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The Best Leave-In Conditioners

Agnieszka Marcinska/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated September 2022

Regular use of a leave-in conditioner is not only beneficial for maintaining healthy hair, but it's also an excellent time saver. Here are some leave-in conditioners we recommend that will nourish your tresses with efficiency.

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  Best Value Best for Damaged Hair Best for Colored Hair Best for Natural Hair Best for Travel
 
  Garnier
Fructis Sleek and Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream
Marc Anthony
Leave-In Conditioner Spray & Detangler
Pureology
Color Fanatic Leave-In Conditioner Hair Treatment Detangler Spray
Carol’s Daughter
Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner Spray
Moroccanoil
All-In-One Leave-In Conditioner
 
Our SummaryTame frizzy, dry hair at a great value with this pack of two leave-in conditioning creams.Mend split ends and prevent breakage with this leave-in conditioner spray that's fortified with vitamin E and ginseng.Get over 21 hair care benefits for color-treated hair with this one product.Keep your natural curls and coils healthy and hydrated with this leave-in conditioning spray.Take your moisturizing hair care routine with you on the go with this 1.7-ounce leave-in conditioner.
Pros✓ Nourishing blend with citrus protein, vitamins, and argan oil
✓ Provides hydration and gloss to dry, thick, or frizzy hair
✓ Up to three days of frizz control even in 97% humidity
✓ Detangles and smooths frizz
✓ Strengthens with caffeine, ginseng, and vitamin E
✓ Has a moisturizing, anti-breakage formula
✓ Suitable for all hair types
✓ Special care for color-treated hair
✓ Features a signature aromatherapy blend
✓ Evens out porosity
✓ Protects from heat damage
✓ Contains camelina, coconut, and olive oils
✓ Fortified with wheat protein and pro-vitamin B5
✓ Makes detangling easier ✓ Moisturizes with a blend of castor oil, rosemary, and aloe, suitable for all natural curl patterns
✓ Infused with argan oil for soft, smooth, shiny hair
✓ Lightweight formula moisturizes and detangles hair quickly
✓ Protects hair from heat damage and breakage
✓ 1.7-ounce size is convenient for travel
ConsX Can feel sticky if overappliedX Spraying directly on the hair can be messyX PriceyX Wheat protein can be drying for protein-sensitive usersX A small amount comes out with each spray
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The Best Leave-In Conditioners

Woman putting leave-in conditioner in her hair.
Agnieszka Marcinska/Shutterstock.com

Buying Guide for Leave-In Conditioners

A woman spraying leave-in conditioner in her hair.
Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.com

Why buy a leave-in conditioner?

When used after shampooing and before you style your hair, leave-in conditioners provide a three-way benefit of moisturizing, detangling, and helping to protect the hair. They help seal moisture to ensure your scalp and strands stay soft and hydrated. As a result, this helps to prevent breakage and keeps your hair looking smooth and healthy. To enjoy the time-saving benefits of using a leave-in conditioner, apply it in lieu of your standard rinse-out conditioner. However, if your tresses need a bit more TLC, you may want to use your rinse-out conditioner as usual and add the leave-in for extra moisture and protection.

What should you look for in a leave-in conditioner?

  • Ingredients: Examine the ingredient list on the product label before selecting a leave-in conditioner for your hair. Ideally, choose a nourishing product that contains natural ingredients and does not include sulfates, phthalates, parabens, or silicones. Natural oils such as coconut, olive, jojoba, or argan are a plus, depending on your hair type.
  • Frequency of Use: If you want something you can use daily, choose a lightweight formula that won’t weigh down your strands or make them feel greasy by the end of the day. If you plan on using this product less frequently, choose something with more weight because it will provide deep conditioning without making your hair feel too heavy.
  • Hair Type: If your hair is curly or wavy, look for a leave-in conditioner that contains coconut or argan oil to help tame frizz and make your waves look smoother. If your hair is straight, look for a product that contains keratin or silk amino acids; these will help strengthen and prevent breakage.

Should you buy a leave-in conditioner spray or cream?

A spray leave-in conditioner is great for people who want to apply their product quickly and easily. The spray may also be a good choice for those with oily hair since it will likely leave less residue that could weigh down the hair. Cream leave-in conditioners are usually thicker than sprays and can be applied directly to the scalp and throughout the hair. The thickness of the cream helps coat each strand with product and should be combed through so it doesn’t just sit on top of your hair.

Our Picks for the Best Leave-In Conditioners

Best Value

Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream

Tame frizzy, dry hair at a great value with this pack of two leave-in conditioning creams.

Pros: Garnier has been a trusted brand for naturally inspired and derived hair care formulas since 1904. This nourishing blend contains citrus protein, vitamins, and argan oil, offering hydration and gloss for dry, thick, or frizzy hair. It provides up to three days of sleek and long-lasting frizz control even in 97% humidity.

Cons: Some users may find that this conditioner feels sticky to them. This is especially likely to happen with overapplication, so it may be best to start with a small amount and then add more a little at a time as needed.

