The use of conditioners on shampooed hair has long been considered the right approach to treat your hair. While most consider rinse-out conditioners just enough to nourish and condition their hair, it might not be enough for some. Leave-in conditioners are the best choice to keep your hair moisturized and smooth to manage it all day long.
Product ingredients and your hair type are what matters the most when it comes to choosing a good leave-in conditioner, and that includes finding one that's paraben-free.
This article has a buying guide that discusses the basics behind choosing the best leave-in conditioner for your hair type, as well as listing the 10 best products we liked from the online marketplaces.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
Table of Contents
Leave-in conditioners can come in liquid or spray form and are typically used on shampooed hair after towel drying. They are mainly used to detangle and to give your hair extra moisture to ease styling.
Leave-in conditioners are popular amongst those with frizzy, dry, and damaged hair. However, there is no rule that people with healthy hair shouldn’t use a leave-in conditioner.
Regular use of a good leave-in conditioner on your hair can render a significant difference to its texture. Those who want extra moisturizing can apply it on their hair before bedtime and leave it on overnight.
A leave-in conditioner can nourish your hair and give it the love and care it deserves. With a wide range of leave-in conditioners to pick from, especially when the rates are competitive at the online marketplaces and their properties are similar, you might be in a fix.
Read on to find what makes a good leave-in conditioner for your hair and how you can easily pick one.
Just as you would determine your skin type before choosing a skincare product, you need to know what type of hair you have before deciding on a leave-in conditioner.
Normal conditioners can be too heavy for those with oily hair. They do not need much hydration or moisturization on their locks. Those with oily hair need a lightweight conditioner that won’t make their mane look greasy and sticky. A good conditioner will retain moisture on the hair and make it appear smooth and healthy.
If your scalp is oily but your hair strands are on the drier side, you should only focus on the dry part and apply a thicker conditioner on the strands.
Cream-based leave-in conditioners add weight to the hair and make it look greasy. A lightweight spray is ideal for those with fine hair as it adds the right amount of moisture to your hair without making it look flat and dull. Use only the right amount of conditioning spray as using too much can make your hair look finer than it is.
Check if your hair is dry on the scalp and also from roots to ends. It may also be unmanageable and may easily get tangled. For such dry and frizzy hair, a thick and creamy leave-in conditioner can provide great nourishment and conditioning.
These conditioners are enriched with emollients and natural oils to provide extra moisture and hydration to the hair and to nourish the scalp and roots. Besides detangling frizzy hair and making it manageable, it also relieves your hair from dullness and provides shine and luster.
Regular use of styling tools or subjecting your hair to chemical treatments repeatedly can damage the strands and roots. Some treatments can also damage the scalp and dry it out. To rectify the problem, you need conditioners that can address issues like split ends and make your hair look healthier.
Leave-in conditioners with emollients such as shea butter, coconut oil, and argan oil are good at nourishing the scalp and repairing the damaged strands. Keratin-infused treatments are also recognized for their effectiveness in restoring keratin, the structural protein that makes up the hair, to restore elasticity and rebuild strength.
Colored hair? Look for labels such as color-safe or sulfate-free. These products usually come with SPF that protects the brightness of your hair color, thanks to the inclusion of ingredients and anti-fading agents with color-protecting properties. Some are also enriched with antioxidants to fight the possible environmental damage to colored hair.
Thick and creamy conditioners can add extra hydration to curly hair which is susceptible and sensitive to damaging elements. A thick leave-in conditioner can soften curls and remove tangles to make hair more manageable.
Look for products with ingredients such as shea butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, and so on, that can lock the moisture into your hair cuticles.
When you know what type of hair you have, you need to do a bit of research on what ingredients go well for your hair type. Natural ingredients are always the best for your hair, so have an understanding of what natural ingredients work for your type of hair.
Keratin is a commonly sought-after ingredient by those with severely damaged hair. It can fill in the gaps in the hair cuticles and strengthen it. Argan oil is another ingredient that many conditioners have. It's rich in antioxidants like Vitamin E, and is a great component for nourishing and replenishing.
Jojoba oil, glycerin, and shea butter are great to nourish hair from the roots to tips and make it look smooth, healthy, and shiny. Coconut oil and olive oil are also great emollients that moisturize. Oils with an anti-inflammatory effect such as sesame oil and olive oil are great to treat irritated scalps and to use on thin and sensitive hair.
Aloe vera also has a soothing effect on the scalp, and can also improve the texture of your hair by hydrating. Collagen is another ingredient to look for that can add a coating to your hair to make it look healthier.
Parabens are only good to improve the shelf life of a product, and can cause issues like skin irritation and reproductive issues, to name a few. Sulfates such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are also found in a lot of leave-in conditioners. It's good to stay away from them as they are known to be eye, lung and skin irritants.
Fragrances can give a great scent to your hair. But, fragrance comes with phthalates that have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Various alcohol types are also found in leave-in conditioners. Ditch these products as they can dry out your hair and result in breakage and split ends.
