The Best Moisturizing Conditioners in 2023


Moisture is commonly talked about when it comes to haircare. From excess moisture in the atmosphere ruining a carefully crafted hairdo, to the lack of moisture in dry, split ends creating endless amounts of frizz, dealing with moisture (or lack thereof) in your hair can feel like a never ending chore. 

The first step to taking care of the moisture content of your hair is using a good conditioner every time you wash it. Although shampoos are necessary for cleaning dirt and grime from your hair, a moisturizing conditioner is essential to ensuring that you don’t accidentally strip your hair dry in the process. 

In addition to helping you to look and feel great, using the right kind of moisturizing conditioner for your hair can help to protect it, and promote growth over the long-term. 

So, we have put together a list of the best moisturizing conditioners in 2023, so you can look through and find the ideal moisturizing conditioner for your hair moisture needs. We also follow up with a section about why hair needs moisture, and what you need in a conditioner to promote moisturization. 

1. Blu Atlas Conditioner 


Blu Atlas is a male skin-care brand, but they also do great things for hair care. The brand uses entirely vegan and cruelty free ingredients, which are over 95% naturally derived. 

The brand has developed its products in conjunction with expert dermatologists at the medical advisory board. This means that all their products meet current industry standards. 

The conditioner available from Blu Atlas can be considered a moisturizing conditioner, even if it isn’t advertised as such. This is because it has nourishing and hydrating ingredients that make it a suitable moisturizer for all hair types. You can use it every day, or as a pick me up whenever your hair needs extra moisture. 

The main ingredient that has a moisturizing effect in this conditioner is white tea extract. This is able to work as a humectant, a compound that can draw moisture to the surface of the hair from either the environment, or deep within the scalp/hair itself. 

In addition to drawing moisture to where it is needed, the conditioner also reduces the effects of dry or damaged hair. It uses barley proteins to help stiffen and coat the hair in order to reduce tangles and stop damage. Finally, argan oil is used for the vitamins and antioxidants it contains to nourish and hydrate. 

This  luxurious conditioner from Blu Atlas is at the top of our list for the best moisturizing conditioners in 2023 because of how effective it is at tackling the most pressing issues with dry hair by inducing extra moisture, and repairing the damage caused by the dryness. 

2. Rizos Curls Deep Conditioner


People with curly hair are the most in need of moisturizing conditioners. This is because curly hair is much more prone to being dry, which can also promote issues with frizz and breakage. 

As a result, it is essential that a product is available to help lock hydration into the curls. This deep moisturizer conditioner is made to help rescue hair in desperate need of a pick-me-up, however, it shouldn’t be used on fine or lightweight hair as it is a very heavy conditioner. 

The formula includes a bevy of oils, such as olive oil for cleansing and elasticity, sunflower oil to alleviate dry scalps and help hair growth, and coconut oil to help reduce frizz. Although this can be used as a conditioner, it is also suitable as a hair mask if you leave it on for 10 minutes before washing out. 

This product has been formulated for curly hair and has no silicones, parabens, sulfates, or drying alcohols present. It is also cruelty free.

3. Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Conditioner


As the name suggests, this conditioner is packed with all the healing properties of manuka honey and mafura oil to help create a hydrating conditioner. It is designed for daily use in between wash days to help refresh curls, and to stop the hair from looking or smelling unclean. 

This conditioner is designed for curly hair, so the application as a daily use conditioner in between washes may be too heavy for some hair types. However, it is able to act as a very strong hydrating conditioner for those whose curls often look dry in between washes, but don’t want to increase the amount of times they wash their hair each week. 

Suitable for daily use, this conditioner has another element to it that most of the other conditioners on this list lack: UV ray protection. The sun’s UV rays can be extremely drying and harmful for your hair, so it is essential that you get daily protection. If you don’t like wearing a hat, a product such as this one can help you to avoid sun damage and associated premature aging of the hair.

In addition to being an excellent product, it is produced by an excellent brand with a conscience. Shea Moisture is a company you can feel happy to use, as they financially support and reinvest in both the community and minority and Black entrepreneurs. 

All in all, this conditioner is definitely deserving of a spot on the list of the best moisturizing conditioners in 2023. 

4. Paul Mitchell Instant Moisture Conditioner


Paul Mitchell is a well-established hair care brand, with a wide product range. Sometimes though, the amount of choice can make it difficult to actually choose the right conditioner for your hair. 

So, our recommendation is Paul Michell’s Instant Moisture Conditioner. It is suitable for all types of hair, including curly, coily, wavy, or straight. It is also a daily conditioner, so isn’t an overly heavy formula. 

