Don't Waste Your Money is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Conditioner

Last updated on June 20, 2022

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Conditioners

View All Recommendations
Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Sulfate-Free Conditioner

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval


No.5 Bond Maintenance Sulfate-Free Conditioner

You only need a small amount of this conditioner to get great results. It comes in an 8-ounce bottle and you can also purchase shampoo that complements the formula. The ingredients are designed to maintain the natural bonds found in your hair for strengthening, reparative results.

Overall Take

For Frequent TravelersThe compact, highly portable design of this 8-ounce bottle of conditioner makes it ideal for packing in a suitcase or travel bag.

 Runner Up

Nexxus Color Assure Color-Treated Hair Compatible Conditioner


Color Assure Color-Treated Hair Compatible Conditioner

This bottle includes 33.8 ounces of conditioner in a handy pump format. The formula is designed for color-treated hair, although there are some sulfates, which most color-care products avoid. You’ll get elastin protein and quinoa to help strengthen your hair.

Overall Take

Easy to UseWith a handy pump, this conditioner can sit in your shower, ready to dispense easily.

 We Also Like

Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Apple Extract & Ceramide Conditioner


Fructis Grow Strong Apple Extract & Ceramide Conditioner

Free of parabens and animal-derived ingredients, this conditioner is great for more conscientious consumers. The formula is designed to give hair both strength and shine. You’ll get a 33.8-ounce bottle with a pump for easy dispensing.

Overall Take

Strengthens and ProtectsApple extract and ceramides help give this conditioner a soothing and strengthening effect.

 Strong Contender

L’Oreal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein & Ceramide Conditioner

L'Oreal Paris

Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein & Ceramide Conditioner

This handy pump bottle offers 28 ounces of conditioner, formulated to repair damaged hair. The formula promises to repair five types of damage using 9 percent protein concentrate. The scent is creamy with a fruity scent for a pleasant experience.

Overall Take

Pleasant ScentThe light floral smell of this conditioner makes it a great addition to your morning routine.

Buying Guide

Haircare requires multiple products, each serving its own purpose in keeping hair clean and healthy. Although consumers have expressed concerns about hair products in recent years, experts still recommend a regime that includes regularly shampooing and conditioning the hair.

But there are a few things to know before you start shopping for a new conditioner. Although plenty of products promise to soften and strengthen the hair without stripping it, not all conditioners have ingredients that can handle the task. Complicating matters is the fact that different conditioners work well with different hair types, so the conditioner your friends use might not be give you the same results.

Almost every conditioner these days promises to “strengthen” your hair. There’s a reason for that. Conditioner works to protect the hair shaft which, in effect, prevents it from breaking off. Lauric acid is one product that penetrates into each strand to provide strengthening power. You’ll also find essential vitamins—namely C, E and B—that will battle free radicals to serve as a barrier between your hair and your surroundings.

The biggest reason you use conditioner, though, is to achieve a smooth, shiny texture. For that purpose, you’ll find most conditioners pack in natural products like Moroccan argan oil, shea butter, castor oil and olive oil. You wouldn’t want to use these products on their own because they might weigh your hair down and create a less-than-desirable scent, but when formulated as part of a conditioner, these products can take the place of chemicals while giving great results.

There are some chemicals to avoid in a conditioner. Sulfates are perhaps the most important, particularly if you have color-treated hair. Sulfates strip some of the natural oils and moisturizers, as well, so even for those without color treatments, they can be bad. You’ll also see some conditioners labeled as free of parabens. Parabens are used to extend the shelf life of hair products, but they can disrupt your hair’s natural balance. If you can find hair products that are sulfate and paraben free, you’ll likely get better results.

What to Look For

  • You can find conditioner in a variety of bottle sizes, and it might seem that you’re saving money by opting for a larger size. In some cases, though, smaller formats require less conditioner to get the same results, so you might be able to go with a smaller bottle in a higher-quality conditioner.
  • Human hair has natural oils that can be stripped away with the wrong products. Look for a conditioner that works with those oils rather than against them. Pay close attention to the chemicals in the ingredient list and make sure each one is necessary.
  • In many cases, conditioners are sold as part of a shampoo-conditioner set, with ingredients designed to complement each other as part of a full beauty regime. However, it isn’t always necessary to match your conditioner and shampoo. If you have a shampoo you’re set on, try it with the conditioner and see how it works before switching your shampoo.
  • If you choose an oversized bottle of conditioner, a pump can come in handy. This allows you to dispense your hair product with one hand rather than having to lift a heavy bottle of conditioner.
  • For traveling, you might want to look for a smaller bottle of conditioner. However, you can always purchase travel bottles that you can fill from your larger conditioner bottle.
  • Most conditioners are scented, so if you’re sensitive to smells, look for conditioners that are unscented or have a light, delicate scent. Keep in mind that your conditioner will have to battle your other hair products, cosmetics, lotions and any perfumes you wear.

More to Explore

If you feel like your hair lacks body, reversing your routine could do the trick. Some have found that conditioning before shampooing can help with that. The thinking is that conditioners never fully rinse out during the showering process, so shampoo helps eliminate that residue that can weigh your hair down.

Conditioning first can also serve to prime the hair strands before you apply shampoo. This ensures the shampoo will distribute more evenly, providing a thorough clean that can leave your hair shinier. While this might not be the best routine for everyone, this method can work especially well for greasiness or tangling, and those with highlighted hair might find some benefits.

From our partners