Table of Contents
While a lot of men are beginning to moisturize the skin, many others have stopped conditioning their hair and scalp or never started to begin with.
For those of you who still care about the health of their hair, we prepared this guide and found some of the best conditioners for men on the market to help you maintain your hair in top condition.
For the rest of the guys reading, besides the product analysis, we show you a few good reasons why a conditioner is important for your hair and why you should start using one already. Finally, we provide you with everything you need to know before getting one and finally, we show you what criteria to consider to select the best one for your hair type.
Now, if we need to narrow it down to our three favorite hair conditioners among the nine reviewed on this guide, we’d definitely place the one from Dr. Squatch to the top. We can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a high quality conditioner, enhanced with premium and natural ingredients that also comes at a decent price. Next, the Rugged & Dapper Hydration Remedy Conditioner For Men is another great option with natural and organic ingredients. And finally, if you’re looking for high quality and affordable product to condition your hair, look no further and go for the popular American Crew Daily Conditioner. Although it doesn’t contain the most natural ingredients, it has excellent performance.
Best Conditioners For Men
Why is conditioner important?
Shampoos primary function is to cleanse the scalp and, consequently, a hair conditioner has the main role of conditioning the actual hair follicle. This is vital due to the makeup of hair.
As Lee Kynaston at Men’s Health, put it, “Each hair is covered with tiny cells that look a bit like fish scales.”
When hair is damaged and not properly conditioned, these cells stick out and make the hair look malnourished, dull, and coarse. Conditioners smooth these scales down and leave the hair looking smooth and silky again.
Shampoo and conditioners are usually sold together for a reason, shampoos clean the hair but also purge the hair of its natural protective oils. Combine that with brushing, blow-drying, alcohol-based products and weather and the hair will be severally damaged.
Conditioning the hair with a conditioner nourishes every single strand of hair it touches while restoring volume and replacing oil and moisture stripped away throughout day and with shampooing. This is why most hair stylist recommend that conditioner is used every time one shampoos the hair.
It is acceptable to condition without using shampoo but shampooing without conditioner is not. If conditioner is skipped, hair will be exposed to tons of damage that will wear away the cuticle layer and make every strand look thinner.
Conditioner, essentially, works like a facial moisturizer but on the scalp and hair. It boost circulation, locks in moisture and nutrients and infuses these nutrients to the hair while it protects against pollutants. This results in stronger hair that is less likely to break, have split ends, and falls out less quickly.
How do I properly condition my hair?
Since it is important to leave in some of the hairs natural oils, it is not recommended to shampoo every day because it strips away those oils.
If one still chooses to shampoo daily, conditioner should be used immediately following the shampoo removal. If one shampoos only a few days a week, conditioner is perfectly acceptable and beneficial to use only a few times a week as well. If the hair is naturally oily, conditioning is not needed as frequently as for those with dry, damaged hair.
As the hair is wet, squeeze a small amount of conditioner into the hair. It is recommended to start with an amount no larger than a quarter size and increase if needed.
Remember, like a good moisturizer, a little goes a long way and overly saturating the hair and scalp can result in negative results such as lingering residue and heaviness.
As one applies the conditioner to the head, they should work the conditioner down into the scalp and then focus on targeting the ends of the hair which dry out most often. This is due to its distance from the scalp and external conditions. This is why hair has split ends.
After allowing the condition to stay on the hair for a minute or two, rise all of it out of the hair and go about the day.
What ingredients are in a good men’s conditioner?
There is a higher precedence placed on conditioner than that of shampoo. This is because when using conditioner results are expected quickly.
The dryness, static, and damage should be greatly reduced as one rubs their hands through their hair following conditioning. Still, conditioners usually have ingredients that correspond to four ingredient categories. Those are:
- Water: In most cases, water makes up 80-90% of the conditioner. Sometimes conditioners reduce or replace water with aloe or hydrosols (floral water). Water takes up such a large portion of conditioner because a conditioners primary function is to moisturize.
- Cationic Surfactants: These are compounds that lower the surface tension between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid. These, in many products, can act as detergents, wetting, agents, emulsifiers, and foaming agents. In hair conditioners, these don’t usually wash off the hair completely because they bind tightly, using their hydrophilic ends, to the hair’s keratin. These ends of the surfactant molecules go on to act like a new hair surface. Common surfactants in conditioners include Behentrimonium sulfonate (or chloride), cetrimonium chloride, and polyquat 7. This can be mixed with a fatty alcohol to give hair a smooth sheen.
