11 Best Water-based Leave-in Conditioners Of 2023

No more greasy tresses or dried-out locks, thanks to these water-based conditioners.

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.

Usage of excessive styling tools, pollution, and coloring your hair may wreak havoc on your hair tresses. Hence, using the best water-based leave-in conditioner is essential as it detangles your hair strands, keeps your hair hydrated, defines your locks, and extends the lifespan of your hair. These leave-in conditioners need to be applied to towel-dried hair and rinsed out smoothly. In addition, they prevent hair from bleeding dry as they draw humectants from the air and transfer it to your hair. These conditioners also minimize scalp irritation and keep your scalp and hair healthy. To get your hands on the best one, check our curated list of the top 11 water-based leave-in conditioners for your hair.

Top Picks
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Best Long-Lasting Results:Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Quench Leave-In Conditioner
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Best Cruelty-Free Option:Marc Anthony Grow Long Leave-In Conditioner
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Best Color-Safe Formula:Renpure Coconut Whipped Crème Leave-In Conditioner
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Best For Moisturizing:Carol's Daughter Goddess Strength Leave-In Cream
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Best Creamy Texture:Milk Shake Leave In Conditioner
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Best Anti-Frizz Option:John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment Leave In Conditioner
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Best Lightweight Formula:Paul Mitchell The Conditioner
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Best For Detangling:Mizani 25 Miracle Milk
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Best Chemical-Free Formula:Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Leave-In Conditioning Mist
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Best Anti-Breakage Formula:Morroccanoil All-In-One Leave-In Conditioner
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Best Water-based Leave-in Conditioners

1. Best Long-Lasting Results:Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Quench Leave-In Conditioner

4.4
Aunt Jackie's Curls and Coils Quench Moisture Intensive Leave-In Hair Conditioner for Natural Curls, Coils and Waves, Enriched with Shea Butter, 12 oz 12 Fl Oz (Pack of 1) Quench Image: Aunt Jackie's

Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Quench Leave-In Conditioner has a rich formula that smoothens, softens your curls while giving long-lasting hydration. It contains shea butter, rich in anti-inflammatory properties, reduces scalp irritation and inflammation. It is also enriched with olive oil that moisturizes and strengthens your hair from root to tip. It moisturizes your parched tresses thoroughly and eliminates dryness without weighing down your hair. Its lightweight formula is ideal for all hair types and textures, especially curly, wavy, coiled, kinky, or mixed textures. Click here to check out a detailed personal review of this product.

Key ingredients: Shea butter and Extra virgin olive oil

Pros

  • Hydrating
  • Long-lasting results
  • A little goes a long way
  • Fruity scent
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Petroleum-free

Cons

  • Not for hair with high porosity
Pro Tip
Use a wide-teeth comb, as it helps distribute the product evenly and ensures no strand goes untreated.
Price at the time of publication: $6.97

2. Best Cruelty-Free Option:Marc Anthony Grow Long Leave-In Conditioner

4.3
Marc Anthony Grow Long Super Fast Strength Leave-In Conditioner Image: Marc Anthony

Marc Anthony Grow Long Leave-In Conditioner has an anti-breakage formula that promotes longer, stronger, and healthier-looking hair.  It is enriched with natural ingredients like caffeine that strengthen and moisturize extremely dry, damaged, and dull hair. It also has ginseng and vitamin E for nourishing each strand and stimulating hair growth while preventing thinning and breakage. In addition, this strengthening conditioner is blended with zero chemicals to reduce breakage and split ends. To understand the nuances of the product in detail, you can check out this review.

Key ingredients: Caffeine and Ginseng

Pros

  • Adds shine
  • Hydrating
  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free

Cons

  • A bit greasy
Price at the time of publication: $8.99

3. Best Color-Safe Formula:Renpure Coconut Whipped Crème Leave-In Conditioner

4.4
RENPURE Coconut Whipped Creme Leave-In Conditioner, Basic, Fragrance, 16 Fl Oz 16 Fl Oz (Pack of 1) Image: Renpure

Renpure Coconut Whipped Crème Leave-In Conditioner is a fantastic product formulated with extra virgin coconut oil, which seals in the moisture and smoothens the hair cuticles. It forms a protective layer around your hair follicles, prevents your hair from the damages caused by styling, and gives soft, silky, and frizz-free hair. Lastly, it is also color-safe. Check out this YouTuber’s review of this product.

Key ingredients: Extra virgin coconut oil

Pros

  • Color-safe
  • Gentle
  • Natural ingredients
  • Dye-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Propylene glycol-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalates free

Cons

None

Pro Tip
Apply leave-in formulas on slightly damp hair to ensure better absorption and styling.
Price at the time of publication: $21.99

4. Best For Moisturizing: Daughter Goddess Strength Leave-In Cream

4.4
Carol’s Daughter Divine Strength Leave-In Conditioner Image: Carol’s Daughter

Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Leave-In Cream has a nourishing formula that provides intense hydration to your hair. The conditioner contains castor oil that moisturizes and helps to reinforce weak strands with every use. It is also infused with black seed oil to make your hair stronger and resist breakage while maintaining its length. These ingredients also help to soften and smooth your hair. In addition, this conditioner is chemical-free helps to repair damaged hair. Lastly, this conditioner is blended with ginger that helps in strengthening your hair.

