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10 Best Leave In Conditioners For Curly Hair – Curly Girl Approved

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If you're following the curly girl method then you may be looking for a good leave in conditioner for curly hair. Curly hair leave in conditioner helps you get soft, defined, healthy curls that are easier to manage. Read on to find my picks for the best leave in conditioner for curly hair.

I tried my best to include high quality leave-in conditioners for all curl types, and included budget options.

Also looking for other curly girl approved products? Be sure to check out:

Curly Girl Method Product Matching Guide

If you need help finding the products that will work for your hair type, check out my product matching guide. There are so many things to consider when choosing products and this guide will help you narrow down what you need to look for.

This product guide will help you identify your hair type and characteristics, provide some styling tips, and list exact products that will work on your hair type. Click here for more info.

The Curly Product Handbook to help you choose the right products for your hair type.

The 10 Best Curly Girl Approved Leave In Conditioners

I chose the following leave-in conditioners for curly hair based on a few points:

  • ingredient quality
  • concentration – how much you need to use
  • how lightweight to heavy it is
  • buildup potential
  • slip
  • also noted if it contains protein or glycerin

I have assigned a number from 1 to 5 for each category, 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. Of course, they are all silicone free and drying alcohol free, which is what makes them curly girl approved.


Treluxe Untie The Knot leave-in conditioner for curly hair

1. TreLuxe Untie the Knot – Best Slip for detangling

This leave-in conditioner has the best slip and softening abilities without weighing down your hair. This leave-in doubles as a regular conditioner too and it's also on my list of the best conditioners for curly hair.

Untie The Knot is creamy, has a strong cinnamon scent, and provides a good amount of moisture. I use this every evening to detangle my daughter's long curly hair.

  • ingredient quality – 3
  • concentration – 3
  • moisture level – moderate
  • buildup potential – moderate
  • slip – 5
  • protein

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2. Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture – Best all around

This is one of my favorite leave-ins to use when I need more moisture than the super lightweight EVOLVh but not as much as the other options since my hair does not do well with moisture.

The Direct Leave-in Weightless Moisture is creamy, has a very light scent, and works well for all curl types. It's light but still moisturizing enough to soften hair and help with detangling. For the price, it's also a pretty concentrated product.

  • ingredient quality – 4
  • concentration – 4
  • moisture level – lightweight
  • buildup potential – very low
  • slip – 3
  • glycerin & protein free

3. Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In Detangler – Best Protein & Glycerin Free

This is another option that has great slip and is really good for detangling. It's also free of both protein and glycerin, which is really hard to find.

This one is a little more moisturizing than others and it can also be used as a rinse out conditioner. Be sure to water it down when using it as a leave in.

  • ingredient quality – 5
  • concentration – 4
  • moisture level – moderate
  • buildup potential – very low
  • slip – 5
  • protein & glycerin free

4. Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-in Defining Creme – Best for high protein

For an added boost of protein with lightweight moisture, this is my favorite. It's a thin, creamy leave-in that really does help define my curls.

Note that this contains a lot of protein and is a high protein product. Several different types appear throughout the ingredients list.

  • ingredient quality – 4
  • concentration – 4
  • moisture level – lightweight
  • buildup potential – moderate
  • slip – 3
  • protein & glycerin

5. Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave In Conditioner – Best for lightweight protein

This leave-in is loved for its blueberry scent and because it has enough protein to balance out the moisture for hair that gets weighed down easily but still needs some moisture.

It has a creamy consistency and you don't need much. If you have damaged hair, regularly color it, or struggle to find something to moisturize without weighing it down, give this a try.

  • ingredient quality – 4
  • concentration – 4
  • moisture level – lightweight to moderate
  • buildup potential – moderate
  • slip – 4
  • protein

EVOLVh SmartCurl curly girl approved leave-in conditioner

6. EVOLVh SmartCurl Leave-in Conditioner – Best ligthweight leave-in

If you need a lightweight leave-in conditioner then this is your pick. This leave-in is really concentrated and comes in a spray bottle. I like that I can really target certain areas with a spray.

Because this is lightweight it doesn't have much slip. The best way to use this leave-in is to spray it on wet hair and let it sit for a few minutes. Once you feel your hair has softened, detangle and rinse out.

