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How Often Should You Use Leave-in Conditioner?

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How often should you use leave-in conditioner? Is it ok to apply it daily? Will it ruin your hair if you use it too often? Yes and no. It all depends on your hair type, your hair needs, and the products that you use. Not the short answer you were looking for. But we’re making things clear on every account in the following material.

Table of Contents:

1. Which hair types can benefit from leave-in conditioners?
2. How to use a leave-in conditioner?
3. How often should you use a leave-in conditioner?
 3.1 Are you supposed to use a leave-in conditioner every day? It depends on your routine!
 3.2 What happens if you don't rinse out the conditioner?
 3.3 What happens if you leave the conditioner in your hair for too long?
 3.4 Is too much leave-in conditioner bad?
 3.5 Is it better to put leave-in conditioner on dry or wet hair?
 3.6 Do you wash the leave-in conditioner?
 3.7 Does the conditioner work better if you leave it in longer?
 3.8 Is it okay to use a regular conditioner as a leave-in conditioner on your hair?
4. What to look for in your leave-in conditioner?
5. The good ingredients
6. The ingredients to stay away from

Which hair types can benefit from leave-in conditioners?

Leave-in conditioners are meant to be left in your hair until you wash it again. It’s the type of conditioner designed to help dry and damaged hair. But it can also be used to give your locks a boost in vitality. Leave-ins are ideal to rehydrate, repair, strengthen and protect the strands from damage.

Knowing your hair type is a must to figure out the frequency needed for deep treatments when it comes to leave-in conditioners. While there are some tips to take into consideration, it takes some trial and error. If you use a leave-in conditioner too often, you'll notice your hair getting limp, gummy, weighed down, and lifeless. If you don't, your locks can become dry. 

  • Dry hair that feels crispy and frayed is thirsty for moisture and needs a leave-in. 
  • If the hair shaft is already moisturized, do not use a leave-in too often. Once a week, maybe twice, should be enough.
  • When it comes to oily hair, a leave-in conditioner must never be used daily. It could help to use it once every two weeks, even once a month.

To decide what the best routine is for you, take your hair texture and porosity into account:

  • High-porosity hair has an open cuticle. Moisture gets in easily and can be lost just as easily. This type of hair gets tangled easily and can become dry faster. Choose a leave-in packed with protein and extra hydration to make your hair smooth, glossy, and unbreakable. 
  • Medium-porosity hair has a healthy cuticle and absorbs moisture. It doesn’t lose hydration easily. Choose a protectant to provide your hair with a barrier against external damage. 
  • Low-porosity hair can easily get heavy on oils and buildup. With this type of hair, water doesn't penetrate the shaft too easily. Don't choose heavy leave-in conditioners, or you'll get limp tresses.

How to use a leave-in conditioner?

Apply the quantity that is mentioned on the package. And keep these in mind:

  • To protect your hair: apply leave-in to damp hair (just the strands, not the roots) before you style it using heated tools. This way, you get smooth, shiny hair and avoid heat damage.
  • To untangle your tresses: a drop of leave-in post-shower can release hair knots. No more pulling and breaking. Plus, no more stress since your tresses will be easy to manage.
  • To reduce frizz: before going to bed, after washing your hair, apply a leave-in conditioner on your damp hair. Let it air dry, and the next day your hair will be amazing. No flyaways! No frizz, no dryness!
  • To define your curls: curly hair can be dry and prone to frizz. Add some bounce, smoothness, moisture, and a glossy finish using a leave-in, even daily if your locks can take it. 

How often should you use a leave-in conditioner?

Are you supposed to use a leave-in conditioner every day? Depends on your routine. Leave-in conditioners are designed to provide your hair with extra moisture. You can use one every day, but only if your hair needs that extra hydration. If your hair type doesn't require a boost in moisture, you'll likely damage it. Also, make sure to read the label of the product you choose. Some leave-ins are designed to be applied after washing daily. Others are not. And don't forget to consider your routine.

Are you supposed to use a leave-in conditioner every day? Depends on your hair care regimen:

  • Do you wash your hair frequently? Then you can use a leave-in conditioner after every wash. Even daily, yes. That is because the leave-in will not be sitting on your hair for too long before you wash it away. This diminished the chances of hair damage, and your tresses could need that extra moisture since you strip them of their natural oils daily. Still, you should not wash your hair every day.
  • Do you shampoo once or twice a week? Then using a leave-in every day can lead to excess buildup on your hair and scalp. But it depends on your hair type! Oily hair can get gunked with product easily, while dry hair might do okay. So it’s vital to know your hair type.

