Shopping for a hair conditioner is like dating – you have to play the field a bit to find the right one to go alongside the best shampoo. Whether an impulsive balayage requires a switch from your regular hair care or long, silky Cher-like strands remain your glamour inspo, a good, hydrating conditioner can bring you one step closer to reaching your hair goals.
To choose the right hair conditioner for you, shop specifically for your hair type suggests Sabrina Porsche, a Mane Addicts hair stylist with a celebrity clientele spanning the likes of Beyoncé, Chrissy Teigen and Kendall Jenner. "Each conditioner is specially made to help out the condition of your hair and to help it get to its healthiest possible state," she says, and the wrong one can actually work against your natural hair texture and even irritate your scalp.
Our Beauty Lab pros at the Good Housekeeping Institute constantly navigate the ins and outs of hair care by running different product tests in Lab and with consumers, from deep conditioning masks to hydrating shampoo-conditioner combos to shampoos and conditioners for color-treated hair. In the Lab, we test products on hair swatches for aspects including strength, softness and color vibrancy after use. We also solicit real feedback from consumer testers who try budget-friendly products and luxury options and give their honest thoughts on each conditioner's color protection, volume, smoothing, strengthening and beyond.
While we haven't formally tested quite everything on this list, we've got you covered with the best conditioners selected from a combination of Lab-tested picks, hair stylist recommendations, editors' favorites and shoppers' glowing reviews: