than you read on the package, it will not be a tragedy.

However, if you leave it overnight, you can develop serious conditions that will harm your hair. Besides hygral fatigue, which is one of the most severe hair conditions you can develop, there are other side effects.

Your hair will lack shine and it will not look as healthy as you want it to look.

On the other hand, you might deal with split ends as a result of a fragile hair shaft. Split ends can’t be fixed in many ways and most likely you will end up getting a hair cut.

If you over-moisturize your hair you could also develop bacteria that will harm your scalp.

Sleeping with conditioner in your hair will get the sebum mixed with the moisturizer and the bacteria in the environment. This will result in potential fungus or other irritations of the scalp.

With such risks involved, it is really not worth it to leave the conditioner in your hair overnight.

Also Read: Can You Leave Conditioner in Your Hair

How Can You Hydrate Your Hair Overnight?

But what if you still want to hydrate your hair without taking such risks? If your hair is very dry or if you are planning to put it through a severe bleaching process in the near future, moisturizing it is a good idea.

You can do that by using coconut oil instead of a conditioner. Coconut oil will offer the hydration your hair needs without the potential side effects.

You can add coconut oil to your hair and leave it in overnight as it is antibacterial as well as high moisturizing. It is true that your hair will be extremely greasy in the morning but it will not go through any type of damage.

After leaving coconut oil in your hair overnight, all you need to do is rinse it well the next day. Once you take all the coconut oil out of your hair, it will look shiny and healthy for a long time.

The hydration that coconut oil offers to your hair is the best type of hydration you can get.

Using a hair mask that is meant to be left in your hair overnight will also help hydrate your hair. However, you can’t do this too often because you will damage your hair. 

Related Questions

How often can you use conditioner?

You should use a conditioner after every time you wash your hair. As long as you use it according to the instructions, you shouldn’t have to take any risks.

Rinse the conditioner off your hair properly after every time you use it. If you want to use a hair mask, keep in mind that they are stronger. For this reason, you should limit hair masks to once a week.

Should I dye my hair if I have hygral fatigue?

If you developed hygral fatigue from leaving the conditioner in your hair overnight, you might want to postpone dying your hair. Before you put your hair through such a process, you should take care of the hygral fatigue condition.

Can I get rid of hygral fatigue?

Yes, if you take care of your hair and apply a protein-based treatment, you should be able to reverse the damage.

But be prepared to wait a few weeks until you see your hair getting strong again. Depending on the severity of your condition, you might also want to ask the advice of a specialist.