As anyone who has ever had a really good – or worse, really bad – fade will tell you, good hair matters. And yet, beyond a bit of styling product, men often neglect their hair like it’s a universal hobby. When you reach 30, the crown begins to appear, the quiiff begins to thin and panic ensues.
Preventive measures may be more effective than interventions. Haircare is the fastest-growing category in men’s grooming, with serums, milks, masks and oils being introduced by brands faster than you can say high and tight. Which is why one shampoo just doesn’t cut it anymore.
The same as your skincare routine includes a cleanser and toner, a serum, and hydrating cream, so should your haircare. The conditioner is the answer.
What is Conditioner?
“Conditioner is used following shampoo to improve the feel, texture and tone of the hair,” says Jordan Garrett, renowned stylist at A-list hair salon Hershesons. “It first gained popularity for its ability to soothe the friction between strands, meaning that brushing, combing or blow-drying hair became infinitely easier. Essentially, conditioner helps repair your hair, loading it with hydration and moisture.”
Why Should Men Use Conditioners?
Garrett says that while men are more likely to use conditioner than the women because of their skin type, they have a greater need for it. “Men’s hair is more susceptible to loss, their scalp is more susceptible to the elements (having traditionally shorter hair) and they often use products like gels or waxes that can build-up, creating unnecessary oil and congestion.”
Why Use Conditioner?
With the right products, you can minimise the chance of having a bad hairday. “Conditioner is so important to the condition your hair,” says Garrett. “While shampoo is great for getting rid of dirt, pollution and excess oil, it’s conditioner that provides the nourishment needed for full, healthy locks.”
What are the best ingredients for hair conditioner?
“While the hero ingredients in many shampoos are astringents that strip away oil and dirt, conditioners are the opposite,” explains Garrett. “They are normally packed with emollients, humectants, vitamins and minerals; like a green juice for your hair.” The best conditioners have a richer, thicker texture than shampoo, which comes from natural oils like argan, coconut and general fatty acids.
How To Use Conditioner
Even if you think you’ve got the whole showering thing down, you could be using conditioner wrong. “A good rule of thumb is to use about three tablespoons worth,” says Garrett. While it’s standard practice to massage the product in and leave it on in the shower for a few minutes, conditioners can be kept in longer if you have the time. If the product’s instructions say to rinse it out, you may find that your hair is weighed down with product and your scalp is coated.
What is the best conditioner for every type of hair?
Best Sustainable Conditioner
Haeckels Bio Energiser Conditioner
Haeckels, a British company, is so environmentally friendly that its team collects sea-kelp from the beach in front of the shop. The brand’s Bio Energising conditioner takes the best of sea (and shore) to detox, nourish and strengthen hair. It’s a pretty solid conditioner for all hair types and is one of the rare hair care products that look great on the bathroom shelf too.
Best Conditioner for Curly Hair
Aveda be curly conditioner
Curly hair is a real pain to manage. It’s also one of the most overlooked categories in the market, even now. It’s important to use a conditioner which hydrates your hair and helps it retain moisture. Aveda’s Be Curly formula uses a wheat protein and organic aloe blend to deal with all three, making it ideal if you want a tight curl or even a looser wave – just leave it in for a little less time.
Best Conditioner For Natural Hair
Aesop Nurturing Conditioner
Even if you do not dye your hair or wear a cap, or use excessive styling products on your crown, it still suffers from the environment. Think of pollution, UVA damage and hard water in the shower. The hair equivalent to a multivitamin is needed to prevent it from looking dull, dry, or thin. Aesop’s Nurturing Conditioner is just that, packed with nourishment for truly healthy hair.
Best Conditioner for Thick, Long Hair
Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil Conditioner
With sustainably sourced manketti oil at the heart of most of her formulas, Charlotte Mensai has long been heralded the queen of thick hair – particularly afro hair. Manketti, also known as the “new coconut oil”, is rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc. Massage your head with this conditioner and leave it on for some time.
