15 Best Leave-In Conditioners for Natural Hair in 2020

leave in conditioner

Khadija Horton

There’s always that one girl whose curls are bouncier than Lebron’s dribble; the one who never has a single hair out of place, no matter the humidity levels. Spoiler alert: Behind that low-maintenance appearance is a lot of leave-in conditioner. You probably already know that natural hair needs next-level hydration to live its best life, but I’m here to tell you that your co-wash and styling cream aren’t cutting it. Yup, you need that extra step—leave-in conditioners for natural hair prevent breakage, smooth down flyaways, and fend off tangles, all while keeping your curls hydrated and springy. But you can’t throw just any leave-in onto your hair—you have to find the right one. Ahead, the 15 best leave-in conditioners for natural hair, no matter your hair concern.

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Best Strengthening Leave-In Conditioner for Natural Hair

Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I could be a bit gentler on my curls. Like, maybe I should tone down the excessive amounts of heat, IDK. But unlike the ladies at the hair salon, this leave-in conditioner doesn’t judge my breakage. In fact, it works to repair damaged curls, while keeping its thoughts to itself, thanks to the mix of rice milk, antioxidants, and rose-hip oil. 


Best Leave-In Conditioner Spray for Natural Hair

Mielle White Peony Leave In Conditioner

This leave-in conditioner for natural hair is a life-saver 24/7, but it especially comes in handy when you’re in a time crunch. Like, for example, when you wake up five minutes before a Zoom meeting with your boss. The white tea extract, jojoba oils, and silk amino acids will lock in moisture and smooth your curls faster than you can say, “Wait, can you hear me now?”


Best Lightweight Leave-In Conditioner for Natural Hair

Miss Jessie’s Leave in Condish

This leave-in conditioner for natural hair is so featherweight, you may not even think it’s getting the job done. But fear not—the formula deposits aloe leaf juice and pumpkin seed extract through your hair, leaving it super soft and springy. For real, your curls will keep their shape no matter how much you touch them (but pls try not to do that).


Best Multi-Tasking Leave-In Conditioner for Natural Hair

The Mane Choice The Alpha Soft As Can Be 3-In-1 Revitalize & Refresh Conditioner

It’s like one day we all hated 2-in-1 shampoo-conditioners, and the next, every brand out there was releasing a hair product that could ~do it all~. I was super skeptical of these multitaskers until this leave-in conditioner came my way. Massage the biotin and tea-tree infused product through your hair for about five minutes, rinse it out, and it becomes a co-wash. Work it in from the roots of your curls to the ends and it transforms into a conditioning, detangling hybrid. And it’s actually way effective when it comes to all three claims—you love to see it.


Best Leave-In Conditioner for Flat Natural Hair

Uncle Funky’s Daughter Thirsty Curls

I think the only thing worse than realizing that your curls have gone flat and lifeless halfway through the day is noticing a big chunk of lettuce in the middle of your two front teeth—AKA it’s not great. Thankfully, this leave-in conditioner spray will save your natural hair from that sad existence. Spritz it on and the coconut milk and rosemary-laced formula will bring your curls back to their 9AM state: plump, springy, and moisturized.


Best Detangling Leave-In Conditioner for Natural Hair

Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Detangler

Think of this leave-in conditioner as a foam roller in a bottle—with the help of ingredients like slippery elm and marshmallow roots, it releases your tangled knots and transforms them into silky curls. Also, by getting rid of all those tangles, you don’t have to worry about breakage whenever you run a comb through your hair. A major win.


Best Leave-In Conditioner for Extra-Dry Natural Hair

Pattern Leave-In Conditioner

Look, Tracee Ellis Ross could sell me a tattered baseball cap that she found on the subway—but even if I wasn’t an absolute fan-girl, I would still sing the praises of this leave-in conditioner. My type-4 hair needs all the hydration it can get, and this creamy blend of almond oil and honey delivers. It makes your curls pop and moisturizes your natural hair without leaving it limp.


Best Leave-In Conditioner for Defined Natural Hair

Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Leave-In Conditioner

Some leave-in conditioners for natural hair make finding your curl pattern feel like a game of hide-and-seek. Instead of tolerating greasy conditioners that over-saturate your hair, switch to this lightweight, curl-defining leave-in. When the coconut oil and shea butter in this formula come together, it’s like a Drake and Future collab—they work in tandem, one never overpowering the other, and it’s always a hit. 


