How to Use Conditioner on Hair – Best Practices by Hair Type

Most of us have been using conditioners for as long as we can remember, but the question of how to use conditioners properly is still unknown to many.

Although the steps are similar for everyone, it really depends on your hair type. Knowing how to properly use conditioners for your hair type will help you keep your hair as healthy as possible and make you look good.

If you follow these practices below, you’ll be able to find what works best for your hair and make the most out of your shower time.

What You’ll Need

You might think that you just need a conditioner. However, you’ll need a few things:

  • Conditioner that works for your hair type
  • A wet brush or comb
  • A hair tie

Just buying a conditioner won’t do the trick. You want a conditioner meant for your hair type and concerns.


How to Use Conditioner on Hair

Step 1: Wash

First things first, you have to wash your hair. Wash it thoroughly with shampoo and rinse it out completely.

Pro Tip: If you are having a lot of product buildup in your hair, wash it twice. Do this once every couple of weeks to make sure there is no product left in my hair before moving on to the conditioner.


Step 2: Apply Conditioner

hair conditioner

Now you’ll want to put a small amount of conditioner in your palm. The amount will depend on your hair length, but you’ll usually need about the size of a quarter. Too much conditioner can weigh your hair down, so always start with less and work up to more if needed.

Apply this amount and evenly spread it throughout your hair. Where exactly to spread it is going to depend on your hair type and length.

If you have straight or fine hair that gets oily quickly, only apply the conditioner from the mid section to the end of the hair. If you are prone to oily hair, applying too much conditioner toward the roots will just force you to wash your hair sooner. Washing your hair more often is going to dry it out and damage it.

If you have very dry or thick hair, apply the conditioner evenly from the roots to the ends. Thick and curly hair tends not to get as oily as quickly, so you can afford to add more product at your roots where oil is produced. If you have dry hair, get every bit of it covered in conditioner to moisturize it and protect it against breakage.

Whichever hair type you have, focus on the ends of your hair as they suffer from the most breakage, dryness, and damage. Massage the conditioner into ends until they are completely covered.

Best Hydrating Shampoos and Conditioners for Dry Hair


Step 3: Wait

The best trick to do with conditioner is to practice patience. Tie hair back with a hair tie so you can wash the body, shave, and do whatever else need to do before rinsing out the hair conditioner.

This waiting allows the conditioner to work as almost a mini-hair mask. It can absorb in better and have a stronger effect.


Step 4: Brush it Out

women applying conditioner to his hair with comb

Next, take the wet brush or comb you have and brush out your hair, with the conditioner in.

For curly hair, it is great to only brush your hair with conditioner in it. The conditioner detangles and makes it easy to brush through without breakage so it maintains your curls.


Step 5: Rinse

Now, you can rinse. Make sure to get every bit of conditioner out so you don’t weigh down your hair. Rinse a bit into your hand until you see that the water is clear of conditioner residue.


Best Conditioners for Different Hair Type

Best Conditioner for Curly Hair – SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Conditioner

SheaMoisture Curl Shine Silicone Free Conditioner for Curly Hair Coconut...
  • SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl and Shine Conditioner is a lightweight hair care product that helps to restore and...
  • This moisturizing shine conditioner ensures you have no more knots, snarls or tangles – just soft, shining, easy to style...
  • Moisturizing conditioner instantly softens and detangles dry, frizzy hair while infusing your curls and coils with intense...

If you love your naturally curly hair, you need to find a good conditioner for curls that works to highlight and defrizz your curls.

Shea Moisture is great because it’s sulfate – and paraben-free, and it adds a ton of all-natural moisturizers for your locks. It’s also at a very reasonable price point and smells great.

sheamoisture curl and shine conditioner


Best for Fine and Damaged Hair – OGX Renewing + Argan Oil of Morocco Hydrating Hair Conditioner

OGX Renewing + Argan Oil of Morocco Hydrating Hair Conditioner, Cold-Pressed...
  • Strength, Shine, Softness: a unique, precious blend with argan oil of Morocco helps to penetrate the hair shaft; discover...
  • Smooth, Sexy Tresses: this exotic, precious blend with argan oil of Morocco that penetrates, moisturizes, renews, and creates...
  • How To Use: apply shampoo generously to wet hair, massage into a lather through to ends, then rinse the hair thoroughly;...

If you have fine hair, it’s most likely easily damaged. Fine hair is more prone to split ends, flyaways, and frizz. You definitely want to tackle it with a hydrating conditioner.

This OGX one is perfect because it’s available at the drugstore and uses argan oil to help strengthen your hair!

ogx renewing argan oil of morocco conditioner


Best for Color-treated Hair – Nexxus Hair Color Assure Conditioner

Nexxus Hair Color Assure Conditioner For Colored Treated Hair with...
  • COLOR SAFE CONDITIONER FOR COLORED HAIR: Nexxus Color Assure Conditioner for color-treated hair helps moisturize and enhance...
  • QUALITY INGREDIENTS FOR COLORED TREATED HAIR: infused with an exclusive ProteinFusion blend with Elastin Protein and Quinoa,...
  • PROVEN RESULTS FOR COLORED HAIR: the Nexxus Color Assure hair conditioner creates an invisible defensive layer to protect...

