Why is it so hard to find a great conditioner? We went on the hunt for the best conditioner and found seven that far exceeded our expectations. See which conditioners passed the test!
All Conditioners Are the Same, Right?
I used to think all conditioners were essentially the same. Sure, that one is labeled as moisturizing, and this one says it’s volumizing, but they all do the same thing, right? Nope.
Conditioners are formulated differently for different hair types. And their ingredients really do matter.
The best conditioner for your hair has ingredients that build up your hair’s weaknesses while playing up its strengths. Using the wrong conditioner has a major effect on the way your hair looks and feels.
The way you apply it is important, too. I’ve been knee-deep in hair products since I was a teenager and thought I had conditioners all figured out.
Turns out, I still had a lot to learn.
Just because your best friend uses one conditioner and swears by it doesn’t mean it’s going to be the right choice for you. We’ve rounded up the seven best conditioners and listed them according to which hair type they’re best for.
Our Top Picks:
- Best Conditioner for Dry Hair: OGX Extra Strength Damage + Remedy Conditioner
- Best Conditioner for Damaged Hair: L’Oreal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Conditioner
- Best Conditioner for Oily Hair: L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extrordinary Clay Rebalancing Conditioner
- Best Conditioner for Fine Hair: OGX WEightless Hydration + Coconut Water Conditioner
- Best Conditioner for Curly Hair: Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Conditioner
- Best Conditioner for Coarse Hair: Aunt Jackie’s Girls Soft Sassy Super Duper Conditioner
- Best Leave-In Conditioner: Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Conditioner
But we didn’t stop there. We’ll also give you hair type-specific tips for applying conditioner to get the best results. And if you think your current conditioner is the holy grail, we challenge you to find your hair type below and try our recommendation.
You’ll see a difference in your hair’s health, movement, and appearance. Ready to get started? Good — so are we. Let’s dive in!
Best Conditioner Roundup
After an exhaustive search of every drugstore, high-end, and professional brand, we have crowned these seven conditioners the best. Find your hair type below to see which conditioner is your perfect match.
1. Best Conditioner for Dry Hair
Dry hair, you’re the real reason conditioner exists. Your thirsty locks are desperate for some hard-hitting moisture that penetrates the hair shaft and leaves your hair feeling silky-soft.
Every conditioner promises to banish dryness and introduce hydration. But which one is really the best for dry hair?
OGX Extra Strength Damage Remedy + Conditioner is the best for dry hair. Oh, it moisturizes. It nixes frizz. And you better believe it leaves even the driest hair feeling supple, soft, and shiny.
12,500+ dry-haired reviewers on Amazon give it a thumbs up. Users rank it highest for its scent, resulting hair softness, and moisturizing properties.
Here’s why it works so well on dry hair:
- Plant-based behentrimonium chloride cuts frizz and static
- Conditioning polyquaternium-37 forms a moisturizing matrix over every strand
- Aloe vera juice nourishes and hydrates hair
- Coconut oil seals all that moisture into your strands for results that last
- Vanilla bean extract makes it smell incredible
- It’s sulfate, paraben, and surfactant-free to leave your hair healthier
Don’t be put off by some of the scientific-sounding ingredients in conditioners. You can always look them up to see what their role is in your hair product.
Tip: Use this conditioner once to see immediate results for dry hair. Combine it with matching shampoo for even better results.
2. Best Conditioner for Damaged Hair
Many things can cause damaged hair: chemical processing (colors, highlights, bleaching, perms, etc.), heat styling, rough handling, brushing hair while wet, over-washing, overexposure to UV rays, etc.
The list of seemingly harmless things that can damage your hair at a cellular level goes on. But the results are typically the same. Hair that breaks easily, tangles often, has split ends, is thinning, or has an overall dull look is likely damaged hair.
Correcting damage with one hair product isn’t really possible, but using a conditioner that targets damage is the next best thing. It will resolve the symptoms you’re experiencing from damage, leaving your hair smoother, stronger, shinier, and more manageable.
L’Oreal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Repairing Conditioner is the best conditioner for damaged hair. More than 17,000 reviewers on Amazon agree! It brings everything damaged hair needs into one bottle.
