10 best leave-in conditioners to transform your hair from meh to amazing
The missing step that may just be what your lacklustre hair needs
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / October 25 2018
Not everyone needs to use a leave-in conditioner, but there’s a good chance it’s the missing link between you having ok hair or *great* hair. While leave-in conditioners may be an extra step, they really go the extra mile. Your hair will reap the benefits of added nourishment, reparative nutrients and protection from further damage. They make your hair soft, shiny and manageable, which IOHO is reason enough to treat your tresses to one.
Every hair type can use a leave-in conditioner; the trick is to choose the right formula. Oils may be too heavy for fine hair, so try a conditioning spray instead. Whereas thick hair needs a richer cream. For damaged hair, look for formulas that contain keratin or other proteins to rebuild the hair structure. If frizz is your biggest woe, look for treatments with cuticle-smoothing silicone.
Keen to give leave-in conditioners a go? We’ve hunted down the best leave in conditioner for every hair type, concern and budget.
#10 / Hask Argan Oil Repairing 5-in-1 Leave-In-Spray
We can totally get on board a product that has five benefits in one! We adore this argan oil-infused formula for being an excellent hair treatment, as well as a shine-enhancing, frizz-controlling, thermal-protecting and detangling superstar. Because it’s a spray formula, it comes out as a lovely lightweight mist so as not to weigh down your hair.
The review: “I was unsure whether this would be a great product as it's cheap and available at Kmart and supermarkets, however I really like it! I have dry hair and this really keeps it moisturised as well as adding shine and detangling.” Georgia, SUPERcrew member
#9 / Pantene Intense Smoothening Leave On Crème
We can be an impatient bunch, so when a product claims to make our hair better in just three minutes, it definitely captures our attention. This smoothing, hydrating, shine-enhancing cream locks in moisture and banishes dullness almost instantly. We’re big fans of the supermarket price tag, too.
The review: “I love this product, and have been using it for many years, since it became available; nothing else works on my hair as well as the Pantene Smoothing creme. [It] leaves my hair smelling gorgeous!” Dodym, Pantene reviewer
#8 / Sexy Hair Healthy Soy Tri Wheat Leave In Conditioner
Stressed hair (coloured hair, that includes you) will love the hydration and protein pick-me-up this leave-in conditioner provides. The tropical scent is heavenly, and so too is the shiny, nourished strands you’re left with.
The review: “My hair feels hydrated and stronger after using this. No sticky residue like some other brands. High quality!” Milan, SUPERcrew member
#7 / Kérastase Paris Fluidissime Spray
If it’s about time your unruly hair stepped in line, spritz it with this treatment. Morpho-Constituing Agents and Surface-Morphing Polymers in the formula coat the hair fibre to leave it more manageable and protected from frizz and humidity.
The review: “If there is only one Kerastase product you try .. THIS IS IT!! This spray has changed my hair for the better. It works as an anti frizz spray as well as heat protection so you will also save money, as the genius brand has combined two products into one. The spray is very lightweight, non greasy, will leave your hair smelling amazing all day and best of all, smooth, sleek and silky. So simple to use: just spray on towel dried hair and style as you wish. Best used with the shampoo and mask from this range.” Katherine, Beauty Crew member
#6 / L’Oréal Professionnel Color 10 in 1 Perfecting Multipurpose Spray
Another nourishing formula for coloured hair, this impressive leave-in conditioner spray does everything you want: heat protection up to 230oC, it gives you shinier, softer and smoother strands, repairs breakage and split ends, and keeps frizz under control. And the UV filters in the formula protect against colour fade. It’s got all your niggling concerns covered.
The review: “Best leave in conditioner for my stressed out locks would have to be L’Oréal Professionnel Color 10 in 1 Perfecting Multipurpose Spray. It tames my dried ends, smells fantastic, adds shine, all without making my hair oily.” Aneta, SUPERcrew member
#5 / Eleven Australia Miracle Hair Treatment
Just when you thought we couldn’t top the list of amazing things a leave-in conditioner could do, this one goes and does all the good stuff like conditioning, detangling and repairing, while also enhancing body and preventing chlorine and sun damage. Although we’re not surprised by the last two; it was made by one of Australia’s leading hairdressers - Joey Scandizzo - who knows exactly what our Aussie hair needs most.
