The best leave-in conditioner for all hair types

For that little boost of hydration 💁‍♀️

best-leave-in-conditioner

by Samantha Price |
Updated on

Sometimes, using conditioner as part of your regular hair care routine just doesn't cut it, which is why you might need the best leave-in conditioner to give your hair the hit of hydration it needs. If you're finding that you're using the best shampoos and conditioners in the game but you're still left with dry hair, a leave-in conditioner could be the answer.

Leave-in conditioner works in the same way your regular conditioner does. It penetrates the hair shaft to soften, nourish and hydrate. However, where you'd usually wash your conditioner out, a leave-in conditioner stays in. This promotes intense hydration that's evenly distributed throughout the day.

Everyone's hair is totally different. But, those with dry hair would definitely see more benefit from a leave-in conditioner, as well as the best shampoo for dry hair. Thicker, wavy or curly hair types may find that their hair is in need of extra hydration, and this is because moisture can struggle to travel down the hair strand.

heat's best leave-in conditioners at a glance:

Editor's choice: Moroccanoil All In One Leave In Conditioner, £23.95 on Amazon

Best highly rated leave-in conditioner: Revlon UniqONE Professional Leave In Conditioner, £9.26 on Amazon

Best leave-in conditioner for damaged hair: L'Oréal Hair Leave In Conditioner Cream, £6 on Amazon

There are other factors that contribute to how dry your hair is. If you regularly dye your hair, this can cause natural oils to break down. While using the best shampoo for coloured hair can help revive dyed locks, teaming it with leave-in conditioner will leave you with hair feeling soft, silky and shiny. Here are the best leave-in conditioners that are unreal at bringing back moisture that's desperately needed.

SHOP: The best leave-in conditioners

Editor's choice

Moroccanoil All In One Leave In ConditionerAmazon
Price: $30.00
Alternative retailers
Sephora$14.00View offer
FragranceNet.com$29.39View offer
Kohl's$30.00View offer
Dermstore$30.00View offer

You can always trust Moroccanoil when it comes to hair care, and the Moroccanoil All In One Leave In Conditioner is no exception. Infused with a blend of superfoods, amino acids and argan oil, this treatment is packed full of ingredients to nourish dry hair back to life.

Customer review: "I have tried so many different leave-in conditioners. They leave a lot to be desired when it comes to moisturizing and softness. The Moroccanoil leave-in conditioner leaves my hair soft and wonderfully scented. I don't need to try anything else."

Pros

  • Amino acids enhance strength
  • Clinically proven to reduce breakage
  • Has a weightless feel

Cons

  • May not last very long

Best highly rated leave-in conditioner

The Revlon UniqONE Professional Leave In Conditioner is a firm favourite, and not just because it's the most highly rated leave-in conditioner on Amazon with thousands of five-star reviews. Celebs, such as Love Island's Chloe Burrows, also use the hair treatment, saying it's the 'best she's ever used.' We're DEFINITELY adding this one to our baskets, immediately.

Customer review: "I was looking for a leave-in conditioner to help me refresh my curls and also to improve the condition of my hair. I know there are some reviews that say it is thick and heavy but to my mind that is if you put loads on.. remember, this is not to be applied as you would a normal conditioner. This is to be used in small quantities in the lengths of the hair. It smells amazing and is really light and gives the curls a nice bounce. I highly recommend this especially for the price."

Pros

  • Thouands of glowing reviews
  • Works as a heat protectant
  • Vegan-friendly formula

Cons

  • Has a strong scent - but most customers love it

Best leave-in conditioner for damaged hair

L'Oréal Hair Leave In Conditioner CreamAmazon
Price: £6

For dreamy tresses, the L'Oréal Hair Leave In Conditioner Cream works wonders. Its formula, which is enriched with oils, vitamins, proteins and keratin, is an unreal combination for nourishing the hair and promoting healthy locks. An ideal leave-in conditioner for long or damaged hair, it works to reduce the chance of breakage and split ends.

