In the men's beauty and grooming space, we spend a lot of time simply trying to convince guys to use conditioner at all—or to upgrade from their 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioners. That's our first imperative, followed by: "Please use the best conditioner for your specific hair type, too."
And that's likely why you're here. The best conditioners for men are, in fact, a range of products that target individual hair needs and concerns—no two of them are for the same guy. We'll outline our favorites below, with advice laced in from celebrity groomer Melissa DeZarate, who has groomed the likes of Michael B. Jordan, Nick Jonas, and Henry Golding.
Here is DeZarate's overarching advice when it comes to incorporating conditioner successfully into your regimen: "You don't need to use shampoo and conditioner together every time," DeZarate says. "If you just finished a heavy workout, this is the time to condition your hair and just rinse. You'll get the benefits of the salt from your sweat as a sea salt spray for extra texture in your hair without over-cleansing your scalp." It's no secret you shouldn't shampoo daily, but how frequently you condition between washes is a bit more prescriptive for each person (not to mention how frequently or infrequently you wash the hair).
Before figuring out what works best for you, you've got to start with the optimal conditioner for your hair type. Below are the best conditioners for men, from curly to thinning to leave-ins and co-washes.
SheaMoisture Daily Hydrating Conditioner For All Hair Types
Supports hair elasticity
Made only from natural ingredients
May be too light
If there could only be one conditioner in the world, SheaMoisture’s would be my pick, as it works to hydrate dry and damaged hair while also keeping curls nourished and plump. Its formula centers on shea butter, coconut oil, and coconut milk—three hero ingredients that provide softening, revitalizing, buoyant results for every hair type.
Price at time of publish: $7
Hair Type: Curly | Size: 13 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
American Crew Daily Conditioner
Pleasant tingling effect
Tones and invigorates scalp
Promotes a healthy look and feel
May be drying to some
There’s a reason we associate American Crew with a majority of barbershops and salons across the US: Because it’s forever a fan favorite and another cost-effective option. It balances oil levels with bark extract and tones your scalp with thyme, rosemary, menthol, and peppermint extracts. And yes, those last two give you a tingly fresh feeling, too.
Price at time of publish: $25
Hair Type: Oily | Size: 15.2 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
OGX Extra Strength Extra Volume + Biotin & Collagen Conditioner
Infused with biotin
Can make hair greasy
For $5, you can feed your hair its daily-ish dose of biotin, collagen, and protein. OGX’s formula penetrates each strand to leave hair visibly fuller after use, which helps restore volume and texture to hair after a moisture-parching wash.
Price at time of publish: $10
Hair Type: Color-Treated, Thick | Size: 13.0 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
Best for Dry Hair
Alaffia EveryDay Shea Conditioner
Balances pH levels
You’ll see shea butter as a common ingredient across the roster of conditioners mentioned here, and it’s no accident: Shea is a super conditioner and smoother, and one of the best universal ingredients. That makes it especially perfect for dry hair types, too, who rely on a conditioner to pack on excess nourishment and moisture. Alaffia’s affordable conditioner is not only eye-catching in your shower caddy—it also leaves your hair buoyant, restored, and stronger with each use. It can revive the driest of strands, and also balances pH levels in your hair and scalp.
Price at time of publish: $8
Hair Type: Dry, Normal | Size: 16.0 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Curly Hair
Living Proof Curl Conditioner
Creates easy detangling
Improves curl definition
Provides slip for curl groupings
Coiled or curly hair needs a conditioner that amps up the moisture and volume, DeZarate says. "Curl-defining conditioners will enhance the coil, as well as give your curls plenty of hydration," the celebrity groomer adds. My curly friends' collective favorite is Living Proof's, with the brand's Health Curl Complex that holds together its assortment of curl-care and -styling products. This conditioner enhances and boosts textures of all types—from waves to coils.
Price at time of publish: $35
Hair Type: All | Size: 12.0 or 24.0 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Natural Hair
Bevel Sulfate-Free Conditioner
Prevents loss of protein
Has a chemical smell to some
Coconut oil and shea butter make yet another appearance, and make Bevel’s conditioner an outstanding one for curls, kinks, and coils. No matter if you wear your hair short or long, it helps define texture and prevent moisture loss, meaning no bad hair days.
