10 Best Leave-in Conditioners for Natural Hair Nourishment

Written by Alvira Dsouza, Hair Expert
Updated on Apr 22, 2024
Best Leave-in Conditioner for natural hair
The products curated for this article are independently chosen by the editorial team. If you make a purchase through the links mentioned below, we may receive a commission. Check out our product research & curation process

From personal experiences in my haircare journey, I have deduced that leave-in products are more helpful in the long run than rinse-offs. Hence, in addition to the different haircare product categories I’ve worked across, the best leave-in conditioners that I picked from rigorous testing and research have a special place in my heart. 

Sure, you may have experienced some dramatic hair care benefits from deep conditioners or even basic shampoos and regular conditioners, and I’m not here to deny or undersell their prowess either! It’s just that when life gets faster and you’re unable to make TLC time for your precious locks, it is these leave-in products that come in handy as you can simply apply and go, without any off-limits waiting period! 

Besides, even if they may not contain exotic ingredients (which some products in my list do contain btw) like your favorite hair masks, the key ingredients in these products get more time to work their magic on your hair. The benefits of leave-in moisturizers don’t end here — they come in different formulations for versatile usage, facilitate hair styling and immediate frizz control, impart luster in your tresses, and may also protect them from heat and other environmental aggressors to prevent future hair problems. 

Further, the way I see these products is that they democratize hair care for those who do not have too much time or money to spare. So, if your haircare views align with mine, let’s scroll away to go through the reviews of my product recommendations below, to enable you to find your best pick!

10 Best Leave-in Conditioners for Natural Hair

For hard-to-manage hair types, this detangling leave-in conditioner from The Honest Company is a treasured must-have as it helps with detangling pesky knots with ease! It is brimming with the properties of naturally-derived ingredients such as panthenol and jojoba extracts, which lubricate the hair shafts and add a slip, thereby making the hair smoother and pleasant to touch (studies from the Journal of Analytical Scient And Technology and the Polymers - MDPI).  

A significant USP of this product is that it comes in lovely fragrance and flavor options such as Refresh (Citrus Vanilla), Calm (Lavender), Nourish (Sweet Almond), and Comfort (Sweet Cream), which not only offer hair care but also indulge the senses in different ways.

Hair Type: Straight, wavy, and loosely curly hair

Key Ingredients: Quinoa extracts, panthenol, hydrolyzed jojoba protein, and fruit/floral extracts

Quantity: 4 fl. oz.

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Cruelty-free
  • Planet-friendly
  • Gentle enough for babies
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Non-toxic
  • Easy to apply
  • Not ideal for frizz control
  • Best for Low-porosity Hair

    milk_shake Leave-in Conditioner

    milk_shake Leave-in Conditioner
  • Now, it wouldn’t be wrong to deem this leave-in conditioner spray from milk_shake as a superfood for most hair types, considering that it is infused with the goodness of milk proteins and honey extracts (research by Molecules - MDPI and the British Journal of Pharmacy). As someone who dyes her hair quite often, I benefited a lot from the product’s Integrity 41 complex which is rich in antioxidants and helps retain color vibrancy. 

    Not to mention, the fruit extracts added to this formula make it all the more invigorating, which coarse and dehydrated hair strands drink up in a jiffy! Besides, most customers are in love with how wonderful this gem smells!

    Hair Type: Damaged, color-treated, medium and low porosity hair 

    Key Ingredients: Milk protein and the extracts of honey, strawberry, blueberry, and papaya

    Quantity: 11.8 fl. oz.

    • Detangles well
    • Helps strengthen hair bonds
    • Lightweight formula
    • Doesn’t weigh the hair down
    • Imparts softness
    • The formula is watered down
  • Best for Frizzy Hair

    SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-in Conditioner

    SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-in Conditioner
  • Bursting with the goodness of omega fatty acids, this conditioner from SheaMoisture moisturizes the hair as generously as a leave-in product possibly can — a treat for dehydrated, high-porosity hair that is in constant need of some TLC.

    With the help of shea butter, the product replenishes dry and thirsty curls with maximum hydration and smoothens their texture. Moreover, you can count on this product to coat each strand as a protective layer, so environmental aggressors don’t affect your hair much.

