Much like skincare, haircare isn’t universal. How you should care for your hair (and with what) depends on several factors, including your hair type, personal preferences, and even your lifestyle. That said, there are at least two products that should star in every person’s shower routine: Shampoo to keep your strands clean and conditioner to help your hair look its healthy, shiny best.
While both are important, conditioner is the product we notice people skip more often, and thus, the one we want to focus on securing a spot in your routine for. Of course, a conditioner that works for one person may not work for another. For the best results, you need to choose a formula uniquely suited to your hair type and needs. To help, we’ve put together a guide to the best Kiehl’s hair conditioners. You’ll also find expert-approved tips and tricks for making the most of your daily haircare routine. Read on to discover our best hair conditioner for your hair type.
First Things First: Determine Your Hair Type
It seems pretty obvious, but in order to figure out what type of conditioner is best for your hair, you need to first determine what type of hair you have. Though everyone’s hair is different, there are a few main types of hair: straight, wavy, and curly. Each category can be broken down into subtypes and further categorized by your hair’s condition (for example, is it thick and frizzy, or fine and brittle?). If you need help figuring out what type of hair you have, our article How To Determine Your Hair Type can point you in the right direction.
Which Conditioner Is Best For Your Hair?
Once you know your hair type and your primary haircare concerns, you can get started on determining which conditioner suits your needs best. Below, we’ve broken down seven common hair types and concerns and provided recommendations on our best hair conditioner for each. Keep reading to find your mane match.
Best Conditioner For Normal Hair
In this context, normal hair refers to healthy hair with no major concerns like excessive dryness or damage. If you can step out of the shower, run a comb through your hair, and let it dry on its own without any styling products or techniques, you probably have what most would consider a normal hair type. Keep it looking healthy with our best-selling Amino Acid Conditioner, a Kiehl’s customer favorite. This gentle conditioner with coconut oil and amino acids helps maintain your hair’s natural moisture balance. It also helps strengthen your strands and improves manageability. The lightweight formula is mild enough for all hair types and can be used daily for shiny, healthy-looking hair.
Best Conditioner For Dry Hair
When your hair (or scalp) feels dry and straw-like, your first order of business is to make sure you’re using a conditioner packed with nourishing, hydrating ingredients. We recommend Nourishing Olive Fruit Oil Conditioner, which is formulated with a blend of plant oils, including olive oil, avocado oil, and lemon oil. The creamy yet lightweight conditioner helps moisturize dry, dehydrated hair to promote supple, well-conditioned strands. It also helps make dry hair more manageable, so it’s less prone to knots and tangles.
To use our top-rated conditioner, first lather up with your chosen shampoo (see some of our favorites here) and rinse thoroughly. Then, gather your hair into a ponytail and squeeze out the excess water. Apply a generous amount of this nurturing conditioner to your strands, focusing on dry areas like the ends. Leave the formula on for two minutes, and then rinse thoroughly for hydrated, healthy-feeling hair.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: When you have dry hair, washing your hair every day may not be what’s best for your strands. Learn more in our article How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?
Best Conditioner For Damaged Hair
While damaged hair is often dry, dryness and damage aren’t quite the same thing. Dryness refers to a lack of moisture in the hair, while damage usually results from external stresses, like friction, chemical processing, and even sun exposure. These stressors can weaken your hair cuticle, leaving your strands brittle and prone to breakage.
Thankfully, haircare products—specifically, conditioner—can help repair some of the damage and protect your tresses against undue breakage. Try Damage Repairing & Rehydrating Conditioner, which contains hyaluronic acid, a humectant moisturizer capable of holding up to 1,000 times its weight in water. This hydrating formula instantly conditions strands to improve manageability without weighing down your hair. With regular use, it also helps repair weak, brittle hair that has been damaged by external factors like excessive heat styling. Smooth on a generous amount in the shower and leave on for two minutes before rinsing out.
