Tiana Delvalle
Updated on August 22, 2023

Struggling with dryness? Frizz? Unmanageable hair that just will not cooperate? Not sure where to look because no one talks about how to take care of natural hair? When aiming for those frizz-free, defined curls, there is an extra step you can take in your routine to ensure that you achieve these results: using a leave-in conditioner.

I have personally tried lots of products to help you choose from the best leave in conditioners without the unsettling trial and error stage. Pamper your curls, and they are sure to give back more than you might expect!

10 Best Leave-In Conditioners for Curly Hair

One important thing to remember is that a leave-in conditioner is not a styler, meaning it is not meant to style and hold curls. Think of it as the prep step in makeup; when you prep your face, you moisturize it so that it can be ready for makeup to be applied. The same goes for curls! You prep the hair with a leave-in so that it can be ready to be styled. Here are the best leave-ins you can use to give you guaranteed moisture and prevent frizz. And the best part – they are all free of silicone, parabens and phthalates.

1. Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner

This one is a natural, cruelty-free leave-in that will leave your hair feeling soft and hydrated instantly. There are very few ingredients used to make this product, and at the top of the list are organic ingredients, such as mango root extract, marshmallow root, slippery elm and lemongrass.

Altogether, this helps to create a natural detangler because of its slip so you would have no trouble whatsoever getting through those tangles. The company even gave instructions on the product that tells you the best way to use it depending on your hair type. It also won a Naturally Curly Award for staying true to what the product was intended to do. That alone says something!

2. Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk 3-in-1 Conditioner

Usually, I am skeptical of products that claim to have multiple uses, but this one lives up to the name. There are three different ways to use this one product to quench your curls’ thirst: leave-in, condition washing, or rinse out. I have used conditioners from this brand before as a rinse-out, so I decided to use it as a leave-in, and the moisture is something to experience.

It is a lightweight, creamy texture that is not too watery, so it clumps curls nicely and, because of the thicker consistency, it is going to last you a long time. One of the best parts of the conditioner is that it is infused with rice curl complex — which is their blend of rice and keratin amino acids to moisturize and improve curl retention. So, with this product, you get the best of both worlds with hydration and strength for your curls!

Not Your Mothers Curl Talk Effect

3. Camille Rose Coconut Water Leave-In Treatment

If you are ready to experience maximum hydration and kiss dryness goodbye, then this leave-in conditioner is the one for you. It is concentrated with amazing ingredients to ensure the hair is penetrated with the nutrients it needs to soften and hydrate while giving you the easiest time ever to detangle. When you begin to style your curls, there won’t be any need to add more water to fight that wet frizz because this coconut water treatment has got you covered.

The ingredients list is my favorite part. For any product, each ingredient is listed from its highest to lowest amount. And so, the first two ingredients are distilled water and coconut water, which is exactly what the packaging claims! Sometimes, you come across products that will claim to contain an amazing ingredient(s) that’s beneficial for you and it will be listed toward the bottom of the list; this indicates there’s not a lot of it and can basically be a money grab for consumers. However, this conditioner does not pull any kind of tricks and was made with pure intentions to provide the best moisture possible.

Camille Rose Coconut Water Leave In Treatment Effect

4. Mielle Organics Pomegranate and Honey Leave-In

This is one of the first products/collections I ever used from this company, and it left a very good first impression. Not too thick and not too watery, but creamy enough to eliminate frizz when applied. Dry hair can’t compete with the moisture that this leave-in conditioner can give.

It’s packed with certified organic extracts that are not only going to help with moisture but will also aid with shine and sealing in that moisture. I’ve used leave-ins that claimed they would moisturize and, while they did, it was only for that one second or it would become dry on contact. That’s a problem you won’t have to worry about or experience when using this product. And the smell is too good.

5. Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave-In

There is a reason why this well-known, best-selling product of Alikay Naturals several times won the Naturally Curly Award. It gained the nickname “Liquid Gold” for its performance in penetrating each strand with aloe vera for moisture and silk amino acids for strength. At first, the texture is creamy but then once you emulsify it between your hands, it becomes more watery so you may need to apply more than usual. Regardless, it does what it intends to do and that’s what we’re looking for, right?

