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What Is a Leave-In Conditioner and Why Does It Make Your Hair Smooth and Shiny?

It really does!
What Is a Leave-In Conditioner and Why Does It Make Your Hair Smooth and Shiny?
IMAGE Sephora, Bed Head
It really does!

As much as we love going the extra mile for our hair, we're also all about finding ways to simplify our routines. That's why when it comes to detangling, moisturizing, and adding a hint of shine, we think leave-in conditioners are a tough one to beat. Imagine having all the smoothing benefits of your regular conditioner without having to wash it off! But of course, we have to build our case, so read on to know more about this wonder product!

What is leave-in conditioner?

Leave-in conditioner does exactly what it says—it softens your hair like a regular in-shower conditioner, but instead of rinsing it, you let your hair soak it up. It provides a little extra slip to your hair, which not only helps hydrate and lock in moisture, but also helps get rid of frizz and makes brushing out wet hair easier by detangling it.

How do you use a leave-in conditioner?

Leave-in hair products come in different forms. Some are creamy like their wash-off counterparts, while others come in the form of a mist. Whichever you prefer, however, here's an easy four-step guide to incorporating it into your routine:

1. Towel-dry your hair first.

Leave-in conditioners are best used on damp hair, so make sure to get majority of the water on your hair off before applying product.

2. Apply the leave-in conditioner on the ends of your hair.

A common mistake people do with leave-ins is that they apply it even on the scalp, which is a huge no-no because doing so will make your hair oily. Instead, section your damp and unbrushed tresses and focus the product on the length and tips. A good rule of thumb is to start two inches away from scalp!

3. Brush the product through.

With the product now applied, grab a brush or a comb to detangle and make sure your locks are evenly coated. We don't recommend massaging it manually because stimulating your scalp with your fingers can trigger it to produce oil!

4. If using a hair dryer, apply a heat protectant first.

If you're air-drying, you can skip this step! But if you blowdry on the daily, remember that leave-in conditioners aren't a substitute for heat protectants (unless it claims to be, of course!), so don't forget to protect your hair with a separate product for heat styling. After drying, you can finish your look off with your favorite hair oil or serum to add even more shine!


What leave-in conditioners should I try?

At this point, you may already be convinced that you do need a leave-in hair product. To find ones worth adding to your routine, check out our picks below:

1. Briogeo Farewell Frizz Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioning Spray

This fine, lightweight mist contains a blend of coconut, rosehip, and argan oil and no harsh chemicals. It does the job of softening and detangling even the frizziest hair without weighing it down!

PHOTO BY Sephora
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BRIOGEO Farewell Frizz Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioning Spray, P1170,

2. Ouai Leave In Conditioner

We know we said leave-in conditioners can't substitute heat protectants, but Ouai's version of it actually has thermal protection properties that can trim the number of products in your routine.

PHOTO BY Sephora

OUAI Leave In Conditioner, P1515,


3. Bed Head by TIGI Ego Boost: Split End Mender and Leave-In Conditioner

A few pumps of this product can tame frizz almost instantly, especially if you struggle with stubborn split ends. That's because it's formulated with keratin, an ingredient that smooths out strands to make them more manageable.

PHOTO BY Sephora

BED HEAD BY TIGI Ego Boost: Split End Mender and Leave-In Conditioner, P1300, HairMNL

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