Conditioners can make or break your curly hair just as much as shampoo. But it’s important to choose a conditioner that suits your hair type. The best conditioners for curly hair will lock in moisture to keep your hair sleek and shiny. They eliminate tangles without weighing down your curls. And they support the health of your scalp, too.
Before we begin our review, here’s a quick overview of how to choose the best conditioner for your curly hair. First, determine the type of curls you have. It’s easiest to determine the type when your hair is wet. Does it look wavy, curly, or coily? Some people have a mix of types.
The next step is to determine how porous your strands are. There’s an easy test for this. If your hair floats, it doesn’t absorb conditioner easily. In that case, choose thick and creamy products. On the other hand, if your hair sinks in water, it’s porous and will do better with lightweight conditioners.
- Conditioners for daily use
- DevaCurl One Condition Original
- TRESemmé Conditioner, Flawless Curls Curl Hydration
- SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner
- L’Oréal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Conditioner Sulfate-Free
- Andalou Naturals Argan Oil & Shea Moisture-Rich Conditioner
- PURA D’OR Curl Therapy Conditioner for Curly, Wavy or Frizzy Hair
- The Seaweed Bath Co. Balancing Eucalyptus and Peppermint Argan Conditioner
- Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Conditioner
- Maui Moisture Nourish & Moisture + Coconut Milk Conditioner
- Leave-in conditioners and detanglers
- Hair masks and deep conditioners
- Cleansing conditioners
- How to get the most from your curly hair conditioner
- Make a deep conditioner or mask at home
Conditioners for daily use
Following are the best conditioners to use each time you shampoo your curly hair.
DevaCurl One Condition Original
DevaCurl’s One Condition is advertised as good for all curl types, but its thick and creamy formula is better for non-porous hair. It’s a bit heavy for fine and thin hair unless the curls are overly dry and in need of nourishment.
This conditioner does not include sulfates that dry out hair and scalp. Nor does it contain parabens that could disrupt the body’s hormones. And it doesn’t have silicones that leave residue and weigh down curls. Instead, this conditioner is packed with delicious delights like chufa milk, rosemary, chamomile, balm mint, and olive oil.
TRESemmé Conditioner, Flawless Curls Curl Hydration
Along with their curly hair shampoo, TRESemmé sells the Flawless Curls Hydration conditioner. It’s for wavy and coily hair, too. If you leave it on for two minutes and work it through your strands, you’ll find that it’s good at detangling. It also reduces frizz. Customers appreciate the conditioner because it’s thick enough to dilute and still work well.
SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner
If you love the tropical fragrance of coconut, try SheaMoisture’s Curl and Shine Conditioner. It contains a host of deep moisturizers like shea butter, coconut oil, mango seed butter, aloe, and olive oil. It’s rich enough for non-porous hair and powerful enough to bring back the elasticity of your coils.
L’Oréal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Conditioner Sulfate-Free
We’ve mentioned that sulfates in shampoos can strip the natural oil right out of your scalp and hair. L’Oreal’s solution to this problem is their EverCurl shampoo and conditioner. Neither one contains sulfates, parabens, or dyes. That’s a bonus because many other drugstore brands do.
The EverCurl conditioner works best if you combine it with the other products in the series. It’s light enough to use every time you wash your hair. And it’s rich enough to keep your curls hydrated for up to two days.
Andalou Naturals Argan Oil & Shea Moisture-Rich Conditioner
The first three ingredients of the Andalou Naturals conditioner are aloe, purified water, and vegetable glycerin. Glycerin is a natural humectant that attracts moisture to your hair, a perfect accompaniment to the other two components. But that’s not all this formula contains.
As the product name suggests, you’ll also find shea butter and argan oil, two rich emollients. They smooth the cuticle to reduce frizz and enhance shine. Then the other natural ingredients like fruit stem cells and amino acids repair strands and strengthen hair.
Pair this conditioner with its matching shampoo for best results. And rest easy knowing that the manufacturer supports Fair Trade, and their products are cruelty-free.
PURA D’OR Curl Therapy Conditioner for Curly, Wavy or Frizzy Hair
The Curl Therapy Conditioner from PURA D’OR contains linseed extract that stops tangles and frizz in thick curly hair. It makes hair shiny with aloe and kukui seed oil. And it avoids parabens and sulfates to protect your health and hair.
The Seaweed Bath Co. Balancing Eucalyptus and Peppermint Argan Conditioner
The Balancing Eucalyptus and Peppermint Argan Conditioner from the Seaweed Bath Company comes highly recommended on beauty websites. Its popularity is due to several benefits, like the fact that it smells fabulous, feels tingly, and leaves curls bouncy and soft. It’s gentle and lightweight enough to use every day.
The formula is free from gluten and parabens and made with sustainable ingredients. Instead, it contains bladderwrack seaweed that protects against UV damage and moisturizes the scalp, too.
Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Conditioner
The Maui Moisture Curl Quench conditions hair with coconut oil and papaya butter. There are no heavy silicones. Instead, it adds shine and bounce to curls naturally. And it won’t disrupt the pH balance of your skin or hair. But if it seems too rich for your coils, try the next product below.
