Best Leave-In Conditioner for Natural Hair: Reviews & Guide (2018)

Updated a year ago

We want healthy, shiny hair. No one wants dry, damaged hair, or unmanageable frizz. Unfortunately, everything from our genes to the weather can affect how our hair looks. Those of us who curl, straighten, dye, and color our hair often suffer more than those who don’t. So what’s the easiest solution to make hair as naturally healthy as possible?

Leave-in conditioner is a simple way to protect your hair from the environment and damage from styling. It can get rid of frizz and tame out-of-control curls. Leave-in conditioner isn’t necessary for everyone to use, but it’s practically a miracle in a bottle to those of us whose hair it helps.

Who needs leave-in conditioner?

Are you aware that there are 4 main hair types? Do you know which type you have?

  • Type 1, Straight hair
  • Type 2, Wavy Hair
  • Type 3, Curly Hair
  • Type 4 Kinky, Coily Hair

No matter which type of hair you have, you might need leave-in conditioner. For example, anyone who uses a curling iron, a straightener, or hair dryer might benefit from extra conditioning so their hair doesn’t dry out from styling.

Type 1 hair tends to get oilier faster than other hair types, so use a lightweight leave-in conditioner. You may not even need one if you have Type 1 hair.

But persons with Types 2, 3, and especially Type 4 hair can benefit from leave-in conditioner even if they don’t color or heat style their locks. Types 2 and 3 frizz when it’s humid outside. It may sound contrary to reason to add conditioner to hair when it’s damp weather, but it actually helps tame and control it. Look for ones that advertise “anti-frizz” properties.

Type 4 hair is delicate even though it looks wiry. It’s dry, and it can break more easily than other hair types. It’s a great idea to use leave-in conditioner to moisturize and strengthen kinky hair, and keep tangles to a minimum. With this type of hair, you can opt for rich butters and natural oils. Just avoid waxes and petroleum products.

The Best Leave-In Conditioners for All Hair Types

We gathered the top leave-in conditioners for all hair types and reviewed them so you can find the best one for you.

Natural for All Hair Types, Men, and Women: Renpure Coconut Whipped Creme Leave-In Conditioner

“It smells good enough to eat!” Have you ever said that about a hair care product? If so, watch out because the Renpure Coconut Whipped Crème Leave-In Conditioner has a fabulously tasty scent. It’s based on coconut water and oil so your hair absorbs it quickly. It flattens down the cuticle of your hair, soothing it so it becomes shiny and free of frizz.

Renpure doesn’t test on animals. This conditioner does not contain salt, parabens, gluten, or sulfates. It’s safe for all hair types.

All Hair Types, Women and Men: Maple Holistics Silk18 Natural Hair Conditioner Argan Oil for Dry Damaged Hair

The Silk18 from Maple Holistics is a powerful leave-in conditioner for damaged hair. It literally harnesses 18 different amino acids derived from silk to tame frizz and static and moisturize hair. It also contains keratin, jojoba oil, and argan oil to strengthen hair.

It’s safe for color-treated hair because it’s sulfate-free. Its vanilla aroma is pleasant and appeals to both men and women. This is a leave-in conditioner for all hair types and all ages. It’s cruelty-free, not tested on animals.

Lightweight for Wavy Hair: Aussie Hair Insurance Leave-In Conditioner

Teen Vogue is proving itself to be a smart source for information in many areas lately. If they say that Aussie Hair Insurance wins their Reader’s Choice Beauty Award, that makes us consider this purple bottle with respect.

It doesn’t contain the bad chemicals we avoid. Instead, it has ginseng, aloe, and a silicone derivative to calm down frizz and make hair manageable. Spray it, comb it through, and go—it’s that simple.

Art Naturals Organic Argan Oil Leave-in Conditioner for Hair Loss

Art Naturals is known for their Argan Oil shampoo for hair loss. It’s no surprise they also have this Leave-In Conditioner that repairs hair and stimulates new growth. Besides organic Argan oil that helps hair roots and your scalp, it contains Awapuhi White Ginger to make hair shiny and soft all the way to the tips.

But wait, there’s even more natural goodness inside. It has Vitamin E, aloe vera, and witch hazel, too. Some of these ingredients protect against damage from the sun and from heat. This formula does not have parabens or sulfates, and it was not tested on animals. You can use it on any hair type, and use it every day if you like.

Type 4 Hair, Look Here: SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Reparative Leave-In Conditioner

If you have Type 4 coiled and kinky hair, take a closer look at the SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner. You can use it every day if you like, and it’s sulfate-free so it’s good for color-treated hair.

It contains shea butter, coconut oil, fatty alcohols (the moisturizing kinds, not the kinds that dry out your hair), Panthenol, glycerin, Jojoba and Castor Seed oils, keratin, aloe, Vitamin E, rice protein, and more. Some of these ingredients are certified organic. All this, and it smells minty fresh, too!

