The best leave-in conditioners for afro hair

Nourish your tresses

Leave in conditioners on a pink and blue background

by Tayo Andoh |
Updated on

If you're wondering what to use when your natural hair needs a much-needed moisture boost, the best leave in conditioners for afro hair are here. We hear you. Afro hair requires a lot of TLC - we all know that maintaining our tresses requires time and a whole heap of amazing products. Having the right products that work for you and your hair type is essential. However, this can be a bit of a trial-and-error process because curl types and textures vary so much.

Thinner hair types that need volume will benefit from lighter products to prevent the hair from being weighed down. If you have thicker hair, richer products will be the perfect pick for you. Because, let's face it, getting through bottles of products to condition your hair is never ideal.

Woman with afro hair on white background
Photo: Unsplash

Closer's shortlist: top three leave-in conditioners for afro hair

Editor's Choice: Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream

Best leave-in conditioner for hair growth: ORS Incredibly Rich Oil Moisturising Hair Lotion

Best detangling leave-in conditioner: Aunt Jackies Quench Moisture Intensive Leave-In Conditioner

If you're currently rocking your natural hair, you’ll know how important it is to keep your luscious locks hydrated. After all, dryness is not our best friend, and it can often creep up on us if we don’t apply a leave-in when needed. Using a sulphate-free shampoo along with deep conditioning your hair can contribute to keeping your hair looking and feeling its best.

Introducing a leave-in conditioner for afro hair can truly change your haircare game; they help stop breakage, refresh curls and prevent the one thing we all dread, tangles. Take a look at some of our faves below to help leave your hair feeling nourished.

SHOP: The best leave-in conditioners for afro hair UK 2023

Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream

Editor's Choice: best leave-in conditioner for afro hair

Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair CreamPhoto: Amazon
Price: $8.75
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Target$1.69View offer
Walmart$6.48View offer

If moisture and curl definition is something you're looking for in a leave-in, then this is the one for you. This leaves hair feeling soft, helps to reduce frizz and combat dryness. Plus, a little goes a long way thanks to its thick consistency. Sounds good to us.

Amazon review: "My mixed-race daughter has very tightly curled hair that is extremely difficult to care for. It’s hard to brush, gets dry very easily, hard to control. This product is great as it can be washed out or left in her hair. She very rarely shampoos her hair she tends to only use this product."

ORS Incredibly Rich Oil Moisturising Hair Lotion

Best leave-in conditioner for hair growth

ORS Incredibly Rich Oil Moisturising Hair LotionPhoto: Amazon
Price: 4.86

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Give your locks some serious moisture with this gem. ORS is always on hand to help us with our hair care needs, and this is no exception. This hair lotion is thick and rich, leaving hair feeling softer and strengthened. If that's not enough, this also promotes healthy hair growth.

Look Fantastic review: "I have naturally thick curly hair which gets dry, especially in winter. This thick oil-based cream spreads and absorbs well into my hair leaving it moisturised and smelling lovely!"

Aunt Jackies Quench Moisture Intensive Leave-In Conditioner

Best detangling leave-in conditioner

Aunt Jackies Quench Moisture Intensive Leave In ConditionerPhoto: Amazon

Rrp: $11.99

Price: $7.48
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Alternative retailers
Walmart$7.48View offer

Make dryness a thing of the past with this leave-in. This conditioner hydrates and moisturises hair without leaving it feeling too heavy. If you find yourself faced with a sea of tangles, this will help you tackle them. It also smells great.

Amazon review: "Tried so many deep conditioners and leave-ins on my bleached hair - nothing worked at all. It felt like they all just sat on my hair, didn't sink in. I have straight hair which was so dry that it was constantly knotted. After a couple of applications of this stuff, it's feeling wonderful. Not heavy or oily at all."

