Best Leave-In Conditioner Brands: Top 10 Picks

Do you use heat protectants, curl-definers, and oils to help keep your hair soft after styling with heat or during the colder months of the year? You don’t have the one product that will transform your hair and support all those other products in doing their best work.

Leave-in conditioners boost the moisture in your hair all day long without adding an extra step to your hair care routine. A quality leave-in conditioner doesn’t just repair your hair. It also makes dry, brittle, curly, or color-treated hair more manageable between salon visits or deep conditioning treatments.

Celebrity hairstylists say that a dab of leave-in conditioner when styling is the secret to flawless hair. But now that the secret is out, every hair care brand on the shelf is trying to get in the game.

Who are the leave-in conditioner winners? We put together a list of brands that will leave your hair looking soft and silky and created a buyer’s guide to finding the best conditioner types for your hair.

​How We Chose Our Favorite Brands

With more options than ever to choose from, we carefully sifted through each of brands who believe they offer the best conditioner to find one that works for different hair types and budgets.

We combined ingredient information with customer reviews and professional recommendations to suggest the best products for your hair type and in some cases for the best hair type and budget.

Overall, we found that spending upwards of $30 doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best product. In some cases, the cheapest drugstore brands make a conditioner that blows high-end or salon brands out of the water.

Top 10 Leave-In Conditioner Brands

​Trying to decide between two leave-in conditioner brands but don’t know what will work for your hair? We break down our favorite brands according to hair type and budget. Does one of these brands sound like it will work for you? Look through our full list to find out.

​Best on a Budget: Suave


​Suave offers what is by far the best leave-in conditioner for the price. The Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Heat Defense Leave-In Conditioner provides 48 hours of moisture and frizz control. We recommend this product to anyone who uses heat tools on their hair on a regular or daily basis.

Research shows it works well with both straight and curly hair, so it won’t weigh you down or clump up your curls. Some find the scent to be overpowering, but it does fade into a subtler smell over time.

It may be a drugstore brand, but those who love this product feel like they genuinely do get salon style hair when they use it.

​Best Conditioner and Detangler Combo: Gnatural


​A leave-in conditioner does a fair amount of detangling for you, but if you need some extra help, we recommend Gnatural. It combines all-natural ingredients at a friendly price and doesn’t include parabens, sulfates, alcohol, dyes, or silicones.

The Gnatural All Day Leave-In Conditioner does double duty by working as a hydration bomb and detangler. It uses natural ingredients like coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, and wheat germ oil to moisturize and tease. There are also natural vitamins to an added boost of health including chamomile extract, vitamin E, and aloe vera.

For extra hydration, you might try the Caribbean Coconut Milk Black Honey Leave-In Conditioner spray. It also boasts a list of natural ingredients that support curly hair.

We like Gnatural because it conditions but also actively protects against hair breakage. The 60-day money back guarantee is also an excellent selling point for anyone who tries new hair products only to find the product doesn’t suit their hair.

Customers say Gnatural works well for thick, frizzy, or curly hair.

​Best for Curl Definition (on a Budget): Dove


​Dove is known for its conditioning and moisturizing ingredients across all its product lines, and its leave-in conditioners are no exception.

Who do curly-haired girls on a budget love Dove? While others offer cream or gel, Dove uses a conditioner spray that protects and lifts curls for a light, bouncy look. Sprays are simple to apply, and you run a smaller risk of using too much product, which only weighs you down.

​Best for Curl Definition (Mid-Range): UNITE


​UNITE offers a range of hair detanglers and leave-in conditioners that curly-haired customers love.

The conditioners, like the UNITE Hair 7 Seconds Condition Leave do more than moisturize. They also seal and protect your hair from heat damage and the sun’s UV rays. People find that their hair isn’t just more manageable when they use the product but in general because the conditioner repairs and strengthens hair with its protective prowess.

Although the conditioner packs a punch, it’s almost weightless. It’s perfect for curly hair or fine, thin hair. We also like that UNITE only adds a subtle scent to their products, so the fruity smell delights but doesn’t overtake your whole head.

Some people say that it’s a better detangler than conditioner even though UNITE advertises their products as both. It also doesn’t tackle frizz well.

​Best for Style Prep: R+Co


​R+Co make a whole line of hydrating conditioners, but they don’t make a leave-in conditioner by definition. Instead, their take on leave-in conditioners is styling creme, which hydrates and preps for styles that need bouncy light hair.

R+Co uses natural ingredients that are vegan and free from nasty additives like parabens or sulfates.

The key ingredients are sunflower seed extract, which helps your hair hold on to moisture all day and vitamins E and B5 for shine and extra hydration.

We love R+Co because they consider every aspect of their products. The packaging is beautiful, and the fragrance is light and airy. Putting in this styling cream is an experience that R+Co wants customers to enjoy.

Customers with thin and fine hair love this cream and use it for both blowouts and air drying.

​Best for Families: Bumble and Bumble

Bumble and Bumble

​Bumble and Bumble is a cult hair care brand that you can expect to take over the world. We love their conditioners because they work for all hair types from thin to thick and fine to coarse. Finding a conditioner that truly takes into account the physical properties of your hair is hard to do, and Bumble and Bumble make it an art.

