Can Leave-in Conditioners Help You Ace Your Hair Game? We Find Out

leave-in conditioner

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Indian weather equals desperate times when it comes to hair. Sweaty hair, dehydrated hair, flat hair – the problems are many. But believe it or not, leave-in conditioners – an oft-forgotten hair product – can really work wonders for your crowning glory.

What do leave-in conditioners really do?

We often shampoo and condition the hair (or use a mask once in a while) and then the hair is left to its own devices barring that quick swipe of serum. That’s where hardworking leave-ins come into the picture. So, if you’ve looked at these bottles and wondered what is their purpose even? Fret not, we’ve got some answers.

Nilesh Kadam, Creative Stylist at Looks Salon says, “Leave-in conditioners are usually intended to be applied to damp, towel-dried hair. This is due to the fact that they operate best when they can penetrate the hair shaft and seal in moisture when it is still damp.”

Leave-in conditioners also come in different consistencies, these could be lightweight sprays, mousse-like or creamy ones that you have to emulsify in your palms and apply to the lengths of your hair post-wash.

leave-in conditioner

But did you know you could use leave-in conditioners in other ways too? Here are some suggestions:

  • It can be used to detangle hair
  • It can be used to refresh a hairstyle on day 2 
  • It helps control frizz
  • It can prevent heat damage from hair tools to some extent
  • It can add moisture and shine to dry, dull-looking hair a day or two after wash

Nilesh shares some expert tips for using leave-in conditioners, “Use a little bit of leave-in conditioner, approximately a coin-sized amount depending on the length and thickness of your hair. You can always add more, if necessary, but too much might make your hair look greasy,” he reveals. He also suggests concentrating on the ends, “Apply the product to the mid-lengths to the ends of your hair, which are drier and more damaged. Unless your scalp is really dry, avoid applying it to it.”

Leave-in conditioners vs hair serums

leave-in conditioner

This got us wondering, can we then skip hair serums? “Hair serums and leave-in conditioners have slightly different functions,” Nilesh points out, “Leave-in conditioners are primarily concerned with moisturising and detangling the hair while also offering some heat and environmental protection. Hair serums, on the other hand, are frequently used to add shine, control frizz, and provide a sleek finish.”

He further explains that both products can be used together depending on your hair’s demands. Start with the leave-in conditioner on clean, damp hair, and then add shine and frizz control with a serum. If your hair is naturally greasy or fine, a leave-in conditioner alone may suffice, eliminating the need for a serum.

But remember never to overdo the leave-in as this can cause build-up on the hair and scalp over time, so use it sparingly. And if you do use it often, make sure you follow it up with a clarifying shampoo for a thorough wash.

Here are some leave-in conditioners you can pick from…

Moroccanoil Leave-In Conditioner

This all-in-one leave-in does tons. It’s a multitasking lightweight spray that helps instantly detangle, soften, hydrate, and protect against thermal damage. The milky formula contains antioxidant-rich argan oil, pure amino acids to increase strength, a nourishing superfood blend, and naturally derived sugars that act as an anti-dehydration shield. It works on all hair types and even helps protect against breakage.

Redken One United Leave-in Conditioner


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Redken recently launched in India and introduced their Acidic Bonding Concentrate Collection in salon and hair care range. This product is a 25-benefit leave-in nourishing treatment formulated with lactic acid and coconut oil to increase manageability, protection, and overall hair health.

It softens the touch of texture of the styling products, reduces hair dryness, helps to detangle hair, primes hair for styling prevents breakage from brushing, helps prevent heat damage from hair hot tools, controls frizz and is even a hairstyle refresher! We’re wondering whether there’s anything this leave-in can’t do.

milk_shake Leave-in Conditioner

One of their bestselling products, this leave-in conditioner is specifically formulated to condition normal to slightly dry hair and to make damaged hair easier to comb after using other conditioners or treatments. An aqueous lightweight product, it works to counteract frizz, and occasional static, and maintain optimal levels of moisture in healthy hair.

It even protects hair from UV rays and helps to maintain hair colour. This leave-in conditioner spray detangles, moisturizes and leaves your hair smelling divine with a sweet vanilla fragrance.

Anomaly Leave-in Conditioner for Hydration

Infused with avocado & murumuru butters, this creamy leave-in helps increase manageability and shine while protecting hair from everyday aggressors. Avocado butter is rich in vitamins A, D, and E this natural moisturizer is known to provide nourishment to help fortify hair, while murumuru butter, which is rich in fatty acids, is a nourishing emollient that has been shown to lock in moisture and help hair stay shiny. 

Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoothing Leave-In Conditioner


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Infused with patented OLAPLEX Bond Building technology, No. 6 smooths, conditions and strengthens without adding hold or excess weight. A highly concentrated formula, it works for all hair types including dry, grey, coloured and chemically treated hair and is good for textures from coarse to fine. 

Barcode Professional Liquid Conditioner 

This Turkish haircare brand recently launched in India has 4 different liquid conditioners (leave-in) varieties – for volumizing, colour protection, dry & damaged hair and one for all hair types. The volumizing one is packed with Biotin & B5 Plus complex, while the colour protection comes with Vitamin Complex & UV Filter.

The one for dry & damaged hair has a ceramide complex formula that helps easily comb the hair while reducing breakage and split ends, while the one for all hair types has a Keratin & Silk Protein formula that softens and tames your locks while providing intense hydration, for a healthy and shiny look.

Schwarzkopf Professional Bonacure Repair Rescue Spray Conditioner

Part of the new Bonacure Repair Rescue range, powered by arginine which works to rebuild your hair from the inside out, this spray conditioner detangles and improves combability, brings back inner hair strength & elasticity, softens & seals the surface of the hair, adds brilliant shine, and gives blow-dry heat protection.

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