After 20 hours of research evaluating 90 products, we picked It's A 10 Leave-In Conditioner Plus Keratin as our top choice.
But, there are plenty of reasons to break the routine.
The best leave-in conditioners can condition your hair like no other. At the very least, the best leave-in conditioner products will stop the frizzies, tame split ends, and make your hair feel touchably soft. Sounds good so far, doesn’t it? We certainly think so.
Perhaps these products are just what you needed to restore damaged hair and allow your hair to look (and smell) its best all day long. Oh yeah, you can also expect tangle-free goodness. How nice is that?
So go ahead, check out our list of the best leave-in conditioners. You may even want to snag two or three of them.
This silicone-free leave in conditioner is an awesome anti-frizz product. Besides offering a soft, sleek do, it’s terrific on a wide range of hair types.
It’s definitely not cheap – and you can’t use a spray bottle with it.
The non-silicone formula ensures your hair is able to continue absorbing moisture throughout the day. It’s simultaneously terrific at blocking humidity so you can live frizz-free. If you’ve got thick or thin hair you can use it. If you have straight, wavy, or curly hair, you can use it. And it’s simply amazing at softening your hair and keeping it under control.
But, there are a few things we would change about this if we could. The first is the price; this leave in conditioner is silly expensive. And, this isn’t even a spray-on formula. Although it is lightweight, it would be easier to manage dry fly-aways if it could be sprayed on. Still, if frizz is your problem, you’re in good hands.
Hair type? This is great for many different hair types. People with thick and thin hair have reported success, but it’s definitely for anyone with wavy or curly hair that’s prone to frizziness.
Function? A hydrating treatment that offers awesome conditioning and a dose of frizz protection with a frictionless formula.
Key ingredients? A patented Healthy Hair Molecule (OFPMA).
Scent and consistency? This is a lightweight cream that smells like clean lemongrass. It’s delicious.
Directions for use? Apply to damp hair, focusing on ends or dry areas. You can rub some through dry hair if you’ve got sincere fly-aways.
Will it break the bank? Sadly, this sells for about $20 for 4 ounces. Yep, that’s $5 per ounce which is a serious ouch on the wallet. But, when it works, it works.
Not only is this super cost effective, it’s a fantastic leave in conditioner for men. It’s paraben-free and smells clean.
The parent company isn’t a cruelty-free entity and while this claims to combat frizziness, that’s hardly its strong point.
We love that this manages hair even when it’s ridiculously humid outside. And, we’ll be honest, we also like the fact that this will allow you to go three days between washes – unless your scalp becomes greasy. But, we’re most happy about the way this works with shorter hair; keeping it smooth and in place.
Additionally, it’s difficult not to fall for the good price, isn’t it? We’re huge fans of that – and the Prime Pantry option. And, in case you’re wondering, this is a terrific leave in conditioner for men, even if it’s not exclusively found in the men's section. There are even those that use this on their beards. The one thing we’re not terribly found of, however, is the frizz control; it’s just not as effective as we want it to be.
Hair type? The manufacturers claim this is for frizzy, dry, unmanageable hair, but we think it actually works best with hair that has some curl or texture to it. It’s not bad at all with thick, long hair.
Function? This will add some shine and soften your do. It adds control and tames hair while adding proteins to the mix. Though it can be used for frizz control, it’s not usually as good at that as the manufacturers advertise.
Key ingredients? Argan oil, fruit proteins and extracts,and vitamins B3 and B6. It’s also paraben-free.
Scent and consistency? You’ll definitely smell the fruit, but it really just has a clean scent to it.
Directions for use? Apply a quarter-sized portion to clean hair - damp or dry - and comb through. Easy as that!
Will it break the bank? If you’re a Prime Pantry fan, you’ll love that this product costs less than $4 for more than 10 ounces. Pretty darn good, right?
There are plenty of terrific ingredients in this lightweight leave in conditioner, and it’s made with soy and wheat proteins.
Sadly, there are parabens in this product, too much of which can make your hair feel oily.