Price at time of publish: $11
Hair Type: Textured, Curly, Kinky, Coily | Size: 12.0 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Thick Hair
MATRIX Total Results Mega Sleek Conditioner
Controls frizz against humidity
Creates more manageability
Can make some hair straw-like
“Thick and dense hair can hold onto a lot more moisture,” DeZarate notes. “For control, heavier [smoothing] conditioners will do best with this type of hair.” MATRIX’s “Mega Sleek” recipe utilizes hydrating and hefty shea butter to smooth and tame the most unruly of thick hairs—and to prevent poofing and frizzing all the while.
Price at time of publish: $17
Hair Type: All | Size: 1.7, 10.1, or 33.8 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
Best for Thin Hair
Sachajuan Thickening Conditioner
High concentration of active ingredients
Medicinal smell to some
"Fine and thinning hair really should rely on volumizing and treatment-type conditioners," DeZarate says. Treatments are best received through leave-in or mask formulas, while the volumizing conditioners are better for the more every day/every-other-day conditionings. The daily ones will coat each strand with tiny keratins/proteins and make them all slightly thicker. The overall impact, spread across all your hairs, is more visible and tangible fullness. I rely on Sachajuan's thickening conditioner like a crutch for my thinning hair; they'll use it on me before my funeral, too, so that my hair looks as full on my way out as it does every waking day.
Price at time of publish: $29
Hair Type: All | Size: 8.4 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Thinning Hair / Hair Growth
Hims Thick Fix Conditioner
Supports hair growth
Formulated with niacinamide
Results may not be drastic to some
Packed with niacinamide, this conditioner helps stimulate circulation in the scalp, and leaves hair feeling fuller and with a healthy sheen. Conditioners for thinning hair often prioritize scalp care or density, as opposed to targeting any hormonal byproducts (like many shampoos for thin hair, which might deploy saw palmetto to neutralize hair-shrinking DHT). And yes, Hims sells that, too.
Price at time of publish: $20
Hair Type: All | Size: 6.4 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Co-Washing
Kevin Murphy Re-Store Repairing Cleansing Treatment
Filled with amino acids and superfood proteins
Naturally binds moisture
"Think of co-washing as your fancy version of all of those 2-in-1 shampoo conditioners," DeZarate says. It's the methodology that you "wash" your hair with conditioner, along with some thorough scalp scrubbing to lift away grime. Some guys will shampoo once a month or less and then manage the time between with co-washes. "Oil breaks down oil and dirt (yes… hence why makeup removers often utilize oil), so this will break down all that sweat and hair product from the last day or two." She says that guys with curly and thick hair should especially consider co-washing. And her favorite co-wash is Kevin Murphy. "They're more concerned with the health of your hair than 90% of brands out there," DeZarate says. "I know prices are higher, but you always use less product when you're using a quality one, so it goes much further."
Price at time of publish: $38
Hair Type: Damaged | Size: 6.7 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Prose Custom Leave-In Conditioner
Smooths out flyaways
Easy to use
Softens and polishes
A tad pricey
“Leave-in conditioners are best incorporated if they’re already living in your shower (next to your daily shampoo and conditioner),” DeZarate says. “This is the best time to apply them after you’ve already rinsed out your daily conditioner, but your hair is wet and the product can be applied evenly. The other bonus is that if you happen to apply too much product, you’re able to towel dry off the excess or even rinse some out while you’re still in the shower.” My go-to is Prose, simply because they customized the formula and ingredients to my specific needs and goals—and they’ll do the same for you.
Price at time of publish: $26
Hair Type: All | Size: 5.1 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Leave-In for Natural Hair
Qhemet Biologics Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee
Plumps the curls
Takes time to absorb into hair
Coconut and moringa oils give Qhemet’s leave-in conditioner the power to nourish and plump curls, while ghee (butter) hydrates each strand and gooseberry extract calms the scalp. It’s a build-up free, buttery-smooth cream that helps detangle curls and coils, then keeps them bouncy all day.
Price at time of publish: $25
Hair Type: Curly, Coily | Size: 8.0 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Hair Mask
Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
Prevents future hair damage
Contains B-vitamins, algae, and biotin
Requires using more product to soften hair
A hair mask is like a mega conditioning treatment, which you can cycle into rotation once a week, give or take, depending on how much damage it routinely incurs (from products, hairdryers, and the likes). Briogeo’s mask contains B-vitamins, natural oils, algae, and biotin, all of which give hair a fortification against all of its detractors. Think of it as a weekly supplement for your hair, no matter what type you sprout (it’s nourishing for your scalp, too!).
