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Finding a great leave-in conditioner can be trickier than it may seem. With so many different options available, it’s hard to narrow down your choices. On top of that, what works miracles on other people may not only leave your hair getting worse, but could negatively impact its overall condition.
Understanding your hair type is the first step to finding the right products. For those of us with 4C hair type, we know that finding the proper hair care is critical to maintaining the health of our hair. Leave-in conditioner is our bread and butter, so not every detail counts in the hunt for the right one.
Luckily for you, we have taken the time to search the depths of the Internet to find the best leave-in conditioners based on different preferences. That way, you can be sure you are purchasing a customized product for your everyday needs without having to shop around yourself. Does it get any easier than that?
Here’s a quick preview of our lineup for the 7 best leave-in conditioners for 4C hair. Then, keep reading for our in-depth reviews of the products.
- Best Overall: SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Multi-Action Leave-In
- Best on a Budget: Mielle White Peony Leave-In Conditioner
- Best for Finer 4C Hair: Curlsmith Weightless Air Dry Cream
- Best Organic: Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave-In Conditioner
- Best for Strengthening: Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Divine Strength Leave-In Cream
- Best for Repair: Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave-In Conditioner
- Best for Time Saving: Thank God It’s Natural Rose Water Leave-In Conditioner
What is a Leave-In Conditioner?
Leave-in conditioner is a product you add to your hair that follows your regular shampoo and condition in the shower. The primary difference between the two is that you will not rinse out a leave-in conditioner, leaving it in your hair until the next time you wash it.
For naturally curly hair, leave-in conditioners help retain much needed extra moisture and make your hair more manageable in the styling process. Leave-in conditioners can come in multiple forms, such as liquid, thick cream, or spray.
Best Leave-In Conditioners for 4C Hair
Now, onto the good stuff. Here are the 7 best leave-in conditioners for 4C hair…
Ranking at the top as a leave-in conditioner and a heat protectant is the SheaMoisture Manuka Honey Leave-In. With the right blend of certified organics, including Shea Butter, Manuka Honey, and Yogurt, SheaMoisture has crafted a lightweight yet effective treatment for a hair type known to be otherwise prone to breaking, snapping, or splitting.
Best on a Budget: Mielle White Peony Leave-In Conditioner
- MOISTURIZE: Effectively hydrates and restores dry thirty hair. Can be used for daily styling and as protection from heat...
- HAIR TYPE: Formulated for use with all hair types.
- DIRECTIONS: Use after washing hair as a leave-in conditioner, do not rinse out. Saturate each strand of the hair to condition...
At an unbeatable price, the Mielle White Peony Leave-In Conditioner is an excellent option if you are looking for a lightweight product that is able to moisturize your hair while protecting it from potential heat damage. Treat your hair to both natural and organic ingredients while locking in moisture, smoothing hair shafts, taming pesky flyaways, and protecting from heat damage.
Best for Finer 4C Hair: Curlsmith Weightless Air Dry Cream
- SMOOTH AND MOISTURISE - Our Air Dry Cream is a super lightweight leave-in conditioner that gives you the moisture you deserve...
- HOW THE MAGIC HAPPENS - Apply the product to wet hair and leave to air dry. Our powerful blend of nutrients will moisturise...
- WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT - Inspired by generations of homemade hair remedies, Curlsmith blends fresh curl-loving foods with...
Curlsmith released their Weightless Air Dry Cream designed to provide the moisture you need with a lightweight formula that doesn’t leave any residue build-up on your scalp. By using this leave-in, you can feel your hair getting softer and easier to manage due to the combination of Wild Murumuru to soften hair, Babassu Oil to soothe the scalp, Hyaluronic Acid to moisturize, and other powerful nutrients.
Best Organic: Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave-In Conditioner
With a nickname of “Liquid Gold,” you can imagine this leave-in surely packs a punch. Organic Lemongrass is a critical ingredient in the Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave-In Conditioner, which penetrates the hair’s cortex to lock in moisture at the deepest level. With a light, liquid formula and combination of Essential Oils and Aloe Vera, your hair is sure to be moisturized, strengthened, and conditioned after every use.
Best for Strengthening: Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Divine Strength Leave-In Cream
- Carol's Daughter Goddess Strength Castor Oil Leave In Conditioner intensely moisturizes and helps to reinforce weak strands...
- Creamy Leave In Hair Conditioner with Castor Oil and Black Seed Oil makes hair stronger between washes and better resists...
- Goddess Strength System - Delivers 15X stronger hair in one use and 94 percent less breakage and supports the strength of...
Carol’s Daughter launched the Goddess Strength line which is designed for curly hair types, including 4C. The Divine Strength Leave-In Cream off this line is for intense moisturizing and strengthening of hair strands. With ingredients like Castor Oil and Black Seed Oil, your hair will be stronger and more resistant against breakage, which helps those who are trying to maintain length.
Best for Repair: Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave-In Conditioner
- Formulated certified organic blueberry extract, coconut oil, grapeseed oil and mango butter.
- Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave In Conditioner repairs, restores, and conditions overworked curls.
- Repair, restore, and condition your overworked curls with this uber softening leave in conditioner.
Curls Blueberry Bliss Leave-In Conditioner has an ingredient list that includes organic Blueberry Extract. Working to accelerate your hair’s growth rate and overall condition, Blueberry Extract contains proanthocyanidins, vitamin C, and vitamin B complex. Other organic ingredients in this leave-in include Coconut Oil and Mango Butter, which are mega nourishing to the hair.
Best for Time Saving: Thank God It’s Natural Rose Water Leave-In Conditioner
- Seals in moisture and protects hair from free radicals
- Stabilizes hair’s pH balance
- No sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, lanolin, artificial colors, or animal testing
Save precious time while getting ready by locking in moisture and bringing a subtle hold with the Thank God It’s Natural Rose Water Leave-In Conditioner. This product is free of sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, lanolin, artificial colors, and animal testing, and as such, will help you stabilize your hair’s pH balance while protecting it from free radicals throughout your day.
Deep Conditioner Vs. Leave-In Conditioner
Similar to standing conditioners you use in the shower, deep conditioners are applied after you do shampooing and it is washed out after a matter of minutes. Leave-in conditioner is made to stay in your hair until your next wash and acts rather similarly to a lotion for your skin. You can use a leave-in conditioner after you apply your deep condition as well.
What Makes a Good Leave-In Conditioner?
To find a good leave-in conditioner for your hair, you want to make sure you find the one that will hydrate and nourish your hair strands. The main ingredients should include things that will add slip and softness to your hair, which can make the detangling process that much easier.
What is 4C Hair?
Similar in texture to 4B hair, 4C hair is more tightly coiled and tend to be more fragile. The 4C hair has a very tight zig-zag type pattern in each strand that is often unnoticed to the eye. As a result, 4C experiences the most shrinkage of any hair type, which can reach 75% or more in some rare cases.
How Do You Use a Leave-In Conditioner in 4C Hair?
For ultimate moisture retention, I recommend using a leave-in conditioner after your wash days’ deep condition. You will want to follow the directions as explicitly recommended by the product of your choosing to ensure maximum results for they can vary from product to product.
How Often Should You Use a Leave-In Conditioner?
It is safe to use your leave-in conditioner daily if you find your hair needs it and primarily if you use any heat during styling or have had your hair chemically treated. It is nearly impossible to over-moisturize 4C hair, so don’t hesitate to use your leave-in daily.
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