These are my picks for my type of hair, which is very dry, frizzy, thick and unruly, plus also bleached and coloured. Some of these things might heavy for some, but there are products that I think suit more types of hair.
L’OREAL Elseve Extraordinary Oil Shampoo
The best affordable and easy-to-get formula I found for my very dry, thick and bleached/coloured hair because it feels like a shampoo + conditioner in one and it doesn’t strip the hair leaving it a tangled mess, instead my hair feels silky when I’m rinsing it off. However, I’ve had some people say that it’s too much for them, so unless your hair is very dry, this might not be for you. Their creamy version of Extraordinary Oil is lighter and might be better suited for normal-thin hair and their Extraordinary Clay (mint green) is great too.
L’OREAL Elseve Color-Vive Purple Shampoo
PANTENE PRO-V Intensive Repair Shampoo
This is similar to L’Oreal’s Extraordinary oil shampoo in terms that it almost feels like there is a bit of conditioner in there, but it doesn’t have silicones like L’Oreal, and it’s not quite the same, so I still like L’Oreal’s a bit more. Unlike the light, clear formula od L’Oreal, this is a very creamy, thick formula and it doesn’t foam that much on the first wash, but on the second it produces a very thick and rich foam.
CANTU Shea Butter for Natural Hair Hydrating Cream Conditioner
A very nourishing conditioner and so far the only product that can keep my hair and particularly ends not dry a long time. It’s silicone free, which might make some of you happy, but due to that it doesn’t tame my hair well, so I need styling + care leave-ins for a smoother look and to prevent tangles. It’s not a super thick conditioner so it’s easy to apply (it’s similar to Pantene in that respect) and I was also told that is doesn’t feel heavy to those with more fine hair than me. The packaging has 400 ml, which is superb and it smells strongly of Pina colada.
GARNIER Fructis Smoothing Macadamia Hair Food Mask
This is very highly rated by users and it’s another silicone free formula. It’s doesn’t have such lasting effects like Cantu, but it’s regardless a great drugstore mask, even if it doesn’t have as much slip as a formula with silicones does and it leaves my hair softer than most cheap conditioners/masks. This can be used a leave-in conditioner too, both on damp and dry hair. I love this one particularly on dry hair as a quick fix for dryness, though effects only last a day, but the formula is a nice one that doesn’t leave a weird sticky residue and it’s light. I also had the banana version, which is less nourishing than this, but also good (they have about the same scent if that’s what draws you to Banana).
AUSSIE 3 Minute Miracle Deep Treatment
On my picture it’s not the original 3 Minute Reconstructor, but Colour version is very similar (though not all versions of 3 Minute are the same). This was my favourite before I discovered Pantene and I’ve been repurchasing it for over a decade (online before we finally got this brand here). It leaves the hair nicely moisturised, detangled and smelling so good of bubble gum. Before I discovered Pantene this would be my number one recommendation for a drugstore hair treatment for dry hair, but Pantene is about half the price here and performs a bit better. A few new versions appeared recently and I plan to try them someday.
PANTENE PRO-V Intensive Repair Conditioner
When it comes to cheap, this wins for me. I’ve discovered it sometime two years ago and since used many bottles, plus I’ve tried other Repair and Pantene products – everything is just as good. This conditioner is like a hair mask and it manages to nourish my thick, very dry hair, plus makes it a lot silkier than other cheap stuff – in fact when I use a mask/conditioner that when I’m rinsing it off I see it left my hair with not slip, I apply this for a minute and it fixes the situation. The effect still don’t last very long just like at other drugstore masks/conditioners (apart from Cantu), but it’s the best I found for the price and this is sold pretty much everywhere here. If you have just moderately dry hair and I know most of you don’t want to spend a lot on hair products, this rivals some salon treatments, so it’s my number one recommendation to try. And don’t just trust me, as I get a message here or there from my readers who write to me they’ve tried it and loved it.