    Hair Type: Dry, damage-prone, chemical-treated, curly, and frizzy hair

    Key Ingredients: Black castor oil, shea butter, peppermint, and apple cider vinegar

    Quantity: 11.5 fl. oz.

    • Sustainably-produced
    • No parabens or phthalates
    • Controls frizz
    • Boosts elasticity
    • Naturally made
    • Cruelty-free
    • Doesn’t smell great
    • Too rich
  • Best Multi-tasking Product

    Moroccanoil All-in-One Leave-in Conditioner

    Moroccanoil All-in-One Leave-in Conditioner
  • Moroccanoil’s products never fail to impress me, and this godsend leave-in conditioner joins the club. The haircare benefits this product offers is two-fold — it richly moisturizes the hair to boost its texture, while also replenishing individual strands to make them stronger and more resilient. 

    My hair usually gets quite dry and unruly after washing, and this leave-in conditioner imparts it with immense nourishment, thereby making it smooth and touchable. Another reason to invest in this product — its advanced formula also reduces the chances of thermal damage.

    Hair Type: Straight, wavy, and loosely curly hair

    Key Ingredients: Argan oil and amino acids

    Quantity: 1.7 fl. oz. and 5.4 fl. oz.

    • Reduces breakage
    • Strengthens individual strands
    • Alleviates frizz
    • Makes hair softer
    • Long-lasting benefits
    • Smells fantastic
    • Cruelty-free
    • Overpriced
    • Poor spray dispenser
  • Best for Damaged Hair

    It's A 10 Haircare Miracle Leave-in Product

    It's A 10 Haircare Miracle Leave-in Product
  • If your hair particularly deals with heat damage or exposure to harmful chemicals then this is a really good leave-in conditioner to undo that impact and restore the health and vibrancy of your hair. As the name suggests, the benefits of this little liquid conditioner are many, which keeps the haircare routine lean and helps those who don’t like switching between products.

    Even if you don’t deal with any severe hair problems, this product still helps by adding some slip and smoothness to your hair, thereby improving its texture and appearance. 

    Hair Type: Dry, dull, damaged, and chemically-treated hair

    Key Ingredients: Extracts of sunflower seeds, green tea, hydrolyzed keratin, and silk amino acids

    Quantity: 4 fl. oz.

    • Controls frizz
    • Leaping Bunny-certified
    • Non-greasy
    • Strengthens brittle strands
    • Smells incredible
    • Doesn’t weigh the hair down
    • Overpriced
    • Not very helpful for tight curls
  • Best for Heat Protection

    MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-in Conditioner

    MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-in Conditioner
  • An incredible hair moisturizer and an even better heat protectant, this little product from Mizani has got you covered with its multi-faceted benefits if your natural hair is wavy or curly. The formula is brimming with the nourishing properties of natural oils, which improve overall hair health. 

    While I tried it on my naturally straight-wavy hair, my insights about this product are largely backed by the testimonials of curly-haired customers so that you can rest assured. You can count on this product to give your hair a long-lasting quenched and hydrated look.

    Hair Type: Frizz-prone and curly

    Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, fennel seed oil, Gold of Pleasure oil, vitamins C and E

    Quantity: 8.5 fl. oz.

    • Boosts shine
    • Imparts extra moisture
    • Strengthens weakened strands
    • Facilitates styling
    • Protects from heat up to 450°F
    • Doesn’t weigh the hair down
    • Leaves a greasy residue
  • Best for High-porosity Hair

    Maui Moisture Frizz-free + Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Mist

    Maui Moisture Frizz-free + Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Mist
  • High-porosity hair is going to love this conditioning mist from Maui as its formula is impressively rich and moisture-drenched. This is the kind of product that saves grace on days when your shampoo seems to over-strip your hair, ensuring that it doesn’t become dehydrated and coarse.

    And, considering the kind of creamy, silicone-packed formulas that most conditioners for damaged and dry hair consist of, this spray-on solution offers convenience that you may not be used to, thereby saving time and energy. 

    Hair Type: Dry and damaged hair

    Key Ingredients: Aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil, and macadamia oil

    Quantity: 8 fl. oz.

