The Best Conditioners For Salon-Level Shine

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How you condition your hair and scalp can often be the difference between a good and bad hair day. It can affect the ease of styling, shine, and manageability. To help you find a great conditioner in 2023, we’ve put together a list of our top nourishing and mane-taming conditioners for shiny manageable locks. Now you can achieve salon shine at home. Whether you have thick, curly, long, straight, or wavy hair, we’ll help you uncover the products that best suit your style.

If you’re already using conditioner but your hair seems unruly, you could be using the wrong type of conditioner. Hair conditioners are essentially moisturizers for your hair. They restore and hydrate hair while also keeping the scalp healthy. Conditioners add nutrients and vitamins back to the hair and scalp, preventing drying and scaling. Here are our top conditioner picks for healthy hair.

Comparing the Top Conditioners of 2023 in Detail

L'Oreal  —  Best Overall

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Key Features

  • Available in 28 fl oz
  • Formulated to repair damaged hair and reduce breakage
  • Fortified with protein and ceramide for strong shiny hair
  • Creamy blend with a sophisticated floral scent
  • The shampoo and conditioner containers are made from 94% recycled plastic

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 is a repairing conditioner for damaged hair. It helps to reduce breakage while repairing the strands for easier detangling. The rich reviving formula contains protein and ceramides to help fortify hair strands for strength and shine. The Elvive Total Repair 5 nourishing system works best when used in conjunction with Total Repair 5 shampoo. Once the shampoo has been lathered and rinsed, apply the conditioner and leave it in for 1 to 3 minutes to fully absorb and replenish before rinsing.

Olaplex  —  Best for Damage Repair

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Key Features

  • Available in 8.5 fl oz.
  • High quality, professionally engineered salon conditioner
  • Olaplex contains the active ingredient bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, which works on a molecular level to strengthen and repair damaged hair after coloring, perming, bleaching, or heat-styling
  • Color-, sulfate-, and paraben-free
  • Vegan-friendly

Olaplex No 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner offers intense care for colored and heat-damaged hair. Olaplex formulas repair and nourish broken bonds in the hair which have been caused by thermal, chemical, and mechanical damage. The conditioner is a salon-quality product perfect for eliminating frizz and restoring a healthy shine.

Garnier Fructis  —  Best for Stronger Hair

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Key Features

  • Available in 33.8 fl oz.
  • The conditioning range features an exclusive combination of citrus protein, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, and fruit-derived extracts specifically designed to strengthen hair for a healthier shine
  • Paraben-free and vegan with no animal-derived ingredients or byproducts 

Suitable for daily use, Garnier Fructis Conditioner fortifies hair to grow stronger, healthier, and shinier. It’s infused with apple extract and ceramide for extra strength-building. The entire Active Fruit Protein range from Garnier is formulated with an exclusive combination of plant-derived extracts and vitamins that enhance protein bonds for healthier looking hair to withstand everyday styling and environmental factors.

TRESemme  —  Best Priced

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Key Features

  • Available in 28 fl oz.
  • TRESemmé offers an unbeatable price for a large bottle of long-lasting shine
  • The advanced moisturizing system is formulated with Vitamin E and Biotin to nourish and soften hair
  • Ideal for color and chemically treated hair
  • The conditioner is lightweight, allowing it to restore vibrancy but keeping hair soft and silky without weighing it down

Don’t be fooled by the low price tag on this professional quality salon product. Revive damaged hair with TRESemmés moisture-rich conditioner that specifically targets dryness and locks in moisture where it’s needed most. The conditioner delivers optimized hydration without weighing your hair down, restoring soft, vibrant strands and professional-looking shine.

Pantene  —  Best Anti-Frizz

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Key Features

  • Pantene Pro-V is sulfate-free 
  • Features a special blend of argan and avocado oils allowing for a light, yet rich hydrating product that controls frizz
  • Great value for money as each order contains a twin pack of 2 x 24 fl oz

Pantene Smooth and Sleek features a special blend of Pro-V nutrients to hydrate hair from root to tip for long-lasting softness. The micro-moisturizing formula is designed to penetrate every strand to counter humidity and control frizz. This conditioner is ideal for color and chemically treated hair as well as heat-styled hair since it nourishes with a natural oil formula for a sleek look.

Redken  —  Best for Brittle Hair

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Key Features

  • Available in 33.8 fl oz.
  • The conditioner's enriched argan oil formula delivers increased nourishment for hair and scalp, treating heat-damaged and dry, brittle hair.
  • Redken conditioner detangles, restores, and provides softness, manageability, and shine

Redken's All Soft Conditioner is formulated to moisturize and provide intense softness to dry and brittle hair. The addition of argan oil in the formula detangles, nourishes, and smoothes hair. It replenishes and maintains an essential moisture balance, increasing silkiness and manageability. Increase the moisturizing power when combing the conditioner with Redkens special formula shampoo that works in conjunction with the other products for maximum effects.

