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The best conditioners for dry hair to buy in 2024

Give thirsty locks some love with the best conditioners for dry hair

Dry hair can be caused by sun damage, swimming, excessive heat styling or your natural hair type and texture. Because dehydration ruffles up the hair’s outer cuticle, it can leave hair looking dull, frizzy and prone to breakage. Whatever the reason for your lacklustre locks, the best conditioners for dry hair will help to restore moisture, add gloss and improve shine.

A nourishing conditioner made specifically for dry and damaged hair contains ingredients to improve texture and add moisture to the follicles, helping hair stay soft, glossy and less likely to break. If dry hair is getting you down, and before you give up and go for a drastic haircut, try a moisture-boosting conditioner for dry hair.

Find our guide to choosing the best conditioner for dry hair for you below. We’ve rounded up some of the best conditioners that will leave you with soft, luscious and shiny locks – whatever the cause of your dry hair, hair type or budget.

How to choose the best conditioner for dry hair

What type of hair do you have?

When looking for a good conditioner for dry hair, you should first consider your hair type and texture. Some conditioners are formulated specifically for curly hair, whereas others may be for all types. A richer, heavier conditioner is usually more suitable for thicker hair textures (you can test your hair’s natural texture by plucking a strand and rolling it between your fingers – if you can’t feel it, your natural hair texture is fine). Fine hair will prefer a lighter hydrating conditioner that won’t weigh down strands. Some conditioners are formulated with curly and coily hair in mind – these may also be too heavy for fine, straight hair.

How damaged/dry is your hair?

If your hair is extremely damaged and dry due to bleaching, frequent colouring or long-term heat use, you may need a more emollient conditioner with richer oils to put moisture back into the hair. A weekly deep conditioner or mask pack treatment may also be wise if your hair is very dry. If your hair is only occasionally dry, a nourishing conditioner on wash day will maintain a healthy sheen.

Very chemically damaged hair may benefit from a specialist bond-building repair treatment – see our recommendations below.

What makes a good conditioner for dry hair?

Great quality conditioners for dry hair all have one thing in common: moisture. A good, hydrating conditioner will seal in moisture, ward off tangles and bring shine back to the hair. Coconut, avocado and black castor oils are good ingredients to look for, adding softness and shine to dry hair and keeping moisture inside the hair shaft, as are cocoa and shea butter.

Dry hair will also prefer sulphate- and paraben-free conditioners, as these ingredients can strip out the hair’s natural oils. We’ve noted below where products are free of sulphates and parabens.

What else can help my dry hair?

A good haircut can help revive dry hair by cutting away broken and flyaway ends. Even if you’re growing your hair, it’s a good idea to visit your hairdresser every few weeks for a light trim to snip off dry or splitting ends to keep your hair in good condition as it grows.

If hair is dry from heat styling, give it a break for a few weeks and allow it to air-dry, or wrap it in a soft towel without rubbing. If you heat-style your hair, use a lower temperature to avoid damage and breakage, and always use heat-protective spray. Finish with a serum or styling oil to bring moisture and shine to the ends of dry hair and seal the cuticle for a frizz-free finish.

How we test conditioner for dry hair

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. When testing conditioners for dry hair, we use the products on our own dry hair, monitoring the improvement in softness and overall condition after multiple uses.

To test thoroughly, we follow the usage instructions over a few washes to assess performance while also evaluating overall ease of use, quality of ingredients and the feel of dry hair after use. We also note how well the conditioning products handle broken strands and split ends. Finally, we confirm the amount of the product in the pack.

READ NEXT: Best shampoo for dry hair

The best conditioner for dry hair you can buy in 2024

1. Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner: Best overall conditioner for dry hair

Price when reviewed: £19 | Check price at Amazon

If you have dry, damaged and neglected hair, this conditioner works wonders on every hair type. Olaplex has a patented technology that’s proven to repair the internal hair structure, helping to bring it back to life and restore lost moisture. Unlike other conditioners, this product doesn’t just mask the problem by working on the surface of the hair shaft – it relinks the broken bonds, leaving hair nourished and much shinier.

This award-winning conditioner will certainly make a difference to overly processed hair, but it can also be an excellent option for maintaining healthy locks, too. Since the ingredients do not contain any harsh products such as sulphates and parabens, the product will not strip out the hair’s natural oils. Olaplex No.5 is also completely vegan and cruelty-free, so it really does cater to everyone.

Key specs – Size: 250ml; Paraben-free: Yes; Cruelty-free: Yes; Sulphate-free: Yes

2. Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Joia Conditioner: Best alternative conditioner for dry hair

Price when reviewed: £22 | Check price at LookFantastic

The Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Joia conditioner contains three active ingredients that all work together to help nourish dry hair. Not only do these ingredients help the appearance of the hair, but they also work to strengthen each strand. These ingredients include coconut oil to smooth out hair; brazil nuts, which are rich in selenium to strengthen hair; and cupuaçu butter, which contains healthy fats to help nourish dry and damaged hair.

The product has a patented formula clinically proven to mend split ends, reduce breakage and strengthen hair. So, as well as getting that all-important shine back, you won’t need to worry about your brushes getting clogged up by broken hair anymore. It is recommended to leave the conditioner in your hair for two to three minutes to get the best results, and it is suitable for all hair types.

