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The Best Leave-In Conditioner for Curly Hair Is Just $3

Miracles can be bought at Duane Reade.

Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Leave-In Conditioner ($3)
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Low-maintenance hair is my evergreen goal. This isn’t because of the weird hetero privileging of “low-maintenance” over “high-maintenance” women, but rather because I’m a workaholic Capricorn who has things to do. My morning routine needs to be short so that I can start world domination early.

However, the universe has a sense of humor, because I ended up with a full head of curly hair that is thick, coarse, and stubborn. The good news? In all my hunting for products that will minimize my routine and maximize my results (shiny, moisturized, less-frizzy hair), I’ve found an actual miracle: Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Leave-In Conditioner.

I first bought this conditioner because I was a broke graduate student who needed leave-in conditioner and couldn’t afford the salon-quality products my stylist would show me at the end of my bank-account-breaking hair appointments. When I picked up this rather garish-looking green bottle of leave-in conditioner that promised “sleek” and “shiny” hair, I expected it to be what drugstore purchases always were for me: a $3 bridge to my next one-and-done purchase.

But then, the unthinkable happened: It worked. It only took 30 seconds to scrunch and go on non-shower days (which, as a curly-haired person, are most days), there was no residue or product build-up, and my hair just felt moisturized, soft, and clean. Low Maintenance Achievement, unlocked.

The packaging isn’t sexy and the name is a mouthful, but in the world of leave-in conditioners, I’ve yet to find its equal. I’ve been using it for the last five years.