Customer review: "I honestly feel like this stuff has SAVED MY HAIR. I put it on after every wash and comb it through. What tangles? It also smells amazing!!! My hair is growing longer and healthier than it ever has before :)"

Pros

  • Enriched with oils, vitamins and keratin
  • Helps to reduce split ends
  • Smooths out frizz

Cons

  • Some said it left hair feeling greasy

Best leave-in conditioner for afro hair

Cantu Leave-In Conditioning Repair CreamAmazon
Alternative retailers
Walmart$6.48View offer

As chosen as one of the best leave-in conditioners for afro hair, the Cantu Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream has a rich, thick and creamy texture that's perfect for thicker hair types, particularly afro hair. It provides intense moisture, protects from heat damage, and doesn't contain any drying ingredients like alcohol or silicones that strip the hair of moisture.

Customer review: "I have quite thick natural afro hair and bought this product as I reviewed it on the internet and came across many positive reviews. This is a light conditioner which can not only be left in your hair without washing out on a daily basis but can also be used as a regular conditioner while washing your hair. It has a pleasant light scent and doesn't leave your hair feeling greasy. Great value and quality for price and should last you a while."

Pros

  • Repairs split ends and reduces frizz
  • Protects from heat damage
  • No drying ingredients

Cons

  • Not the best option for fine hair

Best leave-in conditioner for coloured hair

Pureology Color Fanatic Leave In Conditioner SprayAmazon
Price: $23.11
Alternative retailers
Walmart$30.99View offer
Ulta$35.00View offer

If you feel your colour-treated hair is feeling thirsty, it will drink this Pureology Color Fanatic Leave In Conditioner Spray up in no time. Formulated for coloured hair, this lightweight mist primes the hair, protects your colour and nourishes dry hair in the process. The literal DREAM - and everything dyed hair could ever possibly need in one bottle.

Customer reviews: "It provides excellent protection for my coloured hair. I've noticed a reduction in fading and dullness since I started using it. My ends are much healthier, more hydrated and less frizzy. It also makes my hair feel incredibly soft and manageable, which is a big plus. It’s a tick in the box that it's free from sulphates and other harsh chemicals, so it’s gentle on my hair."

Pros

  • Protects coloured hair from fading
  • Vegan-friendly formula
  • Free from sulphates

Cons

  • The scent isn't for everyone

Best leave-in conditioner for all hair types

milk_shake® Leave-In Conditioner For All Types Of HairAmazon
Alternative retailers
Walmart$16.99View offer

Supposedly suitable for all types of hair, the milk_shake® Leave-In Conditioner has a formula that deeply conditions the hair. The milk protein integrates and strengthens the hair fibre, while the fruit and honey extracts revive the hair and increase shine.

Customer review: "I have been using this stuff for months and I love it. It's super light on my fine hair. Never feels heavy. If my hair is feeling dry the next day I will spray some more on and scrunch it through my curls until my hair feels soft again. I can do this 2 or 3 days in a row and my hair doesn't feel a lot of build up. Wonderful!"

Pros

  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Protects hair from UV rays
  • Rich in antioxidants

Cons

  • Low in stock

Best leave-in conditioner with heat protectant

Matrix Multi-Tasking Hair Treatment Leave-In ConditionerAmazon
Alternative retailers
Walmart$19.80View offer
JCPenney$25.00View offer
Ulta$25.00View offer

The Matrix Multi-Tasking Leave-In Conditioner primes the hair for styling by locking in hydration, protecting against heat damage and conditioning the hair. The cruelty-free formula is suitable for all hair types, making the hair much easier to manage while boosting shine. We're sold.

Customer review: "I have been using this for years as this stuff is magic in a bottle. It smooths your hair, gets rid of frizz, adds shine, and helps keep the style without ANY stickiness or stiffness. My hair is SO soft and shiny after I use this, devoid of frizz and looks amazing."

Pros

  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Protects from heat damage
  • Cruelty-free and vegan-friendly formula

Cons

  • But, may be heavier on finer hair

Best multipurpose leave-in conditioner

Redken One United 25 Multi-Benefits Leave-In ConditionerAmazon
Price: $18 (was £21.20)
Alternative retailers
FragranceNet.com$24.49View offer
JCPenney$30.00View offer
Ulta$30.00View offer

Want a leave-in conditioner that does it all? The Redken One United 25 Multi-Benefits Leave-In Conditioner is one for all hair textures, that strengthens, detangles and and protects from heat damage all at once. Formulated with coconut oil and lactic acid, this leave-in conditioner improves hair health and encourages growth.

