The Best Leave-In Conditioners For Every Hair Type

I’ve had a leave-in conditioner in my hair care regimen for as long as I remember.

 With dry, curly hair that has a tendency to frizz, it’s always been a given - particularly after years of watching my mum use one on her own curls.

But despite years of use, it’s always been a product that comes with questions. Like what is it actually doing? Does it replace a normal conditioner? Will it make my hair greasy? And what are tonight’s lotto numbers??

 So (maybe a few years too late) it was time to ask the experts.

What Does Leave-In Conditioner Actually Do?

It turns out that nearly all hair types can benefit from using leave-in conditioners - providing you use it right. 

So let's breakdown exactly why you should be using a leave-in conditioner and how to find the best one for your hair.

“Leave-in conditioners provide moisture by replacing natural oils that are lost during the shampooing process,” explains hair stylist and Zemura salon owner, Chrissy Zemura.

Because while shampoos clean hair, they can also strip it of the good stuff that gives it its natural moisturising properties.

But I was surprised to learn that it shouldn’t be a straight swap with whichever ‘normal’ conditioner you use.

“Don’t skip your regular conditioner to only use leave-ins - they both go hand-in-hand,” says Chrissy.

How Should You Use A Leave-In Conditioner?

A leave-in conditioner is best applied as a final step in your shower hair care routine after your shampoo and conditioner. However, it’s not a case of simply slathering all over.

“Apply from the ends going up. You can apply to the roots but avoid the scalp if you are prone to oily hair,” she says. 

Of course, as the name suggests, no rinsing out.

And avoid the biggest mistake Chrissy sees people make with leave-in conditioners; overuse. This is not an every hair wash product.

“It may seem like daily conditioning would be great for your hair but the truth is that it can leave behind loads of product, create nasty build up, and in fact do more harm than good,” she says.

She advises using up to twice a week for best results.

What Ingredients Should You Look Out For?

“Leave-in conditioners are designed to stay on the hair instead of being rinsed off, so the best ones are loaded with ingredients that absorb into hair quickly, but won't leave a residue that weighs hair down,” says Chrissy.

She recommends looking for ingredients like:

  • Cellulose: which has strong humectant properties which helps to increase the amount of moisture in your hair.

  • Arginine: an amino acid that can help to stimulate hair growth and also protect hair’s natural colour.

  • Sweet Almond Oil: improves the condition of your scalp, reducing dryness and flakiness,  as well as helping to improve the texture of your hair.

Now to find your perfect conditioner match.

“You need a very lightweight leave-in conditioner - anything too heavy will make your hair flat,” says Chrissy. Specifically designed for fine hair, this spray hydrates hair without weighing it down. Spritz and gently comb to easily remove any tangles, hydrate dry ends, and add softness without leaving hair limp. It’s a great primer for further styling too, offering heat protection up to 238 degrees.

“These hair types require moisture and hydration from their leave-in conditioners. This hair tends to be dry naturally so a moisturising and hydrating option is best,” says Chrissy. “Creams and spray leave-ins are both great for these hair types.” An intensely hydrating, strengthening and restorative detangling leave-in conditioner, formulated with nourishing Australian fruit extracts. Also has the added bonus of heat protection if you’re planning to blow dry or heat style.

“Dry hair needs a leave-in conditioner that gives hydration as well as shine. It can handle a cream or lotion rather than a spray,” says Chrissy. Perfect for hair that needs extra love, this nourishing treatment works to close the hair cuticle to lock in colour and offer superior conditioning benefits. Perfect for dry, brittle hair this hydrating leave in spray offers exceptional hydration to hair, plus chamomile and safe to replenish and rejuvenate parched tresses.

“Look for something very light - anything heavy will encourage product build up which makes hair even more oily,” says Chrissy. Hydrate and protect without making hair even oilier. This lightweight spray helps moisturise while protecting against further heat and UV damage. Made from 97% naturally derived ingredients, it can be used on both wet and dry hair. Put in your shower ASAP.