Melanin Haircare Multi-Use Softening Leave-In Conditioner

Best multi-purpose leave-in conditioner

Melanin Haircare Multi-Use Softening Leave-In Conditionerspace nk
Price: 19

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Sometimes you want to get a bang for your buck, and Melanin Haircare's cream will do just that. Using this unique formula, one can have a leave-in conditioner to hand, as well as a pre-shampoo, or a styling cream. Non-toxic and vegan, this leave-in works to reduce hair fall and improve the hair’s flexibility and elasticity with bamboo extract, wheat amino acids and provitamin B5.

Space NK review: "This is my favourite leave-in conditioner for my low porosity 4c hair. It’s moisturising and it melts into my hair strands. I love the size of the leave-in conditioner because it lasts a long time. The most important thing for me on wash day is a good leave-in conditioner, with melanin haircare my wash days are more enjoyable."

African Pride Moisture Miracle Hydrate and Strengthen Leave-In Cream

Best coconut oil leave-in conditioner

African Pride Moisture Miracle Coconut Oil & Baobab Oil Hydrate and Strengthen Leave In CreamPhoto: Amazon

Rrp: $8.99

Price: $5.19
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Target$5.19View offer

Prepare for hydration and strengthened tresses with this leave-in. This contains a blend of two of our fave oils, coconut oil to condition and repair. Plus baobab oil to restore the hair. Use on dry or damp hair and let the leave-in work its magic.

Amazon review: "I love this cream. I have afro hair and I’ve tried A LOT of leave-in conditioners over the years, but I think I’ll be sticking with this one. It makes my hair very soft and smooth and gives it a lovely shine. It doesn’t leave too much build-up between hair washes either, and it smells really nice. I would highly recommend people to try this!! It’s great!!"

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner

Best Jamaican Black castor oil leave-in conditioner

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-In ConditionerPhoto: Amazon
Price: $19.91
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If like many of us, your hair is paying the price for too much heat damage or colour treatment, this product is a must-have. Shea Moisture has come through with this leave-in, which includes one of our fave products - Jamaican Black Castor Oil. It strengthens to help bring your hair back to health.

Amazon review: "SheaMoisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Conditioner has been a game changer for my haircare routine. It’s a power-packed conditioner that’s free of silicones and sulphates, making it a top-notch product for anyone, whether their hair is chemically processed, heat-styled, or natural...One of the most striking features is its incredible blend of ingredients. Jamaican Black Castor Oil, renowned for its nourishing properties, forms the heart of this product. Not only did it restore my hair’s health, but it also promoted a healthier scalp, which has aided in overall hair growth."

Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk

Best rice milk leave-in conditioner

Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milklook fantastic
Price: 9.59 (was 11.99)

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Anyone who has spent five minutes of hair TikTok, or HairTok, will know that rice water and rice milk are beloved on the platform. Rice milk has unique strengthening and fortifying abilities, and Camille Rose hair milk does just that. Combined with a trio of replenishing oils (Avocado, Castor and Macadamia Seed) softens tresses and seals strands to reinforce and prevent breakage.

Look Fantastic review: "My household has different curl types and this is one of best hair moisturizers we can all use on a daily basis and leaves our hair soo wonderful. I would definitely recommend, great for afro hair."

Why should you use a leave-in conditioner?

Afro hair requires a lot of maintenance, so it’s important that we take time to look after our hair so that it can remain as healthy as possible. Leave-in conditioners should be applied after shampooing and conditioning, but you may find that your hair needs a boost afterwards.

Leave-in conditioners can be used alongside other hair products you use to care for your tresses. Leave-ins are a great way of strengthening hair that may have been heat or colour damaged. If your hair is thick, this can also help make your locks more manageable.

How often should you apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair?

This is definitely down to personal choice and what you think is best for your hair. You may feel that your hair has all the moisture it needs after one use, but often a leave-in may have to be applied a few times before your next wash. Hair should be well moisturised, and a leave-in is great for this. Leave-ins can also be used regularly as a styling product to help revive curls.

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