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The 19 Best Leave-In Conditioners for Every Hair Type

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You might think using a leave-in conditioner is an unnecessary hair care step, but the truth is, it’s an awesome product for a range of hair types, from curly to straight. In fact, many times a classic, rinse-out conditioner isn’t enough for reviving your hair to an optimal state of bounce and moisture, especially in dry weather.

Think about it: We subject our hair to everything from pillows and towels to combing, brushing, and heat styling, as well as chemical processes like hair coloring. All of these can lead to dry, damaged hair—and leave-in conditioners are specifically designed to create an extra shield of hydrating protection. Not to mention, they also help detangle, soften, and smooth your hair—and they prep it for additional styling products like gels and creams. And that’s not all: They’re also great for defining your curls and controlling frizz.

Ready to make room in your hair care routine for a leave-in conditioner, and be prepared for your best hair yet? Keep scrolling for our roundup of the best leave-in conditioners to moisturize and hydrate your hair like never before.

1. The Best Leave-In for Smoothing Strands:

OUAI HAIRCARE Leave-In Conditioner

OUAI HAIRCARE Leave-In Conditioner
Courtesy of OUAI HAIRCARE

Hairstylists have long considered this leave-in conditioner to be the Holy Grail for sleek, touchable, swingy hair, and now we know why. This conditioning spray doubles as a heat protectant, thanks to added heat protection ingredients, so it's great for using before you blow dry or use any heat styling tools. Simply spritz it onto damp hair to keep your hair cuticle smooth and strong. Fine hair, curly hair, dry hair, and even healthy hair will drink up this light-yet-effective treatment in no time.

2. The Best Leave-In for Deep Hydration:

IGK HAIR Thirsty Girl Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner

IGK HAIR Thirsty Girl Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner
Courtesy of IGK HAIR

Thirsty hair? Look no further. This rich leave-in creme features a patented hyaluronic acid technology for the ultimate moisturizing experience. It forms a moisture barrier that hydrates your hair, keeping it soft, touchable, and silky-smooth. Pure coconut milk nourishes and strengthens hair, while preventing breakage and split ends—which means you stay frizz-free for up to 24 hours. It’s awesome for dry hair, and just as effective if you simply want to combat a case of flyaways.

3. The Best Leave-In for Tight Curls:

TWISTED SISTA Intensive Leave-In Conditioner

TWISTED SISTA Intensive Leave-In Conditioner
Courtesy of TWISTED SISTA

Tight, curly hair that’s hungry for moisture will love this intensive leave-in conditioner. It’s perfect for coaxing frizzy hair into shape, thanks to its nourishing combo of avocado, almond, and coconut oils. This moisturizing conditioner also acts as an effective detangler when you saturate your hair from root to tip. Best of all? It won’t make your scalp greasy or weigh down your hair. It’s also great for most curl types and textures, from fine hair to thick coils.

4. Best Leave-In for Fine Hair:

IT’S A 10 MIRACLE Leave-In Conditioner Lite

IT’S A 10 MIRACLE Leave-In Conditioner Lite
Courtesy of IT’S A 10

No list of leave-in conditioners is complete without this cult-classic brand, but their lightened-up formula is a hidden gem for those with thinner strands. With ingredients like chamomile extract, green tea extract, and hydrolyzed silk, it soothes and hydrates hair without making it look weighed down or greasy.

5. Best Leave-In Hair Mask:

BRIOGEO Don’t Despair, Repair! Strength + Moisture Leave-In Mask

BRIOGEO Don’t Despair, Repair! Strength + Moisture Leave-In Mask
Courtesy of BRIOGEO

Yes, leave-in masks exist! This nourishing formula relies on hair-loving ingredients like coconut oil, algae extract, and vitamin E—rather than silicones—to enrobe strands and protect them against breakage and damage. Use before heat styling for a shinier, healthier-looking head of hair—even after your first use.

6. The Best Leave-In for Nourishing Shine:

SOAPBOX Coconut Milk Hair Mist

SOAPBOX Coconut Milk Hair Mist

Mist dry hair back to life with this hydrating leave-in conditioner from SOAPBOX. The formula includes a top-notch combo of coconut milk extract and vitamin E, which lightly hydrates hair without weighing it down. Plus, the creamy coconut scent gives instant vacay vibes. A few spritzes onto dry or damp hair (then gently tousled) will leave your strands feeling soft, smooth, and pliable enough to hold a variety of frizz-free hairstyles.

7. The Best Leave-In Multitasker:

CAKE BEAUTY The Mane Manage‘r’ 3 in 1 Leave In Conditioner

CAKE BEAUTY The Mane Manage‘r’ 3 in 1 Leave In Conditioner
Courtesy of CAKE BEAUTY

Want totally touchable and better-looking hair? This all in one leave-in treatment was made for all your hair needs: volumizing, detangling, combating frizz, smoothing, adding shine, and styling. The special blend works on both damp and dry hair, reviving it instantly from heat styling and damage. It includes nourishing coconut oil, as well as fortifying soy and rice proteins, and is great for all hair types.