Key ingredients: Castor oil, Black seed cumin, and Ginger

Pros

  • Artificial color-free
  • Adds shine
  • Paraben-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Petroleum-free

Cons

  • Strong fragrance
Price at the time of publication: $11.97

5. Best Creamy Texture:Milk Shake Leave In Conditioner

4.6
milk_shake Leave-In Conditioner Detangler Spray for Natural Hair - Leave In Conditioner for Curly Hair or Straight Hair - Protects and Hydrates Color Treated and Dry Hair, 11.8 Fl Oz Image: Milk_shake

 The lightweight Milk Shake Leave In Conditioner is a fantastic refresher with a soothing scent that improves manageability without leaving product buildup. This conditioner is packed with fruits extracts such as strawberry, blueberry, and papaya, rich in revitalizing and mineralizing vitamins. The conditioner has a formula enriched with milk protein that strengthens your hair’s internal structure and detangles easily after conditioning. Furthermore, honey in its formula smoothens the hair follicles and restores the lost shine. Additionally, this conditioner is suitable for all types of hair.

Key ingredients: Honey, Milk proteins, and Fruit extracts

Pros

  • Creamy texture
  • Travel-friendly bottle
  • Hydrating
  • Suitable for all types of hairs
  • Color-safe
  • Soothing

Cons

None

Price at the time of publication: $23.5

6. Best Anti-Frizz Option:John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment Leave In Conditioner

4.4
Johnfrieda Image: John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment Leave In Conditioner

The unique formula of John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment Leave In Conditioner is perfect for chemically-treated and frizz-prone hair. It claims to provide touchable smoothness and detangles while resisting breakage. This moisturizing leave-in spray is loaded with vitamins to protect your hair by making the strands stronger from root to tip. It is also enriched with green tree extracts to enhance growth and protect hair follicles from heat styling and sun damage. In addition, its weightless formula makes your hair look smooth and glossy.

Key ingredients: Green tea extract, Vitamins A, C, and E

Pros

  • Frizz-free
  • Non-greasy
  • Color-safe

Cons

  • Strong smell
Price at the time of publication: $6.99

7. Best Lightweight Formula:Paul Mitchell The Conditioner

4.5
Paul Mitchell The Conditioner Original Leave-In Image: Paul Mitchell

Paul Mitchell The Conditioner has a vegan formula that hydrates your hair, making them smooth and glossy. It also reduces static and prevents dryness. It conditions dry hair and gets your weary strands back in shape.

It is infused with Hawaiian awapuhi, which helps balance the moisture and improve your hair’s texture. The leave-in conditioner has the refreshing herbal scent of lavender and rosemary, which will invigorate your senses. In addition, it improves the texture of your hair with very little amount. Lastly, its lightweight formula is the best choice for all hair types.

Key ingredients: Hawaiian awapuhi

Pros

  • Anti-frizz
  • Vegan
  • Color safe
  • Paraben-free
  • Gluten-free

Cons

  • Expensive
Price at the time of publication: $19.5

8. Best For Detangling:Mizani 25 Miracle Milk

4.5
MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner Image: Mizani

Anyone with curly hair must try out Mizani 25 Miracle Milk. This lightweight leave-in conditioner is infused with botanical ingredients that hydrate and repair damaged hair, control frizz, and treat dryness. It gives 25 benefits in single-use with the blend of transformative ingredients like fennel seed oil and coconut oil. These ingredients penetrate deep into the follicle to protect and restore moisture. As a result, the conditioner leaves your hair with a smoother, manageable, and shinier look. In addition, the non-greasy formula of this conditioner helps to reduce frizz and flyaways.

Key ingredients: Coconut oil and Fennel seed oil

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Non-greasy
  • Anti-frizz
  • Hydrating
  • Control flyaways
  • Detangles
  • Improves manageability

Cons

  • Expensive
Price at the time of publication: $38.0

9. Best Chemical-Free Formula:Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Leave-In Conditioning Mist

The Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Leave-In Conditioning Mist is ideal for texturized, colored, and permed hair. This luxurious conditioner contains shea butter, restores the lost moisture, and promotes stronger and healthier hair with a natural shine. This conditioner absorbs instantly while giving a stronger, healthier hair with a natural shine. In addition, it helps reduce frizz, flyaway, and gently repairs damaged hair.