This conditioner is ideal for those who have been suffering from dry hair, especially if it has caused damage or tangles. The hydrating conditioner, containing soy protein and shea butter, is formulated to help strengthen and repair tangled strands, and add moisture to parched hair. 

If used daily, this will  improve the overall manageability and elasticity of your hair, helping to reduce the amount of tangles or breaks that occur in the future. It is also a color-safe conditioner with UV protection. 

It is free of gluten and parabens, vegan, and completely cruelty free. 

5. Shea Moisture All Day Frizz Control Conditioner


Another Shea Moisture product, the All Day Frizz Control acts to smooth and control frizzy hair of all types.

In addition to containing shea butter, the brand’s key ingredient, to help calm and smooth the hair, this conditioner also uses papaya and neroli to lock in moisture for hair that really needs it. 

It also acts as a gentle conditioner that does not contain keratin. This means that it won’t cause your hair to have too much protein, which can cause it to look a little lifeless and dull.

When used as recommended, Shea Moisture will leave your hair soft and manageable without being overly weighty. 

6. Pureology Hydrate Moisturizing Conditioner


This hydrating conditioner from award-winning Pureology, is designed specifically for those with medium/thick colored hair. It has an effective color-preserving formula, so you can get the most benefit from your color treatment. 

The conditioner contains green tea extract, sage leaf extract, and multiweight proteins to give your hair a hydrating boost. The extracts help your hair to attract and lock in moisture, while the proteins protect from damage and restore hair to its best condition. 

The formula is quite thick, so it is not ideal for people with fine hair.

Pureology is also trying to protect the planet and has pledged to be climate friendly, so you can purchase from the company without worrying about the impact you are having. The conditioner is made with natural plant extracts and is animal product free.

7. Sachajuan Moisturizing Conditioner


Sachajuan Moisturizing Conditioner is the professional level moisturizing hair care you’ve been looking for. It is suitable for all hair types, but especially for individuals with dry hair as a result of bleaching or color. It is made without animal products or parabens.

This selection is packed full of moisturizing ingredients to fight frizz and repair and protect the hair from damage. These include Irish moss to nourish and strengthen, avocado oil, rich in vitamin E and oleic acid, and argan oil, which functions to restore shine. The biggest benefit however to using argan oil is its ability to improve the elasticity of hair, helping it to be more resistant to breakage from tugging or pulling – this is especially important when treating dry hair which is prone to tangles. 

This conditioner is meant to be used in washed hair, and rinsed out completely. 

8. Rahua Hydration Conditioner


Rahua is a brand that prides itself on being environmentally conscious. As a result, all their products are made from organic plant derived ingredients, and are also all vegan, and free of parabens, sulfates and gluten. 

Their Hydration conditioner is suitable for all hair types, as well as all dryness types. This makes it an excellent conditioner for hair that tends to be dry but isn’t yet in full crisis mode! It will smooth the cuticle of the hair to prevent frizz, as well as adding the gorgeous smell of passion fruit and mango. 

The conditioner is a cream formula, made to be used in the shower after washing your hair and is not suitable as a leave-in product. 

Rahua is a US small business brand, so while it may not be as well-known as most of the names on our list, there is nothing lacking in the quality of the product. 

9. Moroccanoil Hydrating Conditioner


Unlike our previous choice, Moroccanoil is an established brand in the health and beauty sector. Their Hydrating Conditioner is suitable for all hair types and can be used on normal to dry hair. This makes it another excellent maintenance conditioner for people who have hair which can be dry but doesn’t need restoring from damage. 

Moroccanoil Hydrating Conditioner has an impressive list of ingredients to support hair moisture. It contains the staple ingredient of argan oil for hydration and elasticity, but also has a rather unusual ingredient in the form of red algae, which acts as an antioxidant. This means that it fights against free radicals and helps to postpone hair aging. It also contains vitamins A and E to give your hair a dewy shine, and deliver all the nutrients and nourishment it needs to promote new and healthy hair. 

This conditioner is sulfate, phosphate, and paraben free, which makes it suitable even for sensitized or curly hair. 

10. Dr Barbara Sturm Hydrating Conditioner


Dr Barbara Sturm is a German aesthetics doctor who uses her research into anti-inflammatory medicine to create skincare products based on science. It uses natural extracts to help heal, strengthen, and improve skin and hair. 

This moisturizing conditioner uses such ingredients as shea butter, which has been well established as a haircare agent. In this conditioner it is used to provide moisture and create softness in the hair. 

The conditioner also contains distearoylethyl dimonium chloride as an emulsifier. This helps to create smooth and easy to manage hair, while also leaving it with a beautiful shine. 

Finally, the conditioner uses vitamin B5, sunflower sprout extract, and tara extract to protect hair and give it life. Vitamin B5 provides the outer layer of the hair a smooth top coat, which helps to reduce frizz. Sunflower sprouts and tara both function to protect the hair against heat and UV light damage. 

