The 10 Best Products for Thick Hair of 2023

Philip B.'s Weightless Conditioning Water adds unparalleled shine, moisture, and vitality, and is the most universal product for thick hair types.

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Thick Hair Shampoo
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If I tallied up the cost of all of the brushes that I've broken by dragging them through my extremely thick hair, I'd be able to afford the entire Mason Pearson collection.

Dryness, coarseness, and frizz are all common struggles that people with thick hair deal with on a regular basis, but using the right products can help make dense hair more manageable so that your styles are smooth (and of course, you break fewer brushes).

"A common struggle I see happening a lot for people with thick hair is dryness due to the environment," says L'Oréal Paris Celebrity Hairstylist and Colorist, Jonathan Colombini. "What I suggest is spacing out your shampoo days so you're not stripping your hair of its natural oils, which will keep it from drying out."

On the styling front, Colombini suggests picking products that are cream or oil-based. Your aim should be to smooth and eliminate frizz, rather than using formulas that promise to add body, texture, or fullness.

For the best do-it-all product that works wonders for all hair types and concerns (frizz, color fade, and dullness included), try our pick for the Most Universal product, the Philip B. Weightless Conditioning Water

Most Universal

Philip B. Weightless Conditioning Water

Philip B. Weightless Conditioning Water

Philip B.

What We Love: This offers the same hair-boosting benefits of a conditioner, but without the added weight.

What We Don’t Love: At nearly $40, this may not be in everyone's budget.

Philip B.'s Weightless Conditioning Water pushes the eject button on frizz, adds a radiance to lackluster hair color, and provides a silky smooth finish no matter your hair texture — all without adding extra weight to already-thick hair. 

Rather than relying on heavy oils, this Conditioning Water is a cocktail of micellar molecules and plant extracts that douse your hair in moisture and shine while maintaining bounce and airiness. We also can't get over the refreshing scent, which is courtesy of the magnolia flower in the formula.

Price at time of publish: $38

Size: 5 fl. oz. | Key Ingredients: Chamomile, rosehip, and orange peel extracts | Best For: Body, shine, frizz, color, dryness

Best Shampoo

Gisou Honey Infused Hair Wash Shampoo

Gisou Honey Infused Hair Wash Shampoo

Sephora

What We Love: This formula is ideal if you're looking to add shine to damaged hair or brittle ends.

What We Don’t Love: Because this is sulfate-free, it doesn't lather up great.

According to Colombini, dryness is one of the most common problems people with thick hair experience. On days when you're washing your hair, he recommends using a hydrating shampoo like this one from Gisou, which is packed with botanicals to improve your hair's shine, moisture, and manageability. 

Upon testing this formula, I found that it gave my hair a good cleanse while getting rid of buildup sitting on top of my scalp. I also noticed how good of a job it did at softening my hair (which is typically coarse and dry even after air-drying). To top it off, I appreciated the smart packaging; it came in a functional pump applicator (unlike other shampoos that come in a squeeze tube). 

Price at time of publish: $37

Size: 11.1 oz | Key Ingredients: Honey, argan oil | Best For: Dryness

Best Conditioner

Suave Smoothing Conditioner Pink Smooth Performer Frizz Control

Suave Smoothing Conditioner Pink Smooth Performer Frizz Control

Walmart

What We Love: This does an excellent job at reducing frizz — perfect if you live in a humid climate.

What We Don’t Love: This can feel a tad heavy if you apply onto your roots.

Even the thickest hair can deal with things like flyaways and frizz. Cue Suave's Smoothing Conditioner, a game-changing drugstore pick that smooths the hair and seals cuticle via a conditioning amino acid complex that manages to not leave behind a greasy residue. 

The brand recommends using this conditioner as part of their three-step system (which includes the corresponding shampoo and anti-frizz cream), but to be honest, I've used it in conjunction with other styling products and it still does an impressive job of nixing frizz and prepping the hair for styling. Plus, the pink packaging is a nice pop of color in my shower. 

Price at time of publish: $7

Size: 16.5 oz | Key Ingredients: Amino acid complex | Best For: Frizz control

Best for Styling

Unite Conundrum Paste Styling Cream

Unite Conundrum Paste Styling Cream

Amazon

What We Love: This does the job of three different products, making it great for those looking to streamline their routine.

What We Don’t Love: Though this does a great job at holding frizz and flyaways down, we wish it had some moisturizing properties to it.

Is it a wax, paste, or cream? Unite Hair's Conundrum Paste functions as all three — a workhorse when we're talking about styling products. I like to call this formula a ‘hair stylist in a bottle’ because it's incredibly forgiving and works with me to create whatever style I'm going for. 

