Best Conditioner for Curly Hair

If you have curly hair, conditioner should be a staple in your hair care regimen! Curly hair tends to be drier and more fragile than straighter hair types due to its texture and pattern. Conditioner replenishes the moisture levels in the hair shaft to maintain hydration, flexibility, and porosity.

In today’s article, I’ll discuss what you need to know to select the best conditioner and recommend some of my favorite products!

What is a conditioner?

A hair conditioner, also called a conditioner, is a hair care product used to improve the texture, feel, appearance, and manageability of the hair. The main functions are to replenish the hair’s moisture levels and seal the hair’s cuticle.

The best Conditioner for Curly Hair

  1. CurlsmithMultiCondi

    01 Curlsmith Multi-Tasking Conditioner

    This curl conditioner is the secret weapon for highly porous hair, because you can use it not only as a conditioner, but also as a leave-in conditioner or as a deep conditioner (hair treatment). It not only contains valuable oils that provide your hair with nutrients and vitamins, but also proteins that can repair damaged hair in particular.

    Brand: Curlsmith
    Size: 237 ml
    Curly Girl Method suitable: yes

  2. Bouclème Curl Conditioner

    02 Bouclème Curl Conditioner

    Bouclème Curl Conditioner is a highly hydrating conditioner suitable for all curl types. Although super lightweight, it provides a ton of moisture to curly hair. In addition, it’s formulated with nourishing ingredients such as argan oil, aloe vera, and coconut oil.

    Brand: Bouclème
    Size: 300ml
    Curly Girl Method Suitable: Yes

  3. In

    03 Innersense Hydrating Cream Conditioner

    If your hair is extremely high porosity, damaged, and needs a lot of protein, Innersense Hydrating Cream Conditioner is an excellent choice for curly hair! Organic rice, quinoa, and flaxseed will strengthen the hair strands, while nourishing shea butter, coconut oil, and monoi oil hydrate the hair and impart a beautiful shine.

    Brand: Innersense
    Size: 295ml
    Curly Girl Method Suitable: Yes

  4. Bounce Curl Conditioner

    04 Bounce Curl Super Smooth Cream Conditioner

    Bounce Curl’s lightweight creamy conditioner is extremely hydrating and therefore perfect suiting curly hair. Organic aloe leaf juice will deeply penetrate and hydrate the hair shaft, while a blend of nourishing oils will protect the hair from drying out.

    It will work for all curl types and porosities. It’s also protein-free, making it a perfect option for low-porosity or protein-sensitive hair.

    Brand: Bounce Curl
    Size: 237 ml
    Curly Girl Method Suitable: Yes

  5. Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Conditioner

    05 Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Conditioner

    Replenish your curl’s moisture after shampooing with this Moisturizing Conditioner for curly hair! Meadowfoam seed oil, arnica flower, and chamomile will hydrate and plump the hair while wheat protein restores strength!

    Brand: Ouidad
    Size: 250 ml
    Curly Girl Method Suitable: Yes

  6. Coil Infusion Drink Up Cleansing Conditioner

    06 Coil Infusion Drink Up Cleansing Conditioner

    This multi-tasking formula can be used as a co-wash or a traditional conditioner for curly hair. It will restore moisture to dry coily strands and aid in detangling.

    Brand: Ouidad
    Size: 355 ml
    Curly Girl Method Suitable: Yes

  7. SheaMoisture

    07 Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl and Shine Conditioner

    This conditioner is lightly enriched with proteins, so it’s excellent for protein-sensitive hair that needs a strength boost. Hydrolyzed vegetable proteins and hydrolyzed silk will strengthen fragile hair strands, while a blend of aloe leaf juice, coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba seed oil will hydrate the hair imparting softness and shine. 

    Brand: Shea Moisture
    Size: 384ml
    Curly Girl Method Suitable: Yes

  8. GiovanniSmoothassilkcondi

    08 Giovanni Cosmetics Conditioner Smooth As Silk

    If your hair is extremely damaged and experiencing a lot of breakage, a repairing formula enriched with protein will help! Giovanni Smooth as Silk Conditioner will fortify your hair with plant-derived proteins while moisturizing ingredients will soften the hair and aid in detangling.

    Brand: Giovanni Hair Care
    Size: 235ml
    Curly Girl Method Suitable: Yes

  9. sheabaob

    09 Shea Moisture Baobab & Tea Tree Oil Conditioner

    Shea Moisture makes great conditioners for dry, curly hair! This protein-free conditioner will restore the moisture levels in your hair and is formulated with nourishing baobab seed oil and shea butter.

    Brand: Shea Moisture
    Size: 384ml
    Curly Girl Method Suitable: Yes

What are the benefits of using a conditioner?

