The Best Products for Dry Hair

If your beyond-damaged strands are driving you crazy, you're not alone. We find out which top remedies for dry hair will give you silky-smooth locks, with little to no fuss.

Call it an occupational hazard, but hair editors, by virtue of our guinea-pig locks that spend years going through the ringer, will always have a soft spot for anything that moisturizes. We’re perennially on the lookout for the best products for dry hair and damaged locks—whether they be trendy, millennial new emollients, or tried-and-trusted ingredient blends that have been around for decades, simply because, well, our bleached, treated, processed, heat-styled locks need it. When it comes to remedies for dry hair, we’re particularly diplomatic: Give us your masks, your deep conditioners, your leave-ons—anything offering the promise of silky hair, products that give us fabulously well-hydrated but effortless, woke-up-like-this locks—and we’ll happily make space on our shelves. Just like how SPF has become a modern-day skincare essential, so have moisturizing and reparative hair products now remain staples in our routines.

Such is the universal appeal of hair products for damaged hair: They cover such a wide umbrella of stressors, that nearly anyone past the age of 12 (or who, you know, has ever used a blowdryer more than once) has incurred some level of damage and porosity at a certain point. That said, it’s also super easy to be inundated by the hundreds of products out in the market today, hence *drumroll* our list below, which we hope streamlines the process a bit, and helps you curate your search to fit your needs. Read on:

best products for dry hair curly afro
Curly hair is dry hair and needs products that moisturize and define their ringlets.

1. DRYNESS

Dryness is one of the most common hair issues we face, regardless of your hair type. It can be brought on by anything from hormonal swings to weather changes, as well as a daily heat-styling regimen. Be reasonable when shopping, and tailor to your perceived level of dryness—anything more than you need and you risk getting flat, limp locks or worse, a greasy scalp. Look for lightweight shampoos, conditioners and leave-in serums that can provide everyday moisture and frizz protection.

We love: Suave Professionals Coconut Oil Infusion Damage Repair Shampoo and Conditioner; Dove Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner; Nexxus Humectress Luxe Lightweight Conditioning Mist; Nexxus Humectress Encapsulate

best products for dry hair with damage
Double-process color results in parched, porous ends.

2.DAMAGE: ROUGHNESS AND POROSITY

Daily blow-drying/curling/straightening, as well as having your hair chemically treated via relaxing or coloring, can result in strands that look and feel rough and brittle. This type of hair is also considered high-porosity hair, since its cuticles have been processed and rebonded so many times that they remain in a raised, jagged state—unlike the smooth, evenly-laid “shingles” in normal hair. With the former, moisture then leeches out quicker without retention, rendering this hair type dry, brittle and prone to frizz and breakage. Look for products that repair and strengthen all across the board, and treat yourself to a twice- or thrice-weekly treatment to troubleshoot and reinforce.

We love: Dove Regenerative Nourishment Shampoo and Conditioner; Nexxus Emergencée Shampoo and Conditioner; Nexxus Emergencée Reconstructing Treatment; S Factor by TIGI Health Factor Shampoo and Conditioner; Dove Quench Absolute Intense Restoration Mask; Bed Head by TIGI Resurrection Treatment Mask; Suave Professionals Moisture Mask with Almond and Shea Butter

best products for dry hair with split ends
Best products for dry hair: Products that help bind split ends can bide your time before the unavoidable cut later on. Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

3. DAMAGE: BREAKAGE AND SPLIT ENDS

Perhaps the most obvious (and heartbreaking) sign of damage, split ends used to be that tragic point of no return. And although any expert will still advocate a proper trim over any best product for damaged hair as the best remedy for frayed ends, biting the bullet may not be too easy for some. For the cut-averse, look into prevention via high-intensity treatments that offer a potent one-shot of moisture—think of it as an IV drip for your locks. Serums that help bind ends together until you’re ready for that new lob are also worth a peep.

We love: Nexxus Promend Shampoo and Conditioner; Nexxus Promend Split End Binding Leave-In Crème; Suave Professionals Split End Rescue Shampoo and Conditioner; Suave Professionals Split End Rescue Hair Serum

4. STYLERS and LEAVE-IN CONDITIONERS

Hair primers that provide nourishment to your hair while also imparting manageability, hold and frizz-free smoothness are the bedrock of any styling routine. Look out for multi-tasking winners that moisturize and detangle, while also giving your locks protection from heat styling and humidity and even yes, offer up some good ol’ split end repair. If volume is a problem for you (or you have fine hair and don’t want to risk #deflategate), the best product for dry hair in your case is most probably a spray instead of a cream or a hair lotion—mists and sprays will coat hair efficiently without any goopy, sticky weigh-down. Otherwise, a conditioning cream is awesome as it can infuse your strands with some much-needed nourishment and slip.

We love: Dove Absolute Curls Leave-In Detangler; Nexxus Promend Heat Protecting Mist; TRESemmé Repair & Protect 7 Pre-Styling Spray; Bed Head by TIGI Ego Boost Split End Mender; Catwalk by TIGI Hairista Split End Perfector; S Factor by TIGI Papaya Leave-In Moisture Spray; Suave Professionals Avocado + Olive Oil Leave-In Conditioning Cream