Hot tools can do a number on your hair — and that's true no matter your texture, affinity for
trying new colors, or the season. That's why leave-in conditioners are a godsend, particularly for natural, curly, and color-treated strands, because they can help save you from a world of damage.
While liquid formulations typically get a bad rap during colder months because they can harden (making hair brittle and prone to breakage), they're perfect for the more hospitable seasons — so, whenever it's not freezing cold outside. And while the handy product won't make your overall routine any less time-consuming, by making your hair more manageable, it
will making getting out the door in the morning that much easier.
Keep reading to see pro and staff picks for the leave-in conditioners and treatments that leave our hair soft as can be.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. Best For Breakage: Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Anti-Breakage Leave-In Treatment
Breakage is a pain, whether it's from split ends or heat damage. You can fight against it with this strengthening leave-in that has proteins, ceramides, and lipids. With a few spritzes, you can worry less about leaving hair behind on your pillow, in your shower, on the car headrest, ... er, everywhere. Redken
Extreme Anti-Snap Anti-Breakage Leave-In Treatment, $21.00
Buy Best For Long-Term Repair: Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother Reparative Styling Creme
It was only a matter of time before Olaplex put its
patented bonding technology
in a leave-in formula. Not only does this cream soften strands and eliminate frizz, but it also cuts drying time, which is a major win.
No. 6 Bond Smoother Reparative Styling Creme, $28.00
Buy Best For Thinning Hair: Rene Furterer Volumea Volumizing Conditioning Spray
If you have thinning hair, it's best to look for a lightweight mist that won't weigh down your strands. This product adds natural-looking volume while giving hair a subtle shine that won't leave hair feeling greasy at 5 p.m. Rene Furterer
VOLUMEA Volumizing Conditioning Spray, $30.00
Best On A Budget: Not Your Mother's Royal Honey & Kalahari Desert Melon Leave-In Conditioner
If you're currently working with dry,
spray is a must-have. Just spritz it through damp hair as a primer before adding your usual
, creams, or
for a boost of softness.
Not Your Mother's
Royal Honey & Kalahari Desert MelonLeave-In Conditioner,
$8.99 $4.49 Buy
Best For Coily Hair: Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Treatment There are some products that don't live up to their own names, and then there's Miracle Milk: a xylose and coconut oil-based formula that gives the driest curls a brand-new lease on life with a few spritzes all over. Naturalistas love it so much that Mizani upgraded the size to a jumbo 13.5 ounce bottle. Mizani
25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Treatment, $30.00
Best For Dry Hair: Taliah Waajid Daily Leave-in Conditioner If you forget to re-twist your hair on a late night, a few spritzes of this magic elixir will hydrate your curls instantly. Pro tip: Spray it directly into your hands then finger-comb it through for the best results. Taliah Waajid
Daily Leave-in Conditioner ,
$10.99 $8.98 Buy
Best For Colored Hair: Cantu Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream
Leave it to argan oil to nourish and replenish curls even on your worst day. Safe for colored, relaxed, and textured hair, this repair cream penetrates deep to soften strands — without a ton of fuss. Our
editors swear by it
Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream, $7.26
Best For Thick Hair: Leonor Greyl Tonique Hydratant
"For thick hair, it's all about replenishing [lost] moisture,"
says hairstylist Adir Abergel
. He loves applying this treatment once a week.
Tonique Hydratant, $43.00
Best For Definition: Iles Formula Finishing Serum
"I love using Iles Forumla Hair Serum as a leave-in conditioner," says
, whose clients include Lily Collins, Nicole Richie, and Hailee Steinfeld. "It softens the hair without being heavy, provides a light amount of definition, and makes your hair feel hydrated. For coarser textures, be a little more liberal with the product."
Finishing Serum, $44.00
Best For Baby Hairs: SheaMoisture Strengthen & Grow Conditioning Shine Gel
A-list celeb hairstylist
Marcia Hamilton recommends
this castor oil-packed leave-in conditioner/shine gel hybrid for smoothing and adding definition. "I really love this gel for shaping all baby hairs," she says. "It's alcohol-free and sulfate-free, so it doesn’t cause dryness. Plus, it leaves a really nice shine."