Also harmful are synthetic colors and silicone. A product with all-natural ingredients will always be a safer, healthy choice.
Summers can make your hair oilier than it is normally, and so you might only need a liquid conditioner to leave on. A creamy one can be too heavy during the hot summer months and can interfere with styling.
Likewise, a liquid leave-in conditioner will not help you much during dry and windy winter months. What you need is a thicker conditioner that can keep your mane under control and keep it adequately hydrated and moisturized despite the dry weather.
Click to purchase
Argan Oil Leave-In Conditioner
Nourish and Pamper Your Unmanageable Hair
Fructis Sleek & Shine
For Excellent Conditioning at a Reasonable Price
It's a 10 Haircare
Miracle Leave-In Conditioner
Perfect Conditioner for Those with Dyed or Damaged Hair
The Honest Company
Honest Conditioning Detangler
For Gentle Detangling without Synthetic Fragrances
Revitalizing 3 in 1 Leave In
Vegan Conditioner for Complete Protection and Hydration
Quench! Moisture Intensive Leave-in Conditioner
Ultra-Hydrating Conditioner for Untamed Curls
Strengthen & Restore Leave in Conditioner
A Creamy Leave-in Conditioner with Natural and Organic Ingredients
Triple-Moisture Silk Touch Leave-In Cream｜3 pack
Safeguard Your Damaged or Treated Hair with This Leave-in Cream Conditioner
Curl Leave-In Conditioner + Therapy
For Safe Use on the Sensitive Skin of Little Ones
Whole Blends Repairing Leave-In Miracle Nectar Honey Treasures
Natural Conditioning with the Goodness of Honey and Royal Jelly
Argan oil is a great ingredient with scalp-nourishing properties known for encouraging the growth of new hair follicles. The key ingredient is argan oil, and it contains other nourishing components such as coconut oil and aloe vera but is free of parabens and sulfates.
The conditioner is great for all hair types, and dry and damaged hair especially will benefit from the oils and hydrating minerals in it. Try this and the product claims to give you a salon-styled hair after a blow-dry.
A few uses can give you the nourished and healthy-looking hair that you have always longed for. Although formulated to use on all hair types, those with oily hair complained of it leaving a residue on their hair. It has a thick and creamy texture, so think before applying it on your oily or fine hair.
Specially formulated to tame dry and frizzy hair, this conditioner from Garnier is a great leave-in formula to condition your hair and is available at an unbeatable price. It nourishes unmanageable hair with the goodness of its main ingredient, argan oil, and gives a lasting smoothness and shine.
The product comes in a creamy texture to relieve dryness and frizziness. Once applied immediately on damp hair after a shower, the conditioning effect can last up to three days according to the manufacturer. Most reviews are great about the product, although it does not come with a sulfate-free claim.
It's worth noting that the product contains artificial fragrance although the scent is mild and nice. The addition of alcohol also might not impress some of you. So, if you are particular about the safety of ingredients used, this is not the product for you.
It's a 10 offers haircare products of high quality that live up to the claims they make. A lot of customer reviewers say this can repair dry and damaged hair, detangle and control frizz, seal and protect colored hair, prevent split ends and breakage, and provide thermal protection.
The product is loaded with natural ingredients that repair your hair and give you the shine and luster that you long for in your locks. Amino acids make your hair stronger and more bouncy with regular use. The product is in spray form, so it could benefit those with fine and oily hair.
If you have dry hair, pump a little extra to tame your dry hair. Although a great product, it has parabens and fragrance, which might not impress all. Some users stated that the product smells like chemicals.
This is another gentle and mild formula ideal for those with fine and oily hair. It comes in a spray form with a great host of ingredients to detangle your hair and eliminate flyaways that can cause hair to go frizzy.
It contains no parabens or synthetic fragrances, so you can safely make it a part of your routine hair care and see your hair turn nourished and soft. It's safe for children as well, so you don't have to run to the stores looking for a safe product for your little one.
Although advertised to suit all hair types, some users complained that it does not go well with those with dry hair because it is a lightweight spray.
This detangling spray from Sun Bum protects damaged locks by repairing and restoring your hair, as well as taming and preventing frizz and split ends. It's a vegan product and the presence of quinoa proteins and sunflower seed oil helps reduce color fading in those with treated hair.
It looks like a great product that can work well on your hair when you are out in the sun or on the beach. It can also work well for curly hair. Just spray a liberal amount and use a wide-toothed comb to detangle!
Although free from parabens and sulfates, the product has fragrance, so it might not be good for all. Some users expressed disappointment at the overpowering scent. If you are sensitive to scented products, it's better to go for a different product.
This leave-in conditioner is formulated for those with unmanageable curls and to tame dry waves without adding weight to them. It comes in lotion form, so you can adjust the amount while applying to suit your hair type. It's not so creamy as to make your hair feel greasy or sticky.
