How we pick our products
A hair conditioner makes your hair particularly supple and provides regular care for your hair with the care substances it contains. In our large hair conditioner test 2023 we present all the hair conditioners that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.
To make your purchase decision easier, we would like to help you find the right hair conditioner for you with our guide. You will find answers to frequently asked questions and other important information that you should be aware of when buying a hair conditioner.
- A hair treatment provides your hair with moisture, which is often removed from the hair by daily washing, blow-drying, styling and colouring.
- Dry hair types in particular, who tend to split ends or breakage more often, should use a hair treatment in addition to their hair care.
- Depending on the hair type, you should think about the consistency, the application time, the dosage and the ingredients of the hair conditioner.
The Best Hair Treatment: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a hair mask
Why is a hair conditioner important?
Poor nutrition, illness or stress can also affect the hair, making it split and brittle. The basis for healthy, beautiful hair is therefore a healthy lifestyle and the perfect complement is hair care.
How does a hair conditioner work?
There are treatments that are applied directly after washing the hair. Some need to be left in the hair for a few minutes and are then rinsed out again, others simply remain in the damp hair.
Once the hair has been freed of dirt and sebum by the application of the shampoo, the nourishing care substances of the treatment can reach the hair directly. During the application time, the hair can absorb the ingredients such as proteins, vitamins and moisturising nutrients, and roughened fibres are repaired.
Who is a hair conditioner suitable for?
Thus, for every hair type and for every problem with the hair, there is a cure that makes the hair supple again and easier to comb. This makes the hair look healthier and ideally repairs it from the inside out.
How do I use a hair conditioner correctly?
After shampooing, gently wipe excess water from the hair. The conditioner is then applied to towel-dried hair, otherwise it will run down the wet hair instead of penetrating the hair structure.
Then the hair mask or hair treatment can be applied. However, these care products should never be applied to the hairline. Care products such as conditioner, cure and mask belong in the lengths and tips, where they are distributed with light brush strokes.
During the specified application time, the care can be intensified by wrapping the hair with a moist warm towel turban. The heat opens the hair fibre and the active ingredients can penetrate deeper.
After the application time, the treatment should be rinsed out thoroughly in most cases. However, some treatments do not require rinsing and remain in the hair until it is dry.
When and how often should a hair treatment be used?
In addition to normal everyday hair care, a hair treatment can help to keep your hair beautiful, shiny and healthy. A hair treatment is especially recommended for brittle hair or hair damage caused by excessive stress on the hair.
Depending on the type of hair, a hair conditioner can be used at intervals of one or more weeks or, if necessary, once or twice a week.
More frequent use can lead to stress on the hair and increased sebum production and is therefore not advisable.
Which conditioner do I need for which hair?
Hair treatment for dry hair
Dry hair often occurs with long hair. The hair then quickly becomes brittle and the ends tend to split. It lacks shine and suppleness and feels straw-like. Your hair is particularly in need of care if it is difficult or impossible to style after washing.
The reason for this is that the hair is not sufficiently supplied with sebum produced in the scalp. Either because the path is correspondingly long with long hair or because the body may be lacking nutrients and minerals.
If you have dry hair, you should avoid products with a lot of artificial colours and preservatives as well as silicones. You should also avoid frequent washing with dry hair so that the natural protection is not destroyed. For example, you can use the shampoo only on the roots or only a small amount so as not to degrease the lengths too much.
Hair treatments for dry hair usually contain particularly moisturising oils from olives, avocado or jojoba. They are said to repair brittle hair and are good for damaged, stressed hair when used over several hours or overnight.
Hair treatment for fine hair
Thin, fine hair has the advantage that it is usually smooth and easy to comb. On the other hand, styling challenges are inevitable, because the hair lacks strength and volume. Especially with age, nutrient deficiencies or thyroid dysfunction, hair often becomes thinner and needs special care.
If you tend to have thin hair, you need care that strengthens your hair or at least makes it look stronger and gives it volume.
Active ingredients such as ceramides and proteins support the natural hair layer, attach themselves to the outer cuticle of the hair, thus strengthening it and loosening up the often flat look.
However, if you have fine hair, you should be careful not to overload it with a multitude of styling and care products. Otherwise, the hair will become heavy, look over-groomed and start to droop again.
Hair treatment for curly hair
Curly hair looks very powerful, voluminous and attractive. On the other hand, it is often difficult to tame, looks wild and is difficult to comb or style. It also tends to dry out more quickly. Therefore, hair treatments that moisturise are recommended.