PANTENE Pro-V Hair Superfood Conditioner
Superfood is even thicker than Repair, but they end up working the same on me, though this gives me this faux feeling it’s better because it’s richer, so I always have one in my stock. Both work wonderfully for my very dry, thick bleached/coloured hair, as it leaves my hair nourished and softer than most drugstore conditioners.
PANTENE Hair Biology Masks
Both of these are already gone from my collection and since they perform exactly the same as the Repair conditioner, which means they are great. I also had Grey & Glowing version, which is equality nice. These are smaller than Repair conditioner, but if you can find them with a discount or Repair is out of stock, they are a nice buy.
GARNIER Botanic Therapy Mask 3-in-1 Multi Usage Coco Cream and Macadamia
NATURE BOX Repair Mask with Avocado Oil
Another nice, thick drugstore mask. This has shea butter high on the ingredients list, so it’s in that respect better than Garnier, but the effect is the same. It’s nourishing, my hair feels sleek when I’m rinsing it off despite being silicone free, but it’s again frizzy when I dry it. Ok for very dry hair, though on my hair I need leave-ins for the added styling factor.
LA CROA Repair Hair Mask
This is one of the thickest hair mask formulas I’ve tried so far and thus one of my favourite formulas. It’s like a balm and that’s precisely why it works for my thick, super dry hair. When I’m rinsing it off it leaves that silky feeling I like and my hair dries less frizzy with it, though I still need some extra leave-ins. The effect also lasts a decent amount of time. It exists in these bags and a 200 ml pot, but unfortunately my local Müller doesn’t have full sizes, but all La Croa products can be bought online.
OGX Bonding Plex Conditioner
When I see “plex”, I immediately go research the ingredients list, see what that company tries to sell me as the “bonding ingredient” (Olaplex has the real deal, the rest not really) and research the science behind it. At OGX it’s Cystine Bis-PG-Propyl Silanetriol, which is not new and research showed it helps combat breakage. Formula is very rich and thick, so a bottle is a terrible packaging for this if you have weak hands, but it’s nourishing enough for very dry hair, though it’s not as good for the ends as Cantu. This is the only product that I will say I notice it makes my hair noticeably stronger. It only lasts a few days until my ends are dry again and hair become brittle, but on the first days where I see that white dot/break on the hair, it doesn’t just snap off like usually, it takes some force to break completely. So this the best product I’ve tried for damaged hair that has actual immediate results. The packaging is almost 400 ml.
OGX Bonding Plex Bonding Cream
A leave-in treatment that’s applied on damp hair after washing. Alone it’s not as effective as in combination with the conditioner, but since it’s a leave-in I can use it with any conditioner I want. It’s a medium thick cream that’s easy enough to apply on the hair (damp) and it also protects against heat.
JOHN FRIEDA Full Repair Hydrate and Rescue Deep Conditioner Treatment for Dry and Damaged Hair
This quite successfully tames frizz and I get sleeker hair than with most drugstore treatments, but my hair get very dry on the 3rd day (not tangled, though), so this is a mask I have to combine with a lot of leave-ins for my type of hair or I apply it over another more nourishing mask. For frizzy hair John Frieda has some of the best products.
CANTU Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream
While this is a bit less impressive than the conditioner from the same line, it’s great for combining with all the drugstore hair masks that on me don’t tend to keep my ends nourished for more than a couple of days. This adds those extra days that I need, since I don’t wash my hair often because I simply don’t need too (I have no oiliness at all) and this saves me from using a lot of leave-ins daily. It has the type of texture that it can be used both on damp and dry hair, however, it sadly doesn’t add that silkiness I need when used on dry hair, so I use it only on damp hair.
(discontinued) PANTENE Instant Damage Defense Conditioning Spray Leave-in
A very simple moisturizing leave-in conditioner. Surprisingly for Pantene this has no silicones and it has panthenol high on the list, which is a good moisturiser. It’s kind of too light for my hair, but for normal-thin hair this is a nice simple spray that doesn’t feel heavy and adds a boost of hydration. It’s actually very similar to the Gliss one, just without proteins.