    • Natural ingredients
    • Improves the appearance of curls
    • Imparts softness
    • Reduces frizz
    • Smells fantastic
    • Not for fine, low-porosity hair
  • Best for All Types of Curls

    tgin Miracle RepaiRx Protective Leave-in Conditioner

    tgin Miracle RepaiRx Protective Leave-in Conditioner
  • As a part of testing, I recommended this leave-in treatment to my curly-haired friends who believed nothing could tame their frizzy hair — and they all stood corrected! Similar to its Rose Water counterpart from tgin, the RepaiRx leave-in conditioner is packed with goodies such as castor oil, honey, cupuacu butter, etc. that dramatically soften the hair’s texture, making it smooth and easy to style! 

    Adding on, this drool-worthy product gives a quenched and nourished appearance to one’s ringlets by repairing brittle strands. For the same reason, the product is an incredible investment for people with colored, permed, and chemical-treated hair. 

    Hair Type: All types of curls

    Key Ingredients: Raw black honey, black castor oil, biotin, coconut oil, cupuacu butter, and other botanical extracts

    Quantity: 13 fl. oz. and 32 fl. oz.

    • Buttery texture
    • Efficient pump dispenser
    • Weightless formula
    • Can be used as a styling cream
    • Doesn’t leave a build-up
    • Exotic natural ingredients
    • Quite greasy
    • Some don’t like the scent
  • Best for Tight Curls

    Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross Leave-in Conditioner

    Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross Leave-in Conditioner
  • Like every Pattern product dedicated to improving the curl pattern of naturally tight ringlets, this leave-in conditioner is an incredible investment for your money, considering that the nourishment it provides doesn’t get rinsed off and has time to work its magic.

    Trust me, I’ve been through endless testimonials of customers who swear by its rejuvenating prowess, and the rage about it on the internet is certainly justified! This marvelous curl cream moisturizes your hair on multiple levels by leveraging the properties of science-backed botanical hair oils (research by the International Journal of Trichology). 

    Hair Type: Curly, coily, and kinky hair

    Key Ingredients: Jojoba oil, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, shea oil, tea tree leaf oil, and argan oil

    Quantity: 3 fl. Oz, 9.8 fl. oz. and 25 fl. oz.

    • Infuses extra hydration
    • Silky texture
    • Prevents and tames frizz
    • Detangles well
    • Color-safe
    • Expensive
  • Best for All Hair Types

    Kristin Ess Hair Weightless Shine Leave-in Conditioner

     Kristin Ess Hair Weightless Shine Leave-in Conditioner
  • Now, of all its sublime haircare benefits, I personally adore this leave-in conditioner for the luxurious shine it imparts to the strands. The formula offers multi-dimensional benefits for your hair. It draws water into parched strands, repairs damage by leveraging proteins, and places a cherry on top by sealing the moisture in.

    When I first tried it out, it was hard for me to believe that a mist-based product could provide such benefits but the results left me stunned! What makes it even better — the product doesn’t weigh the strands down!

    Hair Type: All

    Key Ingredients: Hydrolyzed keratin, panthenol, chia seed oil, algae extracts, and other botanical extracts

    Quantity: 8.5 fl. oz.

    • Boosts shine
    • Makes hair soft
    • Detangles knots
    • Vegan and cruelty-free
    • Color-safe
    • Reasonably-priced
    • Not effective on frizz
    • Seems watered down

    Now that you’ve seen our product recommendations for the best leave-in conditioners for natural hair, scroll away to see our buying guide which will help you determine how to shop for the best one.

    How to Select a Leave-in Conditioner for Natural Hair?

    The following are a few points to consider:

    Hair Type:

    The leave-in conditioner you invest in should cater to the specific needs of your hair type. If you have straight hair and medium-porosity hair, then a lightweight humectant-based product should work just fine to rejuvenate your tresses. However, if you have frizz-prone and coily hair, then a rich and creamy moisturizer would be the optimal choice to improve your curl pattern.

    If you have high-porosity hair, a richer formulation is recommended, whereas for low-porosity hair, a weightless formula that doesn’t leave any residue would be optimal. Some leave-in conditioners claim to work well enough for all hair types but to be sure of it, you should look into their formulation and key ingredients. 