Bottom Line: Consider this leave-in if you’re looking for a product that will tame frizz, especially in high humidity. In addition to this set of two 10.2-ounce bottles, this conditioner is available as a single or in a three-pack.

 

Best for Damaged Hair

Marc Anthony Leave-In Conditioner Spray & Detangler

Mend split ends and prevent breakage with this leave-in conditioner spray that's fortified with vitamin E and ginseng.

Pros: Give your tresses the strength it needs to help reduce split ends and breakage. This leave-in conditioner from Marc Anthony detangles, smooths frizz, and strengthens with caffeine, ginseng, and vitamin E. Achieve all-day conditioning with this moisturizing, anti-breakage formula suitable for all hair types. To use, spray onto damp hair from roots to ends, comb through, and style as desired.

Cons: Although this leave-in conditioner comes in a convenient spray bottle, it may be a better experience spritzing it on your hands first and then smooth it onto your hair. Since the mixture is somewhat creamy, it can be messy when pumped out, so spraying it on your hands offers better control.

Bottom Line: This may be the leave-in conditioner for you if you want to fortify your hair with vitamins and minerals for daily strengthening and repair. In choosing this conditioner, you can also feel good knowing that along with being animal testing-free, it’s also free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.

 

Best for Colored Hair

Pureology Color Fanatic Leave-in Conditioner Hair Treatment Detangler Spray

Get over 21 hair care benefits for color-treated hair with this one product.

Pros: Color-treated hair can quickly become dry, damaged, and brittle due to the chemicals used in the coloring process. Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray is a unique product formulated to provide special care to your color-treated hair, leaving it shiny and manageable. It contains a signature aromatherapy blend that helps even out porosity and acts as a heat protectant. The key ingredients in this multibenefit spray include camelina, coconut, and olive oils, which nourish, moisturize, and protect color-treated hair.

Cons: This conditioning spray is a bit expensive for the size, but with the high-quality ingredients, a little goes a long way toward repairing color-treated hair.

Bottom Line: Anyone eager to find a good leave-in conditioner to strengthen and protect their color-treated hair will likely feel that this product is worth the cost. Along with natural oil aromatherapy, this conditioner boasts 20 more hair health benefits, such as detangling, hydrating, and sealing the cuticle.

 

Best for Natural Hair

Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner Spray

Keep your natural curls and coils healthy and hydrated with this leave-in conditioning spray.

Pros: Caring for and detangling coily and kinky natural hair can sometimes feel like a chore. Fortunately, this leave-in conditioning spray from Carol’s Daughter can make the job easier. The wheat protein and pro-vitamin B5 fortify your hair, making it healthier and less likely to break while detangling. In addition, the leave-in conditioner features a blend of castor oil, rosemary, and aloe to transform dry, unmanageable hair into soft, incredibly moisturized hair. This weightless formula is suitable for all natural curl patterns, from 2A to 4C.

Cons: One of the ingredients in this product is wheat protein. While this component typically helps hydrate and strengthen hair, some people are more sensitive to it than others or overdo it by using too many protein-containing products. In this case, the protein can have an opposite drying effect.

Bottom Line: Carol’s Daughter is a trusted line in natural hair care, and this leave-in spray is just another item in this reputable brand that can help moisturizing and detangling become an easier task.

 

Best for Travel

Moroccanoil All-In-One Leave-In Conditioner

Take your moisturizing hair care routine with you on the go with this 1.7-ounce leave-in conditioner.

Pros: A treat for your tresses, the Moroccanoil All-In-One Leave-In Conditioner is infused with argan oil to give you soft, smooth, and shiny hair. Full of antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids, argan oil has been used throughout the ages to nourish hair and skin. This lightweight formula moisturizes and detangles hair quickly while protecting it from heat damage and breakage. This featured 1.7-ounce size makes it convenient to take your conditioning treatment wherever you go.

Cons: This is another case of a thicker-consistency product packaged in a spray bottle. As a result, just a little conditioner may come out with each pump, which can be inconvenient and frustrating. Opening the bottle and pouring the product into your hands may work better to apply it.

Bottom Line: You may want to try this leave-in conditioner if you like how your hair responds to argan oil treatment. In addition to the travel-convenient 1.7-ounce package, this conditioner is also available in a larger 5.4-ounce size.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to the best leave-in conditioner. Our picks showcase a variety of leave-ins that suit many hair care needs. Whether you’re looking for a product to soften your hair, protect it from heat damage, or prevent frizz, we have a conditioner outlined here that will work right for you.

Desiree Bradshaw
Desiree Bradshaw is a freelance content writer from Memphis, TN with experience writing about e-commerce, RVing, and mental health. She received her BA in English with a concentration in professional writing from The University of Memphis. When she's not writing, she enjoys adventures as a full-time RVer with her husband Randy and spoiled lab mix Buddy. Read Full Bio »
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