9 Best Leave-in Conditioners For African American Hair – 2023

These leave-in conditioners are a must-have to nourish and protect natural hair.

Reviewed by Rebekkah O’NeillRebekkah O’Neill, Master Stylist, Hair & Beauty Trainer
By Shiboli ChakrabortiShiboli Chakraborti, Certified Skin Care Coach  • 
All products recommended on StyleCraze are independently selected by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through any of these links, we may receive a commission. Learn more about our product selection process here.

The best leave-in conditioner for natural hair is designed to work on the varied textures of natural hair and leave it well hydrated, frizz-free, and smooth. Maintaining natural hair can be challenging and it is near impossible without a good conditioner.

A leave-in conditioner for African-American hair has a more long lasting effect and makes it much easier to style. It also prevents the hair from drying out throughout the day from additional environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution.

If you are not really sure where to begin, take a look at our list of the top 9 leave-in conditioners for natural hair.

Top Picks

9 Best Leave-In Conditioners For African American Hair Of 2023

1. Best Overall: cantu Leave-In Conditioning Cream

4.5

The cantu Leave-In Conditioning Cream is infused with the goodness of shea butter. It has been carefully formulated for natural hair. It repairs damage and minimizes further breakage. It also reduces flyaways and frizz. This leave-in cream penetrates and conditions the hair follicles and gives your tresses a silky smooth shine. It is among the best leave-in conditioners for ethnic hair. It leaves your hair manageable and soft as it contains no harsh ingredients. For a thorough review of the product, have a look at this YouTuber’s video.

The conditioner is free of parabens, sulfates, silicones, mineral oil, gluten, phthalates, paraffin, and propylene.

How To Use: Apply a liberal amount of this conditioning cream to the ends of your damp hair and slowly move towards the roots. Comb through to evenly distribute the cream. Do not wash off.

Key Ingredients

  • Shea butter

Pros

  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Paraffin-free
  • Propylene-free

Cons

  • Greasy consistency
Pro Tip
Use a hair mask or other clarifying hair products weekly for healthier hair.
Price at the time of publication: $5.97

2. Best Organic Formula: Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner

4.4
Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner Image: Kinky Curly

The Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner smoothes the hair cuticles and detangles hair. It works best for curly, thick hair. It removes snarls and knots with ease. This cream can be used as a regular rinse-out conditioner for wavy hair and as a leave-in conditioner for curly, dense hair.

This product is formulated without any harsh chemicals. This herbal blend has a natural fragrance. It is a great formula to use after removing your tight extensions and braids. It helps unwrinkle your hair.

How To Use: Apply a generous amount of this conditioner on damp hair and work through the tangles with a wide-toothed comb. As a regular rinse-out conditioner, apply it to wet hair after shampooing. Distribute evenly and rinse lightly.

Key Ingredients

  • Organic slippery elm
  • Organic mango fruit extract
  • Organic lemongrass
  • Organic marshmallow root

Pros

  • Mineral oil-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Plastic-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Acrylic-free
  • Wax-free
  • Carbomer-free
  • Petroleum-free

Cons

  • Thick and sticky
Price at the time of publication: $12.99

3. Best Suited For Colored Hair: Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner

4.5
Mixed Chicks Curl Defining & Frizz Eliminating Leave-In Conditioner, 10 fl.oz 10 Fl Oz (Pack of 1) Image: Mixed Chicks

The Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner is among the best black hair products. It hydrates hair, defines curls, and controls frizz. This leave-in contains jojoba oil that is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and non-toxic. It promotes healthy hair growth and maintains hair color. The evening primrose oil nourishes hair and strengthens the roots.

The silk ingredients and keratin seal open cuticles. They also repair, replenish, and protect the hair from damage caused by natural aggressors or styling products. All hair textures become manageable and soft. This conditioner creates a layer to retain moisture. It makes curls and waves lustrous and glossy. The product is alcohol- and cruelty-free. It is safe for colored and chemically-treated hair too. Check out this YouTuber’s review of the product if you require more details.

How To Apply: Apply the leave-in conditioner to wet hair and scrunch the curls with your hands. Wring hair gently. Air dry hair or use a diffuser. Avoid blow-drying or towel drying.

