What is the Difference Between Leave In Conditioner and Regular Conditioner?

There are several key differences between leave-in conditioner and regular conditioner. Let’s examine these differences below.

The first difference concerns the application of these products. Regular conditioners are meant to be applied to the hair and rinsed out after a short time (after about a minute or two). On the other hand, leave-in conditioners are meant to be applied to the hair and not rinsed out.

According to Adore Beauty, traditional conditioners are used to rehydrate hair after shampooing, strengthen the hair, and protect it from damage. Leave in-conditioners, by contrast, are used to rehydrate hair between shampoo sessions. They are good for keeping the hair looking soft, shiny, and manageable. 

Regular conditioners are usually formulated with heavier moisturizers and conditioning agents. This ensures that your hair can benefit from the conditioner application within the minute or two that it is sitting on your hair. This also is important to note because, if a conditioner is intentionally left in the hair, the ingredients will cause build up, itchiness, and irritate the scalp. Contrarily, leave-in conditioners are usually made of lightweight conditioning agents that moisturize, condition, and smooth your hair for an extended amount of time, so you can leave the product in without washing it out. 

It’s important to incorporate both a leave-in conditioner and a rinse-out conditioner into your regimen to optimize your hair's health. Use your leave-in conditioner to keep your hair moisturized and looking healthy in between shampoos. Your rinse-out conditioner should never be skipped, as it imparts much-needed moisturizing and conditioning benefits to the hair. 

For more information on leave-in conditioner checkout the following posts: https://www.dailydoseme.com/blogs/faq/can-you-use-a-leave-in-conditioner-everyday


Sources: https://www.adorebeauty.com.au/conditioner/guide/conditioner-types

Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.

1 comment


Hi Dearest Andrea,
I was looking for information about conditioners. I just loved the way you described this as a journey. It’s funny, I would have never thought of it that way before….except that I’m finding out that it really is a journey. I’ve had so many problems with my skin and hair. Problems that as an older person, I thought I would never have. Cheers to you my dear, for being such an encouragement to others like myself.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published