Special care series for curls work against an untamed, wild look. They moisturise the hair and make it supple without affecting the curl shape.
Thus, hair masks for dry hair are also well suited for curls. However, there are also special care products for curls that focus on defining the waves or curls.
If you curl your hair with curlers, curling iron or perm, your hair needs extra care. These influences stress the hair, strain it and may even dry it out. Oil treatments are particularly recommended here, as they make the hair easier to comb and help to prevent knots.
Hair treatment for long hair
Long hair is particularly high-maintenance because it sometimes has to withstand strong influences – friction against clothing and the body, frequent styling, use of hair clips and hair elastics, and even carrying its own weight, which is often high.
Long hair is often prone to dryness, hair breakage or split ends, as lengths and tips in particular cannot be sufficiently supplied with moisture by the scalp.
Therefore, long hair needs special care. Frequent hair washing with aggressive shampoos should be avoided. In addition, it is sufficient to shampoo only the hairline when washing the hair so as not to dry out the ends.
The regular use of hair treatments can care for and strengthen long hair in the long run. A hair treatment should be applied every one to two weeks. Especially the lower part of the hair – the lengths and tips – should be treated with appropriate care products that moisturise the hair. Oil-containing masks and treatments are suitable here.
Hair treatment for coloured hair
Coloured hair can provide a change of type and more shine on the head. But when colouring, the hair is also severely attacked and stressed. Colour pigments are introduced into the hair through chemical reactions and the hair structure is damaged. Split ends and hair breakage are promoted.
Coloured hair needs moisturising care, for example in the form of oils.
Special hair treatments for coloured hair also help to repair the hair structure, smooth the hair and prevent hair breakage. In addition to nourishing substances that smooth hair brittle from colouring, care products for coloured hair also contain ingredients for colour protection.
For example, for long-lasting and intensive colour, coffee components are added to brown hair, pomegranate extract or henna components to red hair, and chamomile or lemon concentrate components to blonde hair.
To find out which hair care product suits you best, watch the video below.
What are hair treatments without silicones?
Hair treatments without silicones do without certain chemical ingredients so as not to over-condition the hair. They work directly inside the hair and provide long-lasting repair for broken hair.
In contrast, silicones act like a protective film that covers the hair and thus replenishes brittle areas. However, silicones enclose the hair so that neither air nor nutrients reach the hair to be repaired.
For whom are hair treatments without silicones suitable?
How do I recognise silicones?
The higher the designation in the list of ingredients, the higher the proportion of silicones. However, you cannot tell from this whether the silicones are water-soluble or water-insoluble. However, you can assume that even this makes no difference. According to Ökotest, neither the one nor the other silicones really dissolve in water or are washable.
When is a natural hair treatment right for you?
Also, if you want to avoid the stressful effects of artificial ingredients in your hair care, a natural hair treatment can be an alternative. With this natural cosmetic, ingredients from nature have a repairing and nourishing effect on the hair, without stressing it.
However, you must bear in mind that natural hair care requires a longer application time for the care results to become visible.
There will hardly be any immediate effects with natural cosmetics. It may take several applications before the product takes effect.
Do you value the use of natural or vegan ingredients? Then a natural hair conditioner is exactly what you need.
What makes a good natural hair conditioner?
If you want to know exactly which ingredients the hair treatments contain, you can look at the so-called INCI list in the specialised trade or in the pharmacy.
Another helpful aspect are various test seals such as BDIH, NaTrue and Ecocert. They guarantee that the products are free of petroleum derivatives, silicones and parabens as well as synthetic dyes and fragrances.
The BdIH seal even promises that at least 95 percent of the ingredients are of controlled organic quality.
Argan oil is extracted from the argan tree, which only exists in Morocco. The oil can be used as a hair treatment. It is best to put it in the hair overnight and wash it out in the morning. A few drops can also be massaged into dry hair after shampooing. It makes the hair soft and shiny.
Decision: What types of hair treatments are there and which is the right one for you?
Basically, you can distinguish between three types of hair care products:
- Classic hair conditioner
- Hair mask
- Hair oil
Based on the different hair types and your own preferences, a certain care product is best suited for your hair. Each hair treatment has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to application.
We would therefore like to explain the different types in more detail in the following section and help you to find out which hair conditioner is right for you and your hair.