Key Ingredients

  • Jojoba oil
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Silk amino acids
  • Silk protein

Pros

  • Works on multi textures
  • Lightweight
  • Suits colored hair
  • Suits chemically-treated hair
  • Alcohol-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Thick and heavy
Price at the time of publication: $19.99

4. Best For Frizzy Hair: SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner

4.5
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner Image: Sheamoisture

The SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner is a reparative product that controls frizz and detangles curly and kinky hair. This cream is great for people who regularly straighten, color, perm, or style their hair with heat. It is infused with shea butter and Jamaican black castor oil. This nourishing conditioner moisturizes hair and increases hair elasticity for all kinds of waves or natural styles.

The SheaMoisture conditioner forms a protective layer on each hair follicle, and covers split ends. The scalp is energized with tingling peppermint. This leave-in hair cream is formulated without sulfates, silicones, mineral oil, parabens, or phthalates. The cream is also cruelty-free. You can also check this YouTube video for a complete idea about the product.

How To Apply: Apply a liberal amount of this conditioner to towel-dried hair, from the roots to the ends. Comb through for even distribution. Do not wash off. Use more of the product according to the hair length and thickness.

Key Ingredients

  • Shea butter
  • Peppermint
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Jamaican black castor oil

Pros

  • Petroleum-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Refreshing fragrance

Cons

  • Greasy consistency
Quick Tip
Apply the leave-in conditioner with a wide-toothed comb for even product distribution.
Price at the time of publication: $17.97

5. Best Lightweight Conditioner: Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Leave-In Conditioner

4.3
Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Leave-In Conditioner Image: Carol’s Daughter

This lightweight spray leave-in conditioner for natural hair repairs hair damage caused by environmental aggressors or heat styling processes. The Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Leave-In Conditioner strengthens the hair strands and protects the hair from further damage. It contains no petroleum or artificial colors. It is made of organic products like aloe vera, shea butter, jojoba oil, cocoa seed butter, and almond milk. It offers nourishment to the hair and scalp. This product is formulated for naturally curly hair, whether kinky, coiled, or loose. This leave-in conditioner gives your hair a refreshing shine and bounce. It also is free of parabens, silicones, and mineral oil.

How To Apply: This leave-in conditioner can be used on dry or wet hair. Holding the bottle 6 to 8 inches away, spray the product all over the hair and gently comb through to detangle the hair. Leave it on. Do not rinse. You can use it on dry hair to refresh the style.

Key Ingredients

  • Aloe butter
  • Almond seed oil
  • Almond milk
  • Shea oil
  • Jojoba seed oil
  • Cocoa seed butter
  • Grape seed oil
  • Aloe vera juice
  • Soybean oil

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Petroleum-free
  • Mineral oil-free

Cons

  • Unpleasant smell
Price at the time of publication: $12.54

6. Best For All Types Of Curls: Marc Anthony Strictly Curls® Leave-in Conditioner

4.3
Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Envy Leave-In Conditioner Image: Marc Anthony

The Marc Anthony Strictly Curls® Leave-in Conditioner is a perfect product for all types of curls. It works as a great detangler for fine, thin, coarse, or thick hair. This sulfate-free conditioner controls frizz while sealing moisture and protecting damaged and weak hair. It also is a full-on hydrator and makes your hair easy to manage.

It is blended with natural ingredients like shea butter for moisture and avocado oil and vitamin E for strength and volume. This leave-in conditioner provides nutrition and protection to your natural hair. It gives your curls a soft, bouncy feel with a glossy, natural-looking finish. It is free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

How To Apply: Spray the conditioner from the roots to the ends on damp hair. Do not wash out. Comb through for even distribution and detangling.