GLISS Spray Leave-in Conditioners
These need to be mentioned here due to their years-long popularity and I’ve used up several bottles of Gliss Total Repair 19 versions before I found Healthy Sexy Hair Soy-Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner. Just like Pantene though, this doesn’t do much on my hair in terms of instant visible or touchable results (not even this one that has oils), but it provides an extra boost of moisture and every version of these has proteins quite high on the list. Some absolutely love these, there’s an abundance of rave reviews, I find them a bit meh, but for the price it’s worth a try if you need a leave-in conditioner with nice ingredients and some proteins.
(discontinued) BALEA Professional Collagen Power Struktur Elixier
One of the cheapest protein treatments I have found in our drugstores that actually has hydrolysed proteins high on the list. It’s a silicone free formula with glycerine as one of the first ingredients and hyaluronic acid, so it combines some moisturising action too with the protein. Formula is super light, I can’t even feel it on the hair, so it’s a nice one for all hair types.
*Since you can always rely on Balea to discotinue stuff, it’s best to find your favourites elsewhere. La Croa Keratin is a similar in terms of ingredients and from Balea Professional a spray called Wonderful Repair.
LA CROA Keratin Hair Smoothing Treatment
Another drugstore protein treatment, this one has proteins even higher on the list, as hydrolysed keratin is right after water, plus it has argan and macadamia oil. Despite the oils this is another light product and suitable for most hair types. I have to combine with something containing silicones, as it can remove all slip from the hair when used on its own. Between Balea and this, Balea has a nicer texture, but La Croa has better ingredients.
L’OREAL Elseve Full Resist Brush Proof Cream Leave-in
A light creamy leave-in heat protectant with ceramides and arganine, very standard in terms of texture and the type I’d use on damp hair after washing, but it’s ok also on dry hair. It protects against heat and both ceramides and arganine might help the hair become stronger. L’Oreal’s leave-in in orange/pink packaging has proteins so a combination of the two seems to me a good drugstore set for damaged and coloured hair.
LA CROA Argan Macadamia Oil Cream for Curly & Wavy Hair
The thickest hair moisturiser on this list and also one with the least wet texture. This means I can use it both on damp and dry hair, and it’s particularly nice for smoothing down the hair as well as nourishing dry ends. I have Cantu for using on damp hair after washing and this for using on dry hair when it’s dry, frizzy and not smooth. I don’t follow the rules that brands set, so I don’t see this as a cream for enhancing curly hair, I see the ingredients and conclude what this product can do for me – this is a rich, leave-in conditioner as far as my hair is concerned, a product for nourishing and smoothing. It has argan and macadamia oil high on the ingredients list, plus some other oils and some proteins, so it’s a really good-looking list.
LANGHAAR MÄDCHEN Hair Oil Intense Repair
I use silicone-oil as as heat protectants, so I need large quantities of it and I get the cheap stuff for the job. This is one of the lightest formulas on my list, so it’s not super effective on taming the frizz like heavier oils do on me, but like I said I use it for other things. It’s cheap and the bottle is big.
By the way Balea’s Repair oil is one of the thickest and my mother uses it by the bucket loads on her very dry, thick hair, so another drugstore recommendation.
BALEA Schönheits Geheimnisse Reichhaltiges Cocosöl
This is a classic, silicone free oil. This means it’s more nourishing and heavier than silicone-oils and mostly suited as a pre-wash treatment for most. I use these oils (along with coconut one) when my hair is mega dry, as applying one of these makes the hair visibly oily, not really that presentable unless you apply a very small amount or tie the hair up. But such oils are the best way I deal with the excessive dryness of my ends in the later days after washing. This one is rich, yet not too heavy as coconut oil and it doesn’t leave the hair looking overly greasy, but I still need to wash my hair soon, especially if I apply it every day. What also wins here for me is the pump packaging, which is so much more convenient that scooping coconut oil from a pot. I’m not sure if this is LE or not, but as far as I know it’s still available.
