author avatar
Celicia Meredith
Updated on August 22, 2023

If you have natural hair, it’s important to use styling techniques and products that are gentle and beneficial to your delicate strands. Choosing the right leave-in conditioner is essential when it comes to styling coily hair and can make or break your routine.

Here’s a list of 10 leave-ins that I have personally tried. What I’ve learned is that the needs of natural hair are very different, depending on how fine or coarse your strands are. See all the fantastic options along with handy recommendations I’ve learned through experience.

1. Nutriplenish

Nutriplenish is made by Aveda, which is one of the most well-known names in salon-quality haircare. It serves several important purposes for fine natural hair, as well. An ingredient called Adansonia Digitata, a protein derived from the Baobab tree, rejuvenates hair and replenishes moisture for up to 72 hours. Nutriplenish also detangles and offers thermal protection for hot tools up to 450 degrees. It even has a UV filter to protect your precious fine strands from UV rays.

To use it, simply spray on sections of dry or damp hair, then comb through. Nutriplenish offers an exceptional protein boost, but mind that too much protein can lead to excess breakage – especially for fine natural curls and coils.

My Recommendation: Good for Fine Natural Hair.

Aveda Leave In Conditioner for Natural Hair

Instagram / @aveda

2. The Conditioner by Paul Mitchel

The Conditioner by Paul Mitchell is a cult classic that is especially popular in the natural hair community. It contains jojoba seed oil, Hawaiian awapuhi, and aloe extract as its primary moisturizers, and it uses dimethicone to smooth the hair cuticle.

This product should be applied to wet or damp hair, smoothed into curls, and allowed to dry. It offers a significant protein boost that I found to be a bit too harsh for my own fine curls, plus the dimethicone weighed down my fine strands. So, if you have fine natural hair and you plan to use this product, use it very sparingly.

My Recommendation: For Fine Natural Hair, Use with Caution.

Moisturizing and Smoothening Leave In for Natural Hair

Instagram / @paulmitchell

3. Knot Today

Knot Today is the brainchild of the popular brand Kinky-Curly, one of the first brands made exclusively for natural hair. It is an absolute staple in the natural hair community because it does double duty as both a curly hair leave-in conditioner and a detangler. The main moisturizing ingredient is mango butter, which does wonders for defining curls of all kinds.

You can apply Knot Today as you would a traditional conditioner and rinse it out, or you can use it as a leave-in for detangling, moisturization, and curl definition.

My Recommendation: Good for Natural Hair.

4. Van + Veronica Leave-In

Leave-In by van + veronica Haircare is my own pride and joy! I’m CeCe, the owner of the brand, and I created our Leave-In specifically to target the specialized needs of fine natural hair. It’s silicone free, and it’s made with lightweight oils like Argan, Grapeseed and Apricot, to nourish fine naturally curly hair without weighing it down. If you want a lightweight leave-in that is free from heavy ingredients like silicone, coconut oil, and shea butter, that’s the one for you. It’s one of the best products to keep on hand for easy, breezy, bouncy wash-and-goes.

Our Leave-In is perfect for using on wet, dry, or damp hair, so it’s one of the most flexible products on the market. A little Leave-In goes a very long way, so start with a quarter size on your first application and add more if needed.

My Recommendation: Good for Fine Natural Hair.

Leave In Conditioner for Fine Natural Hair

Instagram / @vanandveronica

5. Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer

The Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer is made by ApHogee, and it reduces breakage, stops split ends, and gives body to limp, lifeless hair. It contains green tea, which is well known for its antioxidant power, and the inclusion of keratin protein can help strengthen hair strands, too. It’s important to note that keratin protein can be beneficial for natural hair, but too much of it can lead to more breakage and split ends.

Spray this product on towel dried hair, comb through, and leave it in. Use only as much as you need, and to avoid protein overload, limit your usage to no more than once a week.

My Recommendation: Good for Fine Natural Hair.

Keratin and Green Tea Leave In for Natural Hair

Instagram / @aphogee

6. Chi Keratin Mist

Chi is one of the global leaders in the flat iron industry, so it comes as no surprise that Chi Keratin Mist is one of the most popular leave-ins of our time. It contains a large amount of hydrolyzed keratin, so protein overload is a real concern. Furthermore, the inclusion of citronellol as well as lavender, peppermint, and clary sage extracts created a heavy fragrance that lingered. I found that the dimethicone, panthenol, and silica combination weighed my hair down quite a bit, as well.