Maui Moisture Nourish & Moisture + Coconut Milk Conditioner
Maui Moisture also makes the Coconut Milk Conditioner that rejuvenates dry curls with a lightweight formula. Besides coconut milk, it contains guava oil and mango butter. But this combination is good for daily use on thin hair. It detangles and adds shine without leaving a residue.
Leave-in conditioners and detanglers
If your hair is prone to frizz and tangles, try a leave-in conditioner. And detanglers are nice for the days when you don’t wash, but you still need to comb.
Mixed Chicks Curl Defining & Frizz Eliminating Leave-In Conditioner
Mixed Chicks makes a leave-in conditioner that controls frizz in all curly hair types as well as color-treated hair. It’s an excellent detangler, too. Its power comes from hydrating natural ingredients like jojoba seed and evening primrose oils, plus wheat amino acids.
Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner/Detangler
Kinky-Curly’s Knot Today serves as a conditioner for wavy hair after shampooing, and a detangler for curly hair, too. It calms down the cuticle to stop frizz. And it makes it easier to comb out snarls and tangles.
Hair masks and deep conditioners
Even if you’re a dedicated user of conditioner after shampooing, you could benefit from a hair mask or a deep conditioner. There’s an easy way to check. Pull gently on a curl and let it go. Does it bounce back immediately? If not, it’s time to add moisture.
L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Curl Reviving Butter Balm
The Curl Reviving Butter Balm from L’Oreal is a nourishing mask for dry, curly hair that makes a noticeable difference after only one use. Users with kinky coils comment that the balm helps them comb right after they apply it. And the formula contains healthy natural oils like sunflower, coconut, flax, and rose.
Pantene Gold Series Argan Oil, Sulfate Free, Repairing Mask for Dry and Damaged Hair
The Argan Oil Repairing Mask from the Pantene Gold Series is a surprisingly good moisturizer for coily and curly hair. You can use it as often as you want. And it’s free from parabens, sulfates, and dyes.
Have you tried co-washing, or washing your hair with conditioner? The purpose of the next two products is to help you clean your hair without stripping it of oil.
Matrix Biolage Cleansing Conditioner Curly Hair
This Matrix Biolage Cleansing Conditioner is specifically formulated to care for curly hair on women and men. You can use it every day, or a couple of times a week in between regular shampooing. It doesn’t create much lather, and it’s easy to rinse. But if your hair is especially dry, you may wish to follow it with a conditioner.
Pantene Pro-V Gold Series Deep Hydrating Co-Wash
Pantene’s Gold Series contains this Deep Hydrating Co-Wash that works best in conjunction with the other products from the same line. The formula is free of parabens, sulfates, and dyes to make it safe for sensitive skin and color-treated or dry hair.
Pantene recommends using this cleansing conditioner in between regular washes with shampoo. Unlike co-washing with conditioner, you can use this product on your scalp and strands. It won’t strip away natural oils, but it will cleanse your skin and hair. Customers say that their hair stays silky soft and doesn’t have residue.
How to get the most from your curly hair conditioner
Not all conditioners are created equal. But sometimes the way you use the product makes all the difference in your experience. Here are tips to get the best performance from your conditioner.
- Apply conditioner to your ends first then work your way up your strands. This protects your scalp from getting too oily.
- Use a wide tooth comb to spread the conditioner evenly through your curls.
- Leave the conditioner to work as long as the bottle suggests, then rinse it thoroughly with cool water.
- Or leave in some of the conditioner to help with styling and frizz control.
- If your hair is especially dry, try conditioning first before you shampoo, then condition again afterward.
- If you don’t have a hair mask at home, make your own with natural ingredients.
If your regular conditioner isn’t moisturizing your curls enough, try a deep conditioner or hair mask for intensive hydration.
Make a deep conditioner or mask at home
There’s nothing that says you can’t make your own hair mask at home. People did it for centuries before they could order products online. Try this easy recipe below that uses items from the kitchen pantry.
Mix one part honey with one part olive oil. The quantities you need depend on the length of your hair. Try a quarter cup of each ingredient if you have shoulder-length locks. Stir it well, and it will make a little foam.
Once the mix is ready, wet your hair and squeeze out the excess water. Then spread the mask through your curls. You can also apply it to your scalp as these ingredients are healthy for your skin, too.
Now, cover your hair with a shower cap and use a blow dryer on low heat to warm your head for a few minutes. Then keep the cap on for another half hour.
Finally, rinse the mask out of your hair with cool water. You don’t need to shampoo once the water runs clear. Then dry your hair gently with a t-shirt or microfiber towel to avoid roughing up the cuticle.
It’s easy to keep your hair shiny, defined, and soft when you care for it using one of the best conditioners for curly hair. Whether it’s a formula for daily use, a leave-in conditioner, or hair mask, there are many products available compared to decades past. Don’t be afraid to get rid of what’s not working for you. Try a new conditioner on your curls today.