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- Conditioner is one of the most important — if not the most important — part of a curly hair care routine. It moisturizes dry curls and cuts down on frizz.
- DevaCurl One Condition is a nourishing olive oil-infused formula that hydrates curls without weighing them down.
A good conditioner is useful for most hair types, but absolutely essential for curls. All varieties, from loose waves to coarse coils, can benefit from the nourishing effects of conditioner. Textured hair requires more moisture to retain a defined shape and cut down on frizz.
I’ve tried many conditioners over my 27 years of having a head, and have found that the ones specifically formulated for curls tend to perform better for me. Tempting as it is to use any old combination shampoo/conditioner hybrid, you’ll be happier if you pay more attention the ingredients.
Not all curl conditioners are created equal. My hair is quite curly, but also pretty fine. It tends to frizz easily and fall flat when it hasn’t been properly cared for. I gravitate toward moisturizing, but not heavy formulas. Someone with very dry, thick hair should look for a deep conditioner to give strands a heavy dose of hydration and definition.
Here are the best conditioners for curly hair in 2019:
- Best conditioner for curly hair overall: DevaCurl One Condition
- Best conditioner for color-treated hair: Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner
- Best drugstore conditioner: Kristin Ess Frizz Management Cleansing Conditioner
- Best lightweight conditioner: DevaCurl Delight Weightless Waves Conditioner
- Best deep conditioner: Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Conditioner
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best conditioner for curly hair overall
Why you’ll love it: DevaCurl One Condition is a creamy, hydrating formula infused with olive oil that’s suitable for most hair types.
DevaCurl One Condition is considered the holy grail of curly products, and the label is well-deserved. It’s truly fantastic. Maybe I’m biased, because DevaCurl products and styling methods changed my hair care life. But One Condition is ideal for many hair types.
The formula is creamy and hydrating, infused with olive oil and the brand’s signature lemongrass scent. It’s not a super thick or heavy product, but it’s nourishing enough to dramatically cut down on frizz and help define ringlets without weighing them down.
Curl authorities at Naturally Curly recommend this conditioner for the 2C curl type, which tends to be “tends to be more resistant to styling and will frizz easily.” This conditioner has been featured by The Strategist, Allure, Byrdie, Bustle, and Rank and Style. Shoppers at Ulta give it a 4.5 rating based on 690 reviews.
One shopper writes, “I use this during each wash day (every 4 days) and it consistently brings back life to my curls. I’ve also started putting about 1 tbsp into my mister, mixed with water, for daily curl refreshing. Its light enough to not weigh down my thin hair, and doesn’t make my hair greasy.”
Pros: Cuts down on frizz, hydrating, works for a variety of curl types, available in two sizes
Cons: Expensive, strong scent
The best color-treated hair
Why you’ll love it: The Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner cleans and conditions hair without stripping strands of essential moisture or vibrant dye.
Unwash makes products for all hair types, but many of the brand’s products are especially excellent for curls. I personally like the Bio-Cleansing Conditioner. It’s a co-wash that cleanses and conditions strands in one go (but it’s not a shampoo).
The product boasts a “unique formula” that “attracts and removes daily dirt and surface build-up without stripping hair of its healthy, natural oils.” It cuts down on frizz and helps create defined ringlets with minimal post-shower styling required.
This non-stripping, nourishing effect makes this an especially good choice for color-treated hair. The product claims to “[lock] in natural oils & color,” so it contributes to keeping dyed hair vibrant and well hydrated. Unlike many conditioners, this one can be used on the scalp as well to access the full cleansing benefits.
“This is the first cleaning conditioner I have tried (have used 5-6) that didn’t leave my hair weighed down or very brittle. My hair was damaged 8 months ago from bleaching. I never thought my hair would look or act like it did before the damage till this conditioner. This leaves my curly hair soft and bouncy again and not weighed down,” writes one shopper.
Pros: Cleanses and conditions, non-stripping, free of sulfates and parabens, can be used on color-treated hair
The best drugstore conditioner
Why you’ll love it: The Kristin Ess Frizz Management Cleansing Conditioner is an affordable option that works as well as its salon-branded counterparts.
Kristin Ess products are a delight to use, with sleek packaging and a nice floral scent. Plus everything in the range (besides the recently-launched electronic tools) costs less than $15 at Target.
My most recent fave is the Kristin Ess Frizz Management Cleansing Conditioner — and not just because of the photogenic pink packaging. It’s a creamy, lightweight cleansing conditioner that combats frizz and humidity and whisks away dirt and buildup while retaining moisture in just one step.
“The best cleansing conditioner! I have curly hair that needs extra care and no shampoo. This is a quality conditioner that cleanses and is affordable,” writes one Target shopper. “My daughter has very thick, curly hair. She loves this and said it feels much softer since using this. I love the dry shampoo too!” says another.
Racked writer Tanisha Pina also gives the product high marks.
Pros: Affordable, cleanses and conditions, good for all curl types
Cons: Strong fragrance, can be hard to get product out of packaging