The Best Conditioners For Every Type Of Curl

Like most dynamic duos (Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Shaq and Kobe, Will and Jada), curly hair is great on its own, but is 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 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, you know, the Stedman to your Oprah.


At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Best For: Waves

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.
Briogeo Rice Amino + Shea Curl Defining Conditioner$24.00 Buy
Best For: Dry Scalp

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.
Mizani True Textures Moroccan Clay Steam Curl Mask$30.00 Buy
— 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.
SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner$9.97 Buy
Best For: Color-Treated Curls

Color 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 highlights don't change color in the sun.
Kérastase Reflection Conditioner for Color-Treated Hair$34.00 Buy
Best For: Heat-Damaged Curls

Whether you're trying to resuscitate your curls after the flat iron or you don't plan on ditching your blowout 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.
Nexxus Keraphix Conditioner for Damaged Hair$19.98 Buy
Best For: Fine Curls

Formulas that are too heavy can make fine hair flat (and greasy) — which is a no-no. Instead, reach for a conditioner that lightly hydrates and defines your curls without making them limp. This Dove foam is a great option because it delivers moisture and shine to fine strands in a featherweight mousse formula that won't coat the hair and make it heavy.
Dove Ultracare Conditioner Foam$4.88 Buy
Best For: Brittle Curls

Olaplex is widely known as a magical treatment for color-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 color, add this conditioner to your routine. It has the same benefits of the salon-only treatment, rebuilding damaged bonds with every use.
Olaplex No 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner$24.00 Buy
Load more...