It strengthens and rebuilds each strand from the outside to reduce moisture loss and make hair look shiny and smooth. That results in less breakage and overall healthier hair.
Here’s why it works on damaged hair:
- Protein and ceramides strengthen and repair hair from the outside
- Plant-based behentrimonium chloride reduces static and frizz
- Cetrimonium chloride reduces static and seals in moisture
- Fatty-acid rich sweet almond oil seals in the moisture
- Lightweight viscosity keeps it from weighing hair down
If you use the entire L’Oreal Elvive line, you’re getting a total of 9% protein repair concentrate to really accelerate your damage repair. Grab the shampoo, damage-erasing balm, and leave-in treatment for the best results.
Note: If your hair has a straw-like texture, avoid a conditioner like L’Oreal Elvive with added protein. Protein overload can cause your hair to develop a protein “shield” that doesn’t allow moisture to penetrate. Try using a clarifying shampoo to strip off remaining protein buildup, then grab our recommended conditioner for dry hair to introduce plenty of moisture to restore that balance.
3. Best Conditioner for Oily Hair
If you have oily hair, you might avoid using conditioner at all in fear of weighing your hair down even more. After all, the natural oils your scalp produces do a GREAT job at moisturizing to the point where you wish it would chill out a bit.
But even if your ends start looking oily the day after you wash, your mid-shaft to ends can still benefit from some lightweight hydration.
No, heavy moisture isn’t what you need, but L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Conditioner will be your jam. This stuff is formulated as a balanced conditioner that pulls double duty.
It keeps your roots fresh and oil-free with the lightest touch of moisture. That seems to “trick” your scalp into thinking it’s already produced enough oil and can take a sebum break.
The lightweight formula delivers the perfect amount of moisture to ends. For oily hair, dry ends can be a problem. But you can apply this unique conditioner from root to tip without grease-pit results!
Here’s why it works on oily hair:
- It contains three different types of refined clays to wash away excess oil at the roots
- Lightweight conditioning ingredients keep ends hydrated and bouncy
- The formula is balanced and light enough to use with every wash
- Airy-light soybean oil seals moisture in to send your scalp a “cease and desist oil production” notice
- Fresh scent leaves your hair smelling great
4. Best Conditioner for Fine Hair
Fine hair is generally smaller in diameter than a single thread. Conditioning fine hair can be tricky. Like oily hair, it’s all too easy to weigh fine hair down with heavy products.
Your typical moisturizing or hydrating conditioners need not apply to fine hair. Instead, you need something that delivers balanced, airy moisture and hydration without coating your hair in heavy ingredients.
Enter: OGX Weightless Hydration + Coconut Water Conditioner, which is the indisputable BEST conditioner for fine hair.
Made with nutrient-rich coconut water and the slightest touch of coconut oil to lock moisture in, it’s perfect for fine hair that needs light hydration and a little bounce.
It’s not technically a volumizing conditioner, but on fine hair, you’ll notice more body and volume after using it.
Here’s why it’s the best conditioner for fine hair:
- It’s an ultra-lightweight conditioner with electrolyte-rich coconut water to hydrate
- A touch of coconut oil leaves hair lightly moisturized, shiny, and silky
- Dimethicone gives hair the perfect amount of slip for less tangles and breakage
- Intoxicating coconut fragrance leaves your hair with a subtle island scent
- Residue-free formula ensures fine hair doesn’t get weighed down
- Works on fine or oily hair for airy, lightweight hydration
With nearly 2,000 reviews and a 4.5-star average rating, users agree: It’s a fantastic conditioner for fine hair. You can grab the entire OGX weightless line for boosted results: Shampoo and Biotin + Collagen treatment.
Tip: Fine hair that tends to get oily can reverse the wash order for better results. Try using the conditioner first, then follow with shampoo to leave your strands with just enough hydration.
5. Best Conditioner for Curly Hair
Curly hair and a good, moisturizing conditioner are the dream team. Curls need intensive moisture to hold their shape and definition. Moisture also helps reduce frizz and flyaways while restoring shine that makes hair look healthier.