Key ingredients: Shea butter

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Hydrating
  • Chemical-free

Cons

  • Hard to wash-off
Price at the time of publication: $6.45

10. Best Anti-Breakage Formula:Morroccanoil All-In-One Leave-In Conditioner

Morroccanoil All-In-One Leave-In Conditioner has a lightweight formula that delivers softness for 72 hours. It is infused with argan oil which moisturizes and nourishes your hair from root to tip. Its superfood blend conditions your hair while giving lustrous hair instantly. Pure amino acid in its formula offers strength and elasticity. This conditioner hydrates dry hair and detangles them with ease. Additionally, it keeps your hair refreshed and healthy all day long. Furthermore, it is infused with the signature Moroccan oil scent that soothes your senses throughout the day.

Key ingredients: Argan oil, Superfood blend, and Pure amino acid

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Anti-hair breakage
  • Non-sticky

Cons

None

Price at the time of publication: $14.0

11. Best For Volumizing:TGIN Green Tea Super Moist Leave In Conditioner

TGIN Green Tea Super Moist Leave In Conditioner, which reduces frizz and dryness while adding shine. It is also free from chemicals and infused with essential vitamins and oils, which restore the natural oil. It is formulated with argan oil that penetrates deep into the hair follicles and facilitates hair growth. It is one of the best products to detangle knots. It makes your hair ultra-soft, manageable, voluminous, and bouncy. In addition, this soothing conditioner promotes better blood flow to the scalp resulting in healthy and stronger hair.

Key ingredients: Green tea extract and Argan oil

Pros

  • Suitable for all types of hair
  • Anti-frizz
  • Soothing

Cons

None

Price at the time of publication: $13.75

Water-based leave-in conditioners are best for damaged and dry hair as they help to keep hair conditioned and moisturized for a long time. However, there are a few factors to consider while picking the best water-based leave-in conditioners. Check them out below.

How To Select The Best Water-Based Leave-In Conditioners

  • Ingredients

Most water-based leave-in conditioners are formulated for dry, dull, and damaged hair. So, pick a formula that contains water as their key ingredient, but also has other nourishing and moisturizing ingredients. Opt formulations that have ingredients like shea butter, almond oil, olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, vitamins A, C, or E, natural fruit extracts, green tea extracts or amino acids. Such hair nourishing ingredients cater to make your hair soft, shiny, and tangle-free.

Avoid products that contain harmful chemicals like sulfates, parabens, alcohol, phthalates, mineral oils, gluten, artificial dyes, or synthetic fragrances. These toxins can strip off moisture and natural oils from your hair and lead to severe damage in the long run.

  • Hair Concerns

Along with keeping your hair well-nourished and thoroughly moisturized, the formula you pick must also cater to other hair concerns such as reducing hair fall, tangles and knots, dandruff, frizz, hair breakage. Look for formulas that also boost volume, hair growth, and elasticity of the hair.

  • Formula

Pick a lightweight and pH balancing formulation that does not leave behind any residue, or make your hair feel greasy, sticky, or crunchy. Choose a water-based leave-in conditioner that is hypoallergenic, quick-absorbing, and safe for colored or chemical-treated hair.

  • Application

Most of the water-based leave-in conditioners come in the form of pump bottles or sprays. Pick the one that you can easily work around with. Sprays are rather easy to use as they eliminate the chance of overdoing the product since they coat the hair with a measured amount of product. However, if you find pump bottles easier to use, apply a dime-size amount of product and work your way from the mid-length to ends.

For fine, thin, or short hair, it is best to pick sprays as they will give you an easy and even application. But, for thicker, longer and coarse hair, a couple of pumps from the bottles will work better.

Frequent heat styling tools or coloring your hair might wreak havoc on your tresses and damage your hair. Instead, try out the best water-based leave-in conditioners to revive and restore damaged hair. These conditioners will define your locks, offer hydration, and extend the lifespan of your hair. Apply these conditioners to towel-dried hair and rinse it out smoothly. The best water-based conditioners are enriched with natural ingredients, are devoid of synthetic chemicals, and are suitable for all hair types. In addition, they increase the moisture level and improve the overall health of your hair.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author of this article, Shiboli Chakraborti, loves all things haircare and tries to help her readers buy the right products. For the same, she went on a hunt for the best water-based leave-in conditioners and made a list of them with the help of extensive research. By drawing humectants from the air and transferring them to your tresses, these listed items prevent your mane from becoming dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can water be used as a leave-in conditioner?

No, just water cannot be used as a leave-in conditioner as it does not have moisturizing properties.

Should you use a water-based leave-in conditioner every day?

Yes, you can use a water-based leave-in conditioner every day, but it may cause product buildup that needs to be washed off with a clarifying shampoo.

How can you tell if a hair product is water-based?

Look for the mention of water as the first ingredient in the product’s ingredients’ list. Sometimes it may be included in the first three ingredients also.

Can I use a water-based leave-in conditioner as a daily moisturizer?

Yes, leave-in conditioners are lightweight and easy to absorb by the strands.

Is it safe to use a water based leave-in conditioner before using a curling iron?

Yes, leave-in conditioners coat the strands and protect them from heat styling and thermal damage. Hence, they can be used before using a curling iron.

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