Key specs – Size: 295ml; Paraben-free: Yes; Cruelty-free: Yes; Sulphate-free: Yes

Check price at LookFantastic

3. Damage Undo restructuring masque: Best repair mask for damaged hair

Price when reviewed: £19 | Check price at Salon Suppliesbest conditioner for dry hair Damage Undo

This treatment mask from Damage Undo uses the brand’s patent Keraboost Technology to revive hair dehydrated from heat and chemical damage. The mask, which has a pleasant herbal fragrance, contains a blend of natural ingredients that nourish the hair and rebuild bonds and broken fibres, leaving damaged hair feeling soft, shiny and healthy.

To use, simply massage a blob of the mask through wet hair after shampooing and leave for ten minutes, then rins. The mask has a pleasant herbal scent and feels soft on the hair and scalp. Hair feels noticeably softer after one use and stronger and healthier with use over time.

Key details: Size: 250ml (also available in 1l); Paraben-free: Yes; Cruelty-free: Yes; Sulphate-free: Yes

Check price at Salon Supplies

4. BB Curl 3-in-1 Conditioner: Best moisturising conditioner for curly hair

Price when reviewed: £29 | Check price at LookFantasticbest conditioner for dry hair B_B Curl

Curls can sometimes tend to dryness as the natural spiral sometimes means moisture escapes at the bends, so curly hair needs special care to retain moisture, volume and bounce. The BB Curl 3-in-1 conditioner is a versatile product that will certainly help bring a bounce back to those curls. Its ingredients, which include a rich blend of hydrating oils, help to boost shine and reduce frizz.

The conditioner is formulated to hydrate and help detangle hair, and it is suitable for all curl types, from wavy to coily. The conditioner can also be used as a rinse-out, leave-in or co-wash, making it a super-versatile product.

Key specs – Size: 200ml; Paraben-free: Yes; Cruelty-free: Yes; Sulphate-free: Yes

5. Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioner: Best leave-in conditioner for dry hair

Price when reviewed: £8.50 | Check price at Bootsbest conditioner for dry hair Cantu Natural

Leave-in conditioners are another great solution for curly locks since they help soften hair, make it more manageable, add shine and repair split ends. The Cantu Shea Butter leave-in conditioner smells amazing and leaves hair feeling much softer and more manageable. It is advised for daily use and should be applied to damp hair without rinsing, helping to keep the hair looking and feeling healthier in the long run.

Cantu’s leave-in conditioner is packed with natural oils, including avocado oil, coconut oil and argan oil, to name just a few. These all work in unison to provide an intense conditioning treatment, making this the ideal product for those with seriously damaged and dry hair.

Key specs – Size: 340g; Paraben-free: Yes; Cruelty-free: Yes; Sulphate-free: Yes

6. Curlsmith Weightless Air Dry Cream: Best leave-in conditioner for dry, curly hair

Price when reviewed: £23 | Check price at Amazon

Curlsmith’s Weightless Air Dry Cream is perfect for dry curls that need lightweight moisture to keep curls and ringlets soft and bouncy without weighing them down. The cream has a pleasant, light fragrance, and the combination of lightweight oils, including Jojoba and Babassu oils, sinks well into hair without leaving a sticky residue.

Weightless Air Dry Cream feels silky and smooth on the hair and seals the cuticle to boost shine and reduce frizz and flyaways. To use, simply massage into damp hair, scrunch lightly and leave to air dry – nature will look after the rest!

Key specs – Size: 237ml; Paraben-free: Yes; Cruelty-free: Yes; Sulphate-free: Yes

7. Herbal Essences Hair Conditioner Aloe & Bamboo: Best supermarket conditioner for damaged hair

Price when reviewed: £6 | Check price at Boots

Looking for something more affordable? Herbal Essences’ Aloe & Bamboo conditioner makes a great pick. A fabulous alternative to a high-end expensive conditioner, it will leave your hair feeling super soft, luscious and, above all, hydrated. It is also sulphate-free, PH-balanced and safe to use on coloured hair.

Besides smelling amazing, almost all of the ingredients in this product are natural, which is what you want if you’re looking to minimise damage to your hair caused by harsh products. Its main ingredient is aloe vera, a natural product that smells amazing and helps hydrate hair, bringing some shine back gently.

Key specs – Size: 275ml; Paraben-free: No; Cruelty-free: Yes; Sulphate-free: Yes

8. Palmer’s Coconut Oil Deep Conditioner: Best deep conditioner pack

Price when reviewed: £3.85 | Check price at Amazon

Hair masks are the most intense conditioning treatment and are a good starting point if you’ve neglected your hair for a while. A deep conditioning treatment like the ultra-affordable Palmer’s Coconut Oil Deep Conditioner will leave your hair feeling extremely soft by nourishing and adding moisture to it from the first use.

From the beautifully strong natural coconut fragrance alone, you know you’re applying goodness to your hair when using this product. It uses ethically sourced coconut oil blended with other raw ingredients, which add to its incredible smell and help to repair and re-nourish hair. It’s recommended to keep this product in the hair for 10-20 minutes for best results, but for an even more intense treatment, it can also be left in the hair overnight and rinsed out in the morning.

Key specs – Size: 60g; Paraben-free: Yes; Cruelty-free: Yes; Sulphate-free: Yes

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