10 Expert-Approved Cleansing Conditioners for Your Hair

Give these shampoo-free cleansers a try.

woman adding product to hair looking in mirror
Photo: Global Stock / Getty Images

Cleansing conditioners have generated some buzz over the past few years, namely for their ability to clean hair sans bubbles. Also dubbed co-washes, these formulas are more elegant iterations of those infamous two-in-one cleansers. "Unlike your standard shampoo and conditioner combination that has detergents and chemicals, cleansing conditioners use emollient oils within their product make-up, so they're typically gentler for those with more frequent wash days," says celebrity hairstylist Annagjid "Kee" Taylor.

Taylor explains that cleansing conditioners clean, hydrate, and nourish hair. A good formula, she says, not only cleans strands, but also balances and refreshes them without stripping away natural oils. She recommends looking for options that are sulfate-free, as those will take less time to lather and leave hair hydrated. Best of all, this product is suitable for all hair types, especially for those with curly and textured hair. "These specific hair textures are more prone to dryness and frizz," she says. "Since conditioners work to smooth and soften while removing excess dirt, they won't be too harsh on damage or breakage."

She says to use cleansing conditioners on wet hair (they work best in cold water to lock in moisture and fend off breakage). How often you wash depends on what your specific needs are. "Some stylists recommend washing your hair two to three times weekly, since over-washing can be damaging to the scalp. But ultimately, we each have different needs," she says. "You know your hair best and should wash when you feel like it." So, use your best judgment—and if you're in the market for an effective cleansing conditioner, scroll down to shop several expert-approved favorites.

Best Cleansing Conditioners to Buy Right Now

01 of 10

African Pride

African Pride Shea Miracle Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser
Courtesy of Amazon

"The African Pride Shea Miracle Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser is a great, affordable option that works on all hair types and removes daily dirt and excess oil buildup without stripping completely," says Taylor, adding that it's safe for color-treated strands and speeds up drying time.

Shop Now: African Pride Shea Miracle Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser, $15.15, amazon.com.

02 of 10


Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner,
Courtesy of Amazon

This cleansing conditioner promises to exfoliate, hydrate, and detoxify the scalp and hair.

Shop Now: Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner, $29, amazon.com.

03 of 10


Briogeo Be Gentle Be Kind Avocado Quinoa CoWash
Courtesy of Dermstore

Made with nourishing ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, avocado oil, and quinoa extract, this co-wash cleanses strands without stripping any moisture. You'll notice softer and shinier hair post-wash, guaranteed.

Shop Now: Briogeo "Be Gentle Be Kind" Avocado Quinoa CoWash, $32, dermstore.com.

04 of 10


Pantene Gold Wash Series Deep Hydrating Co-Wash
Courtesy of Amazon

The argan oil in this cleansing conditioner ensures a clean and moisturizing wash sans damage. As an added bonus, it is paraben-, sulfate-, and dye-free, so it is gentle enough for even the most sensitive or damaged of hair.

Shop Now: Pantene "Gold Wash Series" Deep Hydrating Co-Wash, $9.98, amazon.com.

05 of 10

Carol's Daughter

Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Curl Cleansing Conditioner
Courtesy of Amazon

Keep curls clean and healthy with this product. It's made with agave nectar, shea butter, and sweet almond oil to rinse away impurities while also detangling curls, coils, and kinks.

Shop Now: Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Curl Cleansing Conditioner, $10.44, amazon.com.

06 of 10


Ouidad Curl Shaper Double Duty Weightless Cleansing Conditioner
Courtesy of Ulta

Thanks to ingredients like rice bran oil, this cleaning conditioner helps curls retain their shape. It's perfect for when you want to keep your coils lively and full.

Shop Now: Ouidad Curl "Shaper Double Duty" Weightless Cleansing Conditioner, $36, ulta.com.

07 of 10


R+Co Analog Cleansing Foam Conditioner
Courtesy of Dermstore

No one wants a product that weighs down their hair. This cleansing conditioner is super lightweight and easy to rinse away. Plus, it's made with soothing ingredients like argan oil and green tea extract, nutrients that benefit your strands.

Shop Now: R+Co "Analog" Cleansing Foam Conditioner, $32, dermstore.com.

08 of 10

Paul Mitchell

Pail Mitchell Lavender Mint Moisturizing Cowash
Courtesy of Ulta

With ingredients like monoi, pequi, and jojoba oils, this cleansing conditioner will help add shine and fight off frizz.

Shop Now: Pail Mitchell Lavender Mint Moisturizing Cowash, $48, ulta.com.

09 of 10


Cantu Shea Butter For Natural Hair Complete Conditioning Co-Wash
Courtesy of Amazon

You'll get rich hydration for your curls thanks to this option's creamy texture and shea butter-infused formula. It will also protect coils from future breakage.

Shop Now: Cantu Shea Butter For Natural Hair Complete Conditioning Co-Wash, $10.92, amazon.com.

10 of 10

As I Am Coconut

As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner
Courtesy of Amazon

Cleansing for both the scalp and hair, this conditioner will help remove any buildup and residue to help promote healthy growth.

Shop Now: As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner, $12.95, amazon.com.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles