Best Leave In Conditioners for Dry Natural Hair

Aug 3, 2018

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Sometimes, you just need to recognize when your products aren’t cutting it. 

Choosing the best leave-in conditioners for natural hair is not an easy task. Not only are there a million different options, all of them are target the same thing!

Below you’ll find the best leave-in conditioners for dry natural hair. But before we list them, we’re going to tell you why these leave-in conditioners are so great so you can be empowered in the long-term. 

Let’s get into it.

Why Do I Need a Leave-in Conditioner?

In any solid natural hair routine, your leave-in and deep conditioners must be compatible with your hair. If you don’t, your curls will look unhealthy, matted, tangled, limp, and dry with the quickness.

Leave-ins are especially important, given they are the last step in the curly method. They are designed to keep moisture locked in after cleansing, while ensuring your curls are defined, shiny and bouncy.

You can tell when your leave in isn’t working when:

  • Your hair looks lifeless after application,
  • Your ends are breaking [quick tip: look down in your sink after applying your products and identify any small, broken pieces of hair to know if you are experiencing breakage] and/or,
  • Your hair does not stay moisturized for more than a couple hours.

How Do I Know Which Leave-in Conditioner To Choose?

There are a ton of options on the market, which makes it that more difficult to choose the best natural hair products for you.

But knowing which product to pick up (and which to leave on the shelf) is all about knowing your own hair.

Knowing your hair type (Type 1-4), density (thick vs thin head of hair), width (fine vs coarse individual strands) is essential to knowing which products will work for you.

In general, looser curl types (Type 2-3b), those with thinner hair and/or finer strands should opt for light-weight products and oils. Those with Type 3c natural hair and up can tolerate heavier butters.

Next, you must have a strong sense of your natural hair porosity.

Natural Hair Porosity

Natural hair porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb water and/products. 

Low porosity natural hair has a low absorption rate, because the cuticles are stubbornly closed. It is difficult for this hair porosity to absorb moisture.

High porosity natural hair has a high absorption rate, because the cuticles are always open. It is difficult for this hair porosity to retain moisture.

Depending on your hair porosity, you’ll have specific product needs to look out for. Be sure to read up on what these are in the links above!

Now, let’s get into some products.

TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer

Best for TYPE 3c, type 4

Our favourite deep conditioner for parched natural hair, especially for Type 3c and up. Great for all porosity types, but high porosity will especially love this one due to the protein.

Shea Moisture Strengthen & Restore Leave-in Conditioner

Best for TYPE 3 – 4a

Great for protein-deprived high porosity naturals, this leave-in is moisture in a jar. The JBCO is an excellent ingredient for sealing in moisture, and will provide the protein your hair is desperately craving!

Curls Blueberry Bliss Leave-in Conditioner

Best for TYPE2 – 3B

A light-weight, bouncy formula which is great to define and clump wavy curls. Tighter textures may find this product too light-weight to hold a coil.

Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk

Best for TYPE 4

This buttery, soft leave-in contains incredibly moisturizing ingredients such as avocado oil, rice oil and aloe vera (aka the moisture G.O.A.T.)! Plays well with creams and gels for defined twist-outs and good for all porosity types.

Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk

Best for TYPE 2 – 3a

A cult classic, this light-weight milk is both hydrating and strengthening for wavy and loose curls. Great for high porosity naturals, but not so great for Type 3c and up.

Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner

Best for TYPE 4

Type 4 natural’s will love this product, as its incredibly rich yet light formula will give your curls the bounce and hydration it needs. Great for high porosity. Follow up with a gel or thick cream to keep the moisture locked in.

TGIN Green Tea Super Moist Leave-in Conditioner

Best for TYPE 3

The formula of this product for Type 3 naturals. The ingredient list is natural enough to reduce product buildup but formidable enough to do its job: hydrate and protect.

The Bottom Line

Leave-in conditioners for natural hair are 100% essential for any effective natural hair routine. But hopefully the above leave-in conditioners will be a great place to start

The Curl Market is a natural hair blog catered to helping black naturals grow their curls into a long, luscious manes.

We use the latest evidence-based scientific research to provide you with the top tips on growing your curls, regardless of hair type.

We also provide lifestyle tips, both self care and mental care, to ensure you are optimizing your body’s natural hair growth cycle – because you can’t grow natural hair if you’re stressed out!

Come as you are.

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WRITTEN BY

Ayana Aden

Ayana is The Curl Market’s brand founder. When she’s not deep in natural hair research or creating content, she’s hanging on the couch with her husband and her cat, reading a book or scrolling through TikTok. Follow her on Instagram at @tothecurlmarket.

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What's Your Curl Type?

Take The Quiz!

Learning your curl type is an important step in learning how to take care of your natural hair. It can help you understand what products will work best for you, how often to shampoo, how to style your natural hair, and other key information.

This quiz will give you the lowdown on exactly what your curl type is, so you'll never have to wonder again ♥

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