Friday, 9 October 2015

Demystifying Leave-in Conditioner

Hello, hello ladies!

I’m back this Friday with another product to shine the spotlight on. I’m dishing the dirt on leave-in conditioner as requested by one of our readers ( hey Oreoluwa Adeyinka!). A great leave-in is the cornerstone of well moisturised and healthy hair, so pay a great deal of attention to the type you are using.

What is leave-in conditioner?
Leave-in conditioner is a type a hair care product that is applied to the hair and is designed to nourish, moisturise, protect and smooth the strand. It is not rinsed out. It can be in liquid or cream/lotion form.

What does it do to my hair?
Well as stated above it nourishes and moisturises the hair. A good leave in conditioner must always have water as the first ingredient as its primal purpose is to keep the hair soft and aid in maintaining and retaining moisture. It can also be beneficial when detangling hair. Additionally, leave-ins make the hair smooth by laying the cuticle flat, this leads to less snagging and tangling. Another important function leave-ins serve is to help make the hair more manageable. With regular use you will find your hair feels softer, is more manageable, has less splits ends and will be stronger.

What makes a good leave-in conditioner?
First and foremost it should be water based, having water as the first ingredient. It should contain some fatty alcohols, a humectant and  lubricants for slip. This is a basic leave-in. Fruit and plant extracts, butters, oils and vitamins make your leave-in even better. Try by all means to avoid mineral oil/paraffinum liquidum and petroleum/petrolatum as these coat the hair shaft and may prevent absorption of the product by the strand. However if a particular leave in contains these and works well for your hair in all the arenas, ensure that they are  not the first on the ingredients list.

What type of leave-ins are available on the market?
Although  leave in comes in all sorts of bottles, brands, sprays and lotions; there are two main types. These are protein leave-in conditioners and moisturising leave-in conditioners. Protein leave-ins are designed to strengthen and repair the hair, whereas moisturising ones are designed to moisturise and increase the suppleness and flexibility of your hair. In order to avoid making this post too long, I will break it up into two parts. Next week I will elaborate more these two types and when to use them.

Can I use my regular instant conditioner or deep conditioner as a leave in too?
Well, ideally no. Instant and deep conditioners are formulated with certain ingredients that are meant to remain on your hair once the conditioner has been rinsed off for lasting effectiveness. These ingredients can tend to cause build up if the products is used regularly during the week as a leave in conditioner. They will also weigh your hair down, and make it dirtier faster. Having said that the conditioner contains ingredients for lasting effectiveness, you still need a leave in conditioner because last week's deep conditioning session will not keep your tresses in good condition for the whole week. You need to follow through with appropriate day-to-day maintenance which a leave-in takes care of. Furthermore, leave-in conditioners are designed with the aim of leaving the product on your hair. So they do not contribute to build up as they are manufactured to remain on the strands without weighing them down or causing build up. So I highly recommend that you get a leave-in.

Is there a  difference between a leave in and a moisturiser?
There is no real difference. Leave-ins and moisturisers serve the same purpose and function under different names. They are all meant to nourish, protect, moisturise and smooth the strand. A product may say moisturising lotion/spray on the bottle, however it will work as good as a brand name leave-in conditioner. You may have also noted this while trying out different leave on products for your tresses. Always check the ingredients label to see what is in the product, as the ingredients list will give an idea of how good it can be when deciding whether to purchase it or not.

That's all for now, stay tuned for part two next week folks!

What is your favourite leave-in?


  1. awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome happy dancing

  2. And this came just in time my previous leave in just finished and I'm looking to get a different brand now I have some insight on what to do, waiting for part two.

  3. Wow, well done. You have done well in this series.

    The difference between a leave-in conditioner and a moisturisers is that a leave in conditioner contains a mild conditioning agent i.e cationic surfactannts such as polyquarteniums, centrimonium chloride, BTMS, etc. Any product that has the name 'conditioner' in it must have this ingredient.

    I really love African Naturalistas leave-in conditioner cos customers have testified to its effectiveness but I found out that some of our customers would use our moisturising and detangling conditioner as a leave in. I tell them not to do that because it wasn't manufactured to be left in, like the leave-in but thay say their hair loves it that way (It is really softening). Well, who am I to argue with their hair?

    1. Thanks Atilola. I didnt know a cationic surfactant is what distinguisged a leave-in,.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing very insightful

  5. Fav leave-in till date is still the profective leave-in condish, haven't found another that made my tangles melt away like it does. I won't be buying the cantu I'm currently using again cos it does nothing for my hair.

  6. Informative series.Use the beautiful textures leave in,had tons of slip on my relaxed hair,on my transitioning hair,especially the natural part i don't even know,its just there.Will have to revisit my organics carrot oil crème.Hair stuff sha.

  7. At first glance,i did think the AN moisturizing and detangling conditioner was a moisturizer/leave in.

  8. Replies
    1. The argan oil leave-in repair cream. Someone suggested I tried the one specified for natural hair but I'm a bit sceptical after the experience with this one.

    2. The argan oil leave-in repair cream. Someone suggested I tried the one specified for natural hair but I'm a bit sceptical after the experience with this one.

  9. Ok.i think the one with she's butter is the natural one.I do hear good things about it from naturals.The natural one might be better,i think.

  10. Ok.i think the one with shea butter is the natural one.I do hear good things about it from naturals.The natural one might be better,i think.

    1. I might try it *sigh*. I want to believe the argan oil one just isn't good for my hair. Not the entire cantu leave-in conditioner products.

  11. Nice write-up! I am currently using the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor oil leave-in conditioner and am loving it so far


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