If your regular hair routine doesn’t make your hair look like you just left the salon, you should consider adding a leave-in conditioner to you product collection. Finding one that works for you is worth the extra time. A leave-in conditioner can add shine, smooth frizz and flyaways, detangle stubborn tresses and even strengthen your individual hair strands from the core. While there are several options available including sprays, creams and gels, each leave-in conditioner has different formulas that focus on specific problem areas.
We reviewed dozens of leave-in conditioners to identify the best of the best. We considered different formulas that focus on frizz, detangling and curls. We also looked for products that contained natural and organic ingredients. Each of our top picks is under $30, making it affordable to add a leave-in conditioner to your weekly routine.
Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Leave in Conditioning Spray is one leave-in conditioner that checks off all of our boxes. It is affordable, gentle enough for everyday use, and works for a large variety of hair types. It’s great for those who suffer from common allergens (free from gluten, soy, dairy and nuts), comes in an easy to use spray and even helps prevent lice.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Leave-In Conditioners
|Best Overall||Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Leave in Conditioning Spray||4.4|
|Runner Up||Shea Moisture Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner||4.3|
|Best Budget Buy||Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream||4.4|
|Best Leave-In Conditioner for Curly Hair||Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner||4.4|
|Best Leave-In Conditioner for Color Treated Hair||MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner||4.3|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Leave in Conditioning Spray
Gentle enough for everyday use, Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Leave in Conditioning Spray is free of parabens, sulfates, harsh chemicals and toxins. It is also great for those with allergies as it is does not include gluten, soy, dairy or nuts. Enriched with vitamins and minerals, our favorite leave-in spray cleanses, conditions, and detangles.
A proprietary blend of organic oils, this leave-in conditioner can even help to prevent head lice. With natural, plant based ingredients, Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Leave in Conditioning Spray is gentle on the scalp. It comes in a convenient spray that won’t weigh your hair down and is simple to use.
Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Leave in Conditioning Spray Key Features:
- Free of common allergens: gluten, soy, dairy and nuts
- Organic oils are gentle on scalp
- Plant based ingredients
- No toxins
- Easy to use spray, doesn’t weigh hair down
- Combats lice
Our Runner Up Pick: Shea Moisture Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner
The Shea Moisture line is known for its top-notch ingredients, and the Shea Moisture Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner is no exception. This leave-in conditioner uses raw shea butter, black castor oil, and peppermint to revitalize damaged hair. It is also loaded with reparative omegas to gently repair and nourish dry hair.
The creamy texture of this product manages to be non-greasy. It provides you with soft, shiny and detangled hair without weighing down thick tresses.
Shea Moisture Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner Key Features:
- Certified organic ingredients
- Reparative Omegas for the ultimate nourishment
- Moisturizes, Smooths and Shines
Best Budget Pick: Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream
Humidity can cause frizz and flyaways. Help tame your tresses with Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream, which provides up to three full days of frizz control even in 97% humidity.
With over 100 years of experience in haircare, Garnier weaves natural ingredients into all of its formulas for a complete line of products from shampoos, conditioners, styling products and hair dyes. Super affordable, Garnier Fructics Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream is perfect for taking along on your travels for sleek, nourished hair on the go. You can use it on damp or dry hair, and the formula soaks into every strand, smoothing and nourishing your hair for an ultra-smooth, frizz-free look that lasts.
Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream Key Features:
- Ultimate frizz control (up to 3 days)
- Natural ingredients like argan oil
- Soaks into dry hair to smooth every strand
Best Leave-In Conditioner for Curly Hair: Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner
A super creamy leave-in conditioning formula, Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner is the ultimate curl management solution. It not only smooths the cuticles but also removes knots and tangles so you don’t spend all day styling your hair.
Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner contains a mix of herbal ingredients to help you naturally take care of your curly, wavy, and thick hair. It is also great for repairing hair after using extensions or braids.
Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner Key Features:
- Smooths cuticles
- Detangler made especially for curly, wavy and thick hair
- Natural, herbal ingredients
- Great for repairing hair after extensions or braids
Best Leave-In Conditioner for Color Treated Hair: MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner
Featuring 25 essential benefits, MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner is our top choice for color-treated hair. It works for all hair textures and contains a blend of fennel seed oil and sustainably sourced coconut oil to nourish your hair from root to tip.