What conditioner does the best job delivering results for curly hair? Why, that’d be Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Curl-Defining Conditioner.
With more than 11,800 reviews on Amazon, it has a 4.5-star rating overall. Curly-haired women and men rave about the way this conditioner revitalizes curls (and waves). Whether you’re slightly wavy or kinky-curly, you’re going to love the results of using this.
Here’s why it’s spot-on for curly hair:
- It’s made with effective ingredients like aloe, coconut milk, and plumeria extract
- Aloe vera is the first ingredient, meaning it’s the most abundant ingredient
- Polyquaternium-37 reduces static and frizz on every strand
- Highly moisturizing formula defines curls and improves their shape
- It’s silicone and paraben-free with no synthetic dyes
This curl-quenching conditioner works excellently on its own, but you can double down for even better results with the matching shampoo.
6. Best Conditioner for Coarse Hair
Coarse hair can be straight, wavy, or curly, but it’s always thick. The diameter of your strands are bigger than fine or medium-textured hair, so it might tend to feel rough, dry, or wiry.
You can turn coarse hair into silky-soft tresses by using the proper type of conditioner. The absolute best conditioner for coarse hair could only be Aunt Jackie’s Girls Soft Sassy Super Duper Softening Conditioner.
This hydration-intensive formula actually softens super coarse hair to make it shinier, more manageable, and silky-soft to the touch. If you have coarse hair, you know that sounds like a miracle. Well, it’s time to start believing in miracles because this stuff is legit.
It works perfectly for coarse hair because:
- It’s made with natural botanical extracts that penetrate coarse hair to increase softness
- Heavily moisturizing ingredients introduce hydration deep into strands
- It coats coarse strands with locked-in moisture that lasts for days
- Made with shea butter, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil to seal hydration in
- It smells like heavenly coconut (reviewers rave about the scent)
You can condition or co-wash with it. It’s so effective that it can actually temporarily relax tight curls, so keep that in mind before you use it. Grab the shampoo to get the best results with this conditioner.
7. Best Leave-In Conditioner
Leave-in conditioners are a way of life for some hair types and a rare treat for others. But if you think all leave-ins are made equally, think again.
We found the ultimate leave-in conditioner that can work for most hair types. Drumroll, please! The best leave-in conditioner is Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Leave-In Conditioner.
We’re sure of it. You might not have heard of this product or brand, but it’s a cult favorite with more than 13,000+ positive reviews on Amazon.
Here’s what sets this leave-in conditioner apart from the rest:
- The weightless formulation makes it appropriate for fine or oily hair
- The intensive moisturizing ingredients apply hydration to hair from the outside in
- Added proteins and vitamins nourish, soften, and strengthen hair
- Aloe, shea butter, and sweet almond oil deliver nutrients all hair types need
- Leave it in for the most hydration, or let it sit for 20-30 minutes and rinse for less
And the smell…can we talk about it? It’s this delicious black vanilla fragrance with hints of lavender and honeysuckle.
You’re going to be glad you don’t need to rinse this out of your hair. You can also grab the hydrating conditioner (which also has excellent reviews) here.
What’s the Best Conditioner for You?
Now that you’ve seen the best conditioners the hair care industry has to offer, which one are you going to try? We recommend choosing the conditioner above that corresponds to your hair type.
But what if your hair falls under more than one type? If your hair shares traits with more than one type (such as dry and fine), choose the conditioner that corresponds to your hair texture (in this example, fine).
While correcting dryness with plenty of moisture is important, choosing a conditioner with the right weight and thickness for your hair texture will keep your hair from being weighed down or under-moisturized.
Overall, conditioner formulas are a wide spectrum that ranges from weightless moisture (for fine or oily hair) to the heaviest, intensive hydration (for coarse or curly hair). All you need to do is consult our list above to find the right one for your hair type.
You should see great results after one use, but your results will only get better as you use the conditioner over time. Keep with it!
Don’t forget to grab the matching products in the line as well. Manufacturers develop their shampoos, conditioners, and treatments to work together. So if you love the way a conditioner makes your hair feel, you’ll really love the way the entire product line transforms your hair.