Incorporating a conditioner into your regular hair care regimen is crucial. A good hair conditioner will:

  • Seal the hair’s cuticle
  • Aid in detangling
  • Infuse hydration back into the hair
  • Protect the hair shaft from environmental stressors such as pollution and sun damage.

Before choosing a conditioner

Before choosing a conditioner, it’s crucial to have a good understanding of your hair’s thickness, porosity, and texture.

Looser curl patterns respond well to conditioners containing lighter-weight ingredients such as argan, grapeseed, and jojoba oils. Tighter curl patterns tend to be dryer and will need a conditioner with a thicker consistency and more nourishing ingredients such as shea butter and castor oil.

Your hair’s porosity will also play a big part in the type of conditioner you need. Low-porosity hair types benefit from conditioners that contain humectant ingredients such as honey, glycerin, and aloe vera. In comparison, low-porosity hair will respond best to denser nourishing conditioners that are enriched with protein.

My Favorite Protein-Free Conditioners

If your hair is protein-sensitive, it’s best to stick with protein-free conditioners!

My Favorite Protein-Enriched Conditioners

If your hair is of high porosity or highly damaged, a conditioner enriched with protein can help repair the damage and fortify your hair. Here are my top three recommendations for protein-enriched conditioners.

When should I use the conditioner?

You should use conditioner after washing or shampooing the hair. It will replenish moisture lost during the shampooing process and reseal the cuticle.

It’s best to use conditioner every time you wash your hair to reap its full benefits.

Does it matter what conditioner you use on curly hair?

While you could walk into the store and randomly choose a conditioner off the shelf, the odds are that your selection may not suit your hair type. In addition, because every curl pattern is different, each will have different needs!

It’s best to choose a conditioner that is specifically marketed for curly hair. These formulas contain ingredients that cater more to curly hair’s unique needs.

What should I look for in conditioner for curly hair?

Your hair’s specific needs will dictate what you should look for in a conditioner.

However, a good rule of thumb is that a good quality conditioner for curly hair will contain a blend of moisturizing ingredients and humectants.

An effective moisturizing formula will include a combination of oils, butter, and fatty alcohols. Commonly used ingredients include panthenol (Provitamin B5), shea butter, argan oil, and castor oil. The best fatty alcohols are stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, ceteraryl alcohol, lauryl alcohol, and benzyl alcohol.

Commonly used humectants include aloe vera, honey, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid.

If you have high porosity or damaged hair, look for a conditioner incorporating protein. Look for ingredients such as hydrolyzed keratin, silk, collagen, and amino acids.

Conditioner

What should I avoid in conditioner for curly hair?

There are several sneaky ingredients that you should avoid in conditioner! While it may not cause immediately noticeable damage, it can harm your hair over time.

These are the ingredients that you should avoid in conditioners for curly hair:

Silicones

Silicone coats the hair, which can result in a temporary smoothing effect. However, it is water-insoluble ingredients that you can’t remove without a clarifying shampoo. If you’re unaware that your conditioner contains silicone, you could be headed for big trouble! A silicone build-up on the hair shaft will prevent moisturization from penetrating the hair shaft, causing excessive dehydration and leading to breakage.

Common silicones used in hair care products are

  • Dimethicone or
  • Cetearyl Methicone.

However, you can easily spot them on the ingredients list of the product by the following endings: “-cone,” “-cool,” “-,cane” or “-silane.”

Drying alcohols

The most important thing to be aware of is drying alcohol! These drying ingredients can quickly zap the moisture from your hair, leading to excessive dryness and breakage. These shouldn’t be confused with the “good” fatty alcohols that are hydrating.

The most common drying alcohols that you should avoid include:

  • Ethyl alcohol (also called “ethanol”)
  • Denatured alcohol (also listed as “alcohol denat”)
  • Isopropyl alcohol

However, you can identify them on the ingredient list if you see “propyl,” “prop,” “eth,” or “denatured” in the name.

Sulfates

Sulfates are surfactants, or cleansing agents, that bind to oil, dirt, and product residue to aid in cleansing. Sulfates are often included in conditioners to increase a conditioner’s lather and help it rinse out of the hair more easily. However, they can be extremely harsh and dry to curly hair.

The most common sulfates are

  • sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and
  • sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).

You can quickly identify a sulfate by its ending of “-one” or “-ate.”

Alongside this article about the best conditioner for curly hair, this website offers a wide range of useful other articles on curl care. These articles cover various topics, including selecting the ideal clarifying shampoo and shampoo for your hair type, maintaining hair health, and staying updated on the latest hair care trends. From product reviews and ingredient analyses to DIY recipes and expert tips, these articles provide valuable insights to help you achieve your desired hair goals.

Profilbild Laura
About the author

I've been a curly girl since I was little. 💝 But it wasn't until I discovered the right curl care for me that I learned to understand my curls. I'm happy to pass all this on to you - so that you too can learn to love your curls.

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