The formula hydrates, strengthens, and beautifies textured hair. Plus, it works as a detangler and helps protect your hair from heat styling. The spray is easy to use and is non-greasy and weightless. Use it to control frizz and preserve the longevity of your color-treated hair while gaining that freshly washed feel you love.
MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner Key Features:
- Speeds drying time and adds shine
- Non-greasy and weightless
- Infused with sustainably sourced coconut oil and fennel seed extract
- Great for all textures of hair
Who Should Buy Leave-In Conditioner
Leave-in conditioner can benefit everyone, no matter what length or type of hair you have. Some people will use leave-in conditioner once or twice a week, while others may need to use the treatment more frequently. It is important to assess your own hair type and current condition before choosing a leave-in conditioner. Leave-in conditioners are available in spray, cream, and gel formulations.
Once you have determined your hair type and condition, you will need to purchase a product that fits your specific needs, such as leave-in conditioners that target excessive frizz, curly hair, or color-treated hair. Always read the product directions before applying. Some leave-in conditioners are applied to damp hair, while others should be applied to dry hair.
Important Features to Consider
A leave-in conditioner should leave your hair smooth and nourished. Here’s what to consider when selecting a leave-in conditioner.
- Spray, cream or gel. The type of leave-in conditioner you choose can help determine your success with a particular product. If you have thin hair, heavy creams can weigh it down and sprays may not absorb well in thick hair. Curls, textured hair or color treated hair require a specialized product. Always check the product you are interested in to see what types of hair it is recommended for.
- Ingredients. Some leave-in conditioners can contain toxic ingredients. If natural or organic ingredients are important to you check the ingredients list. If you have issues with common allergens, don’t forget to check the label for that too.
- Time commitment. Some leave-in conditioners can be left in without rinsing, while others require you to rinse thoroughly after a set time period. If you are low maintenance, make sure you leave-in conditioner is too.
- Price. There are a wide range of prices for leave-in conditioner. If you don’t like to spend a lot of money on hair products, try our budget pick. If you prefer higher end products, choose a leave-in conditioner that offers premium ingredients and a line of additional products that compliment their leave-in conditioner.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is leave-in conditioner and how does it work?
Leave-in conditioner is a hair treatment that can boost your hair’s overall health, elasticity and shine. It is typically applied after using shampoo and conditioner to towel dried strands. It is available in various types to solve your biggest hair problems. Your hair may be dry, it might break easy, have heat damage or color treated. If you have fine hair, you will want to use a leave-in conditioner spray so it doesn’t weigh down your hair. If you have thick hair, consider purchasing a cream or gel that can handle all of that extra volume.
Once you know your hair type, leave-in conditioner is super easy to add to your weekly routine. If you are using a spray, spritz on damp hair and use a comb to incorporate the product thoroughly. If you are using a gel or cream, use a small amount and massage it into your hair with your hands. Don’t forget to pay special attention to your scalp and your ends.
Only use your selected leave-in conditioner once or twice a week. This will prevent any product buildup that can happen to all hair types. If your hair seems worse after using the product a couple of times, discontinue use. You may need to revisit your hair type or try a product with different ingredients.
Can you use leave-in conditioner on dry hair?
It is not recommended that you apply leave-in conditioner on dry hair. For best results, hair must be damp (not soaking wet) for the product to absorb into your hair.
Can you leave leave-in conditioner on overnight?
Yes, you can leave leave-in conditioner on overnight for softer hair the next morning.
Can you use leave-in conditioner without washing your hair?
You can use leave-in conditioner without washing your hair. The conditioner will not clarify like shampoo but it will protect your locks when you are pressed for time. If you are trying to get more days in between washes, try alternating shampoo and conditioner to prevent stripping your hair of too much moisture. As with any product, too much leave-in conditioner can cause build-up so don’t completely ditch your shampoo.
Other Leave-In Conditioners We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other leave-in conditioners. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best leave-in conditioners list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your hair. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
- Leave-in Conditioners for Curly Hair
- Leave-in Conditioners for Color Treated Hair
- Leave-in Conditioners with Detanglers
Leave-in Conditioners for Curly Hair
Stop frizz in its tracks with this leave-in conditioning milk. It creates all-over shine with natural oils and a gentle scent.
- Anti-frizz with natural oils
- Clean scent
This leave-in conditioner uses the power of extra virgin coconut oil to absorb into dry, damaged fibers. Your hair will feel soft and healthy.