Best Leave-In Conditioner for Fine Natural Hair

Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner

If you think it’s impossible to add body and moisture without dealing with gunky residue, this leave-in moisturizer for natural hair will prove you wrong. By sealing in ingredients like green tea, vitamin B5, and prickly pear extract, this conditioner boosts volume and hydration without leaving behind a trace. 


Best Leave-In Conditioner for Frizz and Flyaways

Form Beauty Multitask Leave-In Lotion

FYI there’s nothing wrong with frizz, but if you’re over dealing with those hairs that won’t lay flat no matter how much product you apply, this leave-in conditioner is a game-changer. The marshmallow-light blend of argan oil and grapeseed oil adds moisture back into your curls, smooths the cuticle out, and makes those annoying-ass flyaways a thing of the past.


Best Heat Protecting Leave-In Conditioner for Natural Hair

Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner Spray

Like I said, I’m lowkey sus when it comes to multitasking hair products, but this leave-in conditioner for natural hair aced my test. The aloe vera and fruit extracts eliminate dryness, while also creating a protectant bubble around your curls to save them from heat damage.


Best Softening Leave-In Conditioner for Natural Hair

Oyin Handmade Greg Juice Herbal Leave-In Hair Tonic

Whenever your curls are starting to feel like the bottom of a broom, go ahead and spray on this leave-in conditioner for natural hair. It’s perfect for a mid-day pick me up—vegetable-based moisturizers instantly revitalize your stiff hair. Plus, the scent is absolutely delightful and won’t smell overwhelming to anyone who is lucky to come inside your 6-feet space.


Best Drugstore Leave-In Conditioner for Natural Hair

Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream

Anyone with natural hair knows that you can find so many gems in the drugstore aisle, and leave-in conditioner is no exception. This shea butter-infused formula is deeply hydrating, quenching any thirst, while also giving you more manageable curls.


Best Leave-In Conditioner for Dull Natural Hair

Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner

This leave-in conditioner is basically like lip gloss for your hair. It deposits a drizzle of hydration all over your curls and imparts a mirror-like finish that instantly perks up dull hair, no sticky residue included.


Best Leave-In Conditioner for Thick, Dry Natural Hair

Carol’s Daughter Leave-In Conditioner

When it comes to natural hair that’s both thick and dry, you need a leave-in conditioner that won’t just sit on your curls—it needs to penetrate. The medley of castor oil, black cumin seed, and ginger round out this moisture-retaining formula, which makes its way all the way down to your roots to get (and keep) your curls hydrated. 

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3 thoughts on “15 Best Leave-In Conditioners for Natural Hair in 2020

  • February 9, 2021 at 7:31 am

    Most people have no knowledge of the fact that shampoos that grow your hair faster and longer (of course with no sulfates, no parabens and no DEA) are even a thing. Persons are now able to have longer hair and enjoy more alternatives. Certainly worth looking up.

    If you’re exploring hair loss, damaged hair, preventing hair disorders, hair growth, hair care more often than not, almost the same ideas become relevant.

    As a rule of thumb, you should try to steer clear of hair products and treatments that use chemicals such as parabens, DEA or sulfates.

    What is healthy for your hair is healthy for your skin as well.

    Clearly the content on this page hits the nail in the head for various reasons. It stays away from the common traps and mistakes too many fall into: buying bad alternatives. Greatly appreciated!

  • February 13, 2021 at 11:39 am

    Most people in my area have no clue that fast hair growth amino scalp therapy shampoos (of course with no sulfates, no parabens and no DEA) even exist. We all now may achieve longer hair and enjoy more possibilities. For sure worth researching.

    If you’re assessing alopecia, damaged hair, preventing skin disorders, fast hair growth, hair care at large, almost the same rules come to mind.

    As a rule of thumb, you will want to steer clear of hair products and treatments that include chemicals like parabens, DEA and sulfates.

    What is beneficial for your hair is healthy for your skin all the same.

    For obvious reasons your content on this page is so useful for multiple reasons. It steers away from the usual pitfalls and pitfalls too many fall into- buying bad alternatives. Thank you so much!


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