Best Leave in Conditioner

9 best leave-in conditioners for soft, supple, nourished hair

Posted by for Hair

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Plus, why you need to stop skipping the nourishing post-wash step.  

If you apply heat, colour or chemical treatments to your hair – listen up. A leave-in conditioner is a moisturising step your hair care routine should never be without. Designed to detangle and nourish, while adding softness and suppleness to the hair, leave-in conditioners come in a myriad of formats, ranging from mists and sprays to creams and balms.

So, instead of washing and going, let’s add one more step into the equation: leave-in conditioning. Here’s why it’s so important and the nine we really rate. 

Why you should use a leave-in conditioner

“Think of your leave-in conditioner as being a bit like a serum or light moisturiser for your skin. Generally, they have a much lower molecular weight than the standard ‘rinse out’ conditioners, meaning they can add softness and shine without weighing down your hair or making it feel or look lank,” says hairstylist Tom Smith

“A suitable leave-in conditioner should provide instant detangling benefits, add softness and shine and make the hair feel smoother. Modern technology also means that really effective products can provide your hair with UV protection, humidity protection, as well as heat protection.”

How to choose the best leave-in conditioner for your hair type and texture

“The success of a leave-in conditioner is all in its compatibility with your hair type, so consider the thickness of each strand of your hair rather than the amount of hair you have,” says Smith. 

If you have fine hair

“Finer strand hair types will benefit from lighter textured leave-in conditioner mists. When sprayed into the hand these should be water-like in texture. This will mean they won’t overburden fine hair types.”

If you have thick or coarse hair

“Thicker and coarser strand hair types need a thicker textured leave-in conditioner like a leave-in conditioning cream or balm. Although, if you prefer a lightweight or natural feel to the hair, you can still use a light leave-in conditioner.”

If you have curly hair

“For best results on curly hair, consider layering a couple of leave-in conditioners, starting with the lightest and layering up to the heaviest.

“This is because curly hair tends to be more porous and the layering of ingredients ‘fills in the cracks’ of the hair allowing the natural curl pattern to be supported, flexible, supple and resistant to humidity.”

How often to use a leave-in conditioner

“If you have very healthy hair and don’t use colouring products or heat on your hair, a leave-in conditioner may not be necessary or essential – but it certainly wouldn’t do any harm,” says Smith. 

“However, the vast majority of hair types can benefit from some form of a leave-in product. For my very short-haired clients, I apply a small amount of light skincare oil to the scalp and hair to deliver lasting moisture and shine which helps with dry scalps and fluffy hair types.”

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