11 Best Water-Based Leave-In Conditioners, Reviewed By A Hairdresser – 2024

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

Reviewed by Alexandro Vasquez, Hairdresser
Written by Shiboli Chakraborti, MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach
Edited by Aditi Naskar, MA (English Literature), Diploma In Health & Wellness
Fact-checked by Arshiya Syeda, BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Dip  • 
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 treatments need to be applied to towel-dried damp 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 giving you salon-quality results. 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
Price on Amazon
Best Cruelty-Free Option:Marc Anthony Grow Long Leave-In Conditioner
Price on Amazon
Best Color-Safe Formula:Renpure Coconut Whipped Crème Leave-In Conditioner
Price on Amazon
Best For Moisturizing:Carol's Daughter Goddess Strength Leave-In Cream
Price on Amazon
Best Creamy Texture:Milk Shake Leave In Conditioner
Price on Amazon
Best Anti-Frizz Option:John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment Leave In Conditioner
Price on Amazon
Best Lightweight Formula:Paul Mitchell The Conditioner
Price on Amazon
Best For Detangling:Mizani 25 Miracle Milk
Price on Amazon
Best Chemical-Free Formula:Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Leave-In Conditioning Mist
Price on Amazon
Best Anti-Breakage Formula:Morroccanoil All-In-One Leave-In Conditioner
Price on Amazon

11 Best Water-Based Leave-In Conditioners For Natural Hair

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. This hair softening conditioner 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 natural 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. It also works wonders on wavy hair or frizzy hair. Click here to check out a detailed personal review of this product and a tester’s experience of using it.

Key ingredients: Shea butter and Extra virgin olive oil

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 4 x 5 x 6 inches | Weight: 11.22 Ounces

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

protip_icon Pro Tip
Use a wide-teeth comb, as it helps distribute the product evenly and ensures no strand goes untreated.

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

There are more than 48,942 Amazon reviews attesting to the quality of the product and endorsing its value.

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

4.3
Marc Anthony Grow Long Leave-In Conditioner Image: Marc Anthony
Now 15% Off

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 smooth hair growth while preventing thinning and breakage. In addition, this strengthening conditioner is blended with zero chemicals to promote healthier hair and prevent split ends and brittle hair. Moreover, to understand the nuances of the product in detail and know about the reviewer’s experience of using it, you can check out this review.

Key ingredients: Caffeine and Ginseng

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 6.25 x 4.75 x 9 inches | Weight: 8.82 Ounces

Pros

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

Cons

  • A bit greasy

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product has received 4,410 reviews from customers on Amazon, indicating its popularity and reliability.

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

4.4
Renpure Coconut Whipped Creme Leave-In Conditioner Image: Renpure

Renpure Coconut Whipped Crème Leave-In Conditioner is a fantastic product for color-treated hair and is formulated with extra virgin coconut oil, which seals in the moisture and smoothens the hair cuticles. It forms a protective layer around your colored hair hair follicles, prevents your hair from the damages caused by styling, and gives soft, silky, and frizz-free hair. Check out this YouTuber’s review that details a tester’s experience with using the product in her hair routine.

Key ingredients: Extra virgin coconut oil

Product Dimensions: 2.75 x 2.75 x 7.63 inches | Weight: 1 Pounds

Pros

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

Cons

  • None

protip_icon Pro Tip
Apply leave-in formulas on slightly damp hair to ensure better absorption and styling.

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has more than 17,366 reviews claiming its efficacy.

Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Quench Leave-In Conditioner
Best Long-Lasting Results
Marc Anthony Grow Long Leave-In Conditioner
Best Cruelty-Free Option
Renpure Coconut Whipped Crème Leave-In Conditioner
Best Color-Safe Formula
Hair Type Curly Curly-
Dimensions 4 x 5 x 6 inches 6.25 x 4.75 x 9 inches 2.75 x 2.75 x 7.63 inches
Weight 11.22 Ounces 8.82 Ounces 1 Pounds
Rating
Reviews48,9424,41017,366
Price$6.97$7.64$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 the active ingredient 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 nourishing ingredients also help to soften and smooth your hair and also add shine to the hair. In addition, this hair care product is chemical-free and helps to repair damaged hair. Lastly, this nourishing leave-in conditioner is blended with ginger which helps in strengthening your hair.

