Like most dynamic duos (Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Chloe and Halle, Will and Jada), curly hair is great on its own, but it's even better when paired with the
right conditioner. No matter the pattern, length, or texture of your hair, the right formula will bring out the ultimate trifecta: shine, definition, and moisture. But, before you go purchasing just any old bottle, it's important to know that different curl types need different ingredients. For example, tight coils can benefit from a buttery mask, while fine hair would be better served by an airy foam. To make your next hair haul easier, we broke down the best conditioners for every type of curl — from afros to waves — so you can find your perfect match. Refinery29's selection is purely editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items we love! As part of our business model we do work with affiliates; if you directly purchase something from a link on this article, we may earn a small amount of commission. Transparency is important to us at Refinery29, if you have any questions please reach out to us. Carol's Daughter Coco Crème Curl Quenching Conditioner Best For:
Tightly coiled hair is drier by nature — it's harder for the natural oils at the scalp to travel down the spiralling hair shaft — so an extra-hydrating conditioner is a key part of an effective routine. Look for nourishing ingredients (like coconut milk and mango butter) when shopping for a conditioner to quench dry curls. This Carol's Daughter formula will give your hair both shine and slip.
Coco Creme Curl Quenching Conditioner, $, available at
Amazon More Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave–In Defining Cream Best For:
People with wavy hair should scope out formulas that will define waves without weighing them down. This Briogeo bottle has rice amino acids and almond oil to keep your hair soft and smooth. Once you rinse, you'll be left with pillow-soft waves without that greasy feeling.
Rice Amino + Shea Curl Defining Conditioner, $, available at
BeautyBay.com More Mizani True Textures Moroccan Clay Steam Hair Mask Best For:
For scalp that's dry and curls that need moisture, reach for this steam-activated Mizani mask. It's packed with coconut and marula oils, which deliver lightweight moisture to dull hair and scalp. Use it under a dryer or hot towel to soothe itchy, irritated follicles.
Moroccan Clay Steam Mask, $, available at
Mila Pro More — PAID — Best For:
Thick, Curly Hair
Thick hair (aka, individual strands that are larger in diameter) craves more heavy-duty hydration. Do your curls a favor and grab a moisture-rich option like SheaMoisture’s softening, shine-enhancing conditioner. Made with natural ingredients like coconut, hibiscus flower extract, silk protein, and neem oil, it’s just what the doctor ordered for softer, shinier curls.
Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner, $, available at
Walmart More Kérastase Reflection Conditioner for Colour-Treated Hair Best For:
Colour can suck the life out of your curls, but this treatment puts it right back. It's formulated with rice bran oil to give hair a hydrating slip. Vitamin E also adds shine, and UV filters make sure your
don't change colour in the sun.
Reflection Fondant Chromatique Condition, $, available at
LookFantastic More Story continues Nexxus Frizz Defy Conditioner Best For:
Whether you're trying to resuscitate your curls after years of straightening or you don't plan on ditching your blow-dry anytime soon, you can benefit from this formula. It has keratin protein and black rice to strengthen damaged hair from the inside out. With every use, you'll see a noticeable change in the strength and bounce of your curls.
Frizz Defy Conditioner, $, available at
Boots More Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner Best For:
is widely known as a magical treatment for colour-treated hair, but it's a miracle worker for all types of damage. For curls that are brittle by nature or have taken a hit from chemical treatments, heat, and colour, add this conditioner to your routine. It has the same benefits of the salon-only treatment, rebuilding damaged bonds with every use.
No 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, $, available at
LookFantastic More Ouidad Ultra-Nourishing Intense Hydrating Mask Best For:
For super-dry curls, sometimes water isn't enough to provide
hydration. Add this conditioner to the mix to breathe life back into curls that have been dried by the climate and excessive styling. It has a blend of macadamia, sunflower, and olive oils to deeply quench, detangle, and define curly hair. Leave it on for five minutes to notice an immediate difference in the shine and texture of your hair.
Ultra-Nourishing Intense Hydrating Mask, $, available at
LookFantastic More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? The Curly Hair Trick We're Obsessed With 22 Leave-In Conditioners To Try This Summer 3 Women On Their Epic Transition To Curly Hair