Key Ingredients

  • Shea butter
  • Avocado oil
  • Vitamin E

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Phthalate-free

Cons

None

Price at the time of publication: $6.0

7. Best Hydrating Formula: Design Essentials Kukui & Coconut Hydrating Leave-In Conditioner

4.5
Design Essentials Natural Kukui & Coconut Hydrating Leave-In Conditioner For Relaxed And Natural Hair - 8 Oz 8 Ounce (Pack of 1) Image: Design Essentials

The Design Essentials Kukui & Coconut Hydrating Leave-In Conditioner intensely hydrates and reconditions extremely dry, brittle, and dull hair. It repairs the damage caused by excessive styling or environmental stressors. It prevents further hair breakage and makes the roots and hair strands stronger. The coconut and kukui blend gives your hair the nutrition and moisture it needs. It leaves hair soft and supple. The natural sheen of your hair is restored with regular usage. This leave-in conditioner is formulated for all types of hair, including coarse, oily, normal, dry, or color-treated hair.

How To Apply: On dry hair – Take a small amount on your palm and unify. Spread on hair evenly and comb through.
On wet hair – Towel-dry hair after shampoo and conditioning. Take the required amount of the product, depending on your hair length, on to your palm and emulsify. Apply to hair and comb through for even distribution. Do not rinse out. Style or set as usual.

Key Ingredients

  • Kukui extract
  • Coconut

Pros

  • Intense hydration
  • Refreshing coconut scent
  • Suits color-treated hair

Cons

  • Sticky and heavy on fine hair
Pro Tip
Avoid using a leave-in conditioner daily if you have naturally hydrated hair or an oily scalp to prevent buildup.
Price at the time of publication: $14.48

8. Best Chemical-free Formula: African Pride Moisture Miracle Coconut Milk & Honey Leave-In Conditioner

4.4
African Pride Moisture Miracle Coconut Milk & Honey Leave-In Conditioner Image: African Pride

The African Pride Moisture Miracle Coconut Milk & Honey Leave-In Conditioner leaves your hair detangled and easy to manage. It is enriched with natural ingredients. The coconut milk intensely hydrates the hair while African honey restores your hair’s moisture levels and reduces frizz. The milk also detangles your hair. This lightweight conditioner defines your curls and softens your hair without the use of harsh chemicals. It contains no parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, and petrolatum. It adds a refreshing natural shine to your locks.

How To Apply: Start by shaking the bottle well.
On wet hair – Spray liberally on washed hair. Comb through with a wide-toothed brush or with your fingers for even distribution. Style as you wish.
On dry hair – Spray liberally to refresh twirls and restore moisture. Style as you wish.

Key Ingredients

  • Coconut milk
  • Honey

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Petrolatum-free

Cons

  • Not great for de-frizzing
Price at the time of publication: $18.0

9. Best For Hair Growth And Split Ends: tgin Miracle Repairx Protective Leave-In Conditioner

4.5

This tgin’s (or Thank God Its Natural) leave-in conditioner is made with natural ingredients like coconut oil and black honey. These ingredients promote hair growth and reduce split ends. They restore hair moisture and make your hair soft and shinier. This conditioner is free from sulfates, parabens, petroleum, lanolin, and artificial colors. This lightweight alcohol-free leave-in conditioner defines your curls and makes your hair manageable.

The tgin leave-in conditioner seeps into the hair cuticles and gives them the maximum conditioning. It replenishes the hair’s natural oils. It is a great chemical-free formula that repairs damaged hair and protects it from environmental or styling stressors. It also prevents split ends and reduces breakage. It leaves no build-up. The product is also cruelty-free.

How To Apply: Apply this leave-in conditioner on the shampooed and clean scalp while hair is wet. Do not rinse. Style as usual.

Key Ingredients

  • Black honey
  • Coconut oil

Pros

  • Replenishes hair’s natural oils
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Petroleum-free
  • Lanolin-free
  • No artificial colors
  • Alcohol-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • No build-up

Cons

  • Overpowering floral smell
Price at the time of publication: $13.99

Thick and coily African American hair can be styled in various ways. But the application of several styling products can take a huge toll on the health of your hair. A leave-in conditioner can be your all-time hair care partner as it imparts a long-lasting nourishing effect. Before checking out a host of products online, consider these points given below to make your best purchase.

How To Find Best Leave-in Conditioners For African American Hair

  • Curl Type

A non-toxic, alcohol-free product infused with silk protein can prevent damage caused due to styling and make hair more manageable. Ingredients like shea butter and castor oil-infused leave-in conditions are perfect for frizzy and kinky strands.