This soy-based leave in conditioner is made from soy and plenty of proteins. It’s allergen free and wonderfully lightweight. Users with all sorts of hair types have confirmed that this product does an amazing job at making their hair feel smooth, healthy, and incredible.
But, the very best feature of this leave in conditioner is its ability to render any mop tame and tangle-free. It’s a spray bottle so you don’t need to worry about applying too much. As a bonus, the scent is rather nondescript, but pleasant nonetheless.
Hair type? Users with all sorts of hair types have reported success. It’s especially good for long, dry hair whether it’s thick or thin.
Function? This will help to build proteins to lock in moisture and make hair healthy again. It’s said to work wonders with thick, curly hair, but it really, really does the job with thin, straight hair. More than anything it detangles even the most difficult of mops.
Key ingredients? Soy and wheat proteins, vitamin B5, and cocoa extract.
Scent and consistency? This is a lightweight formula with a light scent that most users find rather nondescript.
Directions for use? Spray on towel-dried hair and comb through.
Will it break the bank? The MSRP is $16 for 8.5 ounces. But, you’ll usually find it for less on Amazon. Multi-packs are also available, so you can really decide how much you want to pay. But, even if you opt for a single spray bottle, this is very reasonable.
This sulfate-free leave in conditioner seriously prevents drying and drastically improves hair health.
Sadly, the packaging of this leave in conditioner is a jar rather than a pump; it takes some time to figure out how much to apply effectively.
There are plenty of pros to this leave in conditioner, namely its ability to deeply moisturize from roots to tips; it’s serious stuff and packed with all things good. Many different hair types have reported intense success with this leave in conditioner, but it seems to work especially well for chemically treated and curly locks.
This product doesn’t leave any build-up so you can use it every day without worrying about damaging your hair or it becoming rather clumpy. It really feels as though it promotes healthy hair and hair growth (which many users can attest to). And, you should expect a softer feeling head of hair and a terrific, somewhat indescribable scent.
Hair type? This can be used on all hair types including natural and chemically treated hair. It also does a fantastic job with curls and even dreads.
Function? You should expect ultra moisture in this formula. As a leave in conditioner, it reduces the appearance of split ends. It’s rather nourishing and many users report increased hair growth.
Key ingredients? Shea butter, castor oil, apple cider vinegar, and peppermint. And, remember, there aren’t any sulfates.
Scent and consistency? This leave in conditioner is simultaneously thick and lightweight with a slightly caramel smell – though there are some that believe it smells a little more like play dough
Directions for use? Apply to clean, towel-dried hair working the product from roots to ends with a comb. And, luckily, it can be rinsed out if you accidentally put too much in (and you might… at first).
Will it break the bank? You’ll pay about $13 for a single 16-ounce tub or $20 for a two-pack. That’s pretty much a no brainer as you’ll save 15 cents per ounce.
This leave in conditioner works across hair types and contains Keratin to keep hair healthy. It detangles, defrizzes, and replaces lost proteins for healthy looking hair.
This is on the pricier side (though far from the most expensive). It also contains alcohol and chloride which irritates some users.
There’s nothing like the feeling of running your fingers through your hair after leaving the salon, is there? Imagine experiencing that sensation every day after showering. That’s exactly what this leave in conditioner provides. You should expect sleek and smooth hair after applying this product.
The price could be better, but you’re paying for quality. And, it works on just about every single hair type. Those with thin hair, as well as those with thick hair, have reported triumphs. It’s especially useful for people with colored and curly hair. Honestly, we think you’re going to love this.
Hair type? All hair types have reported success with this product, especially those with colored, curly, or thick hair.
Function? You can expect silky, shiny hair when using this leave in conditioner. It protects the natural Keratin in your hair and adds hydration while detangling and defrizzing. It seals cuticles to make hair appear healthier and feel stronger.
Key ingredients? Keratin, which is great.
Scent and consistency? This spray-on conditioner has a creamy texture with a pleasant, subtle scent.