- Emollients: These are also called fatty oils or fatty alcohols. These work to make the hair softer. They work to increase the hair’s ability to hold water. Since water evaporates quickly, it needs an emollient oil to hold it there for moisture infusion. Ingredients under this classification include PEG-45 Almond Glyceride, anything that begins with benzyl, butyl, cetearyl, cetyl, glyceryl, isopropyl, myristyl propyl, propylene, or stearyl, also, mineral oil, petrolatum, dimethicone, copolyol, and cyclomethicone (the classification of silicone is made under this head but some would not classify as such). These would all, as assumed by their name, most likely, be considered synthetic emollients. There are natural emollients that are plant based such as Avocado, Coconut, Sunflower Seed, and Argan Oil to name a few. Olive oil is often classified as a humectant (such as Panthenol, Vitamin B5) or emollient but is often included for the same purpose in more natural conditioners. These are the closest thing to the sebum that the scalp naturally produces.
- Preservatives: The primary function of these is to inhibit and bacterial growth, fungus, yeast, and the like. Examples of this are DMDM hydantoin, benzyl alcohol, imidazolidinyl urea, and sodium benzoate.
As the quality conditioner of the conditioner increases, other ingredients are added for quality and specific needs. These include things like thickeners (Xanthan Gum for example) for those with flat hair that needs more body, Hydrolysed proteins like oat, silk, wheat and soy for dry hair without added oils, and fragrances that add pleasing scents to the conditioner.
Where did conditioners come from?
For years, natural oils have served as a conditioner for human hair. For example, a conditioner extremely popular with men in the late Victorian era was Macassar Oil. It was popularised by a London barber, Alexander Rowland in the late 1700s.
It was usually made from coconut or palm oil that was mixed with the oil from flowers of the ylang-ylang tree and then given a touch of other fragrant oils. This product was eventually discontinued because it was greasy and left stains wherever someone rested against or laid their heads.
Conditioner, similar to that of today, was created by a man famous for his perfumes, Edouard Pinaud, as he created a product called Brilliantine. The purpose of the product was to soften all men’s hair, beards and mustaches include. As time has moved on, conditioners have advanced and now include the ingredients listed above.
How does one select the best conditioner for men?
This purchase should always be made based on one’s particular hair type. Remember, shampoo is based on scalp type and conditioner is based on hair type. Sometimes the scalp maybe be one way and the hair may land in a completely different category.
Conditioner, overall, is important for each and every hair type, but not every specific conditioner will work well with every hair type.
Oily, Flat Hair
This is a hair type that stays oily or greasy. Some people with this type of hair do not use conditioner and it works well for them, but because these people often overly shampoo their hair, conditioner is recommended. Things to consider.
- Stay away from conditioners that claim to be hydrating, moisturizing, smoothing, or specifically for curly hair. These will flood the oily hair with too much moisture making it appear flat.
- Seek out conditioners that are labelled volumizing, light, strengthening, or balanced. These often have added protein and are less moisturizing in nature and remove excess oil from hair.
- If hair extremely fine and oily, one can make an exception to the rule and condition the hair before shampooing.
Dry, Damaged Hair
Choosing the right conditioner for this hair type is of extreme importance as unconditioned hair, in this category, can result in bad looking hair that is brittle and falls out. Look for a conditioner that will prevent any future damage from occurring.
- Avoid volumizing, strengthening, and fortifying conditioners. These will not provide sufficient moisture and add stress to already brittle hair.
- If hair is only faintly dry look for a conditioner that is for moisture, hydration, smoothing, balancing, and curly hair. These will flood the hair with moisture to balance out the dryness.
- If hair is really badly dry or damaged, look for one that reads things like repairs damage, controls frizz, good for colored hair, and protects from heat.
If hair doesn’t fall on either side of dry or oily, the options are endless. Go for a conditioner that feels good and works well for the individual.
The best conditioners for men
If you made till here, congrats!
It’s time for our reviews of popular conditioners and how they rated. Here’s what we think:
Made by a company that prides itself on making products without compromise by focusing on high quality ingredients that cleanse, nourish, and protect. It is for the man looking for a simple, comfortable shampoo with no frill products that smell great and get the job done.
It was created in collaboration with celebrity barbers and stylists. They believe there products make gets man’s life slightly better with their motto, “when you’ve got Wood, it’s all good.”
This product works great to balance out the effects of shampoo. It was crafted to nourish and protect hair without making it overly heavy. It full of extracts like Green Tea, Ginger and Sunflower to leave the hair and scalp feeling great after use.
It has a nice peppermint scent and lives the head with a light tingle as the, added, Peppermint and Menthol. This works great to wake one up in the morning. It does not contain sulfates and is intended for those with normal hair types.