  • Formula

No matter what your hair condition is, an organic formula always stands out by providing the best results. Organic products are infused with herbal extracts like aloe vera, almond oil, and grapeseed oil that nourish dense curly tresses and leave your hair soft and moisturized after each use. Also, look for non-greasy, lightweight products that penetrate the strands without weighing the hair down.

  • Ingredients

No matter how good the results are, styling products often leads to dryness, thereby leading to hair damage. Check out the ingredient list to make sure the products are free from harmful chemicals like paraben, sulfate, silicone, petroleum, artificial fragrances, and others, to ensure the utmost safety of your hair.

  • Hair Issues

Styling stressors may have a huge toll if you have an existing hair issue like split ends, hair breakage, or even hair fall. Opt for chemical-free, nourishing leave-in conditioners enriched with natural ingredients like coconut oil and black honey, especially designed for hair fall or split ends.

Infographic: Leave-In Conditioners: Key Ingredients & Buying Guide

Leave-in conditioners help reduce tangles, increase shine, and volumize your tresses. They retain moisture and make your hair manageable. Check out our infographic below to know more on how to choose from the different options available online.

Leave-In Conditioners: Key Ingredients & Buying Guide

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Rebekkah O’Neill, a Master Stylist and Hair & Beauty Trainer, mentions, “As a professional hairstylist, I have dealt with lots and lots of hair, and have come to learn that African-American hair needs specialized care. African-Amercican hair is more fragile, has less strength, and reaches its breaking point earlier than the hair of other hair types. Although African-American hair produces more oil, because of their tight curls, the oil does not spread evenly along the hair shaft, which results in the hair becoming dryer quicker, this is why it’s essential to nourish the hair with leave-in creams, serums, and sprays.”

Leave-in conditioners moisturize your strands and leave them smooth and completely free of frizz. Your natural hair needs protection from unwanted damages from UV rays, pollution, and other environmental factors. Leave-in conditioners help in repairing damage while strengthening the roots of your tresses. While choosing the best leave-in conditioner for yourself, you should opt for the ones that are devoid of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, silicones, and gluten. Also, steer clear of conditioners that can make your hair look sticky due to their greasy consistency.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

Shiboli Chakraborti is a certified skin care coach with extensive hair care knowledge. She knows natural hair needs to be cared for properly and maintained to achieve that stunning look. Following a comprehensive analysis of all reviews, she has compiled a list of the best leave-in conditioners for African-American hair. These conditioners last longer, make styling hair easier and keep hair from drying out all day long.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a leave-in conditioner good for natural hair?

Yes, it is. It helps detangle kinky curly hair. It also hydrates, softens, and nourishes hair.

How often should I use leave-in conditioners on natural hair?

You should use them preferably after every hair wash routine. The frequency also depends on your hair type. If your hair feels greasy and lumpy with the conditioner, use it less often (once or a couple of times a week). If it works well on your hair and makes it feel good and easy to manage, you can use it more often or even every day.

What does a leave-in conditioner do to African American hair?

A good leave-in conditioner makes Afro American hair easy to manage. It also reduces frizz, detangles hair, adds moisture, and defines your curls. It gives natural hair an attractive shine.

Can you use a leave-in conditioner daily on black hair?

Yes, you can use a light organic leave-in conditioner on black hair every day. However, avoid using chemical-based conditioners every day.

How often should you put leave-in conditioner in 4c hair?

You can use a leave-in conditioner every day or as per the requirement of your hair.

Does coconut oil work as a leave-in conditioner on natural hair?

Yes. Raw coconut oil can act as an excellent leave-in conditioner for natural hair as it provides intense moisturization and nutritional benefits.

Should black people use a leave-in conditioner?

Yes. Leave-in conditioners are highly beneficial for black hair. They hydrate, moisturize, and nourish the hair and make its texture smooth and frizz-free. They help prevent hair damage.

Does leave-in conditioner cause hair loss?

No. A leave-in conditioner does not cause hair fall. Rather, it helps in strengthening weak strands and bringing shine to the hair.

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