Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 10/25/2021
Your hair care products go a long way towards ensuring your hair looks, feels and grows as its very best, and few are more important than a good quality conditioner.
While your conditioner won’t have as much of an impact on your hair growth or density as hair loss medications like minoxidil and finasteride, the right conditioner can have a major effect on your hair’s growth rate, texture and durability,
Unfortunately, many of us guys are guilty of spending little time choosing the right conditioner — or worse yet, skipping it completely after washing with shampoo.
Below, we’ve explained why a good quality conditioner is so important for keeping your hair as strong, dense and healthy as possible.
We’ve also covered the specific ingredients you should look for to choose the best conditioner for your needs and hair type.
Finally, we’ve shared how you can apply conditioner the right way to grow thicker, stronger and healthier hair.
When it’s time to wash your hair, it can be tempting to keep things quick and simple by applying and rinsing out some shampoo, all while leaving your conditioner unused on the shelf.
While conditioner might not seem important, the reality is that a good quality conditioner plays a major role in keeping your hair strong, dense and healthy.
Conditioner is designed to smooth, nourish, detangle and moisturize your hair. Just like you use a moisturizer after cleansing your face to prevent your skin from becoming dry and irritated, you can use a conditioner to moisturize and support your hair after cleansing it with shampoo.
Good quality conditioners do this by replacing the natural oils that are stripped off from your hair when you wash it.
Without conditioner, it’s easy for your hair to become dry, frizzy and weak, especially if you color your hair or use styling products that reduce its natural oil content.
Just like other hair care and styling products, conditioners can vary hugely in quality, price and value for money.
Search online for things like “best conditioner” and you’ll find lengthy, detailed lists of products from well-known hair care brands.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend a fortune to buy a good conditioner, nor do you need to opt for glamorous, high-profile premium brands.
Just like with shampoos and other hair care products, finding the “best” conditioner is far more about looking for the right active ingredients than purchasing a product that has the right brand name or comes in the sleekest, best-looking packaging.
To put things simply, you want to spend most of your time looking at a product’s ingredients list, not at its brand name.
When you’re comparing conditioners online or in your local supermarket, look for the following ingredients.
Coconut oil is a common ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, masks and other hair care and styling products.
Research shows that coconut oil can penetrate inside the hair shaft and reduce the amount of protein that’s lost from your hair.
This might help to improve your hair’s strength and structural integrity, making it more able to tolerate the wear and tear of everyday life.
Argan oil is a type of plant oil that’s produced from kernels of fruit from the argan tree, which is found throughout Morocco.
Over the last few years, argan oil has become popular in skin and hair care due to its richness in tocopherols and polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. However, research is limited on the effects of these antioxidants on hair health.
Because of its moisturizing properties, argan oil is a great ingredient for hydrating your hair and improving its shine.
Another natural oil, avocado oil is a popular ingredient in skin and hair care products, including men’s hair conditioners.
It’s rich in antioxidants that could offer benefits for your skin, including the hair follicles in your scalp.
Like other natural oils, avocado oil is used in conditioners for its ability to moisturize hair. Some evidence also suggests that certain fruit and vegetable oils may help to protect your hair cuticle cells for better moisture retention and fullness.
A favorite in skin and hair care products, shea butter is produced using nuts harvested from the Vitellaria paradoxa tree, which is native to the dry savanna of Africa.
Shea butter is a powerful moisturizer, making it an ingredient worth looking for if you have a dry scalp or hair.
Although research on the effects of shea butter on hair is limited, one study found that a fruit oil with similar properties reduced hair breakage in people with damaged hair.
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that’s known for its skin and hair benefits. Research shows that when applied topically, it can improve hair thickness and fullness.
Other studies have found that oral niacinamide can help to treat certain forms of skin inflammation, including some that can affect the scalp.
As such, it may be worth prioritizing if you often have an itchy, dry scalp or develop irritation from other hair care products.
Cetearyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol that’s used to hold the different ingredients in conditioners and other hair care products together, stopping them from separating.
While most alcohols are best avoided in skin and hair care products, cetearyl alcohol is a major exception.
As a fatty alcohol, it doesn’t have the same drying effect as other alcohols, making it safe for use on your skin and hair.
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Everyone’s hair is unique, meaning a conditioner that works well for someone else may not be the best choice for you.
To get the best results from conditioner, try to choose a product that matches your type of hair, the specific grooming products you use, the environment you live in and other factors that are unique to you.
We’ve shared some recommendations below for common hair types, as well as for hair-related issues such as thinning, dryness and damage caused by color treatments.
One of the biggest benefits of conditioner is that it moisturizes your hair, making it an important component of any dry hair care routine.
If you have dry hair, look for a moisturizer that contains one or several of the natural oils listed above.
These ingredients can penetrate deep into your hair and prevent dryness by improving your hair’s ability to take in and retain moisture.
Conditioners with a high oil content are also great for curly hair, which is often prone to frizzing, dryness and split ends.
If you have hair that’s naturally oily or greasy, you’ll get the best results by picking a conditioner that uses a lightweight, low-oil formula.
Another option is to use a regular conditioner, but adjust the amount you use based on the way your hair feels.
If your hair feels too oily and weighed down after conditioning, try to reduce the amount of conditioner you apply until your hair has a more neutral, natural-feeling weight.