The product is designed for daily use, so add it to your regular routine. As the product claims, the ultra-hydrating properties of the conditioner can leave your hair quenched and moisturized. For extremely parched hair, leave it on overnight to wake up to deeply-moisturized hair.
Although a great product, some users state that it smells like marshmallows and can be overpowering. Also, alcohol can dry out your hair, and the product is not free from it. If you do not mind the smell, adjust the consistency and get your mane treated to perfection.
SheaMoisture brings this creamy leave-in conditioner packed with natural ingredients to nourish, repair, and smooth dry hair. Organic shea butter and Jamaican black castor oil team up to hydrate and moisturize while peppermint provides a doze of revitalization.
Its repairing properties make it a great choice for hair that has been color treated, chemically processed, or deals with a lot of heat styling. Many reviewers said the treatment did the job, but it does smell a bit strong. Those with thick and greasy hair also advise going light on application to avoid a greasier outcome.
It can be a nightmare to step out in the sun particularly when you recently had your hair treated with your favorite dye. This product from Neutrogena has UV filters to protect from damage caused by the sun's rays, so it preserves the color and reduces the chances of fading.
It's also suitable for those who are worried about the natural color of their hair changing over time. Three natural extracts are added to moisturize dry and damaged hair and to tame unmanageable waves and flyaways.
The olive and meadowfoam extract penetrate the hair strands to moisturize and hydrate them deeply. The sweet almond extract coats the surface of the hair strands to retain moisture for a long time.
Kids' hair can easily get tangled after a night of sleep or while out and about. It can be challenging to find products, considering their sensitive skin. Specially formulated for kids without parabens, sulfates or phthalates, this conditioner can tame unruly curls.
The ultra-moisturizing and hydration properties of the product hold down curls and detangle to make hair softer and healthier. Some users complained of it not working on dry hair. It's to be noted that the product is formulated to use on wet or damp hair.
It's not a completely natural product, so the presence of certain ingredients might irritate your child's hair. Scan the ingredient list well to see if your child is allergic to any. The presence of alcohol and fragrance also suggests it's not a good product for dry hair.
Garnier makes a wonderful leave-in conditioner with its rich blend of honey, royal jelly, and propolis. The product claims to repair, replenish, and nourish the hair from roots to ends. It comes with 10 benefits including detangling, strengthening, repairing split ends, and protecting against heat up to 450℉.
Honey is undoubtedly a hair emollient and humectant and is great for moisturizing the hair and repairing the hair follicles. Most users had good feedback about the product, yet the use of fragrance and alcohol can be a bit disappointing.
The product is a leave-in lotion and is watery. It might not help those with very frizzy hair or during the hot summer months. It's light and can help if you are looking for a mild conditioner for your oily hair.
Having great hair takes work, but we can help make it easier! Here are some of the many articles we've written that can help you achieve salon-style perfection no matter what hair type you have.
No. 1: ArtNaturals ｜Argan Oil Leave-In Conditioner
No. 2: Garnier ｜Fructis Sleek & Shine
No. 3: It's a 10 Haircare｜Miracle Leave-In Conditioner
No. 4: The Honest Company ｜Honest Conditioning Detangler
No. 5: Sun Bum｜Revitalizing 3 in 1 Leave In
View Full Ranking
The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
AppsBusiness apps, Cooking apps, Dating apps
Home goodsBath supplies, Ceremonial occasion supplies, Cleaning supplies
Home electronicsAir conditioners and coolers, AV accessories, Blenders and food processors
PCComputer supplies, Desktop computers, Tablets
CameraCamera bags and backpacks, Camera supplies, Digital single lens cameras
BeautyBlushes, Bronzers, Cleansers
HealthBody care products, Health accessories, Health foods and supplements
Food and drinksAlcohol, Breads and jams, Cocktails and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages
KitchenCoffee and tea products, Cooking utensils, Cups
FashionFootwear products, Men's shoes, Sandals
AccessoriesWristwatches, Accessories and jewelry, Umbrellas and parasols
Kids and babyBaby carriers, Baby food, Baby formula
InteriorBeds, Beds and bedding, Chairs
HobbiesAromatherapy products, Art supplies, Arts and collectibles
OutdoorBarbecue grills and fire pits, Camping beds and cots, Camping gear
Home, garden, and toolsAgricultural materials and gardening supplies, Exterior and garden furniture, Materials and repairing agents
Sports and fitnessSports shoes, Surfing supplies, Badminton supplies
PetsBird and small animal supplies, Cat supplies, Dog supplies
MediaBooks and magazines, CD, Children's books, picture books and illustrated encyclopedias
GamesGaming accessories, Nintendo Switch games, PC games
AutomotiveCar accessories, Car navigation systems
GiftsChristmas gifts, Father's Day gifts, Gifts for children
Mobile devicesMobile phone and smartphone accessories, Wearable devices and smart watches