Glamour April 26, 2022



15 Best Leave-In Conditioner Formulas for All-Day Hydration


Something for every hair type and texture.

When it comes to building a solid hair-care routine, there’s no easier way to level up your hair game than with the best leave-in conditioner. Unlike traditional rinse-out formulas, these leave-in versions offer an extra dose of conditioning to help detangle, nix frizzy hair and flyaways, resist split ends, protect against heat damage and breakage, and address a multitude of other hair needs.

The main difference between rinse-out versus leave-in conditioners is the latter’s long-term perks, says Clint Wilson, cofounder of and stylist at Salon SCK in New York City. “A leave-in conditioner continues nourishing and protecting the hair throughout the day, while a regular conditioner stops working and actually needs to be rinsed out to prevent your hair from becoming greasy,” he explains. Plus, leave-in formulas tend to be more multitasking than their in-shower counterparts, offering a host of targeted benefits, such as defining wavy hair, protecting color-treated hair, or prepping for a blow-dry (or any kind of heat styling).

Their usage may vary too. Although leave-in conditioners are usually applied to wet or damp hair, some can be applied to dry hair, depending on your hair type. For example, says Wilson, “If you have naturally curly hair and want to refresh your hairstyle the next day without washing, using a leave-in conditioner is a great way to revitalize your style.” 

For wash day, you can either use a leave-in conditioner after your usual wash-out conditioner——or if you’re short on time, skip one, says Wilson, who suggests you keep the leave-in version. However, the amount of product you use depends on your hair type; someone with fine hair should use a smaller amount, since too much product can leave the hair feeling heavy.

Speaking of: If your hair leans fine, Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, recommends using a leave-in conditioner spray. “That way you concentrate on the ends so you don’t weigh the hair down from the scalp,” she says. She also suggests skipping it for a few days if you notice that your hair feels limp, which could be from the weight from product buildup. (If that’s the case, consider avoiding formulas that contain silicones, since these can contribute to buildup.)

Clearly, not all leave-in conditioners are created equal. Keep scrolling for 15 of our favorite leave-in conditioners, along with a slew of expert product recommendations. 

All products featured on Glamour are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother Reparative Styling Creme

Pros swear by this Olaplex best seller, a hydrating leave-in treatment that’s ideal for those with thick, dry hair; it repairs bonds within the hair to restore heat and chemical damage. It’s even powerful enough to prevent frizz for up to 72 hours and can cut blow-drying time for a faster morning routine.

P.S.: This is a Quick Shop product—you don’t have to leave Glamour to buy it.

Crown Affair The Leave-In Conditioner Cream for Hydrated Hair

Like a lightweight moisturizer for your hair, this versatile lotion works for all hair types and textures. That’s because it hydrates the hair without weighing it down, courtesy of vitamin- and fatty-acid-packed tsubaki and meadowfoam seed oils which work double time to moisturize.

R+Co Sun Catcher Power C Boosting Leave-In Conditioner

For added hydration, you can’t go wrong with this sulfate-free spray; the formula is infused with skin-care staples like antioxidant-packed vitamin C, amino acids, and hyaluronic acid to protect hair against the elements. The leave-in treatment can be applied to damp or dry hair, offers light hold and shine, and plays well with other styling products. 

Ouai Detangling and Frizz Fighting Leave-In Conditioner

Aguirre is a fan of the Ouai Leave-In for its light-as-air spray formula. The treatment also pulls double duty as a heat protectant, so you can follow it with a blow-dryer sans guilt. Meanwhile, the floral fragrance, which features notes of bergamot, violet, and white musk, subs in for a subtle perfume.

P.S.: This is a Quick Shop product—you don’t have to leave Glamour to buy it.

Gisou Honey Infused Leave-In Conditioner

A versatile hair treatment that simultaneously hydrates, smooths, and protects, this formula features a blend of honey to attract moisture, baobab seed extract to strengthen, and argan oil to moisturize and protect. Bonus: It adds protection against everyday sources of damage, such as sun exposure, heat, pollution, and even brushing. 

Hair Rituel by Sisley The Cream 230

Dubbed “the secret to rich girl hair” by one Glamour editor, this stuff snagged a 2022 Glamour Beauty Award—and it’s easy to see why. The leave-in conditioner and heat protectant hybrid is infused with a blend of nourishing botanicals, including camellia and moringa seed oils. Meanwhile, glycerin acts as a powerful humectant to draw in moisture. 

Moroccanoil All in One Leave-In Conditioner

Celebrity hairstylist and founder of Phenix Salon Suites, Gina Rivera loves how lightweight and versatile this leave-in is. Not only that, she says, but “it also provides up to 72 hours of softness.” Argan oil—which is loaded with vitamin E, antioxidants, and fatty acids—nourishes the hair, while sunflower seed oil and quinoa extract work together to smooth and hydrate. 

Oribe Priming Lotion Leave-In Conditioning Detangler

Designed with natural hair in mind, this lotion delivers a combo of murumuru, mango, and cocoa seed butters, plus olive, avocado, and jojoba oils for a hefty dose of moisture. It’s intended to be cocktailed with other styling products to achieve the definition, shine, and hydration ideal for curly and coily hair types.

SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In Treatment

New York City celebrity hairstylist Nunzio Saviano considers this a winner for thicker, damaged, and curly hair types. “The spray-on delivery system allows for an even application throughout the hair,” he explains. And with coconut oil, coconut milk, and glycerin for a hit of hydration, it makes for a great drugstore option.

P.S.: This is a Quick Shop product—you don’t have to leave Glamour to buy it.

Kérastase Nutritive 8H Magic Night Serum

Wilson calls this overnight treatment a “miracle worker,” since it doesn’t need to be rinsed out at all the next morning; instead, it sinks into the hair without transferring onto the skin or pillowcase. He also loves that the product contains iris root extract, which, he explains, “resists dryness and helps detangle.” 

Briogeo Farewell Frizz Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioning Spray

With 98% naturally derived ingredients—including fatty-acid-rich argan, coconut, and rosehip oils—a little of Briogeo’s formula goes a long way. Just a few spritzes help seal the hair cuticle, adding smoothness and shine while minimizing frizz for up to 48 hours. 

Augustinus Bader The Leave-In Hair Treatment

It’s an investment, yes, but Saviano considers this an ideal choice for those with thinning hair, thanks to TFC8—the same proprietary blend of nutrients found in the brand’s bestselling skin-care line. (Here, it’s applied to maintain healthy hair growth.) Plus, coconut and castor oils work to deliver moisture.

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin

As the name indicates, the hero in the It’s a 10 Miracle leave-in is keratin, the core protein that comprises hair. The formula is designed to deep-condition and restore dry and damaged hair with a blend of sunflower seed and green tea leaf extracts, which are loaded with antioxidants. 

IGK Thirsty Girl Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner

A coconut-milk-infused treatment that fights frizz for up to 24 hours, it’s also formulated with glycerin and hyaluronic acid to soften and smooth hair.

Nexxus Curl Define Leave-In Conditioner for Curls

This velvety formula combines hydrolyzed wheat and keratin proteins to help strengthen hair. (For the uninitiated: Hydrolyzed means the ingredient has been broken down to a smaller size, which can supposedly penetrate hair to work its magic.) It’s also blended with glycerin, shea butter, and aloe to offer definition and hold to curls—all while stopping frizz before it starts.

P.S.: This is a Quick Shop product—you don’t have to leave Glamour to buy it.