Sometimes, you may want to skip the conditioner entirely. If your scalp produces enough sebum to keep your hair naturally moisturized and lubricated, you can safely skip the conditioner every now and then without having to worry.
Finally, you can also use a clarifying shampoo before conditioning to cleanse away the oils, dirt and other substances that make your scalp oily in the first place.
While conditioner on its own won’t reverse hair loss from male pattern baldness, products such as our Thick Fix Conditioner can help to stimulate growth and give thinning hair a thicker, fuller appearance.
If your hair is thinning, look for a conditioner that makes use of natural oils to coat your strands and provide extra hydration. This helps strengthen your hair and stop breakage, which can make your hair look even thinner and less dense.
For optimal results, try a leave-in conditioner. This type of conditioner is applied after you finish showering, then left in your hair throughout the day.
A leave-in conditioner will help to give your hair a constant supply of moisture to cut down on breakage, frizz and damage.
If you color your hair, it’s important to use a shampoo and conditioner combo that’s formulated to provide support and relief for color-treated hair.
These products use a different type of formula to cleanse and moisturize your hair while cutting down on the amount of dye that’s removed with every wash.
Look for products that are labeled “color support” or “color care” to make sure your hair received adequate protection.
If you swim often, you’ll get the best results by using a conditioner that’s formulated to protect your hair from damage caused by chlorine and other swimming pool chemicals.
Before you get into the pool, wet your hair and apply a leave-in conditioner to provide your hair with a source of moisture while you swim.
Once you’re finished, wash your hair with swimmer’s shampoo to remove any extra chlorine, then apply a deep conditioner.
This type of conditioner is designed to get deep into your hair strands and replace any moisture that’s lost while you’re in the pool.
Like with shampoo and other hair care products, there’s both an art and a science to adding a good quality conditioner to your hair maintenance and grooming routine.
Use the following tips to apply conditioner for healthy hair growth, more intense hydration and softer, smoother, better-looking hair:
Use conditioner every time you shampoo your hair. Since shampoo can strip away sebum (a type of natural oil that lubricates your hair and keeps your scalp healthy), it’s best to use a conditioner every time you shampoo your hair.Before you apply conditioner, make sure to fully rinse any shampoo out of your hair. Try running your fingers through your hair to check that the shampoo is completely washed out before applying conditioner or any other hair care products.
Use the amount recommended on the bottle. Conditioners can vary in strength and intensity, meaning you’ll want to check the recommended amount before applying any conditioner to your scalp and hair. With most brands, a dollop of conditioner about the size of a quarter should be the right amount for your hair.
When you apply conditioner, concentrate on the tips of your hair. If you have long hair, applying conditioner to the entire length of your hair may cause it to look a little bit lifeless and limp.Instead, focus conditioner on the tips of your hair, which usually need the extra moisture the most.
Use a wide-tooth comb to apply conditioner. This helps to apply conditioner evenly, without it sticking to just a few areas of hair. You can also run your fingers through your hair to make sure your conditioner is applied evenly.
Avoid applying conditioner to your scalp. Since conditioners often contain oil-based ingredients, they can clog your pores and possibly contribute to scalp pimples if they’re applied directly to your skin. Remember that shampoo is for cleansing your scalp, while conditioner is for taking care of your hair.
To make things easier, consider a 2-in-1 shampoo. This type of shampoo contains a conditioner, allowing you to wash and condition your hair without having to use multiple products. Using a two-in-one shampoo could be a good option if you have limited time to care for your hair, or if you have naturally oily hair that doesn’t need a separate conditioner.
In addition to using the right conditioner, there are several things that you can do to promote hair growth, prevent hair loss and keep your hair soft, smooth and healthy.
Although conditioner is great for strengthening and supporting the hair you have, it doesn’t do that much to stimulate hair growth.
If your hair is beginning to thin or your hairline is showing signs of recession, you’ll get the best results by using FDA-approved hair loss medications such as minoxidil and finasteride.
These work by protecting your hair follicles from the effects of DHT and improving blood flow to your scalp for optimal hair growth.
When it comes to maintaining your hair, shampoo and conditioner work hand in hand to cleanse away sebum, then shield your hair from damage.
If you’re starting to lose your hair, try pairing a good quality conditioner with our Hair Thickening Shampoo, which contains saw palmetto to target DHT and limit scalp-level damage to your hair follicles.
From protein to specific vitamins and minerals, your body depends on a large range of different nutrients to keep your hair healthy.
Try to eat a balanced diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources and vitamins that promote optimal hair growth. Our guide to what to eat for hair growth lists 15+ foods to add to your diet for healthier hair.
A good conditioner is one of the most important hair products in any guy’s toolkit.
Used right, a daily conditioner can make your hair softer, prevent damage and replace oils that are removed during the shampooing process with healthy, supportive fatty acids.
Our Thick Fix Conditioner is designed to make conditioning and protecting your hair as easy as possible.
Alternatively, you can use the tips listed above to find a conditioner that suits your needs online or in your local supermarket or drugstore.
Interested in taking better care of your hair? Our guide to hair care tips for men goes into more detail about the best ways to care for your hair and prevent hair loss with over-the-counter hair products, good habits, medication and more.