8. The Best Leave-In for Super-Soft Strands:

AVEDA Cherry Almond Softening Leave-In Conditioner

AVEDA Cherry Almond Softening Leave-In Conditioner
Courtesy of AVEDA

This leave-in conditioner is more like a spa treatment for all your senses (not just your hair). A blend of naturally-derived cherry blossom extract, sweet almond oil, and moringa work in tandem to reduce static, enhance manageability, add shine, tame flyaways, prevent breakage, and condition like there’s no tomorrow. The sweet floral aroma is the result of 38 flower and plant essences, including tonka bean, orange, and ylang ylang.

9. Best for Color Treated Hair:

AMIKA Vault Color-Lock Leave-in Conditioner

AMIKA Vault Color-Lock Leave-in Conditioner
Courtesy of AMIKA

Most leave-ins are color-safe, but this formula has UV filters specifically to protect that hard-earned hue from fading. Add in sea buckthorn—a potent superfood—and an amino acid complex, and you’re left with brighter, shinier, healthier hair all around.

10. The Best Anti-Frizz Leave-In:

FOXYBAE Flaminglow Leave In Conditioner

FOXYBAE Flaminglow Leave In Conditioner
Courtesy of FOXYBAE

If you find yourself trying to tame a perpetual frizz halo, then this is the leave-in treatment for you. This conditioner is great for normal, dry, and damaged hair, and it deeply hydrates while combating breakage. It even detangles and gives wet hair extra moisture to make applying your styling products practically effortless. The conditioner also contains biotin, which helps your hair grow faster and stronger–what's not to love?

11. The Best Leave-In for Waves & Loose Curls:

ANDALOU NATURALS Argan Oil & Shea Moisture Rich Leave-In Conditioner

ANDALOU NATURALS Argan Oil & Shea Moisture Rich Leave-In Conditioner

People with wavy hair and loose curls will love this rich conditioning cream, which includes a deeply nourishing fruit stem cell complex and argan oil to condition and moisturize. An infusion of shea butter also supports elasticity and strength, while minimizing split ends and frizz. You’ll get softer, bouncy curls when you use this conditioner on a regular basis.

12. Best Do-It-All Leave-In:

VERB Leave-In Mist

VERB Leave-In Mist
Courtesy of VERB

If you’re not totally sure what you’re looking for in a leave-in, this is a good place to start. From detangling to adding shine to restoring moisture, this formula does it all—and does it well, too. The formula is vegan too, packed with good-for-your-hair ingredients like argan oil, bamboo extract, and green tea extract.

13. Best Hair Primer:

BUMBLE AND BUMBLE Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer

BUMBLE AND BUMBLE Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer
Courtesy of BUMBLE AND BUMBLE

This oil-forward treatment is applied before styling—on wet or dry hair—and not only protects against the effects of hot tools, but also from the sun itself. A little goes a long way!

14. Best Cream Leave-In Conditioner:

ORIBE Supershine Moisturizing Cream

ORIBE Supershine Moisturizing Cream
Courtesy of ORIBE

Leave it to the luxe hair care brand to come up with the most luxurious leave-in of them all. Unlike spray-on formulas, this lotion is massaged into the hair, where it adds hydration—and unmatched levels of shine.

15. Best Leave-In for Beach Hair:

R+CO Sun Catcher Power C Boosting Leave-In Conditioner

R+CO Sun Catcher Power C Boosting Leave-In Conditioner
Courtesy of R+CO

We love vitamin C in skincare for its antioxidant powers, and those same properties protect our hair, too. With vitamin C, along with hydrating hyaluronic acid, vegan collagen, and coconut oil, think of this bottle as the conditioner version of a beach spray.

16. Best Leave-In for Relaxed Hair:

SHEAMOISTURE Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-in Conditioner

SHEAMOISTURE Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-in Conditioner
Courtesy of SHEAMOISTURE

The titular Jamaican black castor oil and moisturizing shea butter are a powerhouse duo while peppermint gives the scalp an invigorating boost in this beloved formula. And while it’s great for restoring moisture to chemically processed hair, it can be used on naturally curly, kinky, and coily styles as well.

17. Best Leave-In for Mature Hair:

ALTERNA Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Priming Leave-In Conditioner

ALTERNA Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Priming Leave-In Conditioner
Courtesy of ALTERNA

A leave-in conditioner is especially helpful for mature hair types, which can be more prone to dryness. This spray-on formula helps infuse the hair with nutrients thanks to vitamin-rich caviar extract and moisturizing rosehip oil.

18. Best Clean Leave-In Conditioner:

PLAYA Monoi Milk Leave-in Conditioner

PLAYA Monoi Milk Leave-in Conditioner
Courtesy of PLAYA

If you’re sensitive to ingredients, consider this clean-yet-effective formula. Not only is it free of parabens, silicones, and sulfates, but the coconut milk and monoi oil will make you feel like you’re on vacation every time you use it.

19. Best Leave-In for Repairing:

NATURELAB.TOKYO Repair Leave-In Treatment

NATURELAB.TOKYO Repair Leave-In Treatment
Courtesy of NATURELAB.TOKYO

Made with vegan keratin and stem cells from bamboo, this creamy conditioner actually helps rebuild keratin, a.k.a. the protein that makes up our hair. Add in argan and prickly pear oils for shine, and your hair will be shampoo-commercial worthy in no time.

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Article Last Updated April 8, 2021 12:00 AM