Directions for use? Towel dry clean hair and spray this product around. Comb through and voila.
Will it break the bank? You’ll pay about $13 for 4 ounces. That’s about $3.25 per ounce which is somewhere in the middle of really inexpensive and super pricey.
If you’re not happy with the way your hair is behaving lately, chances are your mane is simply craving for a good leave-in conditioner. You might think that this product is absolutely unnecessary, especially if you regularly use a nice conditioner in the shower—but hear us out.
Consider everything that your hair goes through after you step out of the bathroom: rough towels, combing, hair brushing, hot tools, teasing, tying, rough caps and hats, rough pillows. If you really think about it, your hair goes through a lot—and it’s the perfect recipe for damaged, knotty, and dull locks. Leave-in conditioner to the rescue!
Leave-ins contain ingredients like humectants and lightweight silicones to hydrate, repair, and add shine to your hair. They can make even the roughest hair more manageable, and they’re an awesome ally against frizz and flyaways.
In this buying guide, we’ll talk about all the things you have to consider when you’re shopping for a leave-in conditioner. We also have a step-by-step guide on using leave-in conditioner, as well as some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of this product. Let’s go!
We believe that just about anyone can benefit from using a leave-in conditioner. Even if your hair is already healthy and smooth, adding a leave-in conditioner to your routine can take things to the next level. Whatever your hair type is, it will help add moisture and shine and help protect your hair from damage.
Of course, there’s a particular demographic who would benefit the most from using a leave-in conditioner—and that’s made up of people who struggle with frizzy, dry, and unmanageable hair. A leave-in conditioner will also make things easier for girls with long hair, as it helps prevent tangles and knots.
Now that you know that pretty much anyone can benefit from adding a leave-in conditioner into their daily routine, it’s time to look for the best product for your hair! Here are some key points you need to keep in mind throughout the shopping process.
1. Look for a product that’s formulated specifically for your hair type.
Oftentimes, different hair types will have wildly different needs when it comes to conditioning. A product that’s specifically made for thin hair might not be nourishing enough for curly-haired gals. Some leave-in conditioners are indeed all-rounders in the sense that they work well with various hair types—and opting for one of them is alright, too. However, for more serious concerns, investing in special formulas will most likely pay off.
Alternatively, you may look for something that targets your particular concerns or issues. For example, if you have frizzy hair, then it makes sense to stick to products that help tame flyaways and smooth hair. Leave-in conditioners with repairing ingredients can help damaged and dull hair. And if you’ve recently had your hair colored, a color-care leave-in conditioner will help preserve the look and shine of your beautiful locks.
2. Consider the product’s packaging.
Leave-in conditioners come in different types of packaging. Some come in squeeze tubes, while others come in tubs or spray bottles. When choosing a product, consider the user-friendliness of its packaging, as well as what would work well with your hair type.
For example, if you have super thin hair, a spray bottle will be able to deliver a very fine mist that won’t bog your hair down with tons of product. But if you have super thick hair, cream from a tub or bottle might be more efficient to use.
3. How’s the weather?
The performance of a leave-in conditioner may also be significantly affected by what season it currently is. You might find that a liquid leave-in conditioner is unbeatable during the summer, but the same product might not be moisturizing enough in the winter. Likewise, a heavy and super-moisturizing product might be too heavy for hot, humid weather.
When shopping, you should consider the type of climate you have in your city. It can also be helpful to have at least two different types of leave-in conditioner on your vanity. That way, you can easily switch one for the other depending on the weather or your hair’s needs for that particular day.
4. What hairstyles do you usually go for?
A light, bouncy, and airy hairstyle is best achieved using light products, so if that’s your type of look, we recommend that you go for a liquid conditioning formula. On days when you feel like wearing your hair in tight braids or cornrows, a creamy leave-in conditioner might make your scalp feel icky, so a liquid product is recommended here, too.