    Leave-in conditioners are a versatile form of hair product that comes in various formulations — mists, serums, pomades, creams, lotions, gels, etc. However, while this might seem like you have a lot of options to choose from, not every formulation is suitable for every hair type. In most cases, mists, serums, and liquid formulations are more suited for fine, straight-to-wavy, and low-porosity hair types, whereas rich cream-based formulations are better for high-porosity, curly, frizz-prone hair types.

    Key Ingredients:

    Having talked about formulations, let’s dive deeper into them! It may seem obvious that a leave-in hair conditioner should have impressive moisturizing properties. However, it is more complex than that as every hair type requires a different kind of moisturization. 

    Weightless ingredients such as argan oil, macadamia oil, algae extracts, aloe extracts, panthenol, etc. whereas rich emollients such as shea butter, mango seed butter, cocoa butter, honey, coconut extracts, castor oil, etc. are more suited for people with dry and high-porosity hair. 

    For damaged hair that may be colored, chemical-treated, or prone to breakage, brittling, and split ends, ingredients such as hydrolyzed keratin, elastin, and silk amino acids, are of immense benefit as they replenish the hair shaft with its building blocks, to strengthen and protect it externally. 

    Specific Hair Benefits:

    Now, in addition to the strengthening and hydrating benefits that we already spoke of, some leave-in conditioners offer miscellaneous benefits such as heat protection, antioxidant protection, frizz control, smoothing, shine-boosting, etc., which you should prioritize when looking for a product. Some emollient-rich products also provide deep-conditioning benefits.


    Whether you are someone who likes to invest in hair masks or intensive treatments or not, you can certainly have the best leave-in conditioner for natural hair handy, considering it is relatively cost-effective, time-efficient, convenient to use, and literally makes life easier in so many ways! 

    And now, you’re life can get easier considering I’ve recommended products that cater to different needs — the milk_shake Leave-in Conditioner for weak and limp strands, the Moroccanoil All-in-One Leave-in Conditioner for breakage, and the MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-in Conditioner for heat protection. I hope you liked my product recommendations! Happy shopping!


    Can leave-in conditioners help with detangling natural hair?
    Yes, they can. For this, you need to look for leave-in conditioners that provide slip to the hair instead of merely moisturizing. This is an important feature as it reduces friction between two strands, thereby untangling hair knots with ease.
    How often should I use a leave-in conditioner on my natural hair?
    If the formula is weightless, like a mist or serum, then you may feel free to use the product every day. However, with rich and cream-based products, you may want to limit the application to 2-3 times a week. Even so, the frequency varies based on individual hair types, and drier hair would require the product more often than others.
    Are leave-in conditioners suitable for all types of natural hair?
    Yes, they are. Leave-in conditioners are available in a variety of formulations, catering to different types of natural hair.
    Can leave-in conditioners be used in combination with other styling products?
    Yes, they can be.
    Do leave-in conditioners provide heat protection for natural hair?
    Not all leave-in conditioners provide that.

    Why Trust Pinkvilla

    Alvira, our in-house haircare connoisseur and product expert prefers “leave-in” over “rinse-off” any day, considering their nourishment stays on for longer. For natural hair, she has always been on the hunt for leave-in conditioners, and for this article, she cherrypicked products catering to different hair types and concerns. She came across several mists, creams, pomades, and lotion-like formulations in her research process. She filtered the products out based on their moisturizing prowess, ingredients, longevity of results, fragrance, and similar other factors to offer a comprehensive solution for her readers.

    Our product experts study the specifications of every product we suggest and try them out to bring what’s proven to be worthy of your money, time, and energy. We also have subject matter experts from various fields like Fashion, Skincare, Haircare, Home Decor, and Health & Fitness onboard to make sure our suggestions are credible and trustworthy. You can trust Select to be your faithful shopping guide for all the right reasons!

    Author BIO
    Alvira Dsouza
    Hair Expert

    With a keen eye for detail and a passion for hairstyling, Alvira is a certified Hair Expert who brings the latest tre More