If there’s one thing we know about curly hair, it’s how finicky it can be. Finding the right beauty routine and products is the only way to tame a curly mane.
Whether you’ve got your curl routine down pat or are still looking to perfect it, we’ve got a few conditioners to introduce you to.
What makes an excellent conditioner for curly hair? Well, that depends on your hair and curl type. There are a few general rules, though. You don’t want your conditioner to be too thick or heavy, or to cause product buildup. Beyond that, it’s totally up to you and what works for your hair.
It’s 2022. Curly hair routines are the new norm, and it’s clear that they are working. Curls last longer, stay fuller, and feel fresh and clean for days. Get your optimal curls with the best conditioners for curly hair in 2022.
The Blu Atlas Conditioner supports every curl shape and type by giving curls what they deserve. From flat, lifeless hair to the tightest of curls, this product will do wonders. It utilizes all-natural ingredients to leave you with soft, gleaming locks. It’s a simple rinse-off conditioner that is easy to apply and rinse off while in the shower.
All-natural ingredients support hair growth, bouncy curls and shiny tresses. Natural emollients and humectants come together in a safe, hydrating formula to care for hair. This year, Blu Atlas has the best conditioner for you and your curls.
2. Ouai Thick Hair Conditioner
Need a thick, hydrating conditioner that penetrates even the sturdiest of hair? Ouai’s Thick Hair Conditioner dominates your hair from root to tip, detangling thick hair and repairing damaged hair. Dense hair? No problem! Hair so thick you can’t run your fingers through it? Don’t sweat it! Formulated for men and women with the densest of hair, this conditioner can handle all hair types and won’t strip your hair’s natural oils.
Vegan, all-natural ingredients put this conditioner in a category all its own. Avocado oil, shea butter and marshmallow bring the power of nature straight to your hair follicles and give your hair the spa treatment you deserve. This product leaves behind a floral, citrus scent with a little bit of an edge.
3. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner
For years, women and men with kinky hair and coils have been trusting Shea Moisture products to protect and nourish their locks. Shea Moisture makes some of the best deep-hydrating conditioners that can penetrate even the densest of curls. This Curl & Shine Conditioner softens the hair from the follicle to the ends of your hair and locks in moisture to ensure snag-free curls.
This conditioner is available at a grocery store price, but Shea Moisture products are nevertheless free from sulfates and artificial colors. The lingering scent of coconut and hibiscus keeps your curls smelling fabulous long after conditioning. Silk protein works its way into the hair to restore your natural curl pattern, while neem oil tackles moisture and hydration. Shea Moisture is the best grocery store and drugstore brand for men and women with curly hair.
4. DevaCurl CurlBond Re-Coiling Cream Conditioner
No one wants moppy-looking hair that you can’t seem to get under control. If re-coiling your hair is a daunting task that you always seem to put off, you may benefit from a helping hand from DevaCurla recoiling conditioner. This is a smooth, creamy conditioner that is gentle on hair shafts and adds moisture gently. One of the most trusted brands around, DevaCurl makes some of the best curly routine products to help your curls stay in position.
5. Kevin Murphy Repair Me Rinse
Wallets beware! Kevin Murphy’s Repair Me Rinse is one of the priciest items on our list. Men and women with curly hair love it, though. It’s the perfect quick application and rinse off conditioner to use if you have a busy schedule or just don’t have time for a whole curly-hair routine. While in the shower, you can simply slather the Repair Me Rinse on freshly washed hair and leave it for one to two minutes before rinsing. It is the best protein-based conditioning treatment for dry, frizzy or damaged hair.
6. Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Fortifying Conditioner
Wake the sleeping goddess in you with a natural dual-strength conditioner. Castor oil, black seed oil and ginger fuse to moisturize and nourish every curl, coil and strand. The formula is paraben-free, petrolatum-free, mineral oil-free, vegan and free from artificial colors. Tested and proven successful for all curly types, it works well for every head of hair.
7 . Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Conditioner
Fluffy, frizzy hair doesn’t stand a chance with this tropical blend. If oil conditioners are to your liking, it’s time to transport yourself to the island of Maui. All good things come from this tropical paradise, just like the fruits and nature’s oils included in this curl conditioner. If your hair can’t take the heat of heavy oil, skip this oil conditioner and its ultra-hydrating compounds.
