A lot of guys have never used a conditioner. Or, they’ve accidentally used one, only to grow frustrated with its lack of lather — hey, that’s no shampoo! Many have walked through life with a blind eye to this essential haircare step that keeps their strands strong, healthy and cooperative (when it comes to styling, that is).
Conditioners should be used daily — by anyone with hair — whereas even the best shampoos should be used every other day, every third day, every week, depending on how grimy or greasy yours gets between washes. In theory, though, a conditioning rinse should help flush away much of that buildup between washes, while also packing the hairs full of vitamins, proteins and other nutrients. Conditioner fortifies hair but also softens it so that you have a more natural bounce and shine—especially after the overdrying, moisture-stripping effects of shampoos.
Yes, you read that right: You should use a conditioner on the daily, even on the days you don’t shampoo. And you should always use a conditioner after a shampoo — never together since it restores moisture and adds nutrients, while the shampoo pulls those things away.
Here are our ten favorite conditioners, for all types of hairs and concerns. Find the one (or few) that suit you best, and order two bottles for every one of shampoo. (You can start with one bottle for now, if you’re new to this. But seriously, scale back on the over washing!)
The Best Custom Conditioner: Tell Prose your biggest hair concerns, goals, frustrations, and more. Their survey assesses everything from your texture, length, oil levels, color, density, thickness, hair fall and more. When all is said and done, you end up with a customized formula, enriched with ingredients that help you achieve whatever goal it is — growth, fullness, preservation, color quality, definition… the list goes on. They’ll send it to you with a personalized label and everything—this is your conditioner, and it’s nobody else’s.
Saunders & Long Conditioner
The Best Conditioner for Fine Hair: The newest brand in haircare is Saunders & Long, which launched out of London last year. Their formulas have been perfected by some of the experts behind Kiehl’s and Bumble & bumble, and their assortment enriches, plumps, and defines the hair. If your hair is fine and in need of some lift and life after an over-drying wash, just massage in some of this luscious conditioning cream. Rinse, then enjoy your new bounce.
OUAI Thick-Hair Conditioner
The Best Conditioner for Thick Hair: People with coarse hair have a difficult time taming frizz, flyaways and even getting their hair to relax enough to style. OUAI’s conditioner uses shea butter, marshmallow root, and avocado oil to condition and command control over each strand. After your shower, you’ve got relaxed, cooperative hair, at least for the day ahead.
OGX Tea Tree Conditioner
The Best Conditioner for Oily Hair: If you have oily hair, you don’t need conditioner as desperately as others. But you still need it especially following a shampoo. Conditioner is doubly important if your hair is long and your oily scalp only hydrates and weighs down the first few inches of hair, whereas you need to make sure it’s all hydrated. OGX’s uses tea tree oil, which soothes and calms the scalp; in turn, tea tree oil can balance oil production on the head the same way it neutralizes unsightly pimples on the skin. More consistently, however, tea tree oil cleans and clarifies the hair itself, while nourishing it and adding a healthy pinch of shine — but not the kind of shine you loathe. This conditioner even gives you a tingly peppermint sensation in its wake.
Modern Mammals Conditioning Rinse
The Best Conditioner for Dry Hair: Engineered for the anti-shampooers out there, this conditioner is an effective rinse that flushes dirt, product, sweat and grime from your hair and scalp while doubling as a conditioner. It prevents your hair from ever frying to a crisp and restores vibrance, shine and liveliness to your fragile or brittle strands. It’s packed with aloe to soothe the scalp too, and even has skin-clearing salicylic acid (it’s much gentler than it sounds) to prevent flaking and peeling as well — and in turn, promoting strong growth for each of your hairs.
Wella Detangling Conditioner
The Best Conditioner for Curly Hair: Frizz and limp curls are things of the past: Wella’s conditioner delivers definition, body and healthy shine to the hair. It uses jojoba oil and wheat bran extract to restore bounce, control and texture to otherwise untameable, tangled hair. You’ve never had this kind of reassurance towards your temperamental curls. It also works excellent on wavy hair, too, since it emphasizes movement, smoothness, and, again, texture.
The Best Conditioner for Long Hair: Long hair requires a good, everyday conditioner that preserves body, shine and strength. It’s got to tame flyaways, prevent limpness, soothe the scalp, and it must massage easily throughout all of your hair. R+Co’s everyday conditioner checks all of these boxes with gusto, thanks to juniper berry extract and babassu seed oil. It’s great for many hair types — dry, damaged, thinning, dandruff prone — and thus is perfect for all kinds of longer styles, too.
Oribe Volumizing Conditioner
The Best Conditioner for Thinning Hair: Whatever your hair woe, you can trust Oribe for the solution. Their volumizing conditioner uses lupine protein and saw palmetto extract to slow hair thinning; these also promote thicker, coarser hair strands. Plumping polymers cling to the hair shaft and give it the fullness and volume you’ve longed for — with a side helping of healthy shine and keratin-fueled fortification.
Shu Uemura Colored-Hair Conditioner
The Best Conditioner for Dyed Hair: Thanks to goji berry extract, this conditioner prevents your expensive dye job from fading. Meanwhile, musk rose oil penetrates through the compromised cuticle to strengthen and soften the hair, all at once. Pair it with a color-preserving shampoo and follow your colorist’s advice on other measures—regarding the styling products, heat tools, and everyday habits—that can diminish your hair’s shine. This step, however, is perhaps the most important part of that regimen.
Better Not Younger Deep-Nourishing Hair Mask
The Best Deep-Conditioning Hair Mask Treatment: This buttery hair mask is a substitute for your everyday conditioner—but just a couple times per week. After washing and towel-drying your damaged or overly parched hair, apply this conditioner and let it sit for 3 minutes. It’s made with butters of mango, macadamia, avocado, and more, and is enriched with vitamin E. It’ll whip your hair right back into a lively, hydrated shape, all in the time it takes to brush your teeth.
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.