Leave in Conditioners Vs. Traditional Conditioners | Moehair – Moehair USA Inc.

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Leave-In Conditioners vs. Traditional Conditioners

Leave-In Conditioners vs. Traditional Conditioners

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Haircare routine brings to the table numerous products that benefit the overall hair health. The duo of shampoo and conditioner is the most popular product combo used by almost everyone – shampoo cleanses hair while conditioner moisturizes and hydrates. However, both products need thorough rinsing, sometimes leaving hair dry, frizzy, and tangled, especially curly, coarse, and brittle hair. This is where a leave-in conditioner for curly hair steps in as an apprentice to complete the haircare regime.

So, how is leave-in conditioner different from traditional conditioners, also known as washout conditioners? For starters, traditional conditioners are applied after shampoo, kept for 3 to 5 minutes, and rinsed with water. However, leave-in conditioners are a longer companion as they are applied on shampooed, towel-dried, damp hair and left on without washing for extra hydration. Read on to know the difference between both the products.


What is a hair conditioner?

Regular hair conditioners are washout conditioners that are often a part of hair wash routine. After thoroughly rinsing off the shampoo, the conditioner is applied, left on for a few minutes, and washed off. It helps nourish, soften, and eliminate frizz. Hair fiber contains static electricity, which gets amped up on cleaning hair with a shampoo, often leaving hair frizzy. This makes the use of hair conditioners a crucial step after shampoo.

The conditioner formulation contains proteins, fats, amino acids, vitamins, and natural oils that smoothen and seal the hair cuticles. It coats the hair strand with much-needed proteins like keratin, strengthening hair and improving elasticity. Here are a few types of hair conditioners as per your hair needs:
  • Hydrating conditioners – These are ideal for adding extra hydration and locking in moisture to the hair. They are usually formulated to smoothen thick, coarse, and dry strands. Ingredients in the conditioner help in sealing the cuticles and improve manageability.
  • Volumizing conditioners - An excellent formulation for thin, dull, and limp hair, the conditioners give a boost and lift, increasing volume.
  • Strengthening conditioners – Such hair conditioners are specifically formulated for damaged, dry, weak, and brittle hair that's been over-processed or extensively styled. We recommend trying Moehair Protein-Infused Conditioner for strengthening strands.

What is a leave-in conditioner?

Leave-in conditioners are products formulated for frizzy, dry, and damaged hair that demands intense hydration and moisturization. After its application, it is not washed off and is left on hair that gradually locks in moisture. It's an excellent recipe for dryness, shields hair against humidity, and combats frizz. According to Los Angeles-based hairstylist Sky Barbarick, leave-in conditioners provide extra moisture and hydration while protecting hair from external aggressors. As it seals the cuticles, it helps in reducing breakage.

Regardless of the hair type and texture, it works on conditioning hair and improves overall manageability. Depending on the hair requirement, the product comes in different formulations. For thin and flat hair, it is recommended to use a lightweight spray-based formula. However, a thicker cream-based leave-in conditioner for curly hair works better to balance moisture levels, seal cuticles, and combat frizz.

Also Read - How to choose best leave in conditioner

Here are some benefits of using a leave-in conditioner:

  • Moisturization/Hydration – Leave-in conditioners for curly or dry hair are saviors. The product on damp hair deeply hydrates and moisturizes strands, eliminating frizz and dryness. However, it is also ideal for limp, dry, and thin hair.
  • Better styling – As it eliminates frizz, combats flyaways, and improves manageability, it helps in better hair styling. Reclaim your soft, shiny, lustrous hair by adding a leave-in conditioner to your haircare routine.
  • Reduces breakage – The right amount of slip and hydration helps detangle and eliminate knots. As a result, it eases the combing process and reduces breakage.
Also Read - How to use leave in conditioners

Leave-in conditioner vs Traditional Conditioners: What you need to know


While both the products work on moisturizing hair and reducing dryness after shampoo, leave-in conditioners take that extra step to ensure prolonged hydration. After using regular shampoo and conditioner, add leave-in conditioner as an additional step to seal cuticles and tame the frizz, especially for dry and coarse hair. Here's everything you need to know about leave-in conditioners vs. traditional conditioners:

  • Purpose of use: Hair conditioners coat the hair fiber after shampooing and smoothen it, eliminating the frizz. However, as it is washed off, it alone cannot shield dehydrated and frizzy hair. On the other hand, leave-in conditioners are applied to shampooed hair for prolonged hydration and moisturization. It seals the cuticles and smoothens extremely dry hair.
  • Application process: Regular conditioners are applied along the hair length after shampooing, left on for 3 to 5 minutes, and rinsed with water. Leave-in conditioners are sprayed or applied on hair and left on without washing.
  • Product formulation: Most conditioners have a creamy texture with a thicker formulation. Leave-in conditioners have varying consistency depending on hair texture. Spray formula is recommended for thin, straight hair, while leave-in conditioner for curly hair usually has a thick, rich, and cream-based texture.
  • Longevity of impact: The impact of standard or traditional conditioner is less than that of the leave-in conditioner. The latter locks in moisture and keeps hair hydrated for a longer duration.
  • Best suitable for: Hair conditioners are ideal for all hair types and must be a part of the regular shampoo and conditioner routine. Although everyone can use leave-in conditioners, they are highly recommended for people with dry, frizzy, and coarse hair. Remember to use the leave-in conditioner after cleansing and conditioning your hair.
  • Use frequency: As a thumb-rule, using both products while washing your hair is best. Depending on the hair requirement, you can skip either product or add both to your haircare routine.

As the name suggests, both products are meant to soften, smoothen, and thoroughly nourish your hair from roots to tips. Loaded with moisturizing and hydrating ingredients, they seal the cuticles and repair damage. In a nutshell, regular conditioners are washed off after a few minutes, and to prolong the hydration, leave-in conditioners step in as an adjunct, as it is not washed off after application.



How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continually monitor the fashion and beauty space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

    • Current Version

  • Jan 19, 2024

Written By

Sudi Parvaresh

Edited By

Saima Ahmed

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