Customer review: "I’ve got bleached hair and struggled with damage. I’ve used this for over 6 months now and it’s made a huge difference. Stay away from the roots as it can leave them looking greasy, and for the ends spray in your hands and put it in yourself as well as fly aways. I spray layer by layer. Blow dry or it will look greasy. After straightening it gives a beautiful shine and less damage and a tropical smell."

Pros

  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Helps to reduce breakage
  • Works as a heat protectant

Cons

  • The scent isn't for everyone

Best leave-in conditioner for frizz

John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Miracle Leave In ConditionerAmazon
Price: £6.47

If, like us, you have hair that's prone to frizz then John Frieda's Frizz Ease Daily Miracle Leave In Conditioner might just be the best option for you. Helping to promote healthy, nourished hair while reducing the chance of breakage and split ends, it also works as a heat protectant and a detangling spray for dry, damaged and colour-treated hair.

Customer review: "I have very tight curly hair which tends to frizz (misty damp days are one of my worst nightmares). This product, for me, is great to use between washes (I wash my hair once a week), to condition and soften it and revitalise it a bit. I spray it on damp hair then run my fingers through it to untangle my curls. You can instantly feel it easing to knots and frizz and makes it feel silky. John Freida isn't just a hero for us naturally curly girls. I don't know what I'd do without his products. His shampoo, conditioners and serums are fantastic too. This spray also has a nice subtle non-overpowering smell to it. Love love love it 😍"

Pros

  • Works as a heat protectant
  • Helps to reduce split ends
  • Smooths out frizz

Cons

  • Made hair a bit sticky for some

Best leave-in conditioner for shine

Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning CreamAmazon
Price: $11.12

Bringing back some much-needed shine to dry hair, the Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream is infused with natural oils. Along with nourishing argan oil, it also contains vegan-friendly plant keratin that's full of amino acids similar to those found in the hair. Say goodbye to dry hair, and hello to sleek hair full of shine.

Customer review: "I'm plagued with hair that frizzes in damp or humid weather. This product has put an end to that - so much so that I've been able to stop using hairspray for the first time in years. This is an excellent product. You only need a little amount so don't put too much on or your hair will look greasy. Add a little onto your towel-dried hair (using a bit more on the ends if you like) or use it as a "sleeker" on your dry hair. All my family and friends now use this product. Try it - you'll love it."

Pros

  • Infused with plant keratin and argan oil
  • Cruelty-free and vegan-friendly formula
  • No silicones, parabens or phthalates

Cons

  • Made hair too stiff for some

FAQs

How to use a leave-in conditioner?

You should use a leave-in conditioner after you've washed and conditioned your hair as usual. After towel drying, you'll want to apply it from your mid-lengths through to your ends on slightly damp hair. No need to rinse it out, afterwards just blow dry your hair or let it air dry. When applying, always avoid the roots, even if you do suffer from a dry scalp. While you might be tempted to include conditioner here, what you might actually need is the best dandruff shampoo instead.

How much leave-in conditioner you should use will depend on your hair type and thickness. Using it too much might result in unnecessary oil, and you might have to go in with a dry shampoo afterwards which, let's be honest, is not ideal in this instance. Usually, an amount the size of a coin is enough to bring some moisture to the ends of the hair. When it comes to how often to use a leave-in conditioner, usually once a week is enough for a gorgeous glossy mane.

CREDIT: @chloeburrows / instagram

Finally, if you're wondering how often to wash your hair in the first place? That can also depend on your hair type. Just be mindful that washing your hair every day can contribute to dry hair. So, overall, what are the best tips for looking after dry hair? Cut back on heat, cut back on the dye and cut back on washing every day. Use the right products for your hair type without added nasties, and add plenty of moisture where you can.

Samantha 'Sam' Price is a Beauty, Fashion & Wellness Products Writer at heat magazine. In 2021, Sam began her journey as a Storytelling Executive at Closer and heatworld on an internship, creating beauty and fashion content across these brands. It was 2022 when Sam was employed as a Commercial Content Writer writing about Family Life on Yours, Mother & Baby and Spirit & Destiny. Now, she specialises in beauty, fashion and wellness content across many brands.

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