How does a classic hair conditioner work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
You should use a hair conditioner once a week instead of a conditioner, or more often if needed in the first few weeks. It is best to apply the conditioner to damp hair with a comb.
This allows the conditioner to reach the ends and be evenly distributed. In addition, the hair conditioner should only be applied to the lengths from ear level, as the hair naturally becomes greasy more quickly at the roots.
A secret tip: You can wrap your hair in a warm towel so that the heat opens the hair’s cuticle. This helps the active ingredients of the hair treatment to penetrate better. Hair treatments also consist of argan oil or provitamin B3.
The difference to a hair mask is not great – hair masks only contain a higher proportion of oils that provide the hair with more moisture.
How does a hair mask work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A hair mask is an intensive cream conditioner that is massaged into the still damp hair lengths after shampooing and rinsed out again after a few minutes. Most hair masks repair damage to the inner and outer hair structure, provide a lot of moisture and thus protect against drying out.
Hair masks often contain proteins and vegetable oils, such as argan oil and jojoba oil. But the mask also has a pleasant side effect: the hair is much easier to comb through and shiny after showering. The hair mask should be applied about once or twice a week.
How does hair oil work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
The hair oil also serves as an intensive care or cure and is applied before shampooing. To achieve the best result, the hair oil can also be left in the hair overnight and rinsed out the next morning.
Some hair oils advertise an anti-spliss effect. A good hair oil can prevent split ends, but it cannot repair the hair. Hair oils coat the brittle layer and make the hair appear smoother and shinier.
Hair oils usually consist of coconut oil, sunflower oil and vitamin E. Hair oils can be used daily, whereas hair masks and hair treatments should only be used about once or twice a week.
Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate hair treatments
In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate hair treatments. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is suitable for you or not.
In summary, these are:
- Application time
In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.
Hair treatments in the form of creams for the hair are the most common. They are particularly easy to apply. Hair treatments with a creamy consistency are similar to shampoo and conditioner and are simply worked into the lengths and ends of the hair.
The following table briefly summarises the different consistency options:
|Creamy||Hair treatments in the form of creams for the hair are the most common. They are particularly convenient to apply. Hair treatments with a creamy consistency are similar to shampoo and conditioner and are simply worked into the lengths and ends of the hair.|
|Oily||Hair treatments in the form of oils are somewhat more difficult to handle. Often the oils do not become greasy, but some products can smudge the hands or leave an oily film behind when applied. This can be particularly unpleasant with oils that are applied after shampooing.|
|Fest||However, there are also hair masks that have a rather firm consistency. On the one hand, this has the advantage over oils that they do not melt so easily. On the other hand, they are often difficult to distribute evenly in the hair and make the hair look weighed down.|
However, there are also hair treatments that have a more liquid consistency. These products are usually leave-in products that are sprayed on after washing and remain in the hair.
The most common way to apply a hair conditioner is to massage it into your hair after washing. Then leave it on for several minutes to half an hour and rinse it off with lukewarm water.
For those in a hurry, there are also hair masks that do not need to be rinsed out or even just sprayed on before styling. However, these hair treatments without rinsing or for spraying are not recommended for intensive hair care and very dry hair. The active ingredients can only penetrate the hair a little and hardly repair it from the inside out.
Most hair masks are available in jars. This has the advantage that exactly the amount needed can be taken out and that, in contrast to products in tubes, the entire cream can be used up. A tube, however, has the advantage that it is usually easy to close again by means of a tilting mechanism.
Since hands are often wet and slippery, hair treatments that have a dispenser similar to hand soap are recommended.
The treatment can then be dispensed by pressing lightly on the dispenser. Hair treatments that can only be opened by cutting or snapping off the cap are not recommended, as it is rather impractical to clean the hands in the middle of the application in order to cut open the packaging.
Hair treatments and masks contain basic ingredients such as water, alcohols and oils in varying proportions. Hair treatments for dry hair in particular contain oily substances, as they provide the hair with a lot of moisture.
Silicones in particular ensure that the hair becomes supple and shiny again. Hair treatments with silicones, however, are hardly recommendable if the hair is to be repaired from scratch, as they only wrap around the hair like a protective coat. In addition to these chemical additives, fragrances are often added, which on the one hand provide a pleasant smell.
On the other hand, however, a large number of additives in the care products can often be very harmful for the hair. Some substances used in cosmetic products, such as paraffin oil or parabens, are even said to be harmful to health.
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