And don’t think that just because you don’t have curls you can’t use this product either. It’s suitable for ALL hair types, so don’t be shy and give it a try.

Related Post: How to Use Hair Conditioner, According to Your Hair Type

6. Bouncecurl Moisture Balance Leave-In

A small business that creates clean, cruelty-free products formulated with ingredients from the Middle East comes a leave-in conditioner that can really take on the heat. Specifically, there are five Eastern Mediterranean oils that are concentrated in this product. Some we are already familiar with — jojoba, argan and olive oil, and some we may not have heard of before — fenugreek, neroli and virgin black cumin oil. The combination of these oils is nourishing and moisturizing hair strands and then sealing in that moisture. The perfect combination for taming frizz words so well that it says it can even be used as a styler.

Bouncecurl Moisture Balance Leave In Effect

7. Breahni Leave-In Conditioner

Who doesn’t love a good conditioner that can kill two birds with one stone? When you think of leave-in conditioner, the first thing that pops into mind is moisture, but too much moisture is a bad thing. I will always appreciate protein being incorporated into a product because this allows us to use the product as desired without having to worry about the hair becoming over-moisturized. When this happens, curls become loose and lose their pattern. The proteins that were infused into the conditioner help with bounce and frizz, which means the curls will become well-balanced, maintaining their shape while staying hydrated. And you can thank the argan oil for the shine.

Breahni Leave In Conditioner Effect

8. Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave-In Conditioner

This leave-in conditioner is formulated with its featured organic ingredients, such as blueberry extract, chamomile extract and coconut oil, to help prevent breakage and repair damaged hair. It has a smell so sweet yet not too strong that continuous use of this product will not be overwhelming.

It won the Naturally Curly Award in 2016 in recognizing its ability to be used by all curl types and provided such great slip that will melt into your strands and give each curl amazing moisture. We love a product that actually does what it was made for.

9. Shea Moisture Leave-In Conditioner

You can forget about the nightmare of detangling your curls with Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen/Grow and Restore Leave-in Conditioner. Working like magic on your natural curls, the product is perfect even for ladies who regularly perm or heat style their hair.

The secret of its phenomenal success lies in the winning combination of super nourishing ingredients like Jamaican black castor seed oil, coconut oil, shea butter and aloe leaf juice. Everything you need to properly nourish, moisturize, and add shine to your dry curly hair! And yeah, you’re likely to fall in love with its fabulous warm, sweet scent and creamy texture.

10. Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream

Many girls hate using leave-ins just because of the sticky residue remaining on their hair. Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream successfully tackles this issue! You get shiny, defined, touchably soft and extra bouncy curls without compromising a natural-looking, non-sticky finish.

The product is especially rich in argan oil that does an excellent job hydrating your hair and protecting it from everyday damage. This leave-in conditioner also contains a good deal of panthenol that helps retain moisture and enhance the texture of damaged hair. And a cherry on top: this amazing product comes in a bottle with a pump applicator, which is super convenient.

Related Post: 10 Best Ways to Repair Damaged Hair

How to Use a Leave-In Conditioner?

Products will always come with instructions on how to use them, but it’s always good to get a visual or more broken-down explanation of the process. First, you want to section the hair. Sectioning ensures that the whole head of hair equally receives the tender love and care that it needs. Since leave-in conditioners are usually on the thicker, creamier side, this is a guideline to help determine how much to use, depending on your hair type.

For fine-haired curlies, use about a dime-sized amount. For thick/coarse-haired curlies, use a generous amount as needed. Some leave-ins are more watery, so, in those cases, use as needed. Rub the product evenly in between your hands and use the raking method to work through the hair down to the ends.

Pay a little more attention to the ends since those are the driest parts of our curls. You can also apply it near your scalp, but if you’re worried about flat roots, go under the hair and rake up and away from the scalp to avoid it. One extra step you can take is to brush each section to make sure the product is distributed evenly all throughout. Marvel at the shiny, moisturized, frizz-free curls and then style as desired.

Taking care of your curls can sound scary, but it’s super easy with the best leave-in conditioners. For more information and visuals on anything curl-related, follow me @cvrlyt on Instagram. Feel free to hit me up with any questions, comments or concerns you may have.

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