What happens if you don't rinse out the conditioner?

Regular conditioner needs to be rinsed out. If not, your hair will become limp, dull, and can pack excess buildup. That can lead to breakage and hair loss. A leave-in conditioner is meant not to be rinsed until your next shampoo.

What happens if you leave the conditioner in your hair for too long?

Regular conditioners should stay on your hair for a couple of minutes. Leave-ins can remain there until your next wash, provided it does happen in one or two days. 

Is too much leave-in conditioner bad? 

A leave-in has a lighter formula compared to a regular conditioner. Still, you must take your hair needs and type into consideration. Oily hair needs a more lightweight formula, while dry hair, a nourishing formula, as we stated above. But what leave-in conditioner works for you and how to use it depends on hair density as well:

  • Fine hair will get weighed down with a heavy product. You need a light spray leave-in and a small quantity.
  • Medium to thick hair can benefit from a cream or gel to fully coat the tresses and sustain the volume.

Is it better to put leave-in conditioner on dry or wet hair?

If your hair needs additional moisture, apply a leave-in on your wet hair. Damp tresses will seal in the moisture, but a leave-in will do its magic even on dry hair.

Do you wash the leave-in conditioner?

Not right away, like you'd do with the regular conditioner. But you will wash it the next time you shampoo. Still, make sure not to leave it on for days.

Does the conditioner work better if you leave it in longer? 

Normal conditioners are meant to be rinsed off a couple of minutes after application. Leave-in conditioners work their magic when left for a longer period. 

Is it okay to use a regular conditioner as a leave-in conditioner on your hair? 

No, they are different products with different compositions. Regular conditioners, when left on your tresses, can cause buildup, limp hair, and can even lead to breakage. 

Make sure to keep your washing routine even if you use a leave-in! At first, use the shampoo, then rinse and apply a regular conditioner (to seal the cuticle after shampooing), rinse it off, and when your hair is damp, before styling it, apply a leave-in conditioner, to enhance protection, moisture, and boost nourishment. Do not replace your regular conditioner with a leave-in. 

So, while regular conditioner will cause damage to your hair, if left on, leave-in conditioner, as the name implies, is made to be left on. When left on, it provides nutrients and makes the hair soft, silky smooth, glossy, and easy to manage.

What to look for in your leave-in conditioner? 

Leave-in treatments are made to provide a boost of hydration and to enhance the hair's protection. But the formula you need depends on your hair type. Fine hair requires a lightweight spray, while dry, colored, damaged hair needs a creamy, filled with nutrients formula. Either way, we do recommend you use natural ingredients and avoid harsh substances.

The good ingredients

Healthy ingredients, according to beauty experts, are natural ingredients. Especially organic. Such leave-ins are ideal for protecting the hair. Look for vitamins, antioxidants, natural oils, heat-protectants from botanical extracts. Look for active ingredients harvested from nature. The good ingredients to look out for: water, proteins (hydrolyzed keratin, wheat protein, silk protein, rice protein), botanical extracts (aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, essential oils), added vitamins, emollient natural oils such as argan, jojoba, sweet almond, grapeseed oil. You can find such healing compounds in Wow leave-ins. Not to mention their light formula is ideal for many hair types and hair needs.

The ingredients to stay away from

Damaged hair doesn't need more damage, so stay away from hair care products that contain harsh chemical substances. They will dry out the hair even more and make it even more brittle and unhealthy. Silicones fight the frizz but burden the hair, leading to breakage. Phthalates and parabens, sulfates, fragrances, triclosan, polyethylene glycol are all toxic and should be avoided. Not only do they attack the hair, but many of them affect other systems in the body. 

So now you know. We hope there’s no more confusion about the rinse-off and the leave-in conditioners. We hope we have you and your tresses covered. Now you can focus on having a great day. You’ll be having a good hair day, that’s for sure!

Iulia Claudia Dumitru

I feel happy when I get to tell meaningful stories. About people. About the world. About life. About what people need to feel good. Healthy food, a balanced lifestyle, a grateful approach to relationships with others and ourselves. That is how I keep myself grounded and purposeful. That is how I aim to contribute: striving to make ourselves the best we can. Creating life in the little things. Living every day with the joy, wonder, and curiosity of a child. Trying to #seeKbeauty. Inside and out.

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