As someone with relatively thin, very fine hair, I have spent a huge amount of time looking for the perfect conditioner. You see, the problem with conditioner when you have fine hair is that using it can feel counterproductive. When it comes to shopping for hair products, I’m after formulas that can deliver volume, shine and hydration without (and this is very crucial) a hint of weight. Because thin and fine hair doesn’t tend to do well under weighted pressure.
You see, most hair does require conditioner after washing. Shampoo can strip the hair (and scalp) of its natural moisture, leaving things matted, knotty, dry and prone to breakage. Conditioner is a crucial step in any haircare regimen thanks to its moisture-restoring, shine-boosting, strand-strengthening properties. And while it is perhaps the most enjoyable step of many people’s hair routines, for those with fine or thin hair, the conditioning stage can be make-or-break.
Because whatever the formula, conditioner adds weight. It is virtually impossible to condition hair without leaving some form of hydrating coating behind. And when you’re trying your hardest to inject your fine strands with a bit of bouncy, lightweight volume, the conditioning process can prove frustrating. I have, after all, lost count of the number of times I have stepped out of the shower with flat-as-a-pancake, greasy roots as a result of using too rich of a conditioner.
Whether coiled, curly, straight, wavy, bleached, dyed, long or short, fine hair comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, each requiring different levels of hydration. Luckily, my job has meant that my ongoing quest to find the perfect conditioners for fine hair hasn’t had to prove costly. Has it been long and laborious? Absolutely. But having masses of conditioners delivered to my front door every month has proved advantageous for both my fellow fine-haired friends and me. Over the past few years, I have tried hundreds of conditioners on my own hair (which is thin, straight and long) and have passed on countless others to friends with different fine-hair types for research purposes.
As a result, I have managed to compile quite the list of conditioners that strike the perfect balance for fine hair, leaving strands bouncy, glossy, voluminous and, most crucially, feeling weightless. So without further ado, keep scrolling for the very best conditioners for fine hair.
1. Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Conditioner
The price of this conditioner brings tears to my eyes, but I stand by my opinion that it really is the best conditioner out there for fine hair. It slips through strands with ease and leaves hair feeling stronger. After using this conditioner, I'm frequently asked if I have had a recent blow-dry. And if that isn't enough, it smells just as expensive as it is.
2. Ouai Fine Hair Conditioner
I truly cannot put into words how blown away I was with this conditioner the first time that I tried it. It isn't one for those who require deep nourishment (curly hair, beware), but for my poker-straight long hair, it is sheer perfection. Straight after washing, my hair is bouncy and has significantly less weight. It's the sort of product that has you running your hands through your hair all day long.
3. Garnier Ultimate Blends No-Rinse Softening Conditioner
This stuff is a little different and takes one or two goes to get right. However, once you've nailed it, it's so worth it. There are different formulas for different hair types, so if your fine hair requires a little more nourishment or strengthening, you can take your pick. Essentially, you run a small amount through ends after shampooing and don't rinse it out. If, like mine, your hair is thin as well as fine, I recommend starting with a small amount and building up. For £3 and virtually no fuss (anything that skips the rinse phase is a win for me), it's a feat.
4. Gisou Honey Infused Leave-In Conditioner
Another leave-in conditioner, this spray can be sprayed either liberally or scarcely on ends after shampooing to deliver weightless moisture. Not only is it quick and easy to use, but it also leaves hair smelling absolutely divine—like warm honey and fresh soap.
5. Kristin Ess The One Signature Conditioner
I'll admit it was the chic bottle that drew me to this stuff first, but it turns out I like what's inside just as much as I like the bottle. It doesn't deliver wow-factor results, unlike some of the pricier conditioners on this list, but if you're after a relatively weightless, low-fuss conditioner for everyday use, this is a good one to go for.
6. Kérastase Nutritive Lait Vital
I'm yet to find a soul who doesn't love this conditioner as much as I do. It feels seriously light when you squeeze it into your hand, but it packs an impressively nourishing punch. It basically delivers that salon-washed result that has you feeling like your best self.
7. Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Hair Thickening + Volumizing Conditioner
This stuff is best suited for those whose hair is naturally oilier and doesn't require thick, buttery conditioners. It has a lightweight, lotion-like consistency that glides through lengths with ease, untangling as it goes. The fresh orange-and-floral scent is, however, the star of the show.
8. Virtue Recovery Conditioner
Trust me. You'll struggle to find a conditioner that ticks all of the fine-hair requirement boxes quite as successfully as this does. You only need the smallest amount, and when worked through ends, it helps to nourish and strengthen damaged hair, leaving things looking almost impossibly sleek and shiny.
9. L'Oréal Paris Hydra Hyaluronic Acid Conditioner
While I do like luxury conditioners, it's fair to say I have quite the soft spot for L'Oréal Elvive. This new addition is formulated with moisture-retaining hyaluronic acid to detangle, add shine and leave strands bouncy and full of movement.
10. Philip Kingsley Body Building Conditioner
This is usually the first conditioner I recommend to anyone who has fine hair. It's a great conditioner for virtually all fine-hair types, providing just the right amount of protein-filled nourishment that hair requires to stay strong and shiny, without any of the weighty butteriness.
11. Kérastase Curl Manifesto Fondant Hydratation Essentielle Conditioner
Lots of people assume that curly hair can't be fine, but that is incorrect. In fact, plenty of my friends have fine, curly styles and many of them swear by this stuff. It helps keep curl patterns defined, hair moisturised and shine boosted, without dragging curls down or leaving roots looking greasy.
12. Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Joia Conditioner
On first squeeze of this bottle, you might think the conditioner feels a little too thick to deliver weightless hydration, but I beg for you to stick it out. Sure, it smells like sunshine and tropical bliss, but most importantly, the way that it hydrates fine strands without leaving even a hint of moisturising film is truly miraculous.
13. Aveda Sap Moss Weightless Hydration Conditioner
As a beauty editor, I don't feel particularly passionate about haircare. Sure, I know what works for me, and I'm always fascinated to hear what other people like, but I'm certainly no hair buff. It's safe to say that, as a result, I don't tend to feel particularly passionate about certain hair products—with the exception, of course, of this stuff. Sap Moss is without a doubt the most weightlessly hydrating conditioner known to man. You might require a little more than usual if your hair is particularly dry, but if it's volume you're after, look no further.