Detangler vs. Leave-In Conditioner: Is There a Difference?

When you think of “detangler,” you may think of sunkissed memories eating watermelon, cross-legged, on a poolside lounge chair while mom sprays a detangler aggressively on your strands; the spray bottle resembled a Narwhal mixed with an unfortunate-shaped fish while the aroma of alcohol-infused pears wafted up your nose… Oh, those glory days of summer.

While those carefree years are long behind you, the concept of detangling lives on. Think: kids detangler with an “adult” twist, a pinch of science, a whole lot of conditioning, and maybe a cocktail.

We may not have understood the purpose of a good, conditioning detangler back then, but we should now. My goal is to answer all of your burning questions on this topic like: is a detangler the same thing as a leave-in conditioner? And more...

Is leave-in conditioner the same as detangler?

Let’s start with the definitions:

A detangler deposits solution on the surface of the hair, smoothing the hair shaft by filling splits and breaks, reducing friction between your strands and making tangles easier to break apart.

Leave-in conditioner on the other hand, deposits a treatment solution containing vitamins, proteins and humectants that fortify the hair shaft for noticeable results immediately and over time as the solution repairs damaged hair.

The key differences between a detangler and leave-in conditioner are:

  1. Detangler has a thicker formula that needs to be washed from the hair with shampoo and conditioner while leave-in conditioner has a lighter formula that can stay in the hair without weighing it down.
  2. Leave-in conditioner can be used every day for styling and heat protection while you don’t need to use a detangler every day unless your hair is prone to tangles from color-treatment or type 3 or 4 hair.
  3. Leave-in conditioners can detangle hair but detanglers do not necessarily condition hair.

The Similarities

While there are a few key differences between leave-in conditioner and detangler, there are a handful of similarities:

  1. Both leave-in conditioner and detangler protect and treat the hair from future damage.
  2. Both leave-in conditioner and detangler can act as efficient heat protectants for heat styling (i.e. blow drying, straightening, etc.).
  3. Both products require the use of a wide-tooth comb to prevent damage to the hair shaft.

Do You Need a Detangler and a Leave-In Conditioner?

You do not need a detangler and a leave-in conditioner in your hair care routine.

As we discussed in “The Differences” section of this blog, leave-in conditioners can detangle hair but detanglers do not necessarily condition hair. Our Daily Dose® Spray can both condition and detangle hair, leaving your strands smooth and tangle-free.

Save your money and get yourself a product that can do both.

Tips to Detangle Your Hair Quickly

You tried that new Pinterest hair tutorial, the one with all the twists, bobby pins and hair spray... You looked fabulous, but now your hair is a tangled wreck. How do you detangle your hair quickly?

Step 1: Spritz your hair with Daily Dose. If you have long or thick hair, flip your head over and spritz to make sure you saturate every layer.

Step 2: Use your fingers to spread the hair apart and take care of the loose tangles. Then, part your hair into manageable sections using clips to hold the hair in place.

Step 3: Using a wide-tooth comb, start at the bottom of your strands and work your way up the crown of your head. This bottom-to-top approach will prevent your tangles from bunching up on each other.

 Three steps and you’re done!

How Do I Stop My Hair from Knotting?

The best way to groom your way into knot-freedom is by taking care of your hair and treating it with care.

Avoid aggressively brushing out matted knots without a detangler or conditioning treatment as this can cause your hair shaft to break off or split, which contributes to brittle, knot-prone strands. Also be sure to regularly apply a leave-in conditioner to protect and nurture your strands over time.

Pro Tip: If you plan on swimming laps or dipping in the pool for pure enjoyment, try applying a leave-in conditioner and putting your hair in braids or buns before you dunk. This will help you avoid tangles and knots.

What is Daily Dose?

Daily Dose® Leave-In Conditioner Detangler is a mist spray that smoothes unruly, frizzy, dry and damaged hair. Daily Dose is the best natural leave-in hair conditioner for all hair types (1-4), providing texture and adding shine with a non-greasy formula. Daily Dose® is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, gluten, iron oxide, mineral oil, synthetic colors, palm oil, polyethylene glycol, lead, and nuts. Daily Dose® is also cruelty-free and does not test on animals.

For more information on leave-in conditioner, checkout the following articles:

Author: Parris Cisna

Parris Cisna lives in Laguna Niguel, CA with her husband, Derek, and her dog Ludo (named after the Labyrinth with David Bowie). Parris has a BA in English from UCLA and an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications from WVU. With 9+ years of marketing experience in the beauty and fashion industries, Parris is smitten with all things hair care, skincare, couture and runway. In her spare time, Parris enjoys flipping through the pages of a historical fiction novels and fashion textbooks, baking the latest NY Times recipes, and hopping from thrift shop to thrift shop in Orange County.

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