Everyone knows that regular conditioners are used after shampooing to protect it from breakage, add moisture, and smooth out any roughness. But when should you use a leave-in conditioner? That’s the question we’re going to answer today.
Before discussing when to use this product, it is a good idea to first learn the characteristics of it so you know why using leave-in conditioner can actually benefit your hair. A leave-in conditioner can help to improve your hair’s manageability by smoothing out any roughness, adding flexibility, and giving it the strength it needs to avoid breakage and split ends, says Lade from Hairducation. This is done by following your regular hair care routine with a bit of leave-in conditioner for this added protection and moisture. There are two types of leave-in conditioners that you can choose from. These are moisturizing leave-ins and protein-rich leave-ins. Depending on your hair type and the amount of damage your hair has suffered, you may need to use both of these at different times.
Since the protein-rich leave-in is formulated to reduce and repair damage and add strength to your hair, it should be used on weaker or softer feeling hair. Moisturizing leave-in conditioner is better suited for those with rougher hair or that which is too stiff and difficult to style since it can smooth and soften those hard to manage locks.
In this case, it is better to use a spray formula because they are generally lighter and easier to work through your hair, giving it the manageability without adding heavy, oily residue. Lotions and creams are also available, but these are better used by those with thick, coarse hair because it will be able to penetrate the tight locks, working through your hair to give it an even coating of protection and moisture.
The best time to use a leave-in conditioner is right after you shower. It is alright to use it in place of your regular conditioners unless your hair is damaged or dry and needs the extra moisture two applications of conditioner can help to repair. Hair expert Chatel Theagene also includes using it as a detangler for those with thicker hair prone to knotting. Using it as a daily moisturizer for anyone with dry hair is also a great use of this product. A leave-in conditioner is also great for those days when you wake up late and don’t have time to do your hair properly. It can replace your other stylers or used along with them to give you great hold with a boost of moisture and to keep it soft and looking great.
Keep in mind, these tips are not just for the ladies. Even men can enjoy the benefits of styling with a leave-in conditioner, as shown in this video by Zak Mascolo. Now that you know the best reasons to use one, here’s how to do it. First, wash your hair as you normally would. Be sure to squeeze out the excess moisture so you don’t accidentally wash away the leave-in as your hair drips onto the floor. When your hair is still damp, section your hair and then apply the leave-in, working it through your hair completely from root to tip. There is no need to apply it to your scalp. Instead, focus your attention on the ends as they will most likely need the most protection and healing.
Remember, less is more with leave-in as with any styling product. It is better to use just enough to coat your hair, so you don’t weigh it down. You want your hair to respond to your styling choices, not end up flat on your head.
Leave-in conditioners are stocked in any pharmacy, big box store, or anywhere else you can buy regular conditioners. Salons are also a great place to purchase them and though their prices may be a bit higher, the quality of their products can’t be beaten.
Of course, there are also a few items you can find in your home that can be used as a natural replacement for a store-bought leave-in conditioner. Natural hair therapist Minaz suggests coconut oil to restore your hair’s natural oil balance, add moisture and shine, cut down on frizziness, and protect it from environmental pollutants. But it can be a bit drying, so it may be a good idea to use a bit of aloe vera first. Dawn Michelle of Minimalist Beauty also recommends using a mixture of natural butters, such as mango, shea or cocoa butter for those with dry or damaged ends. These can add a bit of weight so are best used sparingly by those with finer hair.
Whichever you choose, natural or salon brand, if used correctly, a leave-in conditioner can offer the benefits of moisture and strength to restore your hair’s natural beauty. If you are having a difficult time deciding which leave-in conditioner is right for you, discuss your options with your hair stylist. If you are looking for more hair care articles check out our blog and our hair care buyer’s guides.
I joined BloomGorgeous in 2014 and have been reviewing for them ever since. It's my passion and joy to help people thrive. I have had my up and down days with my my look and my mindset, it is our goal here to help people get through the rough times a little faster.