best leave in conditioner for curly hair

Best Leave-in Conditioner for Curly Hair: 10 CGM-Approved Options 2022

How many times have you heard that you have to use a leave-in conditioner if you want to have frizz-free curls? Probably countless. If you are still doubting if you need this product or maybe just looking for something new and CGM-approved, Google has brought you to the right place.

Leave-in conditioners are irreplaceable when we are talking about curly hair care. They should be used after washing but before applying styling products, such as hair gel or hair mousse. Most of them are moisturizing and can restore your mane from everyday damage or breakage. 

Today I’ll review the 8 best leave-in conditioners for curly hair and explain why you need leave-in conditioner in the first place. 

Note: If you click on any link & decide to buy it, I may earn a small commission.

10 best CGM leave-in conditioners in 2022

#1 Best overall leave-in conditionerMielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner

#2 Best leave-in conditioner for wavy hairCurlsmith Weightless Air Dry Cream

#3 Best spray leave-in conditioner – Eva NYC Bounce Back Curl Reviving Mist

#4 Best drugstore leave-in conditioner – Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner

#5 Best curl activator for wavy & curly hair – Cantu Avocado Curl Activator Cream

#6 Best moisturizing leave-in conditioner – Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk

#7 Best leave-in conditioner for men – Scotch Porter Moisture Rich Leave-In Hair Conditioner

#8 Best natural leave-in conditioner – Innersense Natural Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner

#9 Best *fancy* leave-in conditioner – Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Creme

#10 Best leave-in conditioner for kidsCARA B Naturally Leave-In Conditioner

To keep it short, the best leave-in conditioners are the ones without silicones, waxes, and drying alcohol. You should avoid these ingredients in your usual hair care routine products as well. That’s why all these leave-in conditioners are curly girl method-approved.

Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner
  • Deeply moisturizes and penetrates your curls
  • Only natural & organic ingredients strengthen hair
  • Tames even unruliest hair
  • It doesn't weigh curls down or leave that unpleasant greasy residue
  • Bouncy, shiny locks without stickiness or crispiness
  • Gives enhanced, naturally looking curls
  • Cruelty-free
Curlsmith Weightless Air Dry Cream
  • This lightweight formula works perfectly for waves and curls
  • Castor oil stimulates, babassu oil boosts the health of your hair, hyaluronic acid ensures proper moisture, and shea butter nourishes your waves
  • Suitable for fine and normal hair
  • Doesn't contain protein
  • Not the best option for coils as this leave-in might not be moisturizing enough
  • Vegan & cruelty-free
Eva NYC Bounce Back Curl Reviving Mist
  • Great both as leave-in and as the next-day curls reviver
  • Aloe leaf juice and cactus flower extract ensure proper hydration
  • Color safe, free of silicones, phthalates, and parabens
  • Enhances curls without leaving them stripped or oily
  • Leaves hair soft to the touch
  • Vegan & cruelty-free
Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner
  • Smooth the cuticles and get rid of knots with this detangling leave-in conditioner
  • Tames frizzy and knotty hair while providing a definition
  • Very moisturizing, so could be used as your regular conditioner as well
  • Perfect for high porosity hair
  • Free from protein & glycerin
  • Cruelty-free
Cantu Avocado Curl Activator Cream
  • This product is awesome, and you have to try it
  • Might be too heavy for loose curls or waves; however
  • Only use a pea size of this product if you have type 3A or 3B curls
  • Great price for the size
  • Moisturizes and hydrates your hair
  • Creates perfect natural curl pattern
  • Cruelty-free
Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk
  • A softening leave-in conditioning cream with light notes of macadamia nut and vanilla
  • Rice milk offers potent vitamins A, D, and B12
  • Macadamia oil seals strands, aiding in breakage prevention
  • Slippery elm bark softens and smooths the hair shaft for detangling benefits
  • Perfect for colder weather when curls become overly dry
  • Great for 2nd-day curl refresh
  • Works wonders for curly and coily hair types
Scotch Porter Moisture Rich Leave-In Hair Conditioner
  • Only natural ingredients that smooth and define your hair
  • White willow bark, kale protein & biotin strengthen and moisturizes curls, leaving them smooth & shiny
  • It doesn't make your hair look greasy or dull
  • Specially made for textured & coarse hair
  • Clean scent
  • Black-owned business
  • Vegan & cruelty-free
Innersense Natural Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner
  • Super lightweight and moderately moisturizing Innersense leave-in is completely organic
  • Adds volume and makes your hair more manageable
  • Helps to detangle hair
  • Suitable for straight, curly, and coily hair. Safe for color treated hair
  • Contains protein & glycerin
  • Paraben and gluten-free
  • Cruelty-free
Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Creme
  • Forget frizz, tangles, and knots with this Briogeo Curl Charisma leave-in
  • Helps to define curl pattern and keep your curls moisturized at all times
  • Lightweight
  • Contains protein & glycerin so this might not be your cup of tea if you have protein-sensitive curls or coils
  • Infused with avocado oil and tomato fruit ferment to hydrate your hair and enhance shine
  • No parabens, phthalates, DEA, or artificial dyes
  • Cruelty-free
CARA B Naturally Leave-In Conditioner
  • Shea butter and jojoba oil reduces frizz and keeps hair moisturized
  • Makes hair manageable and soft
  • Great for those with sensitive scalp
  • Lightweight and doesn't leave an oily residue
  • Allergen-free


When should I apply leave-in conditioner?

Apply it after washing and conditioning your hair but before styling it. Leave-in conditioner helps to detangle your curls, leaving them moisturized and prepped for hair styling.

Do you need to wash out the leave-in conditioner?

No, that’s the main point of using it in the first place. You don’t have to rinse it as you want a leave-in conditioner to moisturize and protect your hair throughout the day.

Can you use regular conditioner instead of leave-in conditioner?

It is not recommended as the regular conditioner might weigh your hair down and make it oily. However, hair stylist Trisha Chapman says that you can try using your regular conditioner as a leave-in if you have overly dry, dull hair.

What is a leave-in conditioner?

Leave-in conditioner is a conditioner that you don’t have to rinse out; therefore, it moisturizes and protects your hair from external damage. This product also ensures extra hydration and adds much-wanted shine to your locks. It is often used after your usual washday routine but before applying hair styling products.

Leave-in conditioner is highly beneficial for those with curly hair as curls are often dry because of the hair texture. If you want your curls to pop, they have to be well-hydrated, and it is impossible to achieve that without using extra products. As said before, a leave-in conditioner locks the moisture in your hair strand, leaving your hair moisturized until the next wash day.

Air pollution, sun, chemical damage, and other external factors suck up the moisture out of your hair like a vacuum, so it is beneficial to use a leave-in conditioner for any hair type, straight, wavy, curly, or coily. You can use leave-in on damp or dry hair most of the time. Always read the label before using the product.

Straight and wavy hair would benefit from lightweight leave-in conditioner, while curly and coily hair types must get more hydration; therefore, it is recommended to use products with shea butter or heavier oils, such as coconut.

If you have fine hair or frizzy hair, it might take time to find the best product for you. Don’t give up!


Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a thousand products to keep your curly hair healthy, shiny, and hydrated. Good shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in are the three things that you need. If you want to go an extra step, use hair gel or hair mousse for styling.

Using a leave-in conditioner can make a big difference to your curls. Keep your hair shiny, healthy, and voluminous with the curly girl method-approved leave-in conditioners mentioned above!

Get the hair you deserve!