- Hair conditioner is a necessity if you want soft, silky strands.
- Out of thousands of bottles, shoppers agree that Silk18 Argan Oil Hair Conditioner is the best — no matter your hair type.
I consider washing my hair the least inspiring part of my day.
Some people do their best thinking in the shower, but I basically treat it like an extension of sleep and space out while staring at the tiles. Finding the right conditioner didn't change that exactly, but it did elevate my shower experience to spa-like dimensions, and it gave me great hair in the process.
If you typically pick a conditioner by going to the hair aisle at your local drugstore and plucking something off the shelf with your eyes closed, it's time to introduce a more strategic approach. A good conditioner can transform your hair and extend the life of your latest style — take it from me, chronic haircut procrastinator. Better hair, better outlook on life, right?
Step one is to figure out your hair type and take it into consideration while shopping. Maybe you need a deep conditioner for extra moisture or something lighter that won't weigh down fine strands. If you don't know where to begin, ask your hairstylist for advice next time you get a trim. Or just take a look at this best-of-the-best list and let us do the hard work for you.
Here are the best hair conditioners you can buy in 2020:
- Best hair conditioner overall: Silk18 Argan Oil Hair Conditioner
- Best conditioner for curly hair: DevaCurl One Condition Original Daily Cream Conditioner
- Best leave-in conditioner: It's a 10 Leave-In Conditioner
- Best conditioner for color-treated hair: Redken Color Extend Conditioner
- Best drugstore conditioner: Pantene Pro-V Moisture Renewal Conditioner
- Best conditioner for instant shine: Wella Oil Reflections Luminous Instant Conditioner
- Best eco-conscious clarifying conditioner: Love Beauty & Planet Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Radical Refresher Conditioner
Updated on 03/20/2020 by Remi Rosmarin: Updated links, formatting, and prices.
The best conditioner overall
Silk18 Argan Oil Hair Conditioner is an Amazon bestseller formulated with silk amino acids and argan oil to treat a variety of concerns from scalp dryness to frizz.
Conditioner typically isn't one size fits all, but most hair types can benefit from a formula that nourishes strands, provides moisture, and cuts down on frizz. Silk18 Argan Oil Hair Conditioner certainly does all three.
Silk18 is a bestselling conditioner on Amazon and has a 4.4 out of 5-star rating based on more than 10,000 reviews. It's rare for people to get this amped about an everyday hair product. Sold by the brand Maple Holistics, Silk18 is made without sulfates, artificial fragrances, and dyes, so it's a great option if you're rigorous about avoiding those additives in your haircare.
What Silk18 does contain is a cocktail of good-for-you ingredients like silk amino acids to help your hair retain moisture, jojoba and argan oils for hydration, and keratin to cut down on frizz. It's safe to use on color-treated strands and is recommended for most hair and skin types, including those with dry, sensitive scalps.
Over on Influenster, where the conditioner boasts a 4.9 rating, a fan says, "My hair is curly and frizzy but this conditioner has calmed the frizz down during the humid summer months and made it manageable."
Pros: All-natural ingredients, works for many hair types, reviewers say it can also be used as a leave-in conditioner
Cons: Bottle is only 8 ounces$9.94 from Amazon
The best conditioner for curly hair
If you're fed up with other formulas leaving your curls lifeless, try revitalizing your hair with DevaCurl One Condition Original Daily Cream Conditioner.
I'll spend upwards of 10 minutes applying serums to my face every night, but I have no interest in putting that kind of effort into my hair.
Two things helped drastically cut down on the amount of time I spend fussing over my curls: getting haircuts with a stylist who actually understands my hair type and using DevaCurl One Condition Original Daily Cream Conditioner in the shower.
DevaCurl is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to styling curls, and the company has options tailor-made for every texture, from fine waves to coarse coils. I'm a fan of the original One Condition because it's hydrating, thanks to the olive oil in the formula, but not too heavy. It doesn't strip my hair of its essential moisture, but leaves my curls bouncy and well-defined while cutting down on knots and frizz.
