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Updated Mar 29, 2022 8:33 AM

Does your dry hair need a boost of moisture? Perhaps something to bring your damaged strands back to life? Attaining silky smooth hair might be easier than you think. With a hydrating spritz of oil or a dollop of the best leave-in conditioner cream, your tresses will get the refresh they need with these hair repair products. Leave-in conditioner, also known as no-rinse conditioner, is easy to use and works wonders for all hair types. Applied to towel-dried, damp hair for best absorption, the hydrating cream or oil detangles, moisturizes, prevents frizz, and protects from damage. The type of hair you have—colored, damaged, dry, fine, or curly—will help narrow down which product is best for your head. Comb through the best leave-in conditioners below.  

What to look for when shopping for the best leave-in conditioner 

When looking to add a leave-in conditioner to your best hair treatments collection, the first thing to consider is your hair type. While there are great products that work for many types of tresses, they may not cater to your particular hair-care needs. The more specific you can be about your hair—do you color it? do you use hot tools to style?—the better the product will work for your strands. 

What’s your hair type?

Figuring out your hair type will help make selecting hair products a much easier process. While each product within the category typically detangles and hydrates, there are some that have better ingredients or characteristics for certain heads of hair. A deep conditioning cream may not work the same way for oily hair as it does for dry hair. The more specific you are about your type of hair, the better the results.  

How often do you wash your hair?

There are different camps of thought about how often you should use your leave-in conditioner but, generally, it comes down to how often you wash your hair. The biggest concern is product build-up, which can be damaging to your hair and defeats the whole purpose of leave-in conditioner. If you do like to wash your hair every day and use a no-rinse conditioner, it won’t necessarily work since you’ll be washing it out daily.

Do you color your hair? 

In order to preserve and protect your hair color, it’s a good idea to buy one that caters to colored hair specifically. These conditioners are created with UV filters to protect your color from fading in the sun, as well as antioxidants to strengthen strands, promote elasticity, and keep color vibrant. 

Do you use heat-styling tools often? 

Sure, your hair looks amazing after it’s been styled with a blow dryer, straightening tool, or curling iron. However, using heat-styling tools tends to dry out and damage hair. In order to prevent that from happening, it’s important to use products that protect and promote healthy locks. The best leave-in conditioner for damaged hair both restores strands and can be used before styling to protect your ‘do from high heat.

Do you prefer all-natural products?

If using all-natural products is a priority for you, then you’re in luck! Many brands are moving in that direction and a majority of products don’t use sulfates, parabens, or silicones. Nowadays, many are gluten- and cruelty-free and focus on including natural ingredients like argan or coconut oil to maintain healthy hair. 

Are you on a budget?

You don’t need to sacrifice high-quality products, even if you’re on a budget. There are lots of brands that offer hair care at affordable pricing. Hot tip: If there’s a product you want to try for the first time, see if there’s a travel size—it will be cheaper and you won’t have to commit to it long-term if you don’t like it.

The best leave-in conditioner 

There is no shortage of hair products, let alone leave-in conditioners, available in the haircare landscape. The key to narrowing down the best no-rinse conditioners for you is to understand your hair type, your washing and styling routines, and prioritizing what types of ingredients you want to use. 

Best leave-in conditioner for curly hair: Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner


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Made with dreamy moisturizing ingredients such as arnica, prickly pear, and antioxidants like green tea and vitamin B5, the Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner helps protect your curls and promotes hair health. When you feel like your hair needs an additional boost of moisture, this is the best leave-in conditioner for curly hair. It not only deeply hydrates but also helps to prepare your hair for styling and seals the hair’s outermost cuticle layer, preventing frizz and encouraging shine. Balanced and breathable, this product nurtures curls to form naturally and leaves the hair shaft soft to the touch and silky smooth. 

Best leave-in conditioner for damaged hair: COLOR WOW Dream Cocktail Coconut Infused Leave-in Treatment for Dry Hair


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If your hair is dry, thin, fragile, or damaged from high-heat styling, fear not because Color WOW Dream Cocktail Leave-In Conditioner is the answer to your haircare prayers. Free from cruelty, parabens, sulfates, and gluten, this vegan best conditioner for damaged hair hydrates, moisturizes, and nourishes even the most fried tresses. It’s also great to use before styling, as it protects your strands from damaging heat. Color WOW Dream Cocktail Infused Leave-In Treatment mimics and replaces the hair cuticle’s lipid layer with 18-MEA (the molecule that makes up the lipid membrane) and coconut oil. Science for the win! 

