The 12 Best Hair Detanglers of 2023

We like the Drunk Elephant Wild Marula Tangle Spray for its lightweight and nourishing formula.

In This Article

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Hair Detanglers

Real Simple / Kristin Kempa

For many, tangled hair can seem completely unavoidable. Maybe you have long, fine, damaged, curly, or breakage-prone hair, or your hair gets wrapped around hair ties or claw clips, causing snarls. Or maybe you experience tangles during beach days or pool dips. Whatever the cause, it’s best to address knots and tangles without causing further damage. 

That’s where hair detanglers come in. These products help you gently tease through knots without causing breakage. We spent hours researching dozens of different detangling products, looking at their key ingredients and pinpointing detangling solutions for all sorts of hair types and specific concerns. 

For expert insight we spoke to Krysta Biancone, independent hair stylist and co-owner of Amari Salon and Spa in Santa Barbara, California, as well as Natalie Palomino, hair stylist and owner of hair care retailer North Authentic

Palomino says it’s “imperative” to consider your hair type and texture when selecting a detangler. “If you choose something made for thick hair when you have fine hair, it will likely be way too heavy, causing your hair to look limp or worse—greasy,” she says. “If you have thick hair and go for a detangler for fine hair, it won’t give you the adequate moisture and slip necessary for your hair type, which means wasted money.”

Our top pick is the Drunk Elephant Wild Marula Tangle Spray. The lightweight spray contains numerous botanical oils and extracts that moisturize and smooth hair, reducing damage when brushing or combing.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Hair Detangler

Drunk Elephant Wild Marula Tangle Spray

Drunk Elephant Wild Marula Tangle Spray

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a lightweight detangler packed with nourishing oils. 

Who it’s not for: People who want a detangler they can use on dry hair. 

This detangler is packed with lightweight oils that smooth hair and add shine, thanks to the Drunk Elephant Fermentoil Hair Complex, which consists of a blend of fermented oils that provide anti-frizz and anti-static benefits without the use of silicones. Also present is a blend of amino acids, designed to strengthen hair strands and improve body and bounce.

The product is vegan and cruelty-free, and comes in recyclable packaging. It’s designed for use after washing, on either towel-dried or damp hair, and you don’t need to rinse it out. 

Price at time of publish: $25

Product Details:

  • Size: 4 ounces
  • Type: Spray
  • Key Ingredients: Fermentoil Hair Complex, multi-amino-acid blend, marula oil

Best Budget Hair Detangler

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Detangler

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Detangler

Walmart

Who it’s for: People who air dry their hair and people who want an affordable detangler.

Who it’s not for: People who use a lot of heat on their hair and people with oily hair.

This detangler is designed for wet hair you’re about to air dry. It contains aloe vera extract and vitamin E, which help to control frizz and detangle. The formula is vegan, silicone-free, and paraben-free. While this product is lightweight, it’s best suited for normal to dry hair types—people with oily hair may want an oil-free formula.

The best part about this detangler, though, is the low price. It offers one of the best bang for your buck deals, and you can easily find it at your local drugstore and buy in bulk to ensure you're never without it.

Price at time of publish: $12 for 2-pack

Product Details:

  • Size: 5 ounces
  • Type: Spray
  • Key Ingredients: Vitamin E, aloe extract

Best Hair Detangler for Natural Hair

SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Moisturizing Detangler

SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Moisturizing Detangler

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a thick and moisturizing detangler for natural hair. 

Who it’s not for: People who don’t have curly or coily hair. 

A detangling solution is especially important for those with natural hair, and this detangler is designed for people with 3A-4C curl patterns. It contains shea butter, argan oil, and kelp extract to help soften hair and make it easier to detangle without breakage. You can use it before or after washing—just apply to wet hair before combing out tangles.  

The product comes in a cream formula, with a consistency similar to a thick moisturizer or body butter. You need to apply it with your hands, unlike sprays that can be spritzed directly onto your hair.

Price at time of publish: $13

Product Details:

  • Size: 8 ounces
  • Type: Cream
  • Key Ingredients: Shea butter, argan oil, kelp extract

Best Hair Detangler for Curly Hair

NOU No Damage Detangler

Next of Us No Damage Detangler

Walmart

Who it’s for: People who want to detangle and define their curls while sticking to a budget.

Who it’s not for: People who want a silicone-free detangler. 

This detangler is made with coconut oil and dimethicone, a silicone that locks in moisture and smooths your hair. While not unsafe to use, it can cause buildup if you use it too much, so keep that in mind if you frequently use a detangler.

Designed for 3A-4C curls, it can help detangle without sacrificing curl definition. To use it, the brand recommends putting a dollop of the product on your palm and rubbing your hands together to help emulsify the formula. You can then use your fingers to apply the product to wet or dry hair before detangling.

