Our top pick? The L'Occitane Gentle & Balance Conditioner
In our recent guide covering the best French shampoo, we emphasized the importance of following up your shampoo with a high-quality conditioner. Akin to cleansing your skin, washing your hair is a critical step, but in doing so you are stripping it of moisture, and you need to replace that moisture by using a conditioner—just like you would for your skin with a moisturizer! Some stylists will tell you to apply it only to your ends, while others suggest that you should be "gooping it on". Regardless of their differences in opinion, they will all tell you that you should be using one to keep your hair silky, shiny, and healthy.
French brands are our go-to's for everything and anything to do with moisture, and their conditioners are no exception. This is because they are always formulated with the highest-quality ingredients—most notably silica-rich French thermal spring water and sensorial botanical oils—that gently rehydrate and repair, leaving your hair with an enviable silkiness and a natural shine.
Deciding which one is best for you, though, depends on your budget, goals, and hair type. Our top 7 picks narrow down the best French conditioner (including a conditioning shampoo option) based on each of these factors. Enjoy!
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#1 — Our Favourite French Conditioner
A wonderful aroma, silky-smooth results, and awesome detangling efficacy are all qualities you should be looking out for when searching for the best conditioner. The L'Occitane Gentle & Balance Conditioner possesses these qualities in abundance, and then some.
This little powerhouse is gentle enough to be used daily and is suitable for *all* hair types, meaning that anybody can use it and love it as much as we do.
Its silicone-free, light, creamy formula offers a divine sensorial experience owing to the delightful blend of botanical essential oils it contains, leaving your hair smelling just as good as it looks; all day long. After just one use, it leaves your hair feeling silky, supple and soft with a lovely natural shine.
L'Occitane also offers eco-friendly refill packs so that you can be just as kind to the environment as you are to your hair. Magnifique!
#2 — Best Conditioner For Normal-to-Dry Hair
You may or may not know this already, but nobody really has a strict hair type. Generally speaking, it will fluctuate between different types over time depending on your internal chemical balances and daily environmental factors. If you're uncertain what yours is, you can almost be sure that it will be somewhere between normal and dry.
For the best French conditioner for normal to dry hair, look no further than Christophe Robin's Delicate Volumizing Conditioner.
This nourishing, lightweight conditioner helps restore your hair's natural volume and moisture levels, leaving it looking healthy and full of body. The botanical formulation makes your hair feel soft, luxurious and manageable, with the superstar ingredients behind this magic being:
- Rosehip seed oil, a delicate moisturising rose blend extract, which nourishes the hair.
- Baobab leaf extract helps to boost the hairs volume, leaving hair feeling full of body and voluminous for a few days after washing.
#3 — Best Conditioner For Thin Hair
I personally fall under this category, so I'm well aware of the plight and struggle that comes with having naturally thin hair. As it turns out, Keratin is the key to strong, healthy hair, accounting for the majority of your hair's elasticity and strength. But due to genetics, stress, diet, or psychological factors, our Keratin levels may or may not be what they need to be to keep our mane looking healthy.
Fortunately, though, I discovered Klorane's Conditioner with Quinine and B Vitamins.
This cult classic, plant-based conditioner strengthens and revitalizes thinning hair while providing weightless hydration & nourishment. Completely vegan, and free from silicone, SLES, and SLS, you can be sure that you're putting only the finest ingredients in your hair:
- Quinine bark extract, a potent hair strengthener grown in the heart of South America.
- Vitamins B6, B5 & B8 enhances keratin production and helps to reduce sebum, fortifying the hair shaft & promoting healthy hair growth.
After the first use, 94% of people agreed that their hair felt stronger and silkier—what a holy grail product.
#4 — Best Conditioner For Color-Treated Hair
Color-treated hair requires special treatment to protect the colour from fading, not to mention to keep the underlying hair healthy after being exposed to harsh hair dyes. A multi-protecting care conditioner such as Kerastase's Reflection Fondant Chromatique is just what you need to keep your luscious locks from losing their newly adorned hue. It provides shine with a weightless touch, protects colour for up to 40 days, and leaves your hair feeling superbly nourished.
Blonde hair requires a slightly different treatment, though: the Kerastase Blond Absolu Cicaflash. This opalescent conditioner with a soft lavender tint delivers the nourishing benefits of a masque with the lightweight finish of a conditioner. It deeply nourishes and restores sensitised bleached hair, helping to prevent breakage for all colors of lightened or highlighted hair. The result is silky, hydrated hair that remains light and luminous.
#5 — Best Luxury Conditioner
Higher-end prices don't just buy you a fancy label when it comes to French hair care; you receive exclusive access to a whole slew of the *best* treatments and ingredients available for hair. You don't just have to take our word for it either; luxury brand Sisley's Restructuring Conditioner with Cotton Proteins is a prime example.
Check out this blockbuster lineup of active substances inside this sumptuous tube:
- Pro-vitamin B5: brings softness and suppleness.
- Cotton Proteins: rebuild the hair’s protein structure.
- Ceramide-like "breaker filler": rebuilds the hair fibre’s lipid structure, restores the cohesion of the cuticle.
- Shea oil: smoothes the cuticle, improves the shine, limits dehydration.
- Hazelnut oil: softens and smoothes the hair.
The end result is an enviable shine, a divine softness, a delectable bounciness, and a long-lasting freshly scented aura. Well worth the splurge. For the full indulgent experience, though, we recommend also adding the best French hair mask to your haircare routine!
#6 — Best Budget Conditioner
Affordable hair care tends to be associated with low-quality ingredients and poor scalp reactions, but you can rest assured that with French beauty brands, this is absolutely not the case. Case in point: L'Oreal's Elvive Nourishing Conditioner.
Enriched with six precious flower oils, it nourishes dry hair from the root to the tip, transforming dull hair to reveal a lustrous shine. Feel the lightness of your hair while applying as it becomes detangled for a silky, effortless, and free-flowing result.
Our only qualm is that it rubs off on white towels if not rinsed out thoroughly, but for just a few dollars, you really can't go wrong with this gorgeous little conditioner.
#7 — Best Conditioning Shampoo
The final approach to conditioning takes us back to the reason why we condition in the first place: to replace the moisture that we strip from our hair when we wash with shampoo. Now, let's hypothesize for a moment and consider the fact that we could avoid having to use conditioner altogether if we had a shampoo that wasn't stripping. And thus, the conditioning shampoo was born.
The best French conditioning shampoo is Caudalie's Gentle Conditioning Shampoo.
Concentrated with natural active ingredients, it cleanses, strengthens and protects hair without stripping it of vital nutrients. Suitable for all hair types—even colour-treated—the extremely gentle plant-based formula respects sensitive scalps and is suitable for frequent use. As with all Caudalie products, it contains no phenoxyethanol, no phthalates, and no mineral oils.