The review: “I am super fussy with my hair care products, so for me to recommend a product it must be of second-to-none quality. I tried this product on a whim when my usual muk leave-in treatment wasn't in stock, and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. My main hair concern is breakage caused from dryness, but I have noticed a considerable improvement since switching to this treatment. I have now converted to the entire ELEVEN Australia range and don't think I'll be looking to change anytime soon.” Shannon, SUPERcrew member
#4 / Ouai Leave-in Conditioner
We’ll admit celebrity hairstylist and creator of Ouai, Jen Atkin, can do no wrong in our eyes, but that’s only because she continues to deliver cult product after cult product (and enviable celebrity hairstyles time and time again). This leave-in conditioner is the perfect styling primer for giving you healthy hair to work with (it makes life SO much easier) and taming fly-aways for super smooth strands. The fragrance is divine, too. She’s called it North Bondi and it’s a beautiful concoction of bergamot, Italian lemon, rose de mai, violet and white musk.
The review: “I have super fine coloured hair so I spray this leave-in conditioner before I blow-dry my hair, which makes all the difference. My hair feels super silky, smooth without tangling, as if I applied a hair treatment.” Helen, SUPERcrew member
#3 / Redken All Soft Argan-6 Oil
This leave-in treatment is glossy, nourished hair bottled. The omega-6 enriched formula is deeply conditioning, while argan oil boosts shine and softness. It’s great for all hair types and a little goes a long way.
The review: “I have dry, damaged hair from colouring and from being out in the sun alot, plus it is quite fine/thin. I use this from mid lengths to the bottom and it has been a life saver! Truly changed my hair to be thicker looking, healthy and even looks more voluminous because of the shine. Don't add too much otherwise it will weigh your hair own though!” Gia, SUPERcrew member
#2 / John Frieda Frizz-Ease Extra Strength 6 Effects Serum
The entire Frizz-Ease range is a crowd-favourite for anyone with frizzy, hard-to-manage hair, and this serum is our top pick from the bunch (our Review Crew® test team gave it 4.5 stars). The formula contains nourishing aloe and vitamin E, along with frizz-taming silicones. It’s great for curly hair as it controls frizz and defines curls without weighing them down. It’s also hydrating and repairing, making it a must-have for any and every hair type. If you find the extra-strength version too heavy, swap to the original.
The review: “My hair is pretty dry and can get a lot of flyaways, and is also prone to tangling, so I love to use this product as it’s almost like an all in one product for me. It makes it so much easier to brush (seriously, on a bad day I’m almost ready to embrace the dreadlock look as my hair just tangles like crazy after I wash it) as it coats the hair and makes it so much more manageable. I get best results with this product when I blow dry my hair, it protects it from damage and tames my flyaways and gives a nice healthy shine to the hair. I can go about 3-4 days with this product in my hair without washing, so I don’t feel like it weighs my hair down or adds any oiliness to the hair either. All in all, I totally rate this product.” Bree, SUPERcrew member
#1 / Moroccanoil Hair Treatment
Ever since Moroccanoil came onto the scene, it’s had a cult following. Our members have awarded it a five-star rating, raving about its versatility, decadent nutty smell, and how silky smooth it leaves hair. Don’t let the oil formula put you off - it’s not going to leave your hair greasy. This luxurious oil is the best hair moisturiser for all hair types and is just the ticket for strands that need to be nursed back to healthy as it repairs and protects in one.
The review: “I first started using the Moroccanoil Hair Treatment on recommendation from my hairdresser about a decade [ago], and have continued to love and buy it since. It's a great product that can be used in a variety of ways (as a detangler, a heat protector, a leave in treatment, to add shine and to tame fly-aways), and it isn't too heavy for my short, fine hair. My preferred method is to use a tiny amount on the ends of my towel dried hair and then heat style it, and it definitely helps to protect and strengthen my hair. It also smells beautiful! However, if I could change one thing about this product, it would be the packaging - the glass bottle isn't ideal when working with an oil and I would much prefer plastic. Other than that, I adore this product!” Kimberlie, SUPERcrew member
Leave-in conditioner can also be used to create beachy waves: just try Jessica Alba’s hairstyling hack.
If boosting the shine in your hair is top of your wish list, try Kourtney Kardashian’s DIY hair mask recipe.
Do you use a leave-in conditioner? What’s your favourite formula?
Main image credit: Getty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.