- Great for frizzy hair
- Coconut water help deliver oils to help absorb product into every strand of hair
- Added vitamins improve hair health
This leave-in conditioner is great for all hair types and and helps to preserve hair color. You only need 2-3 minutes for the product to work, and then it can be rinsed out.
- Color safe
- Great for all hair types
- Works in a short amount of time
This organic leave-in conditioning formula conditions your curls. It’s great for repairing, restoring, and softening your hair.
- Organic blueberry extract, coconut oil, grape seed oil and mango butter
- Encourages hair growth
- Recommended for curls
This formula is perfect for curly hair or waves. It improves curls for a full 24 hours each time you use it.
- Infused with Australian jojoba oil and sea kelp
- Pleasing smell
- Defines curls with just one pump
Cost: $10 (pack of 3)
Revitalize your natural or permed curls with this leave-in conditioner. It provides a salon experience in the comfort of your own home.
- Safe for all hair types
- Combination of argan oil, omega-3 and melaleuca oil
- Salon quality ingredients
Use this styling elixir to condition those flyaways. It reduces frizz, hydrates, and conditions your hair.
- 20 Benefits to improve smoothness
- Detangles, reduces frizz
- Hydrates and conditions
Leave-in Conditioners for Color Treated Hair
Formulated with a blend of nutrient dense vitamins A, C, and E, this leave-in conditioner also includes green tea extract to improve hair health.
- Suitable for all hair types including color treated hair
- Protects against heat damage from styling tools and the sun
Cost: $12 (pack of 2)
The anti-snap treatment smooths from the cuticle. This helps reduce pain from brushing and strengthen from the root.
- Fortifies weak and damaged hair
- Redken’s exclusive 3D repair
- Safe for color treated hair
This leave-in conditioner features a fortified complex of keratin, bulgarian rosewater, and pink sea pearls. Each ingredient works together to hydrate, smooth, and shine.
- Creates silky softness and shine
- Salon quality
- Prevents breakage
This product improves hydration without weighing your hair down. A combo of olive extract, meadowfoam extract, and sweet almond extract absorb into each hair strand’s core for the ultimate softness.
- Natural ingredients
- Treats hair from inside out
- No flaking, heaviness or stickiness
This leave-in conditioner restores the shine and vibrancy that your hair needs. It’s a cream product that features vitamins that reach the core of the hair, helping it stay healthy from the inside out.
- Safe for color-treated, damaged and dry hair
- Silk proteins absorb into hair’s core
- Pro-vitamin B5 promotes healthy shine
Leave-in Conditioners with Detanglers
This leave-in conditioner works in just a few sprays without rinsing. It repairs your hair and also protects it from the sun.
- Weightless spray formula
- Detangles and seals in moisture
- Protects from harmful UV rays
This leave-in treatment improves your hair in 12 different ways. It’s great for repairing, hydrating, and detangling your tresses.
- Protects hair from frequent heat styling
- Repairs split ends
- Soothes scalp
Enjoy the benefits of this 3-in-1 product, which is a leave-in conditioner, a detangler, and anti-frizz treatment in one.
- Vegan, gluten free, and paraben free
- UV protection
- Color safe
This leave-in conditioner replenishes the moisture you need for defined waves and curls. It’s formulated with vitamin E for softer, more manageable hair.
- Works quick even for tight curls and color treated hair
- Natural ingredients like almond and avocado
- Recommended for men, women and kids
This leave-in conditioner contains unique ingredients like cocoa, soy, and tri-wheat proteins to give hair maximum strength. It also includes moisturizers to detangle your locks.
- Protein reconstructor
- Safe for color-treated hair
- Powerful combination of soy and cocoa
Using bio-active extracts, this leave-in conditioner strengthens, moisturizes, and smooths. The anti-breakage formula is easy on your strands.
- Safe for daily use
- Easy to use spray bottle
- Made with essential vitamins and herbs
Change your hair condition in an instant. This leave-in conditioner contains a blend of wheat protein and vitamin B5 that promotes hair health and prevents breakage.
- Immediate results
- Increases softness and shine
- Weightless formula
A light and non-greasy formula that restores hair after sun and salt water exposure, this leave-in conditioner helps to protect hair color while restoring your hair’s natural moisture.
- Biodegradable formula
- Antioxidant blend of organic green tea, tulsi, wakame and olive oil