Some people with oily hair might complain that it leaves hair feeling dirty and oily. A product a little on the pricey end but with the quality of product and ingredients, it is to be expected. (Overall rating 4.1)
TRESemme Conditioner, Moisture Rich (33.8 oz 900 ml)
TRESemme is a name that is trusted in the hair care world for affordable quality. It is available at just about any store that sells hair products. When paired with TRESemme shampoo, it has a complementary scent with solid results.
This shampoo works really well for those with dry and damaged hair. It provides a moisture rich conditioner that instantly rehydrates hair. It contains Vitamin E that seeks out dryness and locks in moisture. It can be used every day for hair that looks and feels great after a rather heavy pass of dryness and damage.
Considered a professional quality conditioner for dry hair with an extremely affordable price. Regardless of how it made many men have soft, moisturized hair, the alcohol this product might give your hair the exact opposite effect than what you’re aiming for. In many cases, and this is especially the case with hair styling products like hair gel, pomade etc, alcohol dries the hair out more than helps. (Overall rating 3.9)
Rugged & Dapper Hydration Remedy Conditioner For Men (8 oz 237 ml) 18.95
Rugged and Dapper is a premium hair and skin care company for men that is made in the USA. It puts out products that are natural and organic that rival any product in effectiveness, natural or synthetic. Most love all their products smell and love the masculine theme brand and design.
A conditioner that brings tired, damaged hair back to life. It is packed with proteins and key naturally based ingredients for nourishment. It works to rid split ends and infuse moisture in dry and dandruff present scalps.
It contains ingredients known to moisturize like Aloe Vera and Coconut Oil. It helps hair cells reproduce with ingredients like Jojoba Oil. It will help with the itchiest of scalps with its mix of Tea Tree Oil and Rosehip Oil.
Like with all Rugged & Dapper products, they are paraben free, sulfate free, free of unnecessary artificial fragrances, vegan and never test on animals. The price is on the high end but should consider this a high end product.
Some do like the scent as it is fairly aggressive because it smells more like a cologne than normal conditioner. This product delivers and is recommended for those with dry to normal hair. (Overall rating 4.4)
Most men have probably seen the Bed Head products in stores. This company has been gaining steam through its great packaging design and good quality products. It is available at most store that sell hair care products.
This conditioner is intended to provide volume and thickness to hair. After use most men have reported light to moderate thickness increase. It will not make thinning hair look extremely full and thick. It does make the hair soft and smells nicely.
This product comes in at a reasonable price and does improve the hair texture. The container makes it easy to waste. It is not intended to be natural and makes no claims to be free of harmful chemicals. If this doesn’t matter and you are looking for a good product that is nicer than more of the big, cheaper brands. This may be worth a try. (Overall rating 3.8)
Honeydew specializes in organic, natural, healthcare products. They make products for the entire body from skin to hair. They offer a 100% money back, no questions asked refund policy on all of their products.
This moisturizing conditioner takes dry, dull hair to a much healthier, shiny, bouncy state quickly. It uses high quality ingredients like Argan, Jojoba, Tea Tree, Lavender, and Rosemary Oil to inject moisture deep into the scalp and hair. It will provide hair that looks shiny from a distance and when closely inspected. It provides volume for great looking hair after just a single use.
This product, like all from Honeydew, is paraben and sulfate free. It has a nice minty fruit smell. It is rich in Vitamins A, B, D, and E for added hydration. It is antioxidant to ride the scalp of free radicals with ingredients like Shea Butter, Pomegranate, and Green Tea.
Regardless of race or hair type, this conditioner will make hair look better and healthier. Price is surprisingly affordable for quality. This product is thick and can be hard to get out of the small hole in the bottle. (Overall rating 4.4)
This grooming line staple has been around since 1960 but was purchased by L’Oreal in 1993. It is now available in 43 countries around the world. It has been a name that revolutionized the haircare industry with its progress and scientific products.
This adds moisture and a low level of conditioning. It does leave hair feeling stronger and the scalp less itchy and hydrated. It can be used with all hair types but will not deliver great results for those with extremely dry or damaged hair.
The smell of this product is not extremely pleasant. Some find it off putting, almost medicinal. It doesn’t not leave the hair looking thick and lush. The price is not overly high but pretty high for the quality of ingredients and results. For men with oily hair that do not mind a strong industrial smell, it is not a bad option. (Overall rating 3.2)
This is a trendy company that has been gaining national attention. It is been featured by Esquire, Men’s Health, and Men’s Journal.
This company began as two friends quit their jobs to start a soap company for men. They have been producing great quality products since. All their products are made in the USA and they come with a money back guarantee if not liked or found effective.
A 100% natural scent that will hydrate hair and stop any dandruff or flake. One can smell the peppermint oil added to stimulate cell growth on the scalp for new and thicker hair. It contains ingredients like Sage to restore ph of the scalp and hair, Calendula to hydrate the hair and scalp, and Aloe Vera for added hydration. While there are hints of peppermint oil, it smells like a mix of citrus and pine for a really manly, lingering fragrance.