Pureology  —  Best for Color Care

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Key Features

  • Available in 9 fl oz.
  • The concentrated formulas yield 75+ washes per bottle
  • The dual-benefit formula is ideal for normal to thick, damaged, dry, frizzy, or color-treated hair
  • Provides color protection and deep hydration for individual hair needs
  • 100% Vegan and free from sulfates, parabens, mineral oil, animal products, and animal testing

Pureology Hydrate Conditioner is formulated with a patented antifade ingredient blend to protect long-lasting color and vibrancy. The formula provides moisture, protection, and softness. It deeply hydrates normal to thick hair with key ingredients including jojoba, green tea, sage, mint, and menthol, sunflower seed, Vitamin E, and a UV filter fight color-depleting environmental effects while promoting lasting shine.

Buying Guide to Help You Find the Perfect Conditioner

Shampooing your hair is vital to keeping it clean, healthy, and free of unhygienic build-up. It does, however, strip your hair of some natural oils causing it to dry out. In addition, color and heat treatments on your hair cause damage, breakage, and brittle ends. This is why conditioning your hair is a vital part of hair care and keeping your locks healthy, smooth, and strong. Conditioners boost hydration, enhance damage repair and replenish lost nutrients from styling and environmental factors.

To take it a step further, every hair type is different, from naturally straight and flat, to curly, wavy, thick, thin, oily, and dry. Choosing the right conditioner for your hair type offers additional benefits by giving your hair exactly what it requires for optimal manageability and health. Some types of hair require extra nourishing with heavier products, while soft, thin hair may do better with lighter products.

So how do you know which type of conditioner is best for your hair? We’ve got all the answers below. Here is everything you need to know about choosing the best conditioner.

How to Choose the Best Hair Conditioner

To choose the best hair conditioner for your hair you need to consider both your hair type and the health of your hair. 

Choosing by hair type

  • Fine, Flat Hair: If your hair is straight and silky without frizz, opt for a conditioner that will add volume and texture. Volumizing conditioners are light and won’t add extra weight to your hair like heavier conditioners. Oil rich and dense conditioners will make your fine hair hang limp as opposed to giving it body. 
  • Wavy Hair: Light-weight moisturizing conditioners are best if you have wavy hair. Wavy hair can be temperamental. In humid weather, it often frizzes, while it can grow limp in dry weather. Natural oils from the scalp don’t always get to the end of curled strands to nourish the hair. Although wavy hair doesn't get as dry as curly hair, you still need a moisturizing conditioner, especially for the tips. Avoid conditioners that are too dense and will weigh down your hair by opting for products labeled specifically for wavy hair.
  • Thick, Curly Hair: Thick, curly hair should be conditioned with a deep-hydrating conditioner. Curly hair can easily become dry which results in dull, frizzy strands. The best conditioners for curly hair will be labeled as deep hydrating formulas specifically for curly hair. Consider using a leave-in conditioning mask weekly or bi-weekly. These conditioners should be left in for 10-15 minutes before rinsing. For even thicker, curlier hair, use deep-hydrating products with shea butter or oils such as coconut oil or more expensive Moroccan argan oil for nourishing these intense curls. Due to the intensity of curls, hair can hold up to heavy nourishing formulas and require additional moisturizing. If you have really curly hair, it might also be a good idea to invest in curly hair products besides conditioner, as they can make your curls even more defined and beautiful.

Choosing by hair health

  • Color-Treated Hair: To keep color-treated hair vibrant for as long as possible, choose a color-safe conditioner. These formulas seal hair cuticles, reducing the loss of color from water. The best products to use on color-treated hair will be labeled as color-safe, color extend, color care, or sulfate-free. Color-depositing conditioners leave a small amount of color when applied, allowing color maintenance and richness for longer, as well as hiding emerging roots. Make sure to choose a shade of conditioner that matches your dyed color.
  • Oily or Limp Hair: Volumizing conditioners are best for oily or limp hair. Products marked as hydrating or moisturizing will result in greasier and flatter hair; rather opt for products labeled as volumizing, light, strengthening, or balancing formulas.
  • Moderately Dry: If your hair feels a little dry but is not severely damaged, use hydrating, moisturizing, or balancing, conditioners.
  • Dry and Frizzy Hair: Whether the frizz is due to natural causes or heat treatments, using damage repair conditioners will be effective to restore moisture, strand strength, and nourish your hair and scalp. This will also result in reduced frizz. Coconut oil can be an effective treatment for extremely dry hair. 
  • Dandruff: Although the shampoo you use will have a bigger effect on dandruff than conditioner, there are still products geared toward treating the scalp condition. The best products to use if you experience dandruff will be light, fragrance-free conditioners.

Ingredients to consider when choosing conditioner

Avoid conditioners containing the following ingredients if you have a sensitive scalp. These ingredients can throw off the scalp’s natural pH balance and leave your head itchy, flaky, or tender.

  • Sodium Chloride: This is essentially salt, and draws moisture from your scalp, drying it out.
  • Synthetic Fragrance: The alcohol used in synthetic fragrance products can dry out your scalp. Opt for a conditioner with a natural fragrance instead.
  • Quaternium-15: This is a preservative present in eye shadows and some conditioners. It can cause skin irritation.

Hair conditioners that include natural moisturizers, amino acids, and vitamins are a good choice. Look for some of the following ingredients which contain antioxidants, nourish, and hydrate the scalp.

  • Shea butter
  • Aloe vera
  • Panthenol
  • Vitamin E
  • Ginger root