Price at time of publish: $7

Product Details:

  • Size: 7.6 ounces
  • Type: Cream
  • Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, dimethicone

Best Hair Detangler for Fine Hair

Moroccanoil Treatment Light

Moroccanoil Treatment Light

Sephora

Who it’s for: People who want a detangler that won’t weigh down their hair.

Who it’s not for: People with coarse or thick hair. 

This lightweight hair oil is designed for people with fine or light-colored hair. It adds moisture without weighing down strands, helping detangle your hair, and it can be applied to damp or dry hair. Key ingredients include argan oil and linseed oil, which contain fatty acids to hydrate hair. This detangler also pulls double duty when applied to dry hair, helping to smooth flyaways and reduce frizz. 

If you have thick, wavy, curly, or coily hair, check out the original Moroccanoil Treatment, which can be used on all hair types.

Price at time of publish: From $16

Product Details:

  • Size: 0.85, 1.7, or 3.4 ounces
  • Type: Oil
  • Key Ingredients: Argan oil, linseed extract

Best Hair Detangler for Color-Treated Hair

Rahua Hydration Detangler + UV Barrier

Rahua Hydration Detangler + UV Barrier

 Courtesy of Sephora

Who it’s for: People who want to protect their color-treated hair from UV rays. 

Who it’s not for: People who prefer a cream or oil detangler.

This detangling spray is packed with botanical extracts and oils, including Rahua oil and Morete oil—two extracts from Amazonian fruits and nuts that help nourish and smooth hair strands. 

This product is great for people trying to preserve their hair color, since it helps protect against UV rays. Too much sun exposure can affect the chemicals in hair dyes, fading the color and potentially even causing bleaching. It's an expensive product, but worth it to protect your color and help it last longer.

Price at time of publish: $34

Product Details:

  • Size: 6.5 ounces
  • Type: Spray
  • Key Ingredients: Morete oil, Rahua oil, Sacha Inchi, organic mango sugars

Best Hair Detangler for Damaged Hair

Oribe Priming Lotion Leave-In Conditioning Detangler

 Oribe Priming Lotion Leave-In Conditioning Detangler

Amazon

If you have damaged hair, you’ll want a detangler that helps strengthen your hair to prevent further breakage. This Oribe detangler gives hair a lot of slip, so you can tease out knots and tangles without using too much force. 

The product contains the Oribe Signature Complex that “defends hair from oxidative stress, photoaging and the deterioration of natural keratin,” per the brand. Another key ingredient is Oribe’s Nourishing Butter Complex, which contains mango seed, cocoa seed, and murumuru seed butters to strengthen hair and protect it from breakage during detangling. 

Price at time of publish: $38

Product Details:

  • Size: 8.5 ounces
  • Type: Lotion
  • Key Ingredients: Oribe Signature Complex, Nourishing Butter Complex, olive oil

Best Moisturizing Hair Detangler

Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Aloe + Oat Milk Detangling Spray

Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Aloe + Oat Milk Detangling Spray

Ulta

Who it’s for: People who want a hydrating and hypoallergenic detangler.

Who it’s not for: People who want a detangler with heat protection. 

If you have dry or brittle hair that’s prone to breakage, reach for a detangler that helps hydrate your hair. This leave-in detangler is made with aloe vera and oat milk, which provide your hair with extra moisture (and soothes scalp skin, to boot). 

This dermatologist-tested product is also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, so it’s a good pick for people with sensitive skin or those who prefer unscented products. 

Price at time of publish: $25

Product Details:

  • Size: 6 ounces
  • Type: Spray
  • Key Ingredients: Aloe vera, oat milk, green tea extract

Best Hair Detangler for Frizz Control

Ouai Leave-In Conditioner

4.9
Leave-In Conditioner

 Courtesy of Ouai

Who it’s for: People who want a detangler that combats split ends and flyaways.

Who it’s not for: People who want an unscented product. 

This spray is a detangler, conditioner, and heat damage protectant all in one. It contains tamarind seed extract and a blend of amino acids, which help protect and smooth hair. It’s also designed to combat split ends and help control flyaway hairs, making it a great choice for people dealing with frizz. 

The brand recommends spraying onto damp hair and using a wide-toothed comb to spread it through, but notes that people with extremely thick or coily hair can apply the product when their hair is dry. The formula has Ouai’s “North Bondi” scent, described as a floral fragrance with white musk. 

Price at time of publish: $28

Product Details:

  • Size: 4.7 ounces
  • Type: Spray
  • Key Ingredients: Vitamin E, amino acid blend, tamarind seed extract

Best Hair Detangler for Heat Protection

Drybar Prep Rally Prime & Prep Detangler

Drybar Prep Rally Prime & Prep Detangler

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who regularly use heat to style their hair.

Who it’s not for: People who are sensitive to fragrance.

If you regularly use hot tools, a heat protective spray is a must. This detangler contains biotin to support hair’s strength and elasticity, sea berry oil to condition and soften hair, and vitamins B and C to nourish and strengthen hair.

