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How to Use Leave-in Conditioner for Your Hair Type

BY Alyssa Montemurro

You know that feeling when you’re nearing the end of your haircut cycle, and your hair feels like it’s been basking in the sun on a desert island for months (and not in a good way)? You use hair creams and overnight masks, but no matter what, you still can’t seem to get the results you want. 

That’s when knowing how to use leave-in conditioner comes into play — specifically, one that’s designed to work for your unique hair type and hair goals. Join us as we explore and explain how using a leave-in conditioner can work wonders for your tresses whether it’s straight, wavy, curly, or coily.

Can All Hair Types Use Leave-in Conditioner?

How to use leave in conditioner: bottle of Leave-In Conditioner

In a word, yes. But it depends on where you apply it and which one you use. While leave-ins can provide effective hair hydration to any hair type, it’s important to understand how to approach it based on your specific strands.

For instance, those with thin, oily, or fine hair should be careful around their roots. Since this is where natural oils collect, applying a leave-in to the roots of oily hair can make it look even greasier. For thin or fine hair it can create an unflattering buildup of product that globs to your scalp. Yuck! 

If you have one of these hair types, focus on applying half a pump to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair. A lightweight formula should give you a soft dose of conditioning without weighing down your locks.

If you have thick hair, no need to worry about over applying your leave-in. Since your locks can take a lot of product to tame, especially if you’re prone to dryness or frizz, generously apply the leave-in to your entire head. 

Wondering how to use a leave-in conditioner for your specific hair texture? Keep reading to learn how you can treat each tress and maximize your haircare routine.

How to Use Leave-in Conditioner for Straight Hair

Even those with super manageable, I-woke-up-like-this straight hair can benefit from a little leave-in. Knowing how to use leave-in conditioner for your straight hair requires that you evaluate your hair habits. 

Do you like switching up your hair texture every once in a while? Well, if you use blow drying or curling to transform your straight locks, using leave-in conditioner before heat styling can protect your strands. A leave-in treatment can lock in moisture (bye-bye, dryness), add softness, and offer heat protection so you can have healthier looking locks.

Pro Tip: Use a custom hair serum to make your mane look extra smooth and shiny

How to Use Leave-in Conditioner for Wavy and Curly Hair

Even though wavy and curly hair are known for being beautiful and bodacious, they can both fall victim to annoying frizz and dryness when not properly hydrated. To combat this, combine your leave-in treatment with a wash n go technique to style your locks. 

After you’ve applied shampoo and your regular rinse-out conditioner, layer the leave-in onto your wet hair and scrunch. This will prep your hair with the moisture it needs to look good all day long. 

Pro Tip: How to sleep with curly hair

How to Use Leave-in Conditioner for Coily Hair

Of all hair types, coily hair is known as the most voluminous and bouncy. But with all the brilliant benefits of having coily locks comes dryness and breakage — not fun. As such, a leave-in conditioner can amp up the hydration

Fortunately, leave-in treatments can have a deep conditioning effect as they stay on the hair all day long. If you’ve been using copious amounts of your regular conditioner just to keep your mane from drying out, scale back and use a lightweight leave-in haircare product instead. 

Pro Tip: Use the plop method to give your coils a healthy dose of much needed softness and hydration

The Best Leave-in Conditioner for All Hair Types

We have to admit it: Function of Beauty’s leave-in treatment is the hardest-working product in our haircare arsenal these days. It’s the only one we reach for when frizz, dryness, and flyaways just don’t seem to go away. To prove it, here are five quick and easy ways on how to use leave-in conditioner in your daily haircare routine.

1. Protect + Prime 

How to use leave in conditioner: side view of a woman with long wavy hair

Want to finally perfect your at-home blowout? Try adding 1-2 pumps of leave-in treatment to damp hair (remember to avoid the roots!) before blow-drying with a round brush. The leave-in treatment will not only help protect your strands from heat damage but it will also create that smooth, shiny look you covet. No professional hair stylist needed.

2. Slide Through Tangles

Woman touching her beautiful curls

Fine-haired girls, listen up! All that pulling, yanking, and tugging you’re doing to get rid of your knots is causing some serious damage (not to mention a whole lot of pain). Try applying a pump of leave-in treatment to your strands either post-shower or whenever your hair is feeling particularly knotty, and slide through those bad boys with ease! 

3. Air-Dry Like A Pro

Woman with straight, colored hair

Want to give your hair a break from all of the hot tools but hate all of the frizz that comes with it? Try this instead: After gently towel-drying your hair, run 1-2 pumps of leave-in treatment throughout the length of your strands. While it’s still slightly damp, braid it into sections. 

From there, you can let your hair air-dry (you can also sleep in braids overnight) or, if you’re in a time rush, wrap your braids around a diffuser to gently dry them. Once dry, shake them out and voila! Perfectly (un)done waves that are sleek, smooth, and free of heat damage.

4. Up Your Curl Game

How to use leave in conditioner: woman with curly hair using a leave-in conditioner

To keep your curls smooth, bouncy, and frizz-free, you need moisture. That’s why we recommend applying daily leave-in treatments not only to maintain your curl pattern but to protect against dryness. Scrunch some into damp hair before diffuse-drying or air-drying, or use it in between washes when your curls require a little extra definition. Either way, they’ll thank you. 

5. Extend Your Style 

Woman with long, curly hair, smiling to the camera

You know that moment when you’re getting ready to leave the house to meet up with a friend and you suddenly realize that your once sleek style is now a dry, frizzy mess? Yeah, it’s not fun. Instead of redoing your whole look, try hitting the refresh button with a touch of leave-in treatment. Apply it wherever you have frizz, flyaways, or split ends and watch as they seem to disappear in less time than it took you to find your keys.

Now You Know How to Use Leave-in Conditioner

Knowing how to use leave-in conditioner can truly do wonders for your hair. It helps tame frizz, dryness, and tangles, plus it keeps your hair feeling hydrated and soft. And best of all, it’s suitable for all hair types and needs. So whether you want to protect your hair before heating, hydrate your curls, or moisturize frizzy locks, adding a multitasking leave-in to your haircare routine is a must.

Ready for happy hair days? Find your perfect leave-in formula by taking the hair quiz. And for more tips on how to use leave-in treatment based on your hair type, don’t miss our tutorial videos.