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

Hair Type: Damaged | Product Dimensions: 2.33 x 2.33 x 6.21 inches | Weight: 11.37 Ounces.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Strong fragrance

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 water-based product is packed with fruit extracts such as strawberry, blueberry, and papaya, rich in revitalizing and mineralizing vitamins. The hair detangler 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 smoothes the hair follicles and restores the lost shine. Additionally, this conditioner is suitable for all types of hair, including color-treated hair and finer hair types.

Key ingredients: Honey, Milk proteins, and Fruit extracts

Hair Type: Damaged | Product Dimensions: 2.05 x 2.05 x 9.06 inches | Weight: 10.58 Ounces

Pros

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

Cons

  • None

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The extensive 11,329 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are vouching for this product.

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 of hair from heat damage. 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 healthy hair growth and protect hair follicles from sun damage. In addition, its weightless formula makes your hair look smooth and glossy.

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

Hair Type: Safe for color-treated and chemically treated hair | Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 1.4 x 6 inches | Weight: 7.2 Ounces

Pros

  • Frizz-free
  • Non-greasy
  • Color-safe
  • Offers UV protection

Cons

  • Strong smell

My Personal Experience

"This spray keeps the frizz in check and adds shine to the hair. My hair feels moisturized without feeling sticky. I make sure to apply a small amount to avoid buildup."


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.

This regular conditioner is infused with Hawaiian awapuhi, which helps balance moisture retention 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

Hair Type: All | Product Dimensions: 3.24 x 3.24 x 9.12 inches | Weight: 8.83 Ounces

Pros

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

Cons

  • Expensive

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 10,019 Amazon users have vouched for this amazing product.

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 perfect combination of transformative ingredients like fennel seed oil and coconut oil. These nourishing ingredients penetrate deep into the follicle to protect and restore moisture. As a result, the gentle detangling 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. By incorporating this leave-in conditioner into your hair care routine, you can enjoy the benefits of hair repair and protection while achieving a healthier, more vibrant-looking mane.

Key ingredients: Coconut oil and Fennel seed oil

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 2.1 x 7.72 inches | Weight: 7.05 Ounces

Pros

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

Cons

  • Expensive

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 883 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are so in awe of this product.

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

4.4

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. Additionally, this conditioning mist has garnered massive positive reviews that praise its efficacy in managing the tresses well!

Key ingredients: Shea butter

Hair Type: Dry | Product Dimensions: 1.88 x 1.88 x 8.13 inches | Weight: 8.96 Ounces

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Hydrating
  • Chemical-free

Cons

  • Hard to wash-off

My Personal Experience

"This hair product keeps my hair hydrated and makes it easy to manage. It really does what it claims. My hair does not end up feeling crunchy or looking too slick."


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 to the hair shaft 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. Also, the formula has proven efficacy in reducing hair breakage by 49%. This conditioner hydrates dry hair and detangles it with ease when applied on wet hair. 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

Hair Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.5 x 7 inches | Weight: 5.64 Ounces

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Anti-hair breakage
  • Non-sticky

Cons

  • None

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

4.5

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

Hair Type: All | Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 2.6 x 2.6 inches | Weight: 12.8 Ounces

Pros

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

Cons

  • None

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 3,688 customers have given the product positive reviews on Amazon.

*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

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 product that is lightweight and a pH balanced formula that does not leave any residue, or make your hair feel greasy, sticky, or crunchy. Choose a water-based leave-in conditioner that is allergen-free, quick-absorbing, and safe for colored or chemical-treated hair. Additionally, opt for professional-grade formulations that cater to your hair needs well.

  • 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.

Infographic: Dos And Dont’s Of Water-based Leave-in Conditioners

Water-based leave-in conditioners deliver the much-needed moisture to your strands and boost hair manageability. While these lightweight formulas can do wonders for your hair, it is important to keep a few points in mind to obtain the best results. Check out the infographic below to learn more about the dos and don’ts of using a water-based leave-in conditioner.

Dos And Dont’s Of Water-based Leave-in Conditioners (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

The Bottom Line

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. The Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Quench Leave-In Conditioner is a great option to get intensely hydrated locks, while the Mizani 25 Miracle Milk is ideal for curly hair types. But if you are looking for a hair-smoothing formula, try the TGIN Green Tea Super Moist Leave In Conditioner. 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.

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 not only provide nourishment and hydration to the hair but also offer an additional benefit of heat protection. These conditioners form a protective layer on the strands, acting as a barrier against the heat from styling tools and reducing the potential damage caused by high temperatures. Hence, they can be used before using a curling iron.

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.


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