  • ingredient quality – 5
  • concentration – 5
  • moisture level – lightweight
  • buildup potential – very low
  • slip – 2
  • protein

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Miribel Naturals Powerhouse Protein Cream curly hair leave in conditioner

7. Miribel Naturals Powerhouse Protein Cream – Best For Protein & Moisture

Not only does this leave-in conditioner pack a punch of protein, but it's also moisturizing and has really good slip. This one is a nice creamy consistency and is pretty concentrated. It has a light scent that should not be a problem unless you're really sensitive to scents.

If you need good slip for detangling, moisture, and some protein then go with this one!

  • ingredient quality – 4
  • concentration – 4
  • moisture level – moderate to heavy (add water to thin it out)
  • buildup potential – low
  • slip – 4
  • protein

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EVOLVh InstaVolume Elixir leave in conditioner for curly hair

8. EVOLVh InstaVolume Elixir – Best for volume

This is the best leave-in I have used to add some volume to my fine curls and prevent my roots from getting oily. It's very, VERY low moisture – like barely a conditioner. So only try this if you're sure your hair doesn't need extra moisture. But it will give you volume and soften your hair a bit.

If you need slip, this won't cut it. As with their other conditioner, this is best used on wet hair and should be left sitting for a few minutes before it softens your hair enough to brush and style.

  • ingredient quality – 5
  • concentration – 4
  • moisture level – very lightweight
  • buildup potential – very low
  • slip – 1
  • protein & glycerin

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9. Innersense Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner – Best organic

This leave in conditioner has some polarizing reviews, but it's a great option if you're looking for something that's fully organic. Some people hate the smell, but it's essential oil based so it's great for those who avoid synthetic fragrances.

The Sweet Spirit leave in comes in a spray bottle. It's a little thicker and heavier than the EVOLVh, so it's good for most hair types.

  • ingredient quality – 5
  • concentration – 5
  • moisture level – low to moderate
  • buildup potential – low
  • slip – 3
  • protein & glycerin

10. Aunt Jackie's Quench Moisture Intensive Leave-In Conditioner – Best Drugstore Option

Although this is a great drugstore option, this would probably not work for hair that needs light moisture.

This is a green creamy leave in with a silky feeling. It has good slip so it's good for detangling really thick hair.

Note that this product contains itchy m's which can cause irritation to sensitive scalps.

  • ingredient quality – 2
  • concentration – 3
  • moisture level – moderate
  • buildup potential – low
  • slip – 4
  • protein & glycerin

So those are my top picks for the best leave in conditioner for curly hair, and they're all curly girl approved leave in conditioners too! Whether you have fine or coarse curls, thin or thick hair, one of these curly hair leave in conditioners should work well for your hair.

If you're new to the curly girl method, I recommend you check out my post on affordable curly girl approved products to start off. That post contains over 60 affordable and drugstore options.

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media, as it helps me grow my audience and spread the word about our curly hair movement! And remember to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and Instagram for more curly hair tips and product recommendations. Thanks!

If you want help with embracing your naturally wavy or curly hair, you can join my FREE email course and download my FREE pdf guide, THE QUICK START GUIDE TO MASTERING YOUR CURLS, full of everything you need to know to get started and bring out your beautiful waves and curls.

Master your curls quick start guide cover with a side by side comparison of Delilah's waves in the past and her full curls now.

Once You Get The Products Figured Out, Make Sure You Master Styling!

For help with styling, check out Fabulous Curls Academy. Phase 2 of this membership will help you transform your frizzy hair into defined bouncy curls in just one day, by learning how to use the products you already have (even if they're not CG approved)!

Delilah Orpi shows budget nontoxic products to try when using curly girl method

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10 Best Leave In Conditioners For Curly Hair - curly girl approved leave in conditioner 2022

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2 Comments

  1. Kinky Curly Knot Today is technically not a leave in. It’s labeled as a conditioner and the creator of it says it’s a conditioner. She even demoed using it as a conditioner.That’s how I use it, but it can be used as a leave in. It’s the best leave in for my hair and I get better clumping with it than any other product.

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