Best Conditioner For Frizzy Hair
Kiehl’s Superbly Smoothing Argan Conditioner
Frizz can come from many things – dehydration, sun exposure, even aggressively rubbing wet hair with a towel, so a good conditioner is essential for smoothing out any flyaways. Formulated with argan oil, Kiehl’s conditioner will coat the follicle and weigh it down with moisture so it isn’t standing to attention. Don’t be afraid to use it as a treatment, either. You can use a little bit to work through your hair throughout the day, or you can even sleep with it.
Best Conditioner For Bleached Hair
Malin+Goetz Intensive Hair Conditioner
Malin+Goetz’s intensive conditioner is a miracle worker for hair that has been chemically damaged, or is severely dry. This mixture of natural oils and fatty and amino acids has the consistency melted, so you should sleep on a towel overnight if you’re doing a job.
Best Cleansing Conditioner
Christophe Robin Cleansing mask with Lemon
Is it shampoo? Is it mask? Is it conditioner? Who knows. What is clear is that Christophe Robin’s formula is the perfect hair detox. Lemon, a mild acid, helps to remove any dead cells and clear clogged hair follicles. This product is well worth it if your hair tends to be oily, or if you use heavy styling aids.
Best Shampoo and Conditioner
Harrys 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner
Having conquered men’s faces, everyone’s favourite shaving subscription business has headed north. Harrys’ two-in one product is quick and hydrating, and it is free of sulphates as well as parabens. Add this to your cart when ordering your next refill.
Best Scalp Conditioner
Hanz De Fuko Natural Conditioner
Our mate Hanz makes a great hair clay, so it’s no surprise the brand’s conditioner is just as good. This product, which contains 16 natural oils as well as 10 amino acids is said to boost follicles and dissolve excess oil. Start with a scrub on your scalp and then use this product if you suffer from dandruff.
Best Conditioner for Thin hair
Sachajuan Thickening Condition
A thick thatch is not something you can achieve overnight with a conditioner. Unfortunately, this can only be achieved with a hair-transplant or PRP, where a doctor uses microneedles to inject plasma from your own blood into your head. Conditioners can fill in your existing hair follicles, creating the illusion of a thicker, healthier barnet. Sachajuan is a product that does exactly that. It revitalizes your hair from the root to the tip.
Best Conditioner for oily hair
Grown Alchemist Cleansing Detox Conditioner
It is common for men to have oilier hair and skin than women. Therefore, a special shampoo-conditioner combination may be required. Grown Alchemist is a popular grooming brand that cleanses hair and scalp of unwanted oil.
Best Conditioner For Hair Loss
Patricks CD1 Stimulating and Thickening Conditioner
It’s pretty much impossible to stop male pattern baldness with a topical product. Patricks, a team of innovative people, is trying it out. The brand’s Recovery Compound, a complex made up of plant-derived proteins, works to minimise hair loss and encourage growth. Even if you don’t care about the packaging, its fresh scent is well worth it.
Best Conditioner For Dry hair
Mauli Rituals Grow strong Intensive Conditioner
Packed full of herbs and botanicals, Mauli Ritual’s conditioner is said to harness centuries-old eastern remedies that nourish both head and hair. One of its key ingredients, Turmeric, acts as an antiseptic antioxidant antibacterial anti-inflammatory antimicrobial agent. Multi-tasking at its best.
Best Conditioner for Damaged Hair
Hair Ritual by Sisley Regenerating hair mask
The Hair Serum from this sub-brand of skincare giant Sisley is a market leader. Hair Mask is a mix of natural oils that are nourishing. If your hair is in desperate need of some serious help, apply this mask from roots to ends.
Best Leave-In Conditioner
Rahua Leave-In Treatment
Rahua, a product that’s only a few year old, has a celebrity following that most brands can only dream about. Rahua gets its name from an amazonian nut rich in Omega-9.
Best Conditioner for Coloured hair
Josh Wood Colour Renewing Shampoo
Josh Wood is known in London for being the “king of colour”. It was a relief to all who colour their hair that he released his conditioner. The conditioner is available in four varieties (blonde hair, brunette hair, frizzy hair, and fine) and helps to soften, smooth, and tone your locks. At £10, its far cheaper than popping into the barber for a top-up and gives you close to the same results.