As one Ulta reviewer puts it, "The conditioner actually moisturizes the hair shaft, instead of coating the hair in silicone giving the illusion of moisture."
I'm not a daily hair washer so I tend to use One Condition about three to four times per week, but it's certainly gentle enough to apply more often. It also has a light, lemony scent that I vastly prefer to some of the sugary sweet hair products out there. All in all, this is an ideal conditioner if your hair is recovering from years of heat-styling or, in my case, being shoved into a bun while still wet to fake a straighter texture.
Pros: Lightweight texture that's great for many curl types, cuts down on frizz and makes hair more manageable, doesn't strip hair of moisture
Cons: It might not be hydrating enough for very dry curls$24.00 from Sephora $46.00 from Ulta Beauty
The best leave-in conditioner
If you want to detangle, strengthen, and soften strands with just one product, add a few spritzes of It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin to your post-shower hair.
Keratin treatments have been big for a while now (though you really need to know the science behind it and make sure the salon or treatment doesn't use formaldehyde), and it turns out that you can get some of the benefits without hitting the salon, thanks to products that boast keratin as part of their formulas.
First, a little bit about how keratin works: "Your hair is made up of keratin, so the treatment is putting the protein back into the hair, which is often lost due to age and chemical services," hairstylist Andrew Sprinkle explained to InStyle. In short, keratin is reparative, so it might be a good ingredient to look out for if your hair is damaged from over-processing.
It's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Plus Keratin is one of the most popular and highly-rated leave-in conditioners, with 4.7 stars on Ulta and more than 1,300 reviews. It works to smooth, strengthen, and protect hair of all types, thanks to ingredients like panthenol, sunflower seed extract, green tea leaf extract, silk amino acids, and citric acid. You might even say it's a miracle product, eh?
It's a favorite of professional stylist Kendall Dorsey, who told Allure, "This leave-in helps to detangle dry, damaged hair, as well as adding softness. It works for any texture."
Pros: Multi-purpose, works for a variety of hair types, helps protect strands from environmental stressors
Cons: Hefty price tag, might feel a bit too heavy on ultra-fine textures$20.99 from Ulta Beauty
The best conditioner for color-treated hair
The Redken Color Extend Conditioner can help your dye job last longer, and it's expert-approved.
The reason I've never dyed my hair is two-fold, but both folds have to do with fear. Fear that I'll damage my hair with frequent appointments, and fear that the color won't stay fresh for long, rendering the endeavor a total waste of time and money. Enter: Redken Color Extend Conditioner, which is designed to help with both of those problems.
Beloved by experts and shoppers alike for its ability to preserve the vibrancy of color while keeping hair soft and frizz-free, Redken Color Extend uses the brand's "Fade Resist Complex," which claims to help hair retain color longer and "lock out color-fading aggressors," such as UV rays. Unlike some similar products, this one isn't made for a specific shade, meaning you can use it whether you're blonde, brunette, or pink-haired.
And it really works! The product was an Allure Best of Beauty winner in 2009 and 2010 and an Allure Reader's Choice Award winner in 2010 and 2012. On Ulta, it has a 4.5-star rating out of 5.
One fan writes, "My hair started feeling really damaged when I started getting highlights. This made it feel so much better. I've used a lot of shampoos for color treated hair and nothing works as well."
Pros: Helps color-treated hair stay healthy and retain dye longer, good for all hair colors
Cons: Once again, the price tag is a little hefty for a conditioner$20.93 from Walmart $33.50 from Ulta Beauty
The best drugstore conditioner
Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Conditioner is like the perfectly ripe Granny Smith apple of conditioners — simple, affordable, and oh so satisfying.
I'm all for fancy when it comes to beauty products: millennial pink bottles made to be photographed against marble surfaces, glass jars that give me a medicine cabinet worthy of the fancy French woman I aspire to be. But sometimes we or our bank accounts crave simplicity and affordability. That's where Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Conditioner comes in.
