What is a Leave-in Conditioner?
A leave-in conditioner is the last product applied at the end of your regimen. It is a treatment created to add extra conditioning to your hair and help lock in moisture until your next regimen day.
A great leave-in conditioner or two should be part of the product stash of every naturalista but not all leave-in conditioners are created equal.
There are two types of leave-in conditioners — creamy and liquid. Your choice depends on the style you’re trying to achieve and your hair type.
Type 1 – 3 hair may benefit from the liquid leave-in conditioners while type 4 hair may prefer the creamier leave-in conditioners.
This article will focus on creamy leave-in conditioners while the next one will focus on liquid leave-in conditioners.
Benefits of a Leave-in Conditioner
1. Moisture Retention
A good leave-in conditioner helps achieve moisture retention on hair. Lack of moisture leads to several issues such as dryness, breakage and split ends in natural hair.
We want to keep as much of it in our hair as possible and this is where finishing off with a great leave-in conditioner makes a lot of difference.
2. Maintain Hairstyles
Leave-in conditioners help set and maintain a hairstyle. Depending on the ingredients, they can also strengthen weak hair strands.
Hydrolysed wheat protein is one of the ingredients to look out for in a leave-in conditioner when your objective is strengthening your curls.
3. Eliminates Frizz
Leave-in conditioners eliminate frizz and promote shine and elasticity.
4. Easier Detangling
An optimal leave-in conditioner helps to detangle hair and make hair more manageable during styling.
5. Regulates Hair pH Level
As the last step in your regimen, it will close your cuticles and return the pH of your hair to the normal level. You can easily find out the pH of your products with test strips. The right leave-in should have a pH of somewhere from 4 – 6.
Some people prefer not to use a leave-in conditioner but personally, my hair feels undone when I don’t round off my regimen with a good leave-in conditioner, whether commercial, home-made or a hybrid of both.
Below are my top 18 creamy leave-in conditioners for natural hair — great ingredients, budget-friendly and long-lasting.
18 Creamy Leave-in Conditioners for Natural Curly Hair
Everybody’s hair reacts differently to products so you may have to go through some trial and error to settle on your best leave-in conditioners.
Tip – buy sample sizes to try first. If a product doesn’t offer sample sizes, ask the manufacturer. They may be able to put together something for you.