Luster Tonic Leave-in Conditioner review

Because Dude, knots are gnarly.

Tonic Luster Tonic Leave in Conditioner reviewphotos: we heart this

Are you a water baby? Once upon a time I was, but as I’ve gotten older my preference has turned to hot tubs rather than colder, unheated bodies of water. At the same time I’m inexplicably drawn to the ocean. The sun, sand, and surf draw me in every time.

As summer fades into fall I know I’m going to miss those days at the beach, but I’ve also noticed the beating my hair has gotten with all that sun! Sure, those natural highlights look nice from afar, but one touch of the crispy ends is pretty off putting. Rather than resorting to drastic measures (ie hacking off my hair again), I think it’s time for a gentler remedy. Luster Tonic leave-in conditioner came just in time.

TonicB Luster Tonic Leave in Conditioner review

Tonic is a California based company that was founded with an eye on the surf and style. All that time in the ocean can really damage hair so Tonic has developed three separate products to help surfer girls look as great out of the water as they do hanging ten.

Threesome Tonic is a 3-in-1 product designed to be used as a shampoo, conditioner, and a body wash/shave lotion. Infused with peppermint, this multitasker will get you going in no time.

The Chronic Tonic is a shampoo and conditioner duo for those with color treated hair. Have a Brazilian blow out? No worry; The Chronic is your friend.

Luster Tonic is a leave in conditioner to detangle, protect and add shine to the gnarly-est of messes. Bonus- you can use it as a lotion!

My first few times using Luster Tonic were a little confusing. I wasn’t sure if I was using enough product, and applying it was tricky. It’s designed to be a spray-on cream, but I found the spray mechanism to work more like a pump, the product is just too thick. I started spraying it into my palm and that gave me a better idea of how much product to use, as well as more equal application.

The smell is fantastic, vanilla and coconut and tropical beaches all at once. While it didn’t make my hair terribly shiny, it’s a great detangler for my crazy curls. After using Luster Tonic for a few weeks I’ve noticed that my hair feels healthier, and when I wake up in the morning it’s not such a rat’s nest of tangles. Used as a lotion it’s a bit heavy and has a hard time being absorbed, but it feels great before heading off into the sun. Not a daily lotion, but in a pinch it’s nice.

• Formulated to be 100% environmentally friendly.
• No parabens or sulfates.

• Hard to dispense.
• Other than the Tonic website, their products are only sold in surf shops. Land-locked hair needs love, too!

Despite never having been on a surfboard in my life (it’s a little tougher here in New England) I can pretend with Tonic. My hair feels lovely, and maybe with continued use I can have those coveted surfer waves next summer. That’s hair, not water…

Testers, what did you think of Luster Tonic ?


Amanda loves all things yummy, shiny, beautiful, and fun. On any given day you’ll find her in the kitchen, walking her dogs, or catching a concert with friends.

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.

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Written by Amanda


  1. Profile photo of turboterp

    I tested Luster Tonic and I’m not giving it up even though summer is over. On the contrary, I’m going to use it all winter long to remind myself of happy days on the beach.

    When I saw the packaging and read that it was only sold in surf shops, I feared it would be a gimmicky product, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s fabulous—- just the right consistency to add shine and silkiness without weighing my hair down.

    I use it the same way you do, @mandaleem , spraying it into my hand then smoothing it through my wet hair. It’s also good smoothing fly-aways when my hair is dry.

    For me, it’s a little heavy for a warm weather skin moisturizer, but I bet it will be fabulous once the weather gets cold.

    Luster Tonic is a great all-purpose leave in conditioner, and it has the most amazing scent, too. Not heavy-handed, just a whisper of delicious beach smells. I absolutely love it! 5 stars.

  2. Profile photo of Amanda

    It may be fall now, but Tonic gives me the joy of summer very morning. Even though the application can be a bit of a process I actually prefer it that way because I know exactly how much product I’m using.
    5 stars, easy peasy. Try it ladies, you’ll love Tonic!

  3. Profile photo of sherrishera

    I tested the Tonic and have kind of mixed feelings about it. First, the scent is vanilla-y and cocoa butter-like so it definately has that beach flavor. I like the scents and the beach, so this is good.
    I do think it’s a little weird to be a hair tonic or a body moisturizer so I surmised that it must be oil-like and that’s pretty much the case. It seems to me it’s like a light oil or a dry spray oil. On my hair it works well with tangles as long as I don’t get it too close to my roots where it tends to make my hair look flat and oily. For the ends, though, this stuff is fantastic! Not too oily or thick (like shine serums), just right.
    My skin had some serious issues with the stuff when I tried to use it as a moisturizer. Everyplace this touched errupted in flaming red patches which quited down a half hour or so after application. I didn’t have the problem on my scalp (though I mostly applied just to ends), but there is something irritating in this though I can’t identify the culprit.
    Good enough to care for fried ends, but not for a moisturizer for me! I’ll probably pass on this in the store. 2 stars for me but worth it for those not so sensitive.

    1. Profile photo of Amanda

      Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear you had a poor experience with Luster Tonic! I wonder if it was an allergic reaction to the perfumes.
      While I can sometimes have reactions to perfumes and lotions (I have psoriasis and eczema) I didn’t react to Luster Tonic. I did feel slightly itchy, but I thought it was more due to the heavy nature of the product when used as a moisturizer than an allergic sort of reaction. After hearing about your experience I don’t think I’ll push the “slightly itchy but not too bad” and I’ll not try using it as a moisturizer unless I’m terribly pressed.

  4. Profile photo of Mackenzie Gelina
    Mackenzie Gelina

    I tried the Luster Tonic and I can’t get enough of it. The smell is sooo great and my curly hair really loves the moisture. It’s not super heavy at all which I love – I hate the super heavy ones that weigh down my hair. This one leaves everything light, smelling wonderful and very moisturized. 5 stars for me :)

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