Strengthen & Grow Conditioning Shine Gel, $10.69
Best For Blondes: Unite Hair Care 7 Seconds Detangler
"Three or four quick sprays into my hands is enough to make my dry, knotty hair far more manageable," says R29 senior beauty editor
. (Tip: Never mist leave-in sprays directly onto hair, which practically ensures an uneven application.) "Whether I air-dry overnight or blowdry, my hair is smoother, softer, and free of tangles. It's lightweight and never greasy, with a hit of protein for stronger hair. It's nothing like any detangler I've tried, because as soon as you apply it, it soaks in instead of coating strands or adding a heavy feeling."
Unite Hair Care
7 Seconds Detangler, $29.50
Best For Frizz: SheaMoisture Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner
"My favorite leave-in is Shea Moisture's," says
, who works with Selena Gomez and several Victoria's Secret Angels. "I would only use this one if you're going to wear your hair curly to keep the frizz out. If you have thin, straight hair, it will make it look a bit greasy."
Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner, $12.86
Best For Second-Day Hair: Living Proof Restore Repair Leave-In This curl-friendly formula works wonders for vacation days you want to keep frizz at bay. While it works just as well on freshly-washed hair, if you need a second-day revival, just dampen curls with some water and you can reapply another pump of this — no added buildup included. Living Proof
Restore Repair Leave-In, $30.00
Best For Dull Hair: Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Leave In Conditioner "This spray is my life," celebrity stylist Kristin Ess said in a product description. "It creates completely weightless shine and detangles better than any other leave-in I've ever used. It seals in moisture and can bring dull hair back to life over time." Kristin Ess
Weightless Shine Leave In Conditioner, $10.00
Best For Waves: Vernon François Leave-In Conditioner Tight coils that suffer from an extreme case of dull frizz will benefit most from this leave-in formula. With a few pumps, your curls are revived to their shiniest form. Bonus: Continued use helps strengthen your hair so that, in the future, you might not have to worry so much about a dehydrated style. Vernon François
Leave In Conditioner, $18.09
Best For Targeted Application: DevaCurl SuperCream
“Leave-in conditioner is to curly hair what gas is to a car. And finding a good leave-in that gives your curls definition without weighing the hair down is a task,"
, author, sexologist, and YouTuber tells us. "DevaCurl is my boo, but I only use it on the top pieces — I prefer the middle to have zero product, so I get frizzy volume goodness!”
Best For Fine Hair: Sachajuan Leave In Conditioner
"It's super silky, but doesn't weigh your hair down," celeb stylist
says. "It's great for thinner hair that needs conditioning, but doesn't leave it feeling greasy."
Leave In Conditioner, $31.00
For Color-Treated Hair: Amika Silken Up Dry Conditioner Ask any colorist how to best maintain your dye job and they'll just tell you to wash it less. Each wash can fade your color, but that doesn't mean you can't condition your hair between washes. This conditioner can be applied to dry hair to smooth, detangle, and moisturize. Amika
Silken Up Dry Conditioner, $24.00
Best For Curls: O&M Know Knott Conditioning Detangler Color-treated, damaged, and dehydrated hair can all reap the benefits of this lightweight leave-in. It's formulated with macadamia oil and vitamin B5 to soften tangled strands and give them shine. It also has UV protectants to keep your color from fading in the sunlight. O&M
Know Knott Conditioning Detangler, $30.00
Best For Heat-Damaged Hair: It's A 10 Miracle Leave-in Product Consider this leave-in treatment a multivitamin for your hair. It's packed with bond-building amino acids that leaves any texture softer, smoother, and shiner after one use. It's a 10
Miracle Leave-in Product, $18.52
Best For Heat Styling: Kérastase Discipline Anti Frizz Smoothing Spray Engaging in unprotected heat sessions with your hair can end in a blow-fried disaster — especially if your strands are naturally curly. If you're giving up the heat to embrace your curls, using this leave-in will ensure that your hair is silky and frizz-free, even while it's in recovery mode. If you're not yet ready to give up the hot tools, you can also use some of this to protect your hair from heat up to 450 degrees. Kérastase
Discipline Anti Frizz Smoothing Spray, $37.00
Best All-Around: Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer Consider this Bumble & Bumble bottle the perfect one-size-fits-all spray for your hair. Apply it before you let your waves air-dry to reduce frizz and protect strands from UV rays. Or, use it as a detangler before you cocktail creams for a wash-and-go. And if you're heat styling, you can also spritz this on damp hair to get a silky blowout that doesn't feel greasy. Bumble and bumble
Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer, $13.00