For those with fragile strands, we recommend incorporating a hair mask into your regular haircare routine to help add moisture and shine back into your mane. Try Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Reparative Hair Mask, which contains nourishing olive oil and avocado oil. The thick, creamy treatment helps strengthen and restore extremely damaged hair. With continued use, it also helps protect your hair against damaging stressors to promote shinier, healthier-looking strands. Unlike a typical conditioner that you apply in the shower, this intensive treatment should be used on damp, towel-dried hair. Leave it on for at least three minutes and then step back in the shower and rinse it out. For best results, aim to deep-condition at least once a week.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: Because hair is stretchier and more prone to breakage when wet, it requires a gentler touch to prevent further damage. After stepping out of the shower, use a wide-toothed comb to gently detangle wet strands with minimum breakage.
Best Conditioner For Frizzy Hair
If you’ve ever gone outside on a humid day only to see your perfect blowout immediately disintegrate, we’re willing to bet you’re familiar with the frustration that is frizz. Though frizzy hair and humidity can go hand-in-hand, other factors, like the type of shampoo you use, also contribute to frizz and flyaways. The remedy, according to studies, is to lubricate the hair well in order to reduce its static charge.I
To keep static at bay, we recommend conditioning daily with Smoothing Oil-Infused Conditioner. This unique conditioner, formulated with fairly-traded argan oil and babassu oil, helps smooth hair to keep frizz and flyaways to a minimum. It also helps soften hair and boosts shine for manageable, healthy-looking strands. For best results, we recommend pairing it with Smoothing Oil-Infused Shampoo and the best-selling Smoothing Oil-Infused Leave-In Concentrate
Best Conditioner For Fine Hair
Fine hair—also described as thin hair—presents its own unique challenges, chief among them being a lack of volume. Straight, fine hair is easily weighed down by buildup, which can give your hair a flat (and sometimes greasy) look. That said, conditioning is still necessary, as it helps reduce friction and minimize breakage.
For thin strands, we recommend Rice and Wheat Volumizing Conditioning Rinse. This ultra-lightweight conditioner contains hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed rice protein, and honey. The volumizing formula evenly coats fine, lifeless strands to give flat hair more volume. It also helps smooth split ends and flyaways to give hair a healthier appearance. After shampooing, massage the weightless conditioner onto wet strands and leave on for up to two minutes. Rinse thoroughly, then dry as normal for fuller, thicker-looking strands.
Best Conditioner For Color-Treated Hair
As we mentioned earlier, color-processing is a major source of hair damage. Bleaching, in particular, physically strips the hair cuticle, resulting in significantly weaker, more porous strands. Using shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for color-treated hair can help mitigate some of this damage while simultaneously protecting your color from premature fading.
If you have bleached or color-treated hair, protect it with Sunflower Color-Preserving Conditioner. This best-selling conditioner, formulated with sunflower oil and a blend of B vitamins, helps restore moisture and extend the vibrancy of your hair color. It also has a protective UV filter and helps repair damage incurred by chemical processing. Pair it with Sunflower Color-Preserving Shampoo for silky, healthy-looking strands—whichever color you choose.
Best Conditioner For Men
Whether you choose to rock your hair close cropped or long and luscious, it’s important to keep it well-cared for. For guys, we recommend Hair Conditioner & Grooming Aid 133, a simple yet effective daily conditioner formulated with hydrolyzed wheat and soy protein. The lightweight conditioner softens hair without leaving it feeling heavy or greasy and helps detangle for more manageable strands. Work our fan-favorite formula through wet hair in the shower, focusing on your ends. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse and towel-dry for softer, smoother strands.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: Our Hair Conditioner & Grooming Aid 133 can also be used as an ultralight leave-in treatment. Instead of applying all-over and then rinsing out, work a small amount of the unique formula through wet hair after stepping out of the shower and let your hair dry as normal.
I. Gavazzoni Dias, Maria Fernanda Reis. “Hair cosmetics: an overview.” International journal of trichology vol. 7,1 (2015): 2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450