Exhibit A: I can use it to slick back my hair for a sleek ponytail. I also use it to add texture to my hair if the day calls for messy mermaid waves. Regardless of the style I’m going for that day, it offers a flexible hold (without the crunch) along with an easy-to-use formula that can be worked into wet or dry hair. This is compatible with color-treated hair as well as those with extensions — and, a little goes a long way, making that $30 price tag oh-so-worth-it.

Price at time of publish: $30

Size: 2 oz | Key Ingredients: Castor oil | Best For: Moldable texture

Best for Taming Fizz

Living proof. No Frizz Styling Serum

Living proof. No Frizz Styling Serum

Living proof.

What We Love: The packaging is recyclable. 

What We Don’t Love: We love how luxe the packaging feels, but because it's made out of glass, it's not the most travel friendly.

Your pre-blow dry routine doesn't have to be complicated, as evidenced by Living Proof's No Frizz Styling Serum. Formulated specifically for those with thick, coarse hair, this strand-loving serum makes the styling process a little less daunting since it acts as a heat protectant, hair softener, and detangler. Most importantly, it offers heavy-duty frizz control for up to 96 hours, which is great if you're someone like me who doesn't wash their hair often and needs a serum who can provide long-lasting benefits. 

Price at time of publish: $36

Size: 1.5 oz | Key Ingredients: Glycerin | Best For: Medium, thick, coarse hair

Best for Scalp Care

Fable & Mane SahaScalp Wild Ginger Purifying Scrub

Fable & Mane SahaScalp Wild Ginger Purifying Scrub

Sephora

What We Love: Unlike other scalp-care products that rely on multiple applications and messy droppers, this is meant to replace your shampoo, making it easy to incorporate into your routine.

What We Don’t Love: Because of its thicker consistency, it may be difficult for those with long hair to distribute the scrub evenly.

If you have a thick mane, chances are your haircare lineup is quite extensive with leave-ins, serums, and styling creams galore. As we know, all of this product use can lead to buildup, which can, in turn, wreak havoc on your scalp. Fable & Mane's SahaScalp Wild Ginger Purifying Scrub helps reset this precious (and often neglected) area of your skin, which is especially important if you tend to use a lot of styling products. 

It also deeply cleans without stripping your hair or leaving behind a greasy film. The hero ingredient at play here is wild ginger, which is high in antioxidants, while it also encourages circulation in the scalp and improves moisture retention. The zesty scent is also quite enjoyable. 

Price at time of publish: $34

Size: 8 oz | Key Ingredients: Ginger, neem leaf, amla | Best For: Oily scalp, flakiness

Best Hair Mask

Marc Anthony Repairing Hair Mask

Marc Anthony Repairing Hair Mask

Amazon

What We Love: This is especially good for those with curls — it introduces moisture without weighing hair down.

What We Don’t Love: This can make your roots feel oily, so apply only to the mid-shaft and below.

Marc Anthony's Repair Bond +Rescuplex Concentrated Hydrating Mask is a no-brainer if you're looking for the ultimate rehab for broken bonds (a.k.a. you're dealing with dull, frizzy hair). It’s especially great for hair that is colored, chemically treated or over exposed to heat tools, as the bond-building formula restores damage by polishing up sad-looking ends, replenishing much-needed moisture, and glossing over seemingly untamable frizz. How? Rescuplex, the brand's bond-repairing complex, unites with rice bran oil, vitamin C, and hydrolyzed quinoa to strengthen your hair fibers as it improves its appearance. If you're a fan of thick, creamy hair masks, run, don't walk for this pick.

Price at time of publish: $10

Size: 8 oz | Key Ingredients: Rice bran oil, rosemary oil, hydrolyzed quinoa, vitamin C | Best For: Damaged hair

Best Leave-In Conditioner

Dae Cactus Flower Leave-In Conditioner

Dae Cactus Flower Leave-In Conditioner

Sephora

What We Love: In addition to the full size, this comes in a TSA-friendly travel size.

What We Don’t Love: This can make hair feel tacky and sticky.

Cactus? In your hair? Yep, turns out the prickly plant is loaded with potassium, amino acids, and iron that'll help boost your hair's elasticity and bounce for stronger, healthier strands. We love that Dae makes cactus flower extract the star of the show, and that they pair it with moringa and prickly pear seed oils for extra hydration. 

This is a universal leave-on that can be used on all hair types, from pin-straight to coily (though application will differ, depending on your hair type). The spray applicator also ensures you’ll never over-apply, which can be a common struggle among thick-haired folks.