This vegan conditioner is suitable for hair of all types, being lightweight. It is also suitable for hair ranging from healthy to damaged.

Frequently asked questions 

What layers are in hair?

Aside from being a fun styling choice, the term layers means something else in the haircare world. Your hair actually has three distinct layers of each strand. This is important to understand so you know what is happening to your hair, where damage is occurring, and what different products can help you to achieve. 

The first hair layer is called the medulla and refers to the center of the hair strand. The second is known as the cortex, and is probably the most important in terms of what makes hair, hair. 

The cortex surrounds the medulla in a series of long, thin, elongated cells which overlap one another. This is the layer of the hair that is responsible for making it different from person to person, as it is responsible for hair color, thickness, and texture. 

The final layer is known as the cuticle, and is made up of a series of thin and delicate scales that overlap to protect the rest of the hair. You can think of these as armor that helps to protect the vulnerable insides of the hair from attack (or environmental damage). 

When we talk about moisturization, what we are actually referring to is just the last layer of the hair, the cuticle. The other two layers require hydration, which means that water enters into the hair strand and physically makes a difference to the hair. 

However with moisturization, you want to coat the hair in a layer of oil or other protecting substance so that you can retain the water already in the hair. Moisturization alone can’t improve dry hair, which is why all these moisturizing conditioners also have ingredients to hydrate the inner two layers. 

When does hair need moisture?

Hair needs to be moisturized if it looks dry, or dull, or has lots of split ends and tangles. It is also likely that your hair will need to be moisturized if you have used a chemical process to dye or relax your hair. 

So why does hair need moisturizing after all?

Hair needs moisturization to keep water in the other two layers of the hair. This means that your hair won’t be dry, and is less likely to be prone to damage, breakage, or frizz. 

How do I tell moisture problems from other hair problems?

Issues with hair moisture can cause distinct physical changes in the hair compared to other kinds of hair maintenance issues. As a result, you can probably figure out what kind of help your hair needs just from the way it feels. 

Depending on the type of damage, your hair will need different treatments in order to regain healthy locks. The two most common problems in hair care are that it either lacks moisture and hydration, or it lacks protein. 

For hair that lacks protein, you can feel the hair as ‘mushy’, or ‘gummy’. This is particularly true when hair is wet. This can result in hair that is frizzy, tangled, and easily stuck together, and is often the result of chemical damage. 

Hair that is dry, brittle, weak, and easy to break needs moisture and hydration to get better. However, how well it responds to treatment will also be dependent on how thick each strand is, and whether or not your hair is porous.

The ingredients that we have explored above are well suited for introducing both moisture and hydration to hair, but you need to be careful that you are using only the right amount for your particular hair type. 

If you have high porosity hair, you will have dry hair that can tend to swell and get damaged when it is wet. You can test for porosity by using water on your hair and watching how fast it is absorbed. Alternatively, you can drop some strands of hair into a glass of water and wait a few minutes. If it sinks it is high porosity, if it doesn’t, it is low porosity. 

Porosity relates to moisture because it is affected by that final cuticle layer in the hair, being determined entirely by how tightly that cuticle layer is over the other two layers. If the cuticle is very tight, it doesn’t allow moisture in or out of the hair. This means that it is low porosity, and can be difficult to get moisture into the hair strands once they have dried. 

Low porosity hair can also be prone to product build up, so while you need to use a moisturizing conditioner to get a product in, it can’t be too heavy or it will weigh down the hair. 

If the cuticle is slightly loose to the other two layers then you have medium porosity hair. This is  ideal in terms of porosity and makes maintaining moisture the easiest out of all three types. 

Although medium porosity hair has a looser cuticle, it is still tight enough that water can come in and remain held within the hair, which means that it is both easy to hydrate, and keep hydrated. 

If you have high porosity hair you will be the most in need of moisturizing conditioning treatments. This is because a very loose cuticle allows all of the moisture to simply dry out of the hair, without holding it into the strands. As a result, it is easy to frizz up in humid weather, and can be very dry when it is cold. 

High porosity hair is also prone to damage as a result of UV exposure, heat or chemical exposure. It requires products that are heavy in moisturizing content for long lasting benefits. 

If you have fine hair, using a product that is too heavy can also lead to weight on the hair and cause it to look lifeless. This is a good reason to use a variety of products, like a light moisturizing conditioner, coupled with a long-lasting hydrating leave-in, or other products you can apply between wash days to maintain hydration. 

You can also create moisture in your hair using overnight oil treatments, or making sure to use hair masks. These will replenish the moisture barrier that your hair naturally lacks, and restore its ability to hold moisture. 

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