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Conditioners are key to adding shine, replenishing moisture, and detangling. They can also help temporarily heal split ends and keep your hair looking super shiny. Not to mention that incorporating conditioner into your routine is easy, just use it to co-wash or immediately after you shampoo. Plus, you can get a formula that is meant to target your hair needs and concerns, whether that's dullness, breakage, or split ends. The best part? A good conditioner doesn’t need to break the bank and can be snagged for under $15.
Read on for our picks of the best drugstore conditioners that are affordable and effective.
Best Overall: Nexxus Keraphix Conditioner for Damaged Hair
Nexxus is known for its damage control, and this conditioner will help heal yours no matter if it was caused by color, treatments, or too much heat styling. It restores moisture to the hair and improves its resilience.
The structure of our hair is made up of mostly protein, which is why this is infused with the brand’s exclusive ProteinFusion to deeply nourish, leaving hair silky smooth. Even severely damaged hair will be re-hydrated and detangled.
Best for Damaged Hair: TRESemmé Moisture Rich Conditioner
This magical multitasker does everything from restoring damaged hair to bringing back shine to quenching thirsty strands to leaving hair super soft. The touchability and sheen comes as courtesy of the infusion of vitamin E. The conditioner works on all hair types, and since the formula is lightweight, it won’t weigh down fine strands.
Best for Curly Hair: SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Conditioner
Manuka honey is produced by honey bees that feed on the manuka tree. Most honey derives its antibacterial nature from hydrogen peroxide, but the manuka variety is unique in that it contains both hydrogen peroxide and another component called methylglyoxal, which means it's anti-bacterial.
Curly hair has a tendency to get dry easily, so look for a conditioner with extra hydration to nourish the hair shaft. This pick from Shea Moisture is designed for thirsty strands and made with natural and organic ingredients, including shea butter, honey, African rock fig and baobab oils. They work together to soften, detangle, add shine, and deeply condition. Meanwhile, anti-inflammatory manuka honey may soothe the scalp and improve the moisture barrier, while mafura oil’s oleic acid is known to potentially restore oil naturally.
Best for Frizz: Dove Nourishing Secrets Smoothing Conditioner
Marula oil is a naturally-occurring oil derived from the marula tree. It's lightweight and non-comedogenic—the specific profile of fatty acids in marula oil is very similar to the oils naturally found in the skin.
Marula oil is a trendy hair ingredient right now for good reason. Packed with antioxidants, nutrients, fatty acids, and minerals, it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties to keep the scalp healthy and boost growth, plus it protects against environmental damage. Dove’s Smoothing Ritual Marula Oil Conditioner puts the powerhouse ingredient at its center, along with baobab to nourish hair. They team up together for impressive hydration, frizz-fighting, and smoothing benefits.
Best for Dry Hair: OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Conditioner
When you want mega moisture, turn to coconut milk. This gentle, sulfate-free conditioner from OGX is packed with the stuff. The formula also contains coconut oils for added hydration,as well as whipped egg white proteins to aid with healthy hair growth. Bonus: Like anything coconut, its scent will transport you to a tropical vacation.
Best for Color-Treated Hair: L'Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Protecting Conditioner
This contains antioxidants to boost hair health, ceramides to act as a conditioning agent, and UV filters to guard hair color from fading. The final touch is that it can seal in color for up to 30 days.
Best for Dull Hair: Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Conditioner
This aims to promote sleek strands with its strengthening formula infused with fairly and sustainably sourced argan oil from Morocco. The favorite ingredient does its job to prevent styling damage and add heaps of moisture. The Fructis formula also contains the brand’s signature Active Fruit Protein, an exclusive blend of citrus protein, vitamins B3 and B6, and fruit extracts which claim to help hair become healthier.
What To Look For In A Drugstore Conditioner
Make sure you choose a conditioner that's made for your hair type. Someone with oily hair probably wouldn't do well with a conditioner formulated for fine hair and vice versa. Opt to choose a conditioner that's formulated specifically for your hair concern to achieve the best results.
Over time, silicones can block hydrating ingredients from penetrating deep down into the hair shaft. This may cause hair to feel dry or brittle, which isn't something we want after we use conditioner. For this reason, it's best to try to avoid silicones in our conditioner as much as possible.
Is drugstore conditioner bad for your hair?
No, just make sure to check the label before purchasing to make sure you avoid any potentially harmful ingredients.
Can you just use conditioner without shampoo?
Unlike shampoo, conditioner may be used everyday. You can use it alone on the days you don't use shampoo to keep strands healthy, smooth, and easy to manage.