The Best Haircare Products of 2021, According to InStyle Readers
The highly-anticipated 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards is here. Inside, 61 products that won over everyone’s hearts this year.
When pretty much everything was out of our control last year, we all sought out solace in self-care.
From indulging in a lengthy skincare routine to wind down from work, or putting on a swipe of lipstick simply because it made us feel good, investing time into our beauty routines became a non-negotiable. And there's no question that discovering the right regimen to meet your needs can make the world of a difference for your self-confidence. It's why every year we ask for our beauty-obsessed audience to vote for the best products in the biz for our annual Readers' Choice awards.
That's right, we've narrowed down the top-tier hair products in the game. Because one lesson we learned from last year: Never take a good hair day for granted. Without easy access to the salon, we all had no choice but to play hairstylist at home. And whether you were adventurous or just practiced daily upkeep, there were some key tools, shampoos, and conditioners that helped you get by.
Ahead are our favorites.
Best Shampoo and Conditioner: Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Aloe + Oat Milk Ultra Soothing Shampoo + Conditioner
Why make wash days more complicated when you can opt for this no-fuss formula? Free of fragrance, essential oils, and gluten, this gentle pair is perfect for anyone who prefers to keep it simple.
To buy: $26 each; briogeohair.com
Best Hair Treatment: Olaplex No. 0 Intensive Bond Building Treatment
Did you know that your hair is built up of bonds that can weaken over time? Luckily, when used consistently for 10 minutes weekly, this reparative formula strengthens strands, returning them to optimal condition.
To buy: $28; olaplex.com
Best Scalp Treatment: Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub St. Bart's
Mentally transport yourself to the tropics while massaging your mane with this physical exfoliant made of coconut oil and sugar that will remove dirt and buildup.
To buy: $38; sephora.com
Best Styler: Moroccanoil Volumizing Mist
Looking for alittle extra oomph? Starting at your roots, spritz this weightless lifting spray across your hair for added body and movement.
To buy: $28; moroccanoil.com
Best Hot Tool: Amika Hair Blow Dryer Brush
Pressed for time? Now you can simultaneously dry and style. Equipped with three different heat settings, the long bristles do the detangling for you while the shorter ones enhance shine.
To buy: $100; sephora.com
Best Natural Hair Product: Kerastase Curl Manifesto Crème De Jour Fondamentale
Loved by celebrity stylist Vernon François, who also happens to be a curl connoisseur and the brand's ambassador, this product is a crowd-pleaser. It's designed to add gorgeous definition and moisture to your hair.
To buy: $39; kerastase-usa.com
Viral Hair Product: Revlon Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer
This TikTok-famous tool has everyone playing hairstylist from home. The hybrid dryer-brush evenly distributes heat with its 360-degree design and makes achieving a bouncy blowout easy.
To buy: $60; ulta.com
Editors' Pick: OGX Lightweight + Coconut Fine Curls Shampoo and Conditioner
"Created to suit the finest of textures, this combo features a blend of coconut water and botanical oils that promises to add bounce and hydration to your coils without weighing them down," says beauty director Maya Allen.
To buy: $9 each; target.com
Editors' Pick: Pantene Sulfate-Free Fortifying Damage Repair Shampoo with Castor Oil
Castor oil carries strengthening properties that reverse damage. This lather is especially luxurious and leaves hair feeling smooth and strong.
To buy: $7; target.com
Editors' Pick: BREAD Beauty Supply Macadamia Oil
A dime-size amount is all it takes for this elixir to work its shine-inducing magic. Unlike other oils, you won't have to worry about this lightweight formula leaving behind a greasy residue.
To buy: $28; breadbeautysupply.com
Editors' Pick: Melanin Haircare Twist Elongating Style Cream
"Two-strand twists were my go-to style during quarantine when I was wearing my hair natural," says Allen. "As all naturalistas know, shrinkage is real. I loved the stretch and definition this cream gave my curls."
To buy: $17; melaninhaircare.com
Editors' Pick: L'Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths 8 Second Wonder Water
"My personal hair philosophy has always been the longer, the better which means I am always in need of some damage control," says beauty assistant Adelaide Giesey. Keep moisture and sheen on lock by applying this treatment from mid-shaft to ends for a few seconds, then rinse for the best results.
To buy: $10, amazon.com
Editors' Pick: Leonor Greyl Massaging Scalp Brush
"After stressful days, I'm partial to indulging in a long shower and giving my scalp a salon- worthy rubdown with this tool to take the edge off," says Allen. "The brush also gently exfoliates and alleviates buildup."
To buy: $28; leonorgreyl-usa.com