If you’re looking for something to really nourish dry, damaged hair, there’s one product you should consider adding to your haircare routine: leave-in conditioner. If you have thick or dry hair, it’s probably already a crucial part of your regimen. But even if your hair is fine, you can learn how to use leave-in conditioner without weighing your strands down.
“Leave-in-conditioner is a lightweight product that provides extra moisture, detangles, and prevents hair damage,” says celebrity hairstylist and featured educator for Cantu BeautyAngela Stevens. “Unlike normal conditioner, leave-in-conditioner does not need to be rinsed out and is suitable for all hair types, particularly dry, color-treated, or curly hair.”
“It’s intended to be used after you get out of the shower, but before you dry and/or style your hair to provide additional detangling, moisturizing, and heat-protecting properties,” adds braid stylist and lead stylist at BEAUTYBEEZGeneva Fowler.
How To Use Leave-In Conditioner
Application varies from product to product (make sure you follow the instructions on the label), but is generally straightforward. Once you towel dry your hair, you’ll want to work in the product. Next, you typically comb or brush your hair to evenly distribute it throughout. Then, you can either air-dry or style your hair as usual. There’s no need to rinse it out.
Leave-in conditioner isn’t meant to replace the regular conditioner you use in the shower. Instead, think of it as an extra boost of hydration to help keep your mane in optimal shape. They come in many different formulas — from creams to sprays — but it’s most important to look closely at the ingredients label. “Depending on the benefits you are looking for, there are plenty of different ingredients that you should look for in a good leave-in conditioner,” says Fowler. “Some ingredients that I always like to look for are shea butter, almond oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera, sunflower oil, and grape seed extract.”
Every type of hair — thin, coarse, short, long, curly, etc. — can benefit from a leave-in conditioner. And luckily, there’s a great option for every hair type. Below, Fowler and Stevens share their picks.