21 best leave-in conditioners to add to your hair arsenal (knots and tangles, be gone)

Leave-in conditioners are the equivalent of the moisturiser you’d apply to your face. Think of it this way: your shampoo is the cleanser; your hair conditioner is the serum. But if you really want your locks to sustain their moisture long after you’ve washed your hair, then it’s a leave-in conditioner you should be adding to your hair arsenal.

Unlike the conditioner you use in the shower, the best leave-in conditioners – whether you opt for a leave in conditioner spray or cream – aren’t meant to be rinsed away. As such, they’ll be absorbed by your hair over a longer period of time, leaving it looking – and feeling – more hydrated. Any hair type can benefit from using a leave-in conditioner, because different formulas target different hair concerns. Here’s everything you need to know.

Is leave-in conditioner good for your hair?

Yes. Though your journey to lustrous locks starts in the shower, a good leave-in conditioner will go that extra mile in moisturising and detangling the hair, providing heat protection, adding shine, smoothing frizz and preventing breakage/damage. That’s some multi-tasking product right there. So yes, a leave-in conditioner is great for your hair.

They might sound like extra effort, especially if you’re already using conditioner in the shower, but the effort is definitely worthwhile. Why? Once you step out of the shower, your hair endures rough drying from bath towels, brushing, combing and lots of heat styling. A leave-in conditioner helps to protect your hair from it all, providing reinforcement when your hair needs TLC.

Leave-in conditioners are also a wonderful solution to dry hair for the time-poor. (Read: all of us). If you don’t have time to sit around for 15 minutes waiting for a hair mask to work its magic, a leave-in conditioner will offer an injection of hydration.

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What is the best leave in conditioner?

When it comes to the best leave-in conditioner for you, it totally depends on your hair type and concerns. Here are our favourites at a glance: 

What is the best leave in conditioner for extremely dry hair?

If you’ve got extremely dry hair, make a beeline for the Olaplex No 6 Bond Smoother leave-in conditioner. And everything else in the Olaplex range, actually. Olaplex has literally revolutionised the hair industry in a way no other has done before; this leave-in reparative styling cream works on a molecular level to eliminate frizz, intensely hydrate locks and protect all hair types. We wouldn’t be without it.

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Can I use a leave-in conditioner every day?

As a general rule, your leave-in conditioner will stay in your hair ’til the next time you wash it… so you should use it after washing your hair a couple of times each week.

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After more hair content? Check out our full guide to the best hair conditioners to use in the shower and consider the best conditioner bars if you want to reduce your beauty footprint. Head this way for the best conditioners for dry hair, over here for the best luxury conditioners and in this direction for the best colour-correcting conditioners.

For more from our Commerce Writer Sophie Cockett, follow her on Instagram @sophiecockettx.

From the best leave-in conditioner for bleached hair to the best leave-in conditioner for curly hair, keep scrolling for GLAMOUR’s pick of the best leave-in conditioners to add to your hair arsenal sharpish.