Price at time of publish: $39
Hair Type: Color-Treated, Dry, Damaged | Size: 2.0, 8.0, or 32.0 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Platinum/Blonde/Silver Hair
Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Conditioner
Gives cool-toned results
Unique ultra-violet formula
Not highly moisturizing
Toning platinum or silver hair is hard work. The easiest way, though, is to take a product-forward approach. Invest in a brand with a purple-powered shampoo and conditioner that will prevent your hair from turning brassy or yellow. Amika is my perma-platinum friend’s go-to, and her hair is always perfectly balanced, even with our city’s hard water and high pollution-fighting against her. Some people prefer to use a purple shampoo and a different conditioner (like Olaplex, below), but a purple conditioner like this one is imperative for the infrequent shampooer. Use as directed, and not more, or else you’ll over tone your hair, and it’ll start to look rosy red.
Price at time of publish: $24
Hair Type: Color-Treated | Size: 8.45 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Color-Dyed Hair
Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
Relinks broken bonds
Creates more manageability
May feel a bit heavy
Ask anyone with dry, damaged, or dyed hair which conditioner they rely on, and the odds-on favorite is Olaplex. Its three-minute wear helps build back the bonds within each hair. This prevents breakage, split ends, and frizz while restoring hair (dyed or otherwise) to its fuller, more buoyant, and healthy state.
Price at time of publish: $30
Hair Type: All | Size: 8.5 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
You’ll notice that most of our picks are inexpensive, which makes experimenting with them extremely affordable. You can start with the universal choice, SheaMoisture Daily Hydrating Conditioner ($9) if you can’t decide on one, or even pick the $5 volumizing conditioner from OGX if you want some extra height and bulk with each rinse—ditto for MATRIX’s thick hair conditioner ($13) or Bevel’s natural/curl conditioner ($17). Cost should never be your barrier to entry for conditioners, which only helps wash away those pesky 2-in-1 shampoos/conditioners we wish you would abandon for good.
Meet the Expert
Melissa DeZarate is a celebrity groomer who has worked with the likes of Michael B. Jordan, Nick Jonas, and Henry Golding.
What to Look For in a Conditioner for Men
A Moisture-Restoring Hero Ingredient
A condition is useless without an extremely nourishing, moisturizing base, like shea butter or coconut oil. Look for formulas that build around such ingredients, no matter your hair type. "The main thing you should be looking for is how your hair feels after you rinse out your conditioner: does it feel smooth and manageable?" DeZarate says.
Loyal Army of Followers
This is a weird thing to tell you to look for in a conditioner. But as DeZarate points out, many of the best conditioners are extremely affordable. And that's because those aforementioned hero ingredients (butters and oils) aren't terribly expensive, and they often comprise the bulk of the product. Instead of solely looking at the price, see which conditioners have voracious fans because those reviews won't lie.
Something Prescriptive for You
Different hair types and needs lend themselves to different formulas. While the best conditioners share a base ingredient or two, they stray from one another in how much moisture they deliver (more for curls) or how volumizing they are (thinning hair requires an extra coating on each strand). So, make sure the conditioner promises to suit your needs, and you’ll be set up for success.
Is conditioner good for men's hair?
Conditioner is good for men's hair as this step in the washing process helps with moisture, shine, and hair health. Depending on the type of conditioner you use, it may also provide a thickening effect and repair damage. The conditioning step is key for adding volume, texture, and manageability to your hair, depending on the brand you choose.
Does conditioner cause hair loss?
Conditioner does not cause hair loss. There is no data that shows conditioner can cause hair to fall out or thin. Apply conditioner to the bottom of your hair and not the scalp if you are concerned, and be sure to rinse thoroughly. This will prevent build-up and scalp irritation that could cause scratching, leading to scalp damage and hair fall.
How should I choose my conditioner for men?
Choosing a conditioner for men depends on your preferences and needs. There are many options depending on whether you would like thickening properties, shine, damage repair, texture, volume, and more. It's also wise to check the scent of your conditioner to be sure you enjoy it.
Is conditioner good for thin male hair?
Conditioner is excellent for thin male hair. Choose a brand that offers thickening and volumizing properties. Some conditioners will add nutritive ingredients that can help nourish hair so it grows thick and healthy, while others may include ingredients that coat or plump the hair shaft for the appearance of fuller hair.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Adam Hurly has been covering grooming for nearly eight years. He began working for Birchbox in 2013, then became a freelance writer/editor in 2016. Since then, he has written for Byrdie, GQ, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, Esquire, Gear Patrol, Bloomberg, Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, and Forbes.
Goluch-Koniuszy ZS. Nutrition of women with hair loss problem during the period of menopause. Prz Menopauzalny. 2016;15(1):56-61.