The Prep Rally detangler helps protect your hair from heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Use it on damp hair before blow-drying, or on dry hair before you use heat tools. It comes in both a woodsy “Noir” scent and a tropical “Coconut Colada” scent.

Price at time of publish: $26

Product Details:

  • Size: 5 ounces
  • Type: Spray
  • Key Ingredients: Biotin, sea berry oil, vitamin B, vitamin C

Best Oil Hair Detangler

Verb Ghost Oil

4.5
Verb Ghost Oil

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a nourishing oil that won’t weigh hair down. 

Who it’s not for: People with extra thick, dry hair. 

This lightweight oil combats frizz and kinks without weighing down your strands. Bamboo extract helps your hair retain moisture, argan oil pumps up elasticity and shine, and moringa seed oil helps with detangling and smoothing. With this product, a little goes a long way: Just apply two or three drops to damp or dry hair before styling. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details:

  • Size: 2 ounces
  • Type: Oil
  • Key Ingredients: Argan oil, bamboo extract, moringa seed oil

Best Hair Detangler Brush

Tangle Teezer The Original Detangling Hairbrush

Tangle Teezer The Original

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a hairbrush that detangles wet or dry hair without pulling or snagging.

Who it’s not for: People looking for a detangling cream, spray, or oil. 

There’s a reason this inexpensive detangling brush has a cult following: It works. The original Tangle Teezer, designed for detangling wet or dry hair, has an ergonomic shape that fits easily in your palm. It has two different lengths of flexible teeth: The long teeth help detangle while the short teeth work to smooth your hair’s cuticle. The flexible teeth are designed to run through hair without pulling or snagging, which means less breakage.

Price at time of publish: $13

Product Details:

  • Size: 3 x 2 x 5 inches

Final Verdict

Our favorite detangler is the Drunk Elephant Wild Marula Tangle Spray. The brand’s Fermentoil Hair Complex provides a blend of fruit and nut oils that help smooth hair and tackle frizz and static, while the amino acids strengthen hair to prevent damage and breakage.

How to Shop for Hair Detangler Like a Pro

Type

There are many different types of hair detanglers available, so choose whichever type works best for you and your hair care routine. Some people prefer a spray or mist detangler so they can apply it without using their hands. Others prefer a hair cream applied with their fingers. Generally speaking, a spray or mist will be more lightweight than a hair cream or hair lotion. 

Formula

“Certain formulas are better for certain types of hair,” says Biancone. “For example, if you have curly or thick textured hair, look for a product with hydrating ingredients such as argan oil, shea butter, or avocado oil. If you have finer textured hair, look for lightweight formulas that won't weigh the hair down.”

Hair Type

Be sure to consider your hair type and texture before purchasing detangler. If you have fine hair, a detangler that’s too heavy is going to weigh it down. However, if you have thick, coarse hair, a detangler that’s not heavy enough isn’t going to work as well, causing you to use more product and thus spend more money in the long run.

Questions You Might Ask

What’s the best way to detangle hair?

For optimal results, you’ll need a detangling product and a detangling brush. Palomino recommends using an anti-breakage detangling brush rather than your fingers or a comb, because “wide-tooth combs don’t get in between enough hairs to really detangle.” She adds: “If your hair is prone to breakage or curly/kinky, then choose a detangling brush that has flat bristles rather than bristles with bulbs at the end. These bulbs risk pulling, tugging and breaking fragile hair.”

Palomino’s recommended the following steps for detangling hair:

  1. Apply a detangling product to wet hair.
  2. Working in sections, start from the ends of your hair and use your detangling brush to detangle from the bottom up.
  3. Continue until you can “brush through roots to ends without running into any tangles or snags.”

Pro Tip: “If you reach a knot that is extremely hard to get out, a trick of the trade is to lightly backcomb it,” she says. “This will gently release the hairs that are wrapped around one another removing the knot. Once you backcomb the knot loose, then continue detangling the section by brushing in a downward motion until the tangles are out.”

Is it better to detangle wet or dry hair?

It depends. Palomino explains that wet hair is prone to damage, so you should always use a detangler or leave-in conditioner rather than detangling wet hair without any product. If you don’t have any products, you should wait until your hair is dry to start detangling it. “Never detangle wet hair that has nothing on it,” she says. 

What’s the difference between leave-in conditioner and hair detangler?

“Leave-in conditioner and hair detangler are two different products,” Biancone explains. “Leave-in conditioner is used after a shower or shampooing to help keep the hair hydrated and soft. Hair detangler helps break down knots and tangles in dry or wet hair, allowing for easier styling and brushing.”

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Nina Bahadur, a writer with over a decade of experience in beauty, health, and culture writing. To select the best hair detanglers, she spent hours researching dozens of popular products. She also spoke to two haircare experts: Krysta Biancone, independent hair stylist and co-owner of Amari Salon and Spa in Santa Barbara, California, as well as Natalie Palomino, hair stylist and owner of hair care retailer North Authentic.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles