Finding the Best Conditioner for Dry Hair
Cold, dry winter weather and the heat of summer both have a way of drying out our hair. Add heat styling, colouring and some common shampooing mistakes into the mix, and dull, distressed tresses can seem pretty unavoidable at times. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with dry hair for the long haul!
There are some simple steps you can take to transform strands that are drier than the Sahara Desert. And the most important of these is without question the use of a high-quality moisturizing conditioner! The perfect pairing for your hydrating shampoo, a nourishing conditioner is essential for keeping your tresses soft and hydrated. Helping to smooth the outer layer of your hair, it will introduce moisture to your parched mid-lengths and ends, while preventing breakage down the line.
So, how do you pick the best conditioner for dry hair? Well, our dryness-defeating conditioner guide is a great place to start! Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favourite hydrating conditioners to get your hair back on track. Use these right after shampooing to replace any lost moisture, reduce tangling and frizz, and bring back your natural shine and softness. Read on!
How to Pick a Moisturizing Conditioner
The hidden cause behind your depressingly dry hair may not be so hidden. In general, there are three reasons why your hair feels or looks dry – it’s not receiving enough moisture, your scalp doesn’t produce enough oil (which in turn leads to dry strands), or your hair has been damaged from styling and environmental factors. Whatever the reason or season, try to minimise damage and look for products that promote hydration and nourishment. If certain ingredients or brands historically work or don’t work for your ‘do, use that as your compass.
We’ll spare you the sermon on how to condition your hair, but remember to:
- Avoid applying conditioner to your scalp. Focus on the mid-lengths and the ends.
- Use only what you need! Too much conditioner can cause build-up and sap the life from your hair. Use a blueberry-sized amount for short hair, and up to three times that amount for longer, thicker locks.
- Rinse thoroughly with cool or cold water! This helps close the cuticle and seal in that precious moisture.
Prioritise Natural Ingredients
Always check the ingredients labels when shopping for a dry hair conditioner to ensure you’re getting one appropriate for your needs. The last thing you want is to get home and give your fancy new conditioner a whirl, only to realise it’s better suited for a different hair type, or that it contains drying ingredients like sulfates or short-chain alcohols. (Read more about alcohols and sulfates in our hydrating shampoos blog.)
What’s the sitch with silicones for dry hair? It’s a little complicated. Silicones are often named as enemies of moisturised hair, but, depending on the type of silicone (non-soluble versus water-soluble), they may actually help you out. Silicones form a thin, smooth barrier around your cuticle to seal in moisture, which sounds like a total positive. However, problems can arise when they build up over time – weighing down strands and contributing to dullness and breakage.
Fun fact: One of the reasons sulfates are often used in shampoos is to help strip away silicone build-up. However, this also strips away essential oils and dries out your hair (we’re not keen on sulfates, can’t you tell?). The key, therefore, is to use silicone-free conditioners, or those with water-soluble silicones that wash out easily and won’t leave a heavy build-up of product residue.
As for beneficial ingredients in a dry hair conditioner, look for plant oils (coconut, avocado, olive, argan, etc.), Vitamin E and A, glycerin, fruit enzymes, shea butter, cocoa butter and aloe. These beauties pack a moisturizing punch and leave your locks soft and smooth without the nasties.
Bonus tip – don’t forget your scalp! Using a scalp scrub will help keep oils balanced and ensure you have healthy, hydrated and radiant hair!
Our Picks: 10 Hydrating Conditioners for Dry Hair
When selecting the conditioners for this list, we looked specifically for hydrating and nourishing products focused on restoring moisture to dry, dull, damaged, frizzy or brittle hair. If you have oily hair, you’ll want to look for a volumising or strengthening conditioner instead, as too much moisture can make your strands limp and lifeless! (That said, some conditioners – like our very own Super Hydrating Cream Conditioner – work wonderfully for all hair types and deliver lasting results.)
All the products on this list provide essential moisture while repairing breakage to bring your tresses back to life. So, if you’re looking for a conditioner for dry, brittle hair, make sure you check out the following.
1. Coco & Eve | Super Hydrating Cream Conditioner
Reduce breakage by 65% with our ultra-nourishing, incredibly popular moisturizing conditioner. As pea protein and coconut help recover strands from within, our unique blend of oils and hyaluronic acid replenishes moisture for instantly soft, stress-free strands. This 100% vegan and cruelty-free formula is perfect for all hair types and hydrates without the greasy look, making it easier for you to style your hair after washing. Plus, it smells amazing with our signature coconut and fig fragrance!
We might be biased, but we think this is the best conditioner for dry hair on this list, especially when paired with our equally restorative hydrating shampoo. Save up to 37% when you purchase this conditioner with our shampoo in a set. Your dry, dull strands will thank you!
