Leave-in conditioner: An essential step in your hair care routine or a waste of time?

Beth | 17 July 2017
woman with wet long curly brunette hair

Wondering if you should you be using a leave-in conditioner for curly hair and other hair types? Find out once and for all, now!


Firmly adhere to your regimented 2-step shampoo and conditioner routine? We know it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with your hair care, but have you ever considered incorporating a leave-in conditioner?

While some people may argue that using a leave-in hair conditioner is an unnecessary extra step, trust us when we say: once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back! From helping to hydrate parched strands, defining natural curls and saving you precious time, too, the benefits speak for themselves.

Everything you need to know about leave-on conditioner


blonde woman with wet hair
Never tried a leave-in conditioner? Let us break it down for you. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

What is a leave-in conditioner?

Wait, “what is leave-in conditioner?” we hear you ask? Well, essentially a leave-on conditioner is exactly what the name suggests. It’s a conditioning product for your hair that you leave on after applying, just as you would a facial moisturiser.

Intended to be used after cleansing your hair, the only difference between a leave-in conditioner and a regular, in-shower conditioner is you don’t wash it out afterwards. This means it can continue to work to hydrate your hair throughout the day – so far, so good, right?

Leave-in conditioning products are good to add an extra benefit or an amplified benefit to your usual shampoo and conditioner routine. Francecsa Rapolla, Unilever Technical Manager Hair, UK

How do I use a leave-in conditioner?

As mentioned above, there’s no need to rinse out a leave-in conditioner, which is partly why it’s so convenient. After washing your hair, conditioner your hair as usual, wash it out and then, simply apply a leave-in for an extra boost of moisture.

Leave-in hair conditioners also come in a number of forms, including sprays, lotions and richer mask-like consistencies, so the application will alter slightly depending on the type you choose. However, the general rule is to apply only to your mid-lengths and ends, as these are the areas your hair is most in need of moisture.

TRESemmé Oleo Radiance Bi-Phase Conditioning Mist

TRESemmé Oleo Radiance Bi-Phase Conditioning Mist

Editor’s tip: Spray leave-in conditioners, like the TRESemmé Oleo Radiance Bi-Phase Conditioning Mist, are a popular option as they can also be used on-the-go to give your hair an added moisture boost throughout the day. We never leave home without it!

woman with wet curly afro hair
Whatever your hair type, there’s a leave-in conditioner for you. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Who can benefit from using leave-in hair conditioners?

The real question here should be: who can’t benefit from using a leave-in conditioner?! They can help to tackle a number of hair woes, including, but not limited to:

  • Dry hair
    Whether your hair is naturally dry or has been weakened by heat or chemical damage from dyeing, a leave-in hair conditioner can help to inject some much-needed moisture back into your strands when your regular conditioner just isn’t cutting it.
  • Frizzy hair
    Frizzy hair getting you down? Leave-on conditioners are amazing at slicking down flyaways and cowlicks, giving your look a cleaner, salon-sleek finish.
    TONI&GUY Leave In Conditioner

    TONI&GUY Leave In Conditioner

    Editor’s tip: If humidity is the cause of your frizz, leave-in conditioners will be your new BFF. The Toni&Guy Leave-In Conditioner protects against humidity to keep your locks frizz-free all day, so you can rest assured knowing you won’t face any Monica-Geller-in-Barbados moments!

  • Curly hair
    Blessed with wavy or curly hair? These hair types have more difficultly distributing natural oils throughout your strands and, as such, tend to be drier and more unmanageable. Using a leave-in will help you to take back control over your curls by defining and separating them, ensuring they always look their best!
  • Tangle-prone hair
    Knotty hair? If you struggle to brush your mane, try using a leave-in conditioner after showering. It will act as an effective detangler, helping to give your hair extra ‘slip’ and subsequently making it easier to comb through. Phew!


So, now that you’re all clued up on the benefits of using a leave-in conditioner, click here to discover the best leave-in hair conditioner for you! Or, for more hair care advice, head over to our Hair Care page for tips and tricks on everything from how to wash your hair correctly to the 10 foods you should be eating for healthy hair.

Read more


Unilever uses cookies to give you the best experience online and to provide anonymised, aggregated site usage data. You can find out what cookies we use, what they do and how you can disable them in our Cookie Policy. By browsing our sites, you consent to use cookies. By closing this message, you consent to our use of cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them.