If you love to color your hair and are constantly changing it up, it’s important to protect that color. Conditioner is super important to maintaining color and toning it correctly so you can make the money you spent on your new hair worth it.

nexxus hair color assure conditioner for color treated hair with proteinfusion

Nexxus makes a great conditioner for color-treated hair, using a protein blend to enhance color and promote hair strength.


Best for the Environment – Solid Conditioner Bar

Solid Conditioner Bar, Made With Natural & Organic Ingredients, All Hair Types,...
  • LETS MAKE EVERYDAY A GOOD HAIR DAY - For healthy, soft, manageable, salon-quality hair. Sulfate free, silicone free and...
  • THE PERFECT TRAVEL CONDITIONER- An eco friendly shampoo for men and women. Perfect for traveling, camping, washing up after...
  • MADE WITH ORGANIC HERBS TO RESTORE AND STRENGTHEN HAIR - Our conditioner bar includes Organic Nettle, Organic Hibiscus,...

One of the things that could be turning you away from using a conditioner is the extra bottles in the shower. That’s not great for the environment or your shelf space. The solution? Conditioner bars.

You can use a bar of conditioner in place of a bottle and still follow the steps similarly. The only difference is instead of applying the conditioner from your hands, you want to massage the condition bar directly into your hair.

Those are your basic hair concerns covered, but whatever your hair type or problem, make sure to find the conditioner that works best for you so you can get the best results possible.



Now that you know the step-by-step for the average conditioner and ways to make it specific to your hair type, let’s go through some alternative conditioners.

OUAI Leave-in Conditioner

OUAI Leave-In Conditioner. Multitasking Mist that Protects Against Heat, Primes...
  • OUAI Leave-In Conditioner. A powerful, multi-tasking mist for every occasion. It protects hair from heat/UV damage, smooths...
  • Your hair's Holy Grail. Amino acid blend, tamarind seed extract and vitamin E protect and smooth hair like you’ve never...
  • OUAI (or “way”) means yes in that casual, Parisian way. We believe in effortless routines and good for you ingredients....

A leave-in conditioner is great because you add it to your existing hair routine. It adds an extra layer of moisture and protection for your hair, which prevents breakage. It is especially great for dry and damaged hair.

To use it, simply towel dry your hair and spray the leave-in conditioner on the mid section to the roots of your hair. You can comb it through with a brush or your fingers to distribute it evenly. Then, style it as normal.

ouai leave in conditioner place over towel with combs

We personally love OUAI’s leave-in conditioner. This is celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin’s hair brand, which should lend it enough credibility.


Pantene Sulfate-Free Deep Hydrating Co-Wash

Gold Series from Pantene Sulfate-Free Deep Hydrating Co-Wash with Argan Oil for...
  • Packaging May Vary. The gold standard in moisture, developed by Scientists and perfected by Stylists
  • Ultra-rich cleansing conditioner is gentle on hair for a moisturized feel and ultimate softness and manageability
  • Protects natural oils with a paraben-free, sulfate-free and dye-free formula infused with Argan oil

Co-washing just involves using a conditioner to wash your hair. It’s beneficial for anyone with natural or dry hair. It might take some getting used to, but it is definitely worth experimenting with for anyone suffering from extremely dry hair.

Make sure to find a co-wash-specific conditioner, like Pantene’s Deep Hydrating Co-wash. Be mindful that co-washing leads to more buildup, so try to use a clarifying shampoo every couple of weeks.

pantene sulfate free deep hydrating co wash


Moroccanoil Restorative Hair Mask Deep Conditioner

Moroccanoil Restorative Hair Mask 8.5 oz.
  • Verbessert die KrAft und Elastizität der haare
  • Fünf-Minuten-Maske, die geschädigtes haar intensiv stärkt
  • Mit Arganöl, sheabutter, KeratinProteinen und Fettsäuren angereichert

Another option for dry and damaged hair is a deep conditioner or a conditioning mask. It is a great choice for anyone with colored hair or for those who love to use heat tools.

Depending on the product instructions, you can substitute out your regular conditioning treatment for a deep conditioner about once a week. Just apply it to the ends of your hair and leave it on for about 10-30 minutes.

Try out Moroccanoil’s Restorative Hair Mask. It works wonders on damaged and dry ends. Use it sparingly, though, as it can still be effective with little product used and it will last longer.



The biggest takeaway is that everyone should be using a conditioner. Your hair is exposed to harsh elements, heat styling, breakage, and other products throughout the day; conditioning helps revert and protect against some of that damage. This is definitely a step that you do not want to miss.

For curly hair, always go with a more intense conditioner treatment. Additionally, you can possibly add a hair mask or try out co-washing. Also, make sure to apply the conditioner from the roots to the ends.

For fine or straight hair, less is always more. You want to repair and hydrate it, but you don’t want to weigh your delicate strands down.

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