These Drugstore Conditioners Are a Good Hair Day in a Bottle

Our best overall pick is Nexxus Keraphix Conditioner for Damaged Hair

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woman applying conditioner

 

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A good conditioner is key when it comes to soft, shiny, detangled hair. “Conditioners ease out knots and smooth out the cuticle, leaving each strand glossy and healthy-looking,” explains stylist Anthony Nader. When paired with a complementary shampoo, it also sets the foundation for your style, whether that’s air-dried or blow-dried.

Of course, we love a luxury haircare moment, but there are countless excellent drugstore conditioners on the market that will help you achieve these results without a hefty price tag. 

We conducted hours of research on the best drugstore conditioners, evaluating them on active ingredients, results, and how well each addressed different hair concerns. Our team then combined these results with our own research of fan favorites plus stylist-recommended picks to create this list.

Ahead, find the very best drugstore conditioners for every hair type and concern.

Best Overall: Nexxus Keraphix Conditioner for Damaged Hair

4.6
Nexxus

 Target

What We Like
  • Improves hair health and texture

  • Adds shine

  • Smooths and softens hair

What We Don't Like
  • A tad pricey

This conditioner from Nexxus is seriously good for anyone who wants to repair hair damage, whether it comes from color treatments, heat styling, or just general wear and tear. The key ingredient is something called ProteinFusion, a blend of keratin and black rice extract to strengthen and nourish the hair shaft (which is also made up predominantly of protein).

Hair Type: Damaged | Size: 13.5 oz., 33.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Dry Hair: TRESemmé Moisture Rich Conditioner

TRESemme Moisture Rich Conditioner with Pump

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Contains vitamin E

  • Affordable

  • Suits most hair types

We Don't Like
  • Slightly runny consistency

This brilliant multitasker does everything from repairing damage to increasing moisture for a smoother finish. It has a lightweight consistency that rinses easily (read: no greasy residue), making it an ideal choice for normal to dry strands. 

Hair Type: All | Size: 39 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Scent: OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Conditioner

OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Conditioner

Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Sweet coconut smell

  • Nourishing

What We Don't Like
  • Not rich enough for super dry hair

This sulfate-free conditioner from OGX is packed with coconut milk plus coconut oils for lightweight hydration. It’s not overly rich, so it won’t weigh down fine hair, while the addition of whipped egg white protein will assist with damage repair. It smells like a tropical island vacation. 

Hair Type: Wavy, straight, curly | Size: 13 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Curly Hair: SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Conditioner

Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Conditioner

Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Natural ingredients

  • Formulated for curly and coiled hair

What We Don't Like
  • Wish the formula were a little thicker

Key Ingredients

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 antibacterial.

Curly hair is more porous, meaning it tends to dry out faster. For this reason, it’s essential to find a conditioner that's rich in moisturizing ingredients—something this SheaMoisture formula has in spades. There are shea butter, honey, African rock fig and baobab oil, plus manuka honey to help retain water and nourish each strand. The result? Soft, cared-for curls.

Hair Type: Dry, coarse, curly | Size: 13 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Damaged Hair: Pantene Miracle Rescue Deep Conditioning Hair Mask Treatment

Pantene Miracle Rescue Deep Conditioning Hair Mask Treatment

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Very nourishing

  • Works well to detangle and smooth

What We Don’t Like
  • Could weigh down fine hair

This buy from drugstore hero Pantene is actually a conditioning mask, so it’s a good one to reach for if you’re suffering serious damage or dryness. Buttery and rich, try leaving it in for a few minutes before rinsing for noticeably smooth, shiny strands.

Hair Type: Damaged, dry | Size: 8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Normal Hair: Herbal Essences Rose Hips Smoothing Conditioner

Herbal Essences Rose Hips Smoothing Conditioner

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Alluring floral scent

  • Contains jojoba oil and rose extract

  • Great value for money

What We Don’t Like
  • Might not be nourishing enough for very dry/damaged hair

“If you have normal, uncolored hair, this is a lovely conditioner that’s also easy on the wallet,” says Nader. “I love the delicious fragrance, plus it leaves the hair plump, shiny, and moisturized.” 

We also love the fact that it contains jojoba, which is known to improve hair softness and defend against breakage. And to echo the above sentiment, the smell is amazing!

Hair Type: Normal, dry | Size: 29 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Wavy Hair: Kristin Ess The One Signature Conditioner

Kristin Ess The One Signature Conditioner

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Sulfate free

  • Contains keratin and protein

What We Don’t Like
  • A little pricey

“This is great quality for a drugstore formula,” Nader tells us. “The inclusion of keratin is fantastic for those prone to breakage, plus there’s no sulfates to encourage color fade.” 

The keratin in particular is a great inclusion for damaged hair, as it can work to repair the integrity and strength of each individual strand.

Hair Type: Normal, dry, damaged | Size: 10 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Coarse Hair: Not Your Mother's Curl Talk 3-in-1 Conditioner

Not Your Mother's Curl Talk 3-in-1 Conditioner

Courtesy of Ulta Beauty

What We Like
  • Multi-purpose

  • Contains rice, keratin amino acids, and enzymes

  • Sulfate and silicone free

What We Don’t Like
  • Strong smell

This versatile pick can be used as a normal conditioner, to co-wash, or as a leave-in treatment. Best suited for those with coarse texture and a tighter curl pattern, it’s rich in keratin amino acids and enzymes to nourish as well.

