The Pros Believe In Them
According to Kérastase expert and owner of Fowler35 Darren Fowler, leave-in conditioners are an important step in any hair routine. “They’re time saving, because they add some extra conditioning at the same time as protecting your hair from heat If you have a leave-in conditioner prescribed to you, one personalised for your specific hair type, they can often target specific needs, too, like frizz-control, nourishment or repair.” Plus, according to celebrity hair stylist Pete Burkill, they work differently to normal conditioner. “When we rinse out standard conditioner it stops working. A leave-in one offers longer-term hydration and care – often until the next shampoo.”
There Are Different Kinds
“Most leave-in treatments come in a cream texture, but you can find some that come as sprays.” explains Darren. “Depending on your specific hair concern, results can vary. The important thing is to use a leave-in conditioner that’s right for your hair type. Your hairdresser will be able to recommend the right one. My advice is to focus on using it on the mid lengths and ends, so the root is not overloaded with product.”
They’re Great For Curly & Coloured Hair
“Anyone with curly or textured hair should be using a leave-in conditioner for some much-needed moisture,” says Darren. “Kérastase Curl Manifesto Crème De Jour Fondamentale is good for any curly or coily hair types. Bleached or chemically treated hair would also benefit from using a leave-in or protector in conjunction with a repairing conditioner. Also, anyone who is heat styling their hair needs to be using a protecting leave-in conditioner – Shu Uemura Art of Hair Tsuki Shape Spray is reactivated with heat, so your hair is always protected when you heat style. It’s ideal for using when you want a certain style to stay in place for longer.”
There’s A Specific Way To Apply One
Darren recommends applying a leave-in formula to your hands like a hand cream before applying it to the back of your hair – where it’s thickest – then up into the sides, the crown and finally into the top, so the product is evenly distributed. “If you’ve applied too much, use a towel to absorb any excess – in extreme cases dampen the hair slightly and again, remove using the towel,” he says. As for Pete, his top tip is to shampoo and condition hair as normal, towel dry the hair by patting, not rubbing, and then apply a leave-in conditioner before you comb or de-tangle the hair. “You’ll find it can be a great detangling aid,” he adds.
Cult Classics Do Exist
“A classic leave-in conditioner is Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique – it’s perfect for damaged hair as it rebuilds hair from the inside out,” says Darren. “I also use Netsu Design by Shu Uemura Art of Hair which is a great all-rounder – plus, it reduces breakage and damage for a more flawless finish. That said, always get a recommendation from your hairdresser as hair needs change quite regularly – you don’t want to overload it with the wrong ingredients.” Pete has his own personal favourite, too: “The Sachajuan Leave In Conditioner suits everyone. It uses what the brand calls ‘ocean silk technology’ which gives great body and super shine, plus it helps to keep your hair and scalp healthy. Specifically, it’s designed with thinner hair types in mind, but stylists sometimes use it ahead of cutting to give hair extra slip and shine.”
Interested? Here are some of our favourite leave-in conditioners…
THE HYDRATION HERO: Gisou Honey Infused Leave-In Conditioner, £30
A multi-tasking formula, this leave-in conditioner uses honey, baobab and argan oil to hydrate, smooth, and protect for silkier, stronger-looking hair. It moisturises and detangles to seal split ends, reduce dryness and smooth frizz – plus, it acts as a shield against environmental aggressors such as UV rays, heat and pollution. A natural humectant, you’ll find the honey works to restore your hair’s natural moisture balance, making this one a good choice for those with dry or colour-treated strands.
Available from Revolve.com
BEST ALL-ROUNDER: It’s A Ten Miracle Leave In, £35
This one took a while to make its way over from the US – but we can finally get our hands on it here in the UK. A cult-classic, the easy-to-use spray promises to smooth hair, eliminate frizz, restore shine, and enhance your hair’s natural body. Full of natural ingredients, such as sunflower seed, green tea leaf extract and silk amino acids, they all work together to help bring out all hair types’ natural lustre and shine, while also making it stronger and healthier with every use. Expect serious bounce.
Available from ItsATenHaircare.co.uk
FOR AN ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT: Olaplex No 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask, £26
Even if you’re a devoted fan of the cult No. 3 Hair Protector, Olaplex’s No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask is just as worthy of attention. Perfect if you don’t like the idea of leaving something on your hair permanently, or overloading it with product, this deeply conditioning leave-in treatment moisturises and smooths strands in as little as ten minutes. Made with an airless pump for the perfect measure, it works to restore and repair chemical-treated, heat-ridden hair. Great for those looking to treat damaged, broken strands.
Available from CultBeauty.co.uk
THE FASHION GIRL’S CHOICE: Ouai X Byredo Leave In Conditioner, £22
You know when you’re a little worried something is going to be style over substance? Well, this new release didn’t disappoint. One of our best discoveries of the summer, this leave-in conditioner combines Jen Atkin’s haircare know-how with Byredo’s cult scents to create the kind of product which leaves you feeling utterly depressed when you find out it is limited edition. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle, you’ll notice it harnesses all the power of Ouai’s cult leave-in conditioner, melding it with Byredo’s Mojave Ghost fragrance, which uses notes of ambrette, magnolia and sandalwood. A treat for both your hair and the senses.
Available exclusively at CultBeauty.co.uk
A CULT CLASSIC: Mane 'N Tail Herbal Gro Leave-In Crème Therapy, £9.95
Mane ‘N’ Tail products might not win any ‘shelfie’ awards, but they’re a classic for a reason. Perfect for rejuvenating hair’s natural elasticity and strength while also conditioning the scalp, the brand’s Herbal Gro Leave-In Crème Therapy helps prevent breakage, split ends, frizz and dryness for smoother, softer, and more manageable hair. Safe and gentle for all hair types, the formula is made with a blend of natural herbs and an olive oil complex to nourish and fortify. Just bear in mind you only need a small amount of this – a little goes a long way if you’re wary of weighing hair down.
Available from BeautyBay.com
BEST FOR DAMAGED HAIR: R+CO Sun Catcher Power C Boosting Leave-In Conditioner, £30
This healing conditioner deeply penetrates the hair cuticle to deliver protective ingredients deep down – plus, it promises to improve the performance of any additional styling products you might use afterwards. Formulated with vitamin C to protect hair from environmental and UV damage, vegetable collagen to strengthen, radish root extract to improve scalp circulation, and coconut oil and hyaluronic acid to moisturise and nourish hair, it can be used alone before you blow dry or even on dry hair to refresh a day-old style.
Available from SpaceNK.com
PRO PRODUCT: Sachajuan Leave In Conditioner, £29
Pete calls this his holy grail product when it comes to leave in conditioners, and we can see why. The Swedish brand is known for making the most of natural ingredients, with fans regularly proclaiming its products brought their damaged strands back to life. A must-have for dry or frizzy hair types, this formula contains macadamia oil, hydrolysed rhodophycea extract, as well as caring properties to detangle and repair. According to Pete, it’s also the perfect foundation for further styling and works well with extensions, too.
Available from CultBeauty.co.uk