(In-Depth) Difference between Conditioner and Leave-In Conditioner

A great leave-in conditioner is one of the most versatile styling products you can use in your hair care routine. Knowing how to use a leave-in conditioner and when you can use a leave-in conditioner is key to achieving healthy, hydrated hair. Often times, people wonder what is the purpose of leave-in conditioner and do I even need a leave-in conditioner. If you already use a conditioner after shampooing, your probably thinking “Why the need for one more product?” There is a difference between conditioner and leave-in conditioner and can work wonders when used correctly. 

What is the purpose of conditioner? 

Regular rinse out conditioner is formulated to help restore the strength of hair and protect against breakage. Conditioners work by lubricating hair cuticles and neutralizing the negative charge in hair fibers by adding a positive charge. Rinse out conditioners act as a protective coating for your hair, sealing cuticles to prevent breakage. They are best used when they are left to sit for 2-5 minutes depending on the brand you are using. 

What happens if you don't wash out conditioner?

While in theory, it may sound like a great idea not washing out conditioner, but in fact, it is bad to let conditioner dry in your hair without rinsing it out. Consequently, it has a more damaging effect when left on your hair. To me, it is one of the ickiest feelings when I miss a spot when rinsing out conditioner. Hair becomes thick, heavy, and sticky. (To be honest, it looks gross, too!) 

When a heavy conditioner is left in hair, it makes it almost impossible to style. It’s so weighted down, there isn’t any volume to it, and because it has such a thick coat of conditioner on it, heat styling tools can’t penetrate past the oily barrier created from it. 

Do I need a leave-in conditioner?

Regardless of your hair type, everyone needs a leave-in conditioner. After shampooing and conditioning your hair, a leave-in conditioner is the ultimate step 3 product of any hair care routine. And if you wash your hair everyday, then yes, you can use a leave-in conditioner everyday, too!  

After GENTLY towel drying your hair, lift your hair into sections as you spray evenly all over, ensuring you reach both the top and underneath, paying special attention to the tip of your hair. The ends of hair strands are the oldest and most damaged part of hair and in need of moisture the most. This makes combing wet hair so much easier. 

Do you put leave-in conditioner on wet or dry hair?

One of the great features of Daily Dose Leave In-Conditioner is that it can be applied to dry hair as well. If you notice that your hair is breaking when brushing it, apply a few sprays to the ends of your hair. Just a little bit will do. This will help soften it without creating an oily look and feel. 

I like to spray it all over my hair before brushing it out right before I wash it. Since I started doing this, I have noticed a dramatic decrease in the breakage of my hair. And because of less breakage, my hair is getting longer, quicker! 

Related Hair Type Articles and TIPS

What Type of Hair Do You Have? Tips for Different Hair Types

How to Use a Leave-In Conditioner

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions & Hair Tips

Author: Jessica Biggs

Jessica is a wife, mother, teacher, writer, and marketer. Like a moth to a flame, she is drawn to all things pretty, sparkly, and shiny and believes there is no such thing as natural beauty. When she is not working, in her spare time she dreams of the day where all she has to do is lay on a beach somewhere and endless frozen concoctions with little pink umbrellas are served to her on a silver platter. Until then, she will just settle for summers in the backyard. You can follow her on twitter @jessbiggs11 or Facebook @jessicadillardbiggs

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