Hair Type: Curly, coiled, coarse | Size: 12 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Frizz: Monday Haircare Smooth Conditioner

Monday Haircare Smooth Conditioner

Courtesy of Ulta Beauty

What We Like
  • Great price

  • Recyclable packaging

  • Contains coconut oil, shea butter, glycerin, and panthenol

What We Don't Like
  • Could weigh down fine hair

Monday Haircare is a New Zealand brand that’s quickly risen to cult status in the states, and we can see why. With recyclable pump bottles and sulfate-free formulations, the entire range is affordable, effective, and a delight to use. Our pick is the Smoothing conditioner, packed with glycerin, coconut oil, panthenol, and shea butter to support soft, shiny, manageable locks.

Hair Type: Frizzy, coarse, dry | Size: 12 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Fine Hair: The Ordinary Behentrimonium Chloride 2% Conditioner

The Ordinary Behentrimonium Chloride 2% Conditioner

Courtesy of Ulta Beauty

What We Like
  • Great price

  • Sulfate, silicone, and paraben free

  • Doesn’t weigh hair down

What We Don’t Like
  • Not rich enough for very dry or damaged hair

This launch from The Ordinary stands apart from the crowd due to its extremely minimalistic formula. (There are only seven ingredients in total.) The star of the show is behentrimonium chloride, a type of surfactant that's said to improve hair condition and manageability. It’s very lightweight, so it's best suited to those with fine, soft strands.

Hair Type: Fine, normal, colored | Size: 8.1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Colored Hair: L'Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Moisture Conditioner

L'Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Moisture Conditioner

Courtesy of Ulta Beauty

What We Like
  • Sulfate and silicone free

  • Safe for colored hair

  • Fresh scent

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey for a drugstore formula

It’s tricky to find a sulfate- and silicone-free conditioner in the drugstore, but L’Oreal Paris’ Ever Pure ticks both boxes. With a fresh, herbaceous scent and creamy texture, it does a stellar job at detangling and restoring shine in normal, dry, or colored hair.

Hair Type: Dry, normal, colored | Size: 8.5 oz., 23 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Pump: Dove Nutritive Solutions Moisturizing Conditioner

Dove Nutritive Solutions Moisturizing Conditioner

Courtesy of Target

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Softens and detangles

  • Fresh scent

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie clean

Simple but effective, this fairly priced conditioner from Dove is super-hydrating, eliminating major frizz, flyaways, and visible signs of damage. It's easy to work into the hair but rinses easily, so there’s no bulk, greasiness, or excess weight. Plus, the giant pump bottle seems to last forever.

Hair Type: Dry, normal | Size: 25.4 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick is Nexxus Keraphix Conditioner for Damaged Hair, which contains a blend of keratin and black rice extract to strengthen and nourish hair and has a creamy, rich texture. For a more affordable pick, consider TRESemmé Moisture Rich Conditioner, which contains vitamin E and delivers soft, smooth tresses.

How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from 1 to 5 (5 being the best; 1 being the worst) to certain products on the list.

Meet the Expert

Anthony Nader is an established hair stylist and founder of RAW salon in Sydney’s Surry Hills.

What to Look for in a Drugstore Conditioner

Formula

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 that's formulated for fine hair, and vice versa. Opt for a conditioner that's formulated specifically for your hair concern to achieve the best results.

Avoid silicones

Over time, silicones can block hydrating ingredients from penetrating deep down into the hair shaft. That may cause hair to feel dry or brittle, which isn't something we want after we use conditioner. That's why it's best to try to avoid silicones in our conditioner as much as possible.

FAQ
  • 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 every day. You can use it alone on the days you don't use shampoo to keep strands healthy, smooth, and easy to manage.

Why Trust Byrdie

Emily Algar is a contributing writer for Byrdie, where she specializes in in-depth product reviews. She considered dozens of drugstore conditioners, evaluating each for its active ingredients, texture, and results. She also consulted our testing insights and stylist recommendations as well as a few peer-reviewed journals for this roundup.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  2. Vala, G. & Kapadiya, P. (2014). Medicinal benefits of coconut oil (A review paper). International Journal of Life Sciences Research. October 2014;2(4):124-126.

  3. Guo EL, Katta R. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2017;7(1):1-10. Published 2017 Jan 31. doi:10.5826/dpc.0701a01

  4. Johnston M, McBride M, Dahiya D, Owusu-Apenten R, Nigam PS. Antibacterial activity of Manuka honey and its components: An overview. AIMS Microbiol. 2018;4(4):655-664. Published 2018 Nov 27. doi:10.3934/microbiol.2018.4.655

  5. Gad HA, Roberts A, Hamzi SH, et al. Jojoba oil: An updated comprehensive review on chemistry, pharmaceutical uses, and toxicity. Polymers (Basel). 2021;13(11):1711. Published 2021 May 24. doi:10.3390/polym13111711

  6. Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overview. Int J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450

  7. D'Souza P, Rathi SK. Shampoo and Conditioners: What a Dermatologist Should Know?. Indian J Dermatol. 2015;60(3):248-254. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.156355

  8. Gavazzoni Dias, M. Hair cosmetics: An overview. International Journal of Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15.

  9. Harvard Health Publishing. Moisturizers: Do they work?

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