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How to Use Leave-in Conditioner: A Step-by-Step Guide

All Hair Types

How to Use Leave-in Conditioner: A Step-by-Step Guide How to Use Leave-in Conditioner: A Step-by-Step Guide How to Use Leave-in Conditioner: A Step-by-Step Guide

You’d never skip applying conditioner after washing out your shampoo in the shower, would you? What about a leave in conditioner? If you feel like your hair could use a little extra loving, leave-in hair conditioner may be just what your strands need. Not exactly sure what leave-in conditioners, lotions, and mists do or how they work? No worries, we’re here to explain just that. Keep reading to learn all about what leave-in conditioner is, get the scoop on our best leave-in conditioners (from the drugstore!), and find out how to use this hair care essential.


Leave-in conditioners, sprays, and creams are typically applied after you shampoo and condition, usually on towel-dried hair before styling. They can help provide extra moisture as well as detangle strands, which can help make styling easier. Generally, you’d apply leave-in conditioner after hopping out of the shower, then use a wide tooth comb to gently detangle your hair. Once you’re done with that step, you can move onto your styling routine, whether that’s by blow-drying your hair smooth and sleek or letting it air dry for gorgeous natural texture.


Leave-in conditioner can benefit just about any hair type, from dry hair to frizzy hair to damaged hair, as it can help add moisture and shine and make it easier to style your hair. So, regardless of your hair type, consider adding one into your regular hair care routine and reap the hair care rewards. One of our favorite ways to use a leave-in conditioner is by applying it right before bed and leaving it on overnight to wake up with softer-feeling hair.


When it comes to shopping for a leave-in conditioner, look for one that’s formulated to address your specific hair care concerns and hair type, whether that’s a leave-in conditioner for curly hair or a leave-in conditioner for men. If you have dry hair, for example, look for a leave-in product that is formulated with moisturizing ingredients to soften hair. If you have frizzy hair, look for a leave-in conditioner that can help tame flyaways and smooth hair. If you have damaged hair, look for one that can help address the appearance of split ends and make hair look shinier, as damaged hair can often appear rough and dull. There are lots of leave-in conditioners out there, and we’re rounding up our best ones next so you can find your perfect match.


Ready to try a leave-in conditioner, cream, or spray yourself? You’ve come to the right place! Pick from the following options below, depending on your hair’s specific needs. We’ve got something for everyone!

L’Oréal Paris EverStrong Break Proof Lotion: This leave-in lotion has a lightweight formula that moisturizes and helps revive the look of shine. It also provides added slip and detangling. First, wash your hair with the L’Oréal Paris EverStrong Thickening Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverStrong Thickening Conditioner in the shower. Once you get out, apply a dime-sized amount of the leave-in conditioner to towel-dried hair and gently work through hair to evenly distribute. Don’t rinse. Style as usual.

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Oil-in-Cream: This ultra-lightweight yet ultra-nourishing leave-in cream-to-oil formula helps hydrate hair. After using the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Conditioner, rub a dime-sized amount of the leave-in cream between your hands and then work throughout the lengths of damp hair. Use more or less depending on your hair’s length. You can also use a little bit on dry hair as a finishing touch.

L’Oréal Paris EverPure 10-in-1 Elixir: This leave-in elixir helps nourish, hydrate, and smooth hair. Start in the shower by using the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Conditioner. Then, apply the leave-in conditioner on towel-dried hair and scalp in sections. Gently work through hair to evenly distribute. Do not rinse. Style as usual. Whether you heat style or air dry your hair is up to you!

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge Treatment: This leave-in treatment works to increase strength and flexibility of strands with continued use. The protein treatment for hair also helps prevent the five major signs of hair damage: split ends, weakness, rough texture, dull tone, and dehydration. Cleanse and condition with the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Repairing Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Repairing Conditioner, then towel dry your hair and apply a small amount of the treatment, focusing on your lengths and ends. Style hair as usual.


Now that you know what leave in-conditioner is and how to pick the right one for your hair’s needs, it’s time to actually add one to your routine. Follow our step-by-step guide to using leave-in conditioner like a pro.


First things first: Hop in the shower! Use a system of shampoo and conditioner formulated for your hair type that coordinate with the leave-in conditioner you’re going to use. Sticking with one of the trios we shared above keeps things simple.


Read the instructions on your leave-in product and apply accordingly. Typically, you’d want to apply leave-in conditioner to damp or towel-dried hair, then style as usual. Focus the leave-in conditioner on your mid-lengths and ends, avoiding your roots, as that could leave hair looking greasy. This is especially important if you have fine or thin hair because you don’t want anything weighing your hair down. No need to rinse out—that’s why it’s called a leave-in product! A little goes a long way, but you may need to experiment to see how much leave-in conditioner your hair needs (for example, if you have long hair, you may find you need to use more).


Your hair is at its most fragile when it’s wet, so skip the brushes and use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair before styling instead. After applying your leave-in conditioner, gently (emphasize on gently!) glide your comb through your hair to help undo any knots or tangles.


You’re ready to style now! Blow-dry or air-dry: the choice is up to you. We’ve got a tutorial for each option below.

How to blow-dry your hair: If you’re interested in blow-drying your hair, don’t forget to apply a heat protectant, like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray, first. For a smooth style that has some bounce, use a round brush. Rough dry your hair until it’s almost completely dry, then grab your round brush and curl your hair around it to dry and add a little volume.

How to air-dry your hair: For those days when you just don’t have the time or energy to style your hair with a heat tool, you don’t have to sacrifice style. You can rock beachy waves like a pro by spritzing the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle AIR DRY IT Wave Swept Spray onto damp hair. Hair on the straighter side? Create a braid to add definition to your hair, then undo the braid once your hair has dried and shake it out.

You’re officially a leave-in conditioner pro! Now you know how to use leave-in conditioner for softer, shinier hair.

Next up: it’s time to learn about deep conditioner, another hair care product that can prove to be quite useful when you add it to your beauty regimen. Check out our article, How to Deep Condition Your Hair, for everything you need to know. Here’s to a happier hair care routine!