LA CROA Protect & Shine Hair Oil Spray
I’ve sung praises to this and if all of my stash disappeared, this would be one of the first products I would buy (I have backups just in case). It’s a silicone oil in spray that instantly give a ton of slip to the hair, making it an outstanding detangler – a few sprays and the comb or fingers just slide through. Since my hair naturally kinda curly, wavvy, individual hairs or strands get tangled up very fast when it gets coiled/frizzy in days after washing and this makes sure that I’m not breaking any hair when I run my fingers through it or comb it. It’s also great for when my hair is feeling very dry, for taming frizz and adding shine. It’s lighter than regular silicone oils, still I have my doubts how suitable it is for thin hair. If I use a crappy conditioner, this saves the situation singlehandedly. Sadly this only exists in small 60 ml bottles and really wish they made supersizes.
LA CROA Nourishing Hair Oil
We only have 20 ml bottles here, but 100 ml exist too. It’s not as nice their Protect & Shine spray, at least it doesn’t add as much slip and it’s lighten than Orofluido (which is cheap online and more worthy of purchase), but it’s a nice oil in the drugstores and ingredients are better than most. I need to use a large amount to get the result I want, but it helps with dryness, adds shine and gives a smoother effect.
PALMER’S Cocoa Butter Formula Moisturising Hair Oil
A hair oil with no silicones that’s like a dry oil, so not heavy and the fact it comes in a spray makes it easier to distribute more evenly. It doesn’t make my hair look too greasy when I apply it, but the best part is that on the second day, my hair looks good, like I didn’t use a regular oil, but a silicone one. It’s great for very dry ends and patched strands, it’s fixes them instantly and smooths them down. The scent is fantastic, as it smells like chocolate and mint, so After Eight and the scent lingers.
AUSSIE Scent-sational Conditioning Leave-in Spray Smooth
This is such a unique product. It’s a hair fragrance/leave-in whose scent “activates” every time I touch my hair and it lasts all day. As a leave-in conditioner it’s ok, a bit light for my liking and I’d wish for more oil, but it’s a nice one nonetheless, at least it’s an alcohol-free fragranced hair mist, which is hard to find and I really like the fruity Aussie fragrance.
FARMASI Keratin Spray
A feather light spray with nice ingredients since it has hydrolised proteins high on the list. I find this spray makes my hair a bit softer than when I don’t use it, though it doesn’t work miracles if the conditioner I use is not that great. It’s easy to include into a routine and the mist is nicely fine, only the bottle is a bit small. Farmasi is a catalogue thing, like Avon and Oriflame.
FARMASI Keratin Therapy Repairing Serum
Another Farmasi product with nice ingredients. It again has hydrolised proteins, so good for damaged hair. Formula is thin, so more suited for thin hair and there’s only 30 ml, but it does what silicone serums usually do, so create a more polished look.
JOHN FRIEDA Frizz Ease 3 Day Straight
Though this isn’t some amazing miracle worker that transforms my hair into a silky, straight waterfall of hair, it helps, which is a lot when it comes to my super frizzy hair. It’s somewhat similar to a much more expensive combination of Moroccanoil Smooth Blow-Dry Concentrate & L’Oreal Professional Liss Unlimited Smoothing Cream, however, that one is still better for my hair purely because it has some nourishing capacities, while this is just a very light alcohol-based liquid with polymers and keratin that help the hair stay straight. I’m actually more impressed by how well it holds the hair style, rather than how good it is when I’m blow drying my hair. At the latter, it’s not always a super smooth blow-out, so I still need to put my hair in a bun while it’s still warm and after it cool, then I have a smooth result, but it is straighter and sleeker than without and it lasts like that for days, which with my hair doesn’t happen if I don’t use a straightener. So far I’ve only used a blow-dryer with this, though instructions say to use a straightener as well, but I find that blow-drying gets me a good result already. Since it’s so very light and also alcohol based, I need to make sure that I use nourishing leave-ins under it, otherwise my hair feels dry fast.