It's A 10 Leave-In Conditioner Plus Keratin

“It’s a 10” Leave-In Conditioner Plus Keratin is a powerful product to make your hair shiny and tangle-free. Once you’ve washed your hair, simply dry it with a towel, then spray this conditioner on it and comb it.

Users report that their hair is much more manageable. They notice it eliminates frizz and doesn’t feel greasy. The keratin is especially good for fine hair because it replaces protein lost when your hair is styled or chemically-treated.

The only downside is that it contains parabens, as does the other “It’s a 10” product below.

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product

“It’s a 10” Miracle Leave-In Product is made for both men’s and women’s hair. This spray adds shine and makes hair feel silky soft. It’s a good conditioner to use if you regularly blow-dry or curl your hair because it protects strands from breaking and heat.

While many users swear by “It’s a 10,” this leave-in conditioner and the other one above both contain parabens. This one also has Methylisothiazolinone. See the note at the bottom of the reviews for an explanation why some people avoid products with these ingredients.*

Aveeno Nourish+ Condition Leave-In Treatment

While this isn’t the best choice for someone with allergies to wheat, the Aveeno Nourish+ Condition Leave-In Treatment has a lot of fans. It contains wheat protein and wheat germ oil to strengthen hair and make it shiny. It does contain sulfates, however.

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

Garnier’s Fructis Sleek & Shine Conditioning Cream uses Argan oil and apricot derivatives to stop frizz even in conditions with very high humidity. You can use it every day, or wait up to three days. They tested it—but of course the best results come when you use their shampoo and conditioner along with this product.

Sexy Hair Concepts Healthy Sexy Hair Soy-Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner

Hundreds of positive reviews say that the Sexy Hair Concepts Healthy Sexy Hair Soy-Tri-Wheat works. It detangles, it moisturizes, and it protects hair from environmental stress. It doesn’t feel greasy. In fact, some users can’t tell they even have it on except for the fact that their hair is shinier and softer.

It does contain parabens and Methylisothiazolinone, as well as soy and wheat which could cause problems for users with sensitivities to these ingredients.

Unite 7Seconds Condition Leave-in Detangler

Unite’s 7Seconds Leave-In Detangler says it has proteins and moisturizers that protect color treated and heat treated hair from chemicals and UV rays. It’s lightweight so your hair won’t feel oily, but makes strands smooth for easy detangling.

Unfortunately, the ingredient label shows that it contains Methoylisothiazolinone as well as a lineup of unpronounceable terms that need a chemistry book to interpret. On the good side, according to many users, it smells like grape soda.

Detangling Brush - Glide Thru Detangler Hair Comb or Brush from Crave Naturals

If you don’t have one already, a detangling comb or brush is essential for curly, kinky, and wavy hair. Thousands of people have expressed their love of the Glide Thru Detangler from Crave Naturals. That’s good enough for us.

You may also love this Ultra Smooth Detangler Comb from Cricket.

*A note on chemicals used in some leave-in conditioners

We noted above that some conditioners contain ingredients like parabens, sulfates, and Methylisothiazolinone. Here’s why some people prefer to avoid them. For more details, check the EWG database.

  • Methylisothiazolinone—a preservative that may cause allergic reactions and problems with the nervous system.
  • Parabens—one example is methylparaben. These preservatives mimic the hormone estrogen and may disrupt the endrocrine system.
  • Sulfates—surfactants that can make shampoos sudsier or emulsify ingredients in conditioners, they might harm organs or cause skin irritation in sensitive people

Recommendation

If you’re experiencing frizz, dryness, or damage from hair treatments, why not try a leave-in conditioner? Your regular conditioner after shampooing may not be powerful enough for your needs because you do rinse it out after all. A leave-in conditioner is an inexpensive way to nourish and protect your hair without taking a trip to a salon.

When you choose one for yourself, consider these questions. What hair type do you have? How damaged or dry is your hair? Are you experiencing hair loss? Would you prefer a product you can use every day, or something that will last for a few days? Do you prefer natural ingredients?

While you wait for your new leave-in conditioner to arrive

But what if you need that conditioner like yesterday!? Here are a couple of quick fixes that might help you get by until your package arrives.

  • Leave your regular conditioner in for a few extra minutes before you rinse it
  • Try using a wide tooth comb to gently remove tangles while your hair is wet with conditioner in it (then pat your hair dry, don’t rub it)
  • You can also apply olive oil or coconut oil to your hair, carefully comb through the problem areas, then shampoo and condition as usual.

We hope you discovered the perfect leave-in conditioner for your hair. Check back soon for more reviews of the best in personal care products.