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How to use leave-in conditioner: Benefits and steps

Leave-in conditioner can reduce frizz and add shine to your hair. But use it the right way. Here are steps to use leave-in conditioner for soft and healthy hair.

Leave-in conditioner is a hair care product for anyone battling dry and frizzy hair. Even those who often use heat to style their hair will gain a lot from this hair care product. It helps in retaining moisture, adding shine and preventing frizz. It may seem like the best product for dry hair, but even those with normal, curly or oily hair can use leave-in conditioner. But not everyone knows how to use leave-in conditioner. Should leave-in conditioner be used on dry hair or damp tresses? You may be having such questions on mind. Let us tell you the right way to use leave-in conditioner.

What is a leave-in conditioner?

A leave-in conditioner is a hair care product that is applied on damp hair and left in without rinsing. In contrast to the traditional conditioners that are washed out after a few minutes, leave-in conditioners are made to provide moisture, nourishment, and protection throughout the day, says dermatologist and cosmetologist Dr Monica Bambroo. They typically contain ingredients like oils, vitamins, and proteins to help detangle hair, reduce frizz, add shine, and protect against damage from heat styling and environmental factors.

Leave-in conditioner with natural ingredients
Leave-in conditioner has many benefits. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the benefits of leave-in conditioner?

Leave-in conditioners are especially beneficial for people with dry, damaged, or frizzy hair, but can be used by women with other hair types too.

  • Dry hair: A leave-in conditioner provides the necessary moisture and hydration, helping to combat dryness, frizz, and brittleness.
  • Oily hair: Using a lightweight leave-in conditioner provides hydration without adding excess weight or greasiness, while still offering benefits like detangling and protection.
  • Normal hair: A leave-in conditioner can help in maintaining the hair’s natural balance, providing just sufficient moisture to keep it healthy and manageable without weighing it down.
  • Curly hair: Leave-in conditioners offer great benefits as they help in defining curls, reduce frizz, and add bounce and shine without weighing down the hair.
  • Coloured hair: Leave-in conditioners can help in maintaining the vibrancy and integrity of the colour by providing hydration and protection against damage from styling and environmental factors. Some leave-in conditioners are specifically formulated for colour-treated hair, providing additional benefits like ultraviolet rays protection to prevent fading.

It also functions as a heat protector, and can be used just before using a hair styling appliance like a hair straightener, says dermatologist Dr Surabhi Sharma.

How to use a leave-in conditioner?

Here are steps on how to use leave-in conditioner:

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1. Wash your hair

Start by washing your hair with a gentle shampoo and thoroughly rinsing it out. Make sure your hair is does not have any dirt, and is clean and free of any excess product buildup.

2. Towel dry

Gently dry your hair with a clean towel to remove excess water from your tresses. Your hair should be damp, but not dripping wet otherwise you will not be able to enjoy the benefits of a leave-in conditioner. Applying conditioner to damp hair allows the product to penetrate the hair shaft more effectively, providing hydration, nourishment, and protection. Also, applying conditioner to damp hair helps with even distribution and prevents product buildup.

3. Apply leave-in conditioner

Based on the length and thickness of your hair, take a small amount of leave-in conditioner into your palm. Rub your hands together and then evenly distribute the product through your hair, focusing on the mid-lengths and ends. Do not apply it on the scalp, as it can clog pores and increase dandruff, says Dr Sharma.

4. Comb through

Use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to gently comb through your hair to ensure the leave-in conditioner gets evenly distributed from your roots to tips. This helps in detangling your hair and ensures that the hair care product is absorbed evenly.

You can now style your hair as per your choice. Also, if you have especially dry or damaged hair, you can apply a small amount of leave-in conditioner to dry hair as a finishing touch, focusing on the ends to provide extra hydration and shine.

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Can you use a leave-in conditioner every day?

Yes, you can use a leave-in conditioner every day, especially if you have dry or damaged hair that needs regular hydration and nourishment, says Dr Bambroo. However, it is important to use it in moderation and adjust the amount based on your hair type and needs. Most importantly, listen to your hair’s needs and adjust your leave-in conditioner usage accordingly. If you notice any buildup or heaviness, you can always reduce the frequency of use or switch to a lighter conditioner.

A woman holding a leave-in conditioner after a bath
Learn how to use a leave-in conditioner. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the side effects of a leave-in conditioner?

Although a leave-in conditioner can offer numerous benefits, it is important to be aware of potential side effects and take necessary precautions.

  • Overuse can lead to buildup, causing hair to appear greasy or weighed down.
  • Women with sensitive skin or allergies must check the ingredients to avoid potential reactions.
  • If the leave-in conditioner falls on your forehead, it can lead to acne, especially on the forehead.
  • Too much of this hair care product can increase the oiliness of the scalp.

So, use this hair care product carefully, and choose according to your hair type. Don’t forget to conduct a patch test before using and make sure to avoid contact with your eyes.

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