Price at time of publish: $26

Size: 5 oz | Key Ingredients: Cactus flower extract and prickly pear seed and moringa oils | Best For: Heat protection, dryness

Best Hair Oil

Verb Ghost Oil

4.5
Verb Ghost Oil

Amazon

What We Love: In addition to restoring moisture in dry strands, this adds mirror-like shine.

What We Don’t Love: This is personal preference, but the packaging isn't the most exciting.

On days where you feel like your hair is particularly dry, running a bit of oil through your ends can remedy a handful of hair struggles. But this treatment from Verb isn't just for raggedy ends — a few drops will coat your hair to improve shine and tame stubborn flyaways. 

Plus, it’s so lightweight, you may not even notice you have anything on your hair at all (it is called ghost oil, after all). I love using this on damp hair to prep it for blowouts and on dry hair if my frizz is getting out of control (particularly, after a workout).

Price at time of publish: $18

Size: 2 fl. oz | Key Ingredients: Moringa oil, bamboo extract, hydrolyzed soy protein | Best For: Shine, dryness

Best for Color Maintenance

Rita Hazan Smoothing Creme

Rita Hazan Smoothing Creme

Rita Hazan

What We Love: This is the ideal pre-blowout product to use if you're prone to frizz.

What We Don’t Love: Though this is paraben and phthalate-free, we would prefer if this were made without fragrance.

A moisturizing cream like Rita Hazan's Smoothing Creme will keep thick hair hydrated and extra shiny. It's safe for color-treated hair (we wouldn't expect anything less from the celebrity colorist's line), and is formulated to smooth hair by sealing the cuticle to keep out frizz. If you're a fan of DIY blowouts, this cream also helps cut drying time in half. Translation: You won't be dealing with the dreaded "tired arms" those with thick hair are no stranger to, and your hair will be exposed to heat for a shorter period of time — a major plus if your hair is color-treated or heat damaged.

Price at time of publish: $28

Size: 3.4 fl. oz. | Key Ingredients: Hydrolyzed protein | Best For: Frizz

What to Keep In Mind

Styling Needs

The way you plan on styling your thick hair will determine what products you use. If you're going for a sleek look, go for a lightweight oil to make it easier to achieve a smoother style. If you want waves or curls, a hydrating mask can help reduce the risk of flyaways and frizz. In general, "the more moisture for thick, coarse dry hair, the better," says Philip B, a hair and scalp expert and founder of the eponymous haircare line. 

No matter what hairstyle you're going for, though, it all starts in the shower. "Begin by gently cleansing with a sulfate-free shampoo to keep more moisture in the hair for added hydration," says Philip B, who recommends looking for hydrating ingredients for your in-shower formulas, like butters (shea butter, for instance) and oils (jojoba, avocado or coconut). "Then, use a rich, rinse-out conditioner and follow it up with a moisturizing leave-in spray before styling."

If your hair is thick and frizzy, Adam Federico, the vice president of technical education at R+Co, suggests rinsing hair with cold water before you hop out of the shower. "Cold water closes the cuticle layer of the hair, which can help to lock in moisture as well as help to keep frizz and flyaways to a minimum," he says. "A cold rinse is particularly helpful for coarse, thick, or curly hair because of its ability to keep the cuticle from swelling (and becoming frizzy)." You should also consider drying your hair with a microfiber towel to avoid harsh rubbing, which can also lead to frizz.

For colored hair, Philip B says you'll want to avoid products that contain harsh chemicals like sulfates (SLS or SLES), parabens, sodium chloride, and petrochemicals, as these can lead to color fade as well as dryness and brittleness.

Hair Type

Your hair can be thick and dry or thick and oily, and it'll help to know where you are on the spectrum when it comes to choosing products. If your hair is thick and dry, chances are it'll feel rough and coarse to the touch, says Philip B. It may also be "accompanied by dry flakes on the scalp, because the scalp doesn't produce enough sebum to moisturize hair," he says. If your hair is thick and oily, you'll likely be dealing with greasiness and buildup on the scalp.

Your Questions, Answered

How can you make thick hair feel less heavy?

"Thicker hair may require a bit more product than fine hair, as the hair follicle is shaped differently, but this doesn't mean you need to use a heavy product," says Federico. "A lightweight product that moisturizes without weighing hair down is key." 

Some oils that offer lightweight hydration are jojoba, rosehip seed, sweet almond, and grapeseed. Be careful not to over-apply your leave-ins or oils — two to three drops or sprays, depending on your hair texture and length, will suffice.

Why Shop With Us

Michelle Rostamian has been a beauty writer for 12 years. For this story, she researched dozens of products for thick hair, including stylers, creams, leave-ins, shampoos, and conditioners. To learn about product formulation and ingredients, she turned to hair experts Philip B, Adam Federico and Jonathan Colombini.

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