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Let’s be real: When it comes to hair tangles, conditioner can only go so far. For those of us with fussy hair—whether it’s dry or color-treated or super thick—we need a little something extra. And by extra, I mean hard-working. What we need is a powerful formula, packed with hair-loving ingredients, that smooths our strands and leaves them sleek.
Enter: a hair detangler. It can come in many forms—creams, sprays, oils, you name it—but it has one mission and one mission only, and that is to smooth every knot and tangle. To reduce breakage and stress when combing, a detangler is crucial. It acts as a primer before you style, getting your hair in flexible shape for the next step.
“It’s essential to detangle your hair right," says Yoshico Alexis, a colorist and stylist at Pierre Michel Salon in NYC. "Make sure to stay away from hair breakage by not using rough brushes or pulling or yanking your hair.” Lucky for you, we’ve got the most effective detangling formulas right here.
Keep scrolling for the best detanglers on the market.
Best Overall: Oribe Run-Through Detangling Primer
Can Oribe ever do wrong? I think we all know the answer to that. An oil blend of coconut, apricot, and pomegranate separates strands for pain-free combing. Reviewers not only love the lightweight texture, but also the hydrating properties that the vitamin C-enriched formula provides.
Alexis agrees that it's a top detangler. "It will detangle and makes your hair silky, smooth, and shiny,” she says.
Best Budget: Not Your Mother's Knotty to Nice Conditioning Detangler
With strengthening keratin protein, this formula conditions and detangles every strand for your smoothest hair ever. Plus, reviewers can’t get enough to the light beachy fragrance.
Best Drugstore: Bed Head by TIGI Beach Freak Moisturizing Detangler Spray
This formula does double the work by detangling and moisturizing at the same time. When you spritz this on, the milky texture saturates your hair and penetrates the cuticle to hydrate dry, thirsty strands. Users enjoy how soft their hair feels after use.
Best Spray: Amika The Wizard Detangling Primer
Formulated for all hair types, this sulfate-free vegan mist delivers nutrients and vitamins that are essential in encouraging healthy tresses. It does everything from add shine, smooth strands, and protects from heat.
Best for Frizzy Hair: R+Co Pinstripe Intense Detangling Spray
If your hair is totally unmanageable, this power-packed spray is for you. Infused with abyssinica seed oil for detangling and vitamin B5 for building volume, it transforms especially dry and frizzy hair. One reviewer reports that it effectively smooths out her knots, even after a long swim in the ocean.
Best Oil: Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil
Is this oil truly invisible? When it’s applied to your hair, it basically vanishes without a trace. All it leaves behind is smoother, shinier strands that are totally touchable. The best things about this formula—besides the fact that it’s literally magical—are that it protects against UV rays and moisturizes. Win-win.
Best for Shine: Leonor Greyl Lait Luminescence Biphase
There’s nothing quite like that high-gloss finish. A combo of heat protection, priming properties, and shine benefits make this formula a triple threat. You’ll appreciate how the milky texture leaves your hair feeling silky, but not greasy.
Best Cream: Odele Beauty Leave-In Conditioner
Working to improve your overall hair health? While this leave-in conditioner does promote tangle-free strands, it also quenches hair—especially over-treated hair, whether it’s from color, blow-drying, even perms. Plus, the 100% natural fragrance is all thanks for cucumber, ylang-ylang, oakmoss, and more.
Best for Curly Hair: CHI Aloe Vera Oil
Give your comb a break with this moisturizing formula. It helps to increase your curl’s elasticity and pattern so that your hair is bouncier and healthier. Spread evenly throughout damp hair before styling. You can also use it as a little pick-me-up if you start to see some flyaways.
Best Natural: Klorane Leave-In Detangling Spray with Oat Milk
This formula is so gentle the entire family can use it. Created with oat milk, it detangles and gets rid of static electricity—which is especially great for little ones. One reviewer, who suffers from sensitive scalp, loves how non-irritating it is on her skin.
Best for Thick Hair: It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Conditioner Spray Product
Split ends, frizz and damage better watch out—this all-in-one leave-in reduces all signs of them. Spritz onto damp hair, right before you style, and let the formula nourish, protect, and smooth down your strands.
Best for Natural Hair: DevaCurl No-Comb Detangling Spray
What do you get when you put together the power to instantly detangle and the zesty scent of lemongrass? The ultimate detangler. The strong formula smooths out all types of curls from wavy to curly. A wide-tooth comb is best to use with this product.
Best for Dry Hair: Rahua Hydration Detangler + UV Barrier
While it can be used all year round, this detangler works twice as hard in warmer weather. With UV protection, humidity blocking, and moisturizing benefits, it’s everyone’s go-to to keep their hair smooth and shiny, even in the toughest temps.
Best for Oily Hair: Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle
Hydrolyzed wheat protein strengthens while panthenol softens strands. Made for all hair types, reviewers rave that it’s helped made their styling much easier. Plus, the fresh scent makes misting on perfume almost unnecessary.