The Leave-In and Rinse Out Conditioner is a perfect example of their magic. Fine to normal haired people should rinse the conditioner out, but thicker hair absorbs it as a leave-in. Versatility is essential when you buy for a family with different hair types.

​Best Overall Product: Davines


For fine hair, frizzy hair, or any type of hair at all, try Davines products. Davines create a line of products better known as magic in a bottle. The company balances developing the best products with sustainability.

Davines create products for all hair types, and the smell is also divine. It’s easy to use whether you intend to style or air dry, and it seems that no one who ever bought the product thought it wasn’t worth the price.

What does Davines leave-in conditioner do? Almost everything including:

  • Detangling
  • Controlling frizz
  • Softening
  • Protecting
  • Hydrating

​Best for Oily Hair: Sachajuan


​If you have oily hair, then you’ve been working your way down this list waiting for a product that’s just for you. If you buy Sachajuan, then you’ve found it.

Sachajuan is a Swedish haircare and beauty brand that will rock your world. It works for any hair types, but it’s particularly well suited to oily hair.

Typical moisturizing products use oils to create conditioning properties. Sachajuan doesn’t. Instead, it is oil-free and almost weightless, which makes it the perfect styler.

Rather than using oils, Sachajuan utilizes its Ocean Silk Technology to encourage body and shine for your hair and a healthy scalp. It’s perfect for oily or thinner hair types, and it works well as a styling primer.

​Best Hydrator and Styler: Oribe


​Oribe is a splurge, but if you love complicated styles and your hair fights you at every turn, it may be worth every penny.

Oribe’s leave-in conditioners come in a cream form that feels luxe both in your hand and your hair. It’s perfect for medium to thick hair and extra long hair. Those looking to go further than calming their frizz and who hope to add shine and softness will find Oribe to be an incredible styling aid.

We like that Oribe offers two versions of the same product: one for thick hair and a lighter version for those who want luxury but have fine-to-medium hair.

​Best for Bleached Hair: Aveda


​Do you bleach and opt not to use Olaplex or another repair product? Your hair is the one who suffers.

Aveda offers leave-in treatments that focus on natural ingredients and promise to repair your hair from color and heat issues at lightning speed. When you use it daily, you can reduce breakage by up to 90 percent in only a week.

We think Aveda makes a great styler and conditioner combination, and you can’t beat the classic Aveda scent that comes from flower and plant essences like bergamot, ylang-ylang, and mandarin.

​How to Choose the Best Leave-In Conditioner for Your Hair

​So you shampoo, condition, dry, and wonder why your hair still feels dry or brittle? You likely need some extra hydrating action. If you’re new to the world of conditioning treatments, read this guide before you buy anything.

​Do You Need a Leave In-Conditioner?

Almost any hair type that needs an extra shot of moisture can benefit from leave-in conditioners. You might try one of these conditioning products If you have hair that is:

  • Dry
  • Frizzy
  • Heat damaged
  • UV damaged

If you condition your hair regularly, but you struggle to style it because it often gets tangle or won’t hold shape, then these conditioners make your hair more manageable.

​Start Your Search by Considering Your Hair’s Weaknesses

​Get in touch with the state of your hair and start to think about why it’s dry, brittle, or breakable. The way we treat our hair dramatically changes our hair’s health. A few reasons your hair might need some extra TLC include:

  • Regular heat tool use
  • Colored/bleached hair
  • Damaged hair
  • Natural texture

By identifying things that zap moisture from your hair, you’ll find a better formula to target them and make the most of your leave-in conditioner.

​Choose the Products for Your Hair Type

​Beauty manufacturers create formulas designed to fix different types of damage because each kind of damage produces a different result, even if all you can see is dryness.

You’ll find formulas specially designed for:

  • Heat protection
  • Colored hair
  • Thin hair
  • Fine hair
  • Thick hair
  • Curly hair

Choosing the right product also helps you find a product the supports your hair. Choosing a heavy formula for thick hair will be too much for those with fine hair. It might also cause curls to clump together and become heavy.

​​How to Use Leave-In Conditioner Correctly

​Sometimes we try out a new product and think it’s not for us not because it doesn’t work but because we haven’t used it appropriately.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions is often your best plan for success. But if the instructions on the bottle are too brief, try your new product by following these steps.

You’ll want to apply a leave-in conditioner to freshly washed hair. Use your regular shampoo and conditioner type and wash as usual. For the best results, use a brand or product formulated for your hair.

Showering before applying conditioner is essential because you’ll usually apply it to damp hair that you towel-dried. Most products are too heavy to use on dry or already styled hair.

When you apply, use the amount recommended by the manufacturer. Emphasize your mid-lengths and ends of your hair. Don’t neglect your ends, particularly if you have split ends. Avoid your roots when you can because it could weigh your hair down or make you look greasy. Thin and fine hair should also steer clear of root applications and start with the smallest amount of conditioner to keep your hair looking and feeling clean.

Remember that a little goes a long way, so introduce yourself to a new product slowly.

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