This product comes from only plant derived ingredients and it was sourced and produced in a cruelty free manner. It restores head to a healthy pH and is loved by most who use it. This is a go to for a great conditioner for men’s hair no matter if you’ve got dry or normal hair.
The price is on the higher end but it is worth the money. Word of warning, the bottle is not great and can be hard to use and wasteful. (Overall rating 4.7)
If you have read several articles for this site, you have seen multiple reviews and recommendations for Jack Black products. This is because it is a trusted company to produce high quality skin and hair care products. All their products have the finest of ingredients.
Many of their products are derived from time-tested natural remedies. There formulas are almost always lightweight and non-greasy. They are colorant-free, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, and tested by experts. The products have be proven to make a lot of men look and feel their best.
A quality product that has Pro-Vitamin B5 for added volume and shine. Biotin works with natural oils to strengthen and repair the hair. Silk Protein prevents hair from breaking. The list of great ingredients continues with Tea Tree Oil, Jojoba Oil, Organic Kelp, and Green Tea to name a few. It will leave the hair and scalp as healthy as ever while hydrating the hair without a heaviness to it.
This product is dermatologist-tested and free of synthetic fragrances. It only takes a small amount to produce big results. Hair will be noticeably better quickly. It does smell more alcoholic than anything else.
The price tag is higher than it should be but it is still a good product made with higher quality ingredients than most conditioners. (Overall rating 4.3)
Christina Moss has been creating organic, preservative free hair and skin products for 16 years.
They create products that do not contain toxic ingredients that cover up skin and hair. They pride themselves on revitalizing the natural beauty. All of their products are paraben, SLS, and SLES free which is great. In addition, their products contain no PG or PG derivatives. To make things better, they do not add chemical fragrances on anything harmful in anyway as they seek to put the environment first in all they do.
This product can be used on all hair types and regardless of skin issue because it is hypoallergenic. It can even be used on a baby. All the ingredients are all natural as it contains Aloe Vera, Shea Butter, Kelp, Acai, and Sunflower to name a few of their unique ingredients. It can be used in the shower or can be left in by applying a small amount to the hair ends. It is not necessary to rinse out.
This is great for those with sensitive scalps and skin. It will not hurt or cause a reaction. Due to its mildness, it is less effective for a conditioner than some of the other products. It is highly price and smells surprisingly menthol. It is fairly strong and the odor might be off putting to many. (Overall rating 3.6)
This product comes from a trusted company, Brickell. It has the reputation of creating high quality men’s skincare, haircare and grooming products. It constantly uses natural and certified organic ingredients.
The products are sold all over the world and have appeared in various respected men’s magazines such as GQ, Men’s Health, and Men’s Journal.
This product uses a thick aloe base to leave hair looking fuller, healthier, and shinier. It adds Peppermint and Tea Tree Oil to stimulate the scalp for growth, dandruff prevention, and a nice scent. Vitamin E in the conditioner stimulates the scalp resulting in hair growth. This is great for those struggling with hair loss.
This product, like all from Brickell, is sulfate-free, paraben-free, and PEG-free. It contains no synthetic fragrances or gluten. They are always vegan and never test on animals.
The texture of this product feels almost gel like rather than feeling like the standard conditioner. This is most likely due to an aloe base instead of water dominant, It is a little pricey but is a really good product that makes a difference to the scalp and hair.
This company has seemed to, recently, flood stores with their products. The claim, “they make products that make the man.” Their products are usually easy to obtain and are bought at a reasonable price point. For years they were only available at specific hair salons but now they are available wherever hair care products are sold.
This is an organic conditioner that energizes the hair and scalp. It contains Panthenol to moisturize and condition the hair without leaving any unwanted build up. Menthol and Peppermint Oil are added for scalp invigoration but give the conditioner a nice, not overbearing scent. It is fortified with Panama Bark extract that leaves the hair and scalp clean and healthy.
This conditioner comes out of the bottle feeling runny or water down. It is not for the sensitive scalp as it burns a little.
It comes in a large bottle normally at a respectable price. It will balance the head pH and leave hair and scalp in a much better condition following use. (Overall 4.1)
Few closing thoughts
As one begins to take pride in their hair and properly care for it, conditioners are a must. They will provide body and fullness while protecting and hydrating the hair. It can relieve an itchy scalp and reduce the effects of brittle, damaged hair.
When looking for a good men’s conditioner, let our reviews serve as a guide and resource. Next time you run your hands through your hair, like what how it feels rather than fret it. This happens with the use of a quality conditioner.