It's a basic, hydrating formula that works well on normal-to-dry hair and is fortified with "a potent blend of Pro-V nutrients and antioxidants" that will keep your strands in good fighting shape. Think of this as a tall glass of ice water for your hair.
Oh, and did I mention that it is $4 at your local drugstore? I know it's no longer original to point out when things are cheaper than your morning latte, but come on — this stuff really is cheaper than your morning latte! That's not to say that it's only good for the price tag; it's good period.
Pros: Hydrating, works on most hair textures, super inexpensive
Cons: Potentially too heavy for really thin, fine hair$4.79 from Walgreens
The best conditioner for instant shine
Wella Oil Reflections Luminous Instant Conditioner is like instant shine in a bottle thanks to the camellia seed oil formula.
My hair is normally dry and dull (yea, it's very exciting), but once I tried the Wella Oil Reflections Luminous Instant Conditioner, it was actually shiny and soft to the touch.
The secret is in the camellia seed oil, or tea seed oil. It's oil extracted from the camellia seed flower, which is native to Japan and was beloved by Coco Chanel. It's rich in vitamins, minerals, and for lack of a better phrase, omega-9 fats, which helps moisturize and add shine. There's also a subtle floral, almost nutty, scent as well that I find really pleasant. All this is to say that camellia seed oil made my dry hair look like Rapunzel's.
At $22 a tube, it's not a steal but for how it improved the texture and shine of my hair, it was a worthwhile investment for me. It helps that a little goes a long way — and that you can cut the tube to get product trapped in the corners and edges. (No judgement here, you know you've done it before.)
I'm not the only one who wishes there was a bigger bottle for the value either, one Ulta reviewer wishes that the brand made the conditioner in a liter size. — Jada Wong
Pros: Adds shine, hydrates and softens hair, subtle scent
Cons: Pricey$22.00 from Ulta Beauty
The best eco-conscious clarifying conditioner
If you want a clarifying conditioner to get rid of product buildup, try Love Beauty & Planet Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Radical Refresher Conditioner as our eco-conscious pick.
Many things in the beauty industry are made with plastics that are hard to recycle or take decades to decompose, but not the haircare products from Love Beauty & Planet. Bottles are made with 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and the brand is trying to do the same with its caps too.
As for the formula themselves, they're all vegan and cruelty-free, and are made without nasties like sulfates, silicones, parabens, dyes, and more. All the conditioners are 97% naturally derived, ingredients are unchanged from its natural state or have at least 50% of its natural state after being processed into a stable haircare ingredient.
That means you're getting a ton of benefits from each bottle of the Love Beauty & Planet Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Radical Refresher Conditioner, which detoxes my strands from daily dry shampoo without giving them that squeaky-clean feeling, adds volume, and smells like fresh nature. It kind of makes me feel like I'm washing my hair in a forest, though my bathroom itself looks like the opposite.
Reviewers on Influenster, where it has a 4.4 out of 5 stars, say the formula doesn't weigh down fine hair and smells amazing. Some even say that the tea tree oil provides a lovely tingling sensation that feels invigorating. — Jada Wong
Pros: Inexpensive, fresh scent, eco-friendly packaging, clean formula
Cons: Fresh scent might not be for everyone, tingling sensation might be irritating for some$6.99 from Target
Check out our other great haircare guides
Shampoo is a necessity, but it's not one-size-fits-all. Whether your hair is curly, pin-straight, in need of added moisture or color protection, there's a shampoo out there for you. The Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Shampoo is our top pick because its formula works well for all hair types.
Some days you just run out of time to wash your hair (or you just don't feel like it), but that doesn't mean you have to endure a bad hair day. Dry shampoos keep your hair looking fresh and clean when you don't have time for a full wash. Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo is our favorite because it makes your hair look — and smell — just-washed.
Hair spray can make or break your hairstyle, so it's important to find the best one for your hair type. We, and the pros, love the L'Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray because it's strong enough to keep every hair in place, but light enough that it can be brushed out and reapplied without causing any stickiness.
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