Show your curls some affection and try a leave-in conditioner for curly hair

Now that's love

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / March 05 2024

Whether you're using it to enhance moisture in your hair or to detangle, leave-in conditioner is a must-have for curly hair types. 

Unlike a traditional conditioner, which can be applied and rinsed off in the shower, a leave-in conditioner is applied to damp hair to help with styling. 

Leave-in conditioners tend to contain a host of hydrating ingredients that help to increase moisture levels in the hair, minimise frizz, enhance shine and seal the hair cuticle to ensure hair stays healthy. 

But, for curly hair types specifically, leave-in conditioners help to detangle and define curls, plus, they ensure that your curls maintain their shape and and they help to reduce moisture loss during the hair drying process. 

An avid air dryer or down to use a diffuser? A leave-in conditioner will make styling your curls a million times easier.

Ahead, you'll find BEAUTYcrew's top picks in the category. Here are six leave in conditioners for curly hair we think you should try...

2024's Top 3 Best Leave-In Conditioners For Curly Hair

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner, $14.99 (usually $29.99), Priceline
Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream, $19.30, iHerb
Pattern Leave-In Conditioner, $49.50, Cult Beauty

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner
from $14.99 (usually $29.99) at Priceline

This budget-friendly option contains a duo of conditioning ingredients (Jamaican black castor oil and certified organic shea butter), which help to nourish, moisturise and enhance elasticity in the hair to minimise breakage. It also helps to coat the hair in a protective layer that minimises the appearance of split ends and makes detangling a breeze. Plus, peppermint has been added to the formula to help stimulate the scalp. 

Key features:

Contains Jamaican black castor oil, certified organic shea butter and peppermint
Nourishes, conditions and moisturises hair
Enhances elasticity and minimises breakage
Minimises the appearance of split ends
Stimulates the scalp

Available at:

Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream
from $19.30 at iHerb

Designed to soften particularly damaged, dry or coarse hair, Cantu's new and improved leave-in conditioner contains no drying alcohol or silicones. The formula is infused shea butter and other natural oils, which penetrate deep into the hair follicle to help condition and strengthen hair. 

Key features:

Formulated for damaged, dry or coarse hair
No drying alcohol or silicones
Infused with shea butter and natural oils
Minimises hair breakage and split ends
Smooths and moisturises

Available at:

Pattern Leave-In Conditioner
from $49.50 at Cult Beauty

Have you ever looked at Tracee Ellis Ross' curls and wished yours looked similar? We have great news; the actress has her own haircare line specifically for curly hair types called Pattern. The brand's leave in conditioner is a conditioning cocktail packed with coconut, sweet almond, tea tree, avocado and honey. The lightweight formula helps to moisturise and detangle hair without weighing it down.

Key features:

Lightweight moisturiser that detangles dry and frizzy hair
Contains coconut, sweet almond, tea tree, avocado and honey
Light floral scent (neroli, rose and patchouli)

Available at:

Amika Hydro Rush Intense Moisture Leave-In Conditioner
from $47 at Sephora

If plant butters and oils are a but too heavy for your curls, then maybe you should try this leave-in conditioner. Infused with hyaluronic acid, squalane, polyglutamic acid, coconut water, and blue algae, it helps to enhance hydration levels in the hair for up to 72 hours. Plus, it detangles and smooths frizz too.

Key features:

Infused with hyaluronic acid, squalane, polyglutamic acid, coconut water, and blue algae
Detangles and smooths frizz
Fragranced with warm vanilla, spicy sweet clover, and fresh citrus
No nasties formula

Available at:

Briogeo Curl Charisma™ Rice Amino + Avocado Leave–In Defining Cream
from $39.50 at Selfridges

Formulated for hair that's been impacted by unforgiving urban environments, this leave-in conditioner contains rice amino acids which help to seal the hair cuticle against frizz-causing moisture. Quinoa extract forms a protective barrier around the hair and enhances definition, while avocado oil helps moisturise the hair and helps to protect it from UV rays​ and UV damage.

Key features:

Enriched with rice amino acids, quinoa extract and avocado oil
Seals the hair to keep out frizz-causing moisture
Enhances curl definition
Protects hair from UV damage

Available at:

Bread Beauty Supply Hair Cream Elastic Bounce Leave-In Curl Styling Cream
from $48.50 at Selfridges

This leave-in conditioner marries together mango butter, hydrolysed quinoa protein, and argan oil, which help to enhance shine and curl definition. With continued use, they help to condition and repair hair, while also working to enhance elasticity and pliability.

Key features:

Enriched with mango butter, hydrolysed quinoa protein, and argan oil
Enhances shine and defines curls
Conditions and repairs
Enhances elasticity and pliability

Available at:

Need inspiration to revive your curl care routine? These are the exact curl care products Zendaya keeps close by.

Main image credit: @theestallion

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).

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