JOHN FRIEDA Frizz Ease Extra Strength Serum
JF has a few different serums, this one is for thick, coarse hair and it’s very thick, thickest I’ve tried. This is similarly good at taming frizz as 3 Day, but it is much heavier. It can also be used on dry hair to additionally smooth the hair and add shine.
NIVEA Curl Forming Spray
This has been my favourite hair spray for a while now, though Nivea brags with its amazing ability define curls when used on damp hair, but it works best when used as a traditional hair spray. Unlike most, this doesn’t leave my hair dry as it doesn’t have alcohol. It’s perfect for after adding hold after curling the hair with a curling iron, as it’s not sticky, crunchy or heavy on the hair. This also doesn’t have that traditional hair spray.
GOT2B #Oh My Nude Tame it Softly Dry Lightweight Oil Mist
A very light oil in spray, that instantly makes the hair look more healthy, because it adds tons of shine, it smooths down frizz and just pulls it all together. It’s pretty much like a regular silicone oil, just lighter and faster to use, so best for finishing touches when you already used hair spray or other styling products and you don’t want to touch you hair much anymore. I use it as any time I’m a pinch to make my hair more presentable, especially since my hair gets drier the longer I don’t wash my hair, so I need a shine spray that doesn’t contain alcohol and one that masks dryness.
SCWARZKOPF GOT2B Bye Bye Babyhaar Bändiger
This stuff is pretty amazing for frizz and flyaways, it does the job so well and fast. It’s like a hair gel in a mascara form, but it doesn’t feel stiff or heavy. It has plastic wand like mascaras and just basically just comb your flyaways with it and they stay down. It also smells like peaches which is an extra plus.
BALEA Styling Finishing Stick
The same thing as got2b just cheaper, though just a touch less nice. It has a classic mascara brush, so it has a tendency to over apply unlike got2b, but this can be quickly remedied by wiping the brush a bit.
SUBRINA Colour Refresh Mask
A colour toning hair mask for blondes, but it exists in several other shades and I could include all of them, since they are all great. This is much stronger than L’Oreal’s purple shampoo, so those with very light (level 10) blonde hair have to be extremely careful with this and dilute it a lot, but this also means it works on strong yellow/golden tones. Some say it’s too heavy for them to use on the top part of the hair, however, it’s not enough on its own for me, so I mix it with Pantene. Subrina decided to make these in only 60 ml versions, which is not a lot if you have long hair, but since pigments are so strong, one tube can last a while. This also exists in pink, purple, red, orange, warm brown and cold brown, I’ve tried all and I really enjoyed my experiments with temporary colours (so far all always washed off completely on me, but I use a protein treatment beforehand to prevent it holding too much to damaged, porous hair).
L’OREAL PARIS Elvital Deep Purple Maske
The shampoo version is mentioned above and aside from this mask, there’s also a conditioner, which is easier to find than this one. The shampoo alone does a remarkable job and this is a more intense version, but not as much as Colour Refresh. This makes my level 8-9 blonde, so not the lightest, into a steel grey-blonde, so super ashy, kind of one of those modern ultra-cool shades. On my roots where my hair is slightly darker, also has stronger/darker warm tones it’s passable, but it doesn’t cool it down completely. This one has a tendency to leave purple stains on skin, so you need to me more careful with it than the shampoo or Colour Refresh, but it’s nothing long-lasting. It doesn’t leave that silky smooth feeling when I’m rinsing it off, though the formula is thick and it feels rich, so I resort to leave-ins to do the extra job of smoothing. Ingredients-wise it’s not the most impressive of L’Oreal’s masks, while I like they added mineral oil high on the list, I miss arganine and/or proteins and ceramides they have in almost all of their other formulas, so this is quite a base, basic moisturising formula that’s tinted. It’s pretty good, very comparable with Subrina Diamond Blonde, though that one is even stronger, but this is more available worldwide.
Have a great day!