2. Olaplex | No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
As per the name, this hydrating conditioner repairs molecular bonds within your hair to leave it stronger, softer and more resilient after every use. Colour-safe and great for all hair types, it’ll soon return life and lustre to your brittle locks. Avocado and grapeseed oil, alongside water-soluble silicones, make this restorative conditioner a great choice for people with dry or damaged hair looking for a healthy shine.
This Briogeo moisturizing conditioner is formulated specifically for people with wavy, curly or coily hair. Rice amino acids, glycerin and shea butter provide deep hydration, while tomato fruit ferment extract enhances your hair’s texture and promotes a consistent curl. Made with 96% naturally derived ingredients that are guaranteed to lock out environmental, frizz-causing moisture, it will enhance curl definition and leave those tresses soft, bouncy and beautiful.
4. Sol de Janeiro | Brazilian Joia Strengthening + Smoothing Conditioner
Creamy, rich and weightless, this is a great moisturizing conditioner for dry hair hydration. You can even use it as a mask every week – just leave it in for around 10 minutes before rinsing for an extra dose of nutrients!
Standout ingredients include plant-based keratin to bond split ends and repair the damaged hair shaft, cupuaçu butter for fighting frizz (it’s packed with essential, healthy fats), coconut oil for lustre, buriti fruit oil to smooth and boost shine, and selenium-rich Brazil nut for long-lasting protection. This conditioner has a distinct sandalwood and vanilla fragrance with a touch of pistachio. Delish.
5. Moroccanoil | Hydrating Conditioner
Antioxidant-rich and packed with Vitamins A and E, Moroccanoil’s hydrating conditioner helps smooth and detangle normal to dry hair types. Red algae protects the cuticle from dryness, while argan oil provides key moisture – making your hair easier to style and happier in the process. Like most of the other conditioners on this list, this one is free of phosphates, sulfates and parabens, and is 100% colour-safe.
6. Verb | Hydrating Conditioner
Enrich, restore and soften hair with Verb’s grapefruit and oatmeal scented conditioner for hydrating dry, brittle hair. Colour-safe and vegan, it’s suitable for all hair types (including keratin-treated). Key ingredients include Vitamin B5 for hydrating, argan oil for enhancing elasticity and minimising flyaways, meadowfoam seed oil for repairing damage, and fatty acid-rich sunflower seed extract for increasing hair manageability. It also provides natural UV protection and helps prevent that expensive dye job from fading. We’ve all been there!
7. Kérastase | Fondant Magistral Conditioner
This lush conditioner provides elegant moisturization for dry to severely dry hair. Known for their award-winning products, Kérastase created this conditioner to provide essential nutrition for healthy and damaged hair. It works a treat when your tresses need a little weight, adding a welcome boost in softness and shine – especially in those chilly winter months.
As for ingredients, iris root extract enhances texture and coats hair fibres with a smooth topcoat, as benzoin resin soothes and calms while preventing moisture loss. Meanwhile, ceramides promote elasticity while strengthening and hydrating even the most unruly hair.
Formulated with Nexxus’s unique green caviar and elastin protein blend, this dry hair conditioner locks in moisture all day long while fortifying individual strands. Your hair naturally collects dirt and gets a build-up of oils throughout the day, and this conditioner is designed to keep your hair looking gorgeous for 24 hours after use. It’s also great for controlling frizz, detangling, promoting shine and giving a lightweight boost to volume.
9. Living Proof | Restore Conditioner
This nourishing conditioner is formulated specifically for dry and damaged locks. It has a light citrus fragrance and strengthens hair so it’s more resistant to breakage or any future damage. The mild amino acid-derived surfactants provide a deep clean, help repel dirt and oils, and keep hair cleaner for longer so you can wash less frequently. This Living Proof moisturizing conditioner is free of parabens, silicones and phthalates, plus it’s colour-safe and vegan. What’s not to love?
10. Rahua | Hydration Conditioner
With a sweetly tropical passion fruit and mango scent, this replenishing conditioner is sure to leave your hair looking, feeling and smelling fantastic. It’s beneficial for all hair types with dryness and provides a great blend of plant-derived moisture and structural strengthening.
Rahua’s conditioner is created with unique Amazonian ingredients like morete oil, ungurahua (an oil from a tree nut) for nurturing and fortifying weak strands while extending the life of hair colour, organic mango sugars, and sacha inchi (rich in omega-3s) for locking in moisture. Softening, detangling, taming, replenishing – this creamy conditioner will leave your hair healthy and lustrous!
The Final Word
All the hydrating hair conditioners on this list will help replenish moisture, strengthen damaged strands and reduce future breakage. The formulas work differently, however, so it’s important to select the one suited to the specific needs of your unique strands. Some conditioners are better detanglers, others are better for curly hair, and some do it all by providing all-around care for a variety of issues (like Coco & Eve’s Super Hydrating Cream Conditioner, of course!).
Whichever you choose, we hope this guide helps you with your dry, brittle hair needs so you can look and feel ah-mane-zing!
Edited by: Vidhya