With a creamy texture that goes on clean hair smoothly, this is a luxurious conditioner that levels up your curly hair routine. A fusion of coconut oil hydrates each hair strand, aloe vera juice locks in moisture, and papaya butter and plumeria extract transform your curls and bring them to gleaming life.
This is the best oil conditioner for anyone with very curly hair.
8. OGX Lightweight Coconut Fine Curls Conditioner
Your wallet and curls will be sighing with pleasure when you use OGX’s Lightweight Coconut Fine Curls Conditioner. Lightweight, soft and not too heavy on the hair, this conditioner can be found at most drugstores or grocery stores. It’s an excellent option for anyone with type 2 curls or those who need a light product. Men and women love the lightweight feel and the delectable scent of coconuts and blissful paradise.
This gentle formula uses some of nature’s most hydrating creations to bring life back to your curls. Honey aids in curl definition, citrus oils add shine and luster, and coconut oil works to hydrate all over the hair and scalp. This conditioner is ideal for anyone who needs a weightless curl product that smells amazing.
9. Pacifica Pineapple Curls Defining Conditioner
Dreaming of long, curly tresses? You’re going to need a seriously hydrating conditioner that encourages growth while maintaining the structure of your curls. This product is a vacation in a bottle. It’s a lightweight formula that adds volume, shine and curl protection with every use, although it’s not recommended for everyday use. It’s free from all the junk, and does not contain harmful chemicals like silicone, mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, phthalates and artificial dyes.
The Pacifica conditioner is filled with beneficial ingredients and packs a gorgeous natural fruit scent. Pineapple and super oils work to keep curls healthy, and hyaluronic acid moisturizers dry strands. The new super ingredient taking the hair- and skin-care industry by storm, hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It’s no surprise that you can find it in just about every beauty product on the shelf.
This is an excellent choice for those looking for curl treatment on a budget and anyone who is head over heels for pineapple.
10. Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Shea Curl Defining Conditioner
Shiny ringlets, groomed tresses and knot-free coils are a few of the fantastic benefits of Briogeo’s formula for curly-haired folks. This curl-defining conditioner focuses on producing consistent curls throughout your hair.
Full of naturally derived botanicals, this bottle of charisma for curls means business. Rice amino acids combat frizz and pesky flyaways. and even add a layer of protection to prevent harm from environmental moisture. Tomato fruit ferment and mollis leaf extract define curls and help them stay strong and springy throughout the day.
This is the ideal product for someone who wants a perfect curl and bounce.
11. TGIN Rose Water Frizz Free Hydrating Conditioner
Gorgeous locks no longer have to suffer from frizz. Whether you live in a humid climate or get frizzy hair after your sports events or workout, you can tackle it with this frizz-free hydrating conditioner. Users love this multipurpose product that encourages hair growth, detangles unruly curls, and adds luster and shine. It’s an excellent lightweight conditioning option. If you need something more penetrating and moisturizing, TGIN also offers a hydrating hair mask.
12. Not Your Mother’s Naturals Tahitian Gardenia Flower & Mango Butter Curl Definition Conditioner
Made of 98% naturally derived ingredients from the finest natural sources, Not Your Mother’s curl conditioner is super fresh. They never use sulfates, parabens, phthalates or silicones to add moisture and hydrate the hair.
Exploring the scent and natural ingredients, such as rose water, mango butter and Tahitian garden flower, is like taking a walk through a tropical hothouse. This vegan product is free from harmful silicones and dyes. This is an excellent product for curly-haired folk who want a lightweight formula that highlights natural curls and keeps locks satisfied and hydrated.
13. Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Mask
Hair masks are unsung heroes that can revive even the most dehydrated curls. They are ideal for men and women who need to restore tired locks. If ordinary conditioners and leave-in conditioners aren’t doing the trick, it’s time to switch to the big guns.
Blueberry extract is the main attraction in this reparative hair mask. Blueberries naturally harbor proanthocyanidins, which can benefit hair by stimulating growth and minimizing breakage. This means your hair can stay healthy for longer.
This is a fun fruit-centric hair mask that can take care of curls and restore their luster.