Chi Keratin Mist is not one of my favorites for fine natural hair, but it could be an excellent option for anyone who needs a major protein boost and doesn’t mind the strong scent.

My Recommendation: Good for Protein-Hungry Hair; Not So Good for Fine Natural Hair.

Chi Keratin Treatment for Natural Hair

Instagram / @chihaircare

7. Almond & Avocado Leave-In

The Almond & Avocado Leave-In from Design Essentials was designed for very dry curls. It contains ingredients like almond, avocado and jojoba oils that are phenomenal moisturizers. However, this product also contains Paraffinum Liquidum (mineral oil) which is known to weigh fine curls down.

You can apply this product to wet hair as a leave-in or on dry hair to refresh your curls, but mind that for fine hair, it may turn out to be too greasy and heavy.

My Recommendation: Good for Medium to Coarse Natural Hair, not Recommended for Fine Natural Hair.

Leave in Conditioner for Medium to Coarse Natural Hair

Instagram / @naellestudio

8. Green Tea Super Moist Leave In Conditioner

TGIN (Thank God It’s Natural) created its Green Tea Super Moist Leave In Conditioner to help nourish extra dry hair and make it more manageable, less frizzy, and soft. It contains green tea extract and lots of oils and butters designed to provide incredible moisture. The Green Tea Moisturizer contains Cupuacu seed butter, shea butter, and cocoa seed butter, which makes it great for coarser hair types, but far too heavy for naturally fine hair.

This product should be applied to wet hair, worked through, and styled as usual. You may want to avoid this product if you have fine natural curls, as it can weigh them down and leave them looking greasy.

My Recommendation: Good for Medium to Coarse Natural Hair, Not Recommended for Fine Natural Hair.

TGIN Leave In Conditioner for Dry Natural Hair

Instagram / @tginatural

9. 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In

The 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In by Mizani, a popular name among relaxers, gets its name from its 25 benefits which include detangling, moisturizing, protecting from heat, controlling frizz, and more. While Mizani recommends this product for all hair types, some of the ingredients may not be the best options for fine natural hair. I used it somewhat sparingly, and while I think it did a phenomenal job as a heat protectant, my hair felt too heavy and weighed down due to the coconut oil and added silicones.

To use this product, apply it to wet hair and style as usual, and reapply before heat styling. If you have fine hair, be aware that this product could easily leave your hair feeling greasy on day one.

My Recommendation: Good for Thick, Dry, and/or Frizzy Natural Hair, Not Recommended for Fine Natural Hair.

Leave In Conditioner and Heat Protector for Natural Hair

Instagram / @mizani

10. Pattern Leave In Conditioner

Tracee Ross, daughter of beloved singer, Diana Ross, created Pattern Leave-In Conditioner to address the specific challenges of Type 3 and Type 4 natural curls. Some notable ingredients include biotin, which is said to help strengthen and grow the hair, and tea tree oil, which can stimulate blood flow at the scalp to encourage new growth. Pattern does contain coconut oil and shea butter, so it can be a little heavy on fine hair, and the addition of silicone weighs down fine curls even more.

To use Pattern Leave-In, smooth it through your wet curls, then style or dry your hair as usual. Use this product sparingly as it is definitely one of the heavier leave-ins on the list.

My Recommendation: Good for Coarse, Dry Hair and 3C Curls, Not Recommended for Fine Natural Hair.

Oil Heavy Leave In Conditioner for Natural Hair

Instagram / @patternbeauty

I have tried countless leave-in conditioners for my fine natural curls, and the 10 listed here are some of the best on the market – even if they aren’t perfect for my specific hair type. Ultimately, fine natural hair demands lightweight moisturizers and powerful, yet gentle detangling without heavy oils and butters that can weigh down fine strands. Explore the specific needs of your locks and choose the leave-in conditioner that’s best for your healthy hair regimen. Your coils will thank you!

Want more tips and recommendations for your fine natural hair? Follow us on social media @vanandveronica for all things fine and coily.

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