Best leave-in conditioner for colored hair: amika Vault Color Lock Leave-in Conditioner 

The amika Vault Color Lock Leave-In Conditioner, which is sold as a spray-mist, works like a charm for those looking for a conditioner for colored hair. The chloride-patented UV absorber protects the cuticle (outermost layer) and the cortex (middle layer) from UV-B rays that will fade your color, while the ingredient combo strengthens, smooths, boosts flexibility, and keeps colors vibrant. For smooth and shiny hair, thank the super-ingredient superfruit, sea buckthorn berry, which is one of the few plant sources of the fatty-acid Omega 7, known to increase collagen and elastin. 

Best leave-in conditioner for all hair types: Moroccanoil All-in-One Leave-In Conditioner


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The key ingredient to the Moroccanoil All-in-One Leave-In Conditioner is argan oil. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids, the argan berry has been used for hundreds of years to nourish and fortify hair and skin. In addition to detangling and hydrating, this product protects against thermal damage and breakage while simultaneously moisturizing and conditioning. With a simple spray and comb through of towel-dried hair, you’ll be left with softness and the sweet scent of spicy amber and fresh florals. This Moroccanoil product can also be used to refresh and style second-day hair. 

Best natural leave-in conditioner: SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In Conditioner


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Great for all heads of hair and sold for just $9.99, the SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In Conditioner smells delicious and leaves your hair silky smooth thanks to a softness-inducing blend of coconut oil, coconut milk, and acacia senegal. For 24/7-silky, smooth hair, this product can be used daily to detangle, protect, and prevent frizz. Whether you use it to keep your hair fresh and natural or before applying heat-styling tools, your hair will be healthy and hydrated, and smell of tropical scents, when you use this natural leave-in conditioner. 



What is a leave-in conditioner? 

Leave-in conditioner is a no-rinse conditioning product that can be used after you wash your hair and before you style it. Typically a cream or oil to be massaged or sprayed into towel-dried hair, at its most basic level, leave-in conditioner detangles, hydrates, and protects hair from heat-styling tools. There are products that focus on being the best conditioner for damaged hair, colored hair, curly hair, and more, so before making a purchase, understanding the specifics of your hair needs is key.


Should I use leave-in conditioner every day?

In short, yes, you can use a leave-in conditioner every day, but there are a couple of things to consider when doing so. The product you choose will determine how many times a week you use it, so it’s always a good idea to read the label first. Once you read the instructions, consider your hair routine: If you wash your hair every day, it should be OK to use the leave-in conditioner after each shower, as you’ll be washing it out daily. If you wash your hair two to three times a week, using a leave-in conditioner every day can increase build-up on your strands and scalp that can be quite damaging. The type of product you select, whether it’s a light spray or a deep-moisturizing cream, will also determine how often you should apply it. 


Is leave-in conditioner good for your hair? 

A leave-in conditioner is great for your hair. All hair types can benefit from a product that moisturizes, nourishes, and protects strands. Particularly if you have damaged, colored, or frizzy hair, a leave-in conditioner can be very useful in helping to repair, hydrate, and protect your locks from UV rays. If you frequently use heat-styling tools like straighteners, curling irons, or blow dryers, leave-in conditioners can protect your hair from accumulated damage. To avoid product build-up, be sure to read the label to ensure you’re using it correctly.

The final word on shopping for the best leave-in conditioner 

The best leave-in conditioner will hydrate, nourish, and leave your hair feeling soft and healthy all day long. To get the best results, specificity with your hair repair products is key. Your hair type will determine what kind works best for your hair. From leave-in conditioner spray to a leave-in conditioning cream, you can decide which of the best hair treatments you prefer to use based on styling preferences. Fair warning: Once you start using a leave-in conditioner, your hair will look and smell amazing, so consider this a permanent step in your hair-care routine. 

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