14. Twist Primed & Co. 2-in-1 Conditioner & Primer
If you love finding products that save you money, then you’ll love Twist Primed & Co. Conditioner. It’s one of the most affordable conditioning products on the market. Intended for everyday use, this is a seriously hydrating option to add extra moisture during your daily routine. Twist’s 2-in-1 liquid works as a primer to prepare curls for definition or as a daily conditioner. Curls love this rich conditioning formula.
15. Miss Jessie’s Soften Me Up Triple Soft Daily Conditioner
A smooth, creamy daily conditioner, Miss Jessie’s product is one of the best drugstore conditioning products. People love it for its simple, easy-to-apply bottle and incredible price. Ideal for anyone with type 4 curls, it dives deep into the hair follicles and individual strands of hair to help prevent breakage.
16. Lush Big Pressed Conditioner
If saving the planet is on your to-do list, a plastic-free conditioner bar is a perfect tool for your curly hair routine. A conditioner bar is a conditioning product in bar form. It’s a small disc that fits in any toiletry bag, takes up minimal space, and is perfect for your next girls’ weekend or tropical vacation. The bar is easy to use: Simply wipe it all over the hair to apply the product. Always apply it to soaking-wet hair that has just been shampooed to get the best results.
Lush only includes the good stuff in their products, which means there’s more room for quality ingredients from nature that restore hair from the inside out, with natural ingredients like coconut oil and seaweed that give hair strength, and sea salt flakes to encourage natural curl patterns.
Perfect for travelers, people who love to organize hair-care products and anyone who wants to reduce plastic use to help save the planet.
17. Deeper Than Hair Resurrection Masque
A hair mask that means business, Deeper Than Hair’s Resurrection Masque is a highly recommended, much-loved product that has the power to restore damaged curls. Curl damage, breakage, split ends and dehydrated hair can be hard to treat. This hair mask can penetrate even dense hair with low porosity.
Deeper Than Hair’s mask is one of the best affordable conditioning masks. The product doesn’t contain sulfates, alcohol and parabens, so you don’t need to worry about dry, dull curls. It’s the No. 1 choice for anyone with coils requiring intense hair treatment.
Know your curl type
Did you know that every curl type is unique? That’s right: Every curl, coil and kink can be totally different. There are four types of curls, classified as Types 1, 2, 3 and 4, and each curl type has subsections A, B and C.
Type 1 is straight hair. This hair lies completely flat as it comes out of the follicle, allowing natural oils to travel down the hair, helping it stay shiny and healthy. The different categories of hair in Type 1 are 1A, which is ridiculously straight hair that won’t hold a curl; 1B, which is flat, straight hair with minimal volume; and 1C, which is thick, straight hair that frizzes easily.
Here’s where the curls start coming in! Type 2 curls are that special wavy hair type. Type 2A hair has wavy, hardly-there curls. This hair type may also need to tame that frizz, depending on your porosity. Try to avoid heavy creams or oils for 2A waves, as they will weigh it down and kill the curl pattern.
Type 2B hair has a loose beach vibe and curl. Commonly referred to as an “S shape” curl or wave, they form in an S pattern throughout the hair.
Last but not least, 2C waves. These are coarse, thick waves, sometimes called deep waves. This wave is close to a traditional curl but doesn’t quite hit the mark. 2C waves are easy to style and can be prone to frizz. We recommend using a hair mask or deep conditioner at least two times per month to have a healthy, frizz-free glow.
A few ideal products for Type 2 hair, including gels, cream gels and mousses, can support healthy curls. An excellent alternative for Type 2 curls is a sea salt spray. Sea salt sprays can make your hair form knots (so don’t overspray), but add incredible volume and texture.
This is where the real curls start. Type 3 curls vary widely, and different products work well for 3A, 3B and 3C hair types. Type 3A curls are a traditional spiral curl. They are usually springy curls that you can curl around a finger. For this hair type, it’s important not to shampoo your curls too often because you don’t want to dry out those luscious locks. Weekly hair masks or daily leave-in conditioners are great for this hair type.
Type 3B curls are tighter curl patterns and often have a spring-back between one and two inches. As with 3A, you don’t want to dry out 3B curls, so reduce washing the hair to once per week. This hair thrives with treatments that help it retain moisture and elasticity.