However, if you like super sleek hairstyles like the understated classic bun, a creamy leave-in conditioner will do a really great job at calming frizz. So, before you make a final decision, think about what type of hairstyles you like doing. The consistency of the leave-in conditioner you choose can really make or break your look.
5. Consider the scent, too.
Many hair care brands like to give their products very distinct scents—meaning most leave-in conditioners will have a strong fragrance. And since a leave-in conditioner is a frequently used product, it’s important to find one that agrees with your nose.
If you find something whose formula you absolutely adore but you’re not a fan of its scent, consider applying the leave-in conditioner at night so that its scent won’t linger the next day.
Leave-in conditioners work best with freshly washed hair. So hop in the shower and get all sudsy and clean!
Use a shampoo and conditioner combo that is formulated for your hair type—whether you have dry, frizzy, curly, thin, or damaged hair. After rinsing, use a towel to gently squeeze out excess water from your hair. Once you’ve reached the point wherein your hair is still damp, but not dripping wet, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Before we get going, make sure to read the usage directions on the bottle of your favorite leave-in conditioner, mist, or cream, and take note of any special instructions. Usually, leave-in conditioners should be applied to damp hair, which is then air-dried to avoid heat damage.
Apply the product on your mid-lengths all the way to the ends using your fingers. As much as possible, avoid touching your roots, as leave-in conditioner can make your scalp unnecessarily greasy and weigh your hair down. If you have super fine or thin hair, you need to be even more careful as applying even a small amount of leave-in conditioner near your scalp can instantly deflate its volume.
If it’s your first time using the product, start off with a small coin-sized amount. Typically, when it comes to leave-in conditioners, a little goes a long way. It’s always easier and more economical to start small and then just add more later on.
Use a comb to evenly distribute the product while simultaneously detangling your hair strands. Because your hair is still damp at this point, we recommend that you stick to a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush. A comb is much kinder and more forgiving to fragile wet hair.
As we’ve mentioned, we recommend that you air dry your hair to avoid heat damage. However, you’re really free to blow-dry your hair if you wish. Just make sure to use some heat protectant to protect your hair from the effects of high-temperature styling.
Bonus tip: Want to wake up with silky soft hair? Apply leave-in conditioner right before you go to bed and leave it on overnight. This is also a good option if you’re always in a hurry during the morning and you don’t have a lot of time to fuss with your hair.
1. Use a clarifying shampoo every now and then.
Regularly using a leave-in conditioner will do wonders for your hair. The downside, however, is that it makes you more prone to product buildup. At this point, we’ve established that you’re not supposed to apply conditioner directly on your scalp. But we all know that this isn’t easy to follow 100% of the time.
2. Listen to your hair.
You may have found the perfect product—well, theoretically, at least. It has the best ingredients, smells amazing, and is formulated to answer every single one of your hair concerns. But even in situations like this, it’s possible that the product just won’t work well with your hair.
Trust us, it’s easy to tell if your hair starts hating your chosen leave-in conditioner. And when that happens, listen to it! Take a break, use a deep-cleansing shampoo, or try out a different product.
3. Consider how it interacts with other hair products.
It’s always nice to find rare gems that work well with other products. But if you like experimenting with different brands and formulas, then you know that some products simply don’t mesh well with each other.
If the leave-in conditioner you bought is a thick, creamy formula and it just doesn’t agree with the styling products in your routine, consider trying a lighter or liquid formula instead. You can also try letting it completely dry before applying anything else, though we understand that that might take some time.
Do men need a special type of leave-in conditioner?
The answer is no. Basically, the only thing that separates men’s and women’s leave-in conditioners is the scent. Typically, products that are targeted towards men simply have a more masculine or neutral scent, while women’s products have floral and fruity fragrances.
In terms of formula, however, they’re basically the same. If you’re a dude, you have to consider the same factors and look into the same aspects of the product before making a purchase.
Bonus tip: Consider looking for a leave-in conditioner that will work well on both your head hair and beard hair. Yup, you can totally use a leave-in conditioner to tame (and even style) your beard.