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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 earn major points for never skipping applying conditioner after washing out your shampoo in the shower, but what about using 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 detangle your hair ever so gently. 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, so you can 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.


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 Elvive Dream Lengths No Haircut Cream Leave In Conditioner: Formulated with a blend of castor oil and vitamins B3 and B5, this leave-in hair treatment helps seal split ends and prevents heat damage from styling because it offers up to 450-degree heat protection. No more unwanted haircuts so you can save that last inch! To use, first wash your strands with the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Restoring Shampoo for Long, Damaged Hair and L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Conditioner for Long, Damaged Hair. Then hop out of the shower and apply onto damp hair, leave in, and style as usual.

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 your mane 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 length of your 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 Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge Treatment: This leave-in treatment works to increase the strength and flexibility of your 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 formulas are 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 on 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 coordinates 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 your hair looking greasy. This is especially important if you have fine or thin hair because you don’t want anything weighing your hair down. A little product will go 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). After applying, there's no need to rinse out—that’s why it’s called a leave-in product! 


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. 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 finish drying and add a little volume at the same time.

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 loads of volume by spritzing the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BOOST IT High Lift Creation Spray throughout dry strands.

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