Type 3C curls can have different patterns and curls. You may have zigzags or corkscrew-shaped curls. This is a coarser hair type, which means it usually needs more TLC when it comes to conditioning treatments. Leave-in conditioners and oils work well for 3C hair.
You are now entering the land of curls so tight we have a different word for them: coils. Type 4A curls are coils that you can fit a toothpick inside. This coil can be lengthened, or they can wrap around themselves. If you have 4A coils, you want to ensure your hair is always hydrated and nourished. Lock in moisture with thick cream, leave-in conditioner or oil.
Type 4B resembles a zigzag more than a curl pattern. For this hair type, hydration and moisture are always on the menu. Type 4B hair can have high porosity and also experience regular breakage.
Type 4C hair has the tightest of tight coils. If you can stretch out this hair type, you might be able to see a zigzag pattern. This coil stays close to the head because the coils wrap around themselves and stay packed together. Type 4C coils are the most fragile coil type and need to be hydrated and moisturized at every step.
Key factors that determine your curl type
Understanding this terminology will help you fully understand your curl type and what products are the best for your hair.
When you pull or stretch out a curl, does it spring back quickly, or does it spring back only part of the way? If it can resume its original curl position, your hair has strong elasticity. If your curl flattens out and does not resume its original curl, your curls lack elasticity.
How can we add elasticity and help curls bounce back? Use water-based products, which are light, penetrate curls, and help hair maintain its curl and spring.
Do water or other liquids soak up quickly? Or does it take your hair 10 minutes to get fully wet? There are a few easy ways to determine the porosity of your hair. Pick a small section of hair and dip the ends into a cup of water. Check to see if your hair sinks, floats or hangs out in the middle.
If your hair sinks, it absorbs liquids quickly. Use water-based products to get the most from your locks without weighing them down. If your hair floats, this means you have nonporous locks and need thicker products, like heavy creams, to infiltrate your dense curls and give them the TLC they deserve. If your locks are hanging out in the middle, it might be harder to nail down your perfect product. Chances are you could get away with using most conditioners and conditioning products, but the key is not to apply too much or too little.
If you have more than one curl type, you have curl variance! It’s common to have more than one type of curl type or pattern. An easy way to handle sections of hair that are more curly is to use more products in that section of hair. You don’t have to buy different products for the different curl types; just use less or more of the products you already own.
How to use conditioner for curly hair
Every conditioner for curly hair is different. First, read the label of the product you are using. Is it a hair mask, a deep conditioner or a leave-in conditioner? Each of these products has different strategies to get the most out of them.
A basic conditioner is what you slather in hair after a quick shampoo and rinse. After applying this product to the hair, leave it for one to five minutes so it can work its magic. Read the bottle for the specific time length for your conditioner. Products often labeled as “deep conditioners” may be a simple conditioner that you leave on for around five minutes while showering.
Using a leave-in conditioner? This type of conditioner for curly hair is the quickest and easiest to use. Apply the conditioner, and just leave it in your hair to receive the best benefits from the product.
If you opt for something more intense, like a hair mask, allow time to let the conditioner sit, soak, and penetrate the hair and hair follicles. A hair mask will need to stay on your hair anywhere between five and 40 minutes. Read the product label to see how long you should keep your hair mask on. To get the most from your hair mask, cover your hair with a plastic cap – even a shower cap works – to retain moisture and lock in extra hydration. Sometimes products labeled as “deep conditioners” may actually be hair masks.
Ingredients to avoid in curly hair products
Avoid toxic chemicals! That’s the chant of a new generation of people who want to go back to the basics. Harmful and toxic chemicals do nothing to help your hair stay glorious and shiny; they just disrupt progress and harm the hair and scalp.
A few common ingredients to avoid are phthalates, silicones, sulfates and mineral oil.
Frequently asked questions
Can my hair type change?
Yes, it can. Your hair type can change due to changes in your body. Factors include hormonal changes, aging and changes in your hair follicles.
What’s the best conditioner for curly hair?
Technically, this depends on your curl type and pattern. But this year’s winner of the best overall conditioner for curly hair is the Blu Atlas Conditioner. Blu Atlas is a premium hair- and skin-care company that makes products with powerhouse ingredients from natural sources. Their conditioner contains only the finest natural ingredients and is good for your hair.