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Best Leave in Conditioners for 4C Hair: Our Top 17 Picks!

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Table of Contents

Best Leave in Conditioners for 4C Hair

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All hair needs moisture and special care, but those with 4C strands need to get extra particular about this pursuit.

The natural oils produced by your scalp have a hard time traveling down the bends and coils of your hair, so you need to find a good product to help supplement this hydration.

One key product you may be missing from your hair care regimen is a good leave-in conditioner. A leave-in conditioner can help to hydrate and detangle your strands, making them easier to style.

They also provide a barrier between your hair and the environment, which helps to lock in moisture and keep your hair shaft smooth.

If you’re on the hunt for a new leave-in, we did the research for you and found the best leave in conditioners for 4C hair. These formulas are designed specifically for kinky, coily textures!

We hope this information helps make styling your 4C hair a little bit easier!

What is a Leave in Conditioner?

A leave-in conditioner is a hair care product that you apply to your hair and do not rinse out. It is typically a creamy or liquid formula that is applied to damp or wet hair.

Leave-in conditioners contain ingredients that help to moisturize and protect your hair. They often contain oils, butters, and other emollients that help to coat the hair shaft and lock in moisture. They also help to detangle your hair, making it easier to style.

Does a leave in conditioner work for 4C hair?

In short, yes. Leave-in conditioners not only are an extension of your regular conditioner, but they’re also a good for those with 4C hair.

They can help improve manageability of the hair, and given that 4C hair has a tight texture, there is an increased risk of breakage when styling natural hair without leave-in conditioner.

Not all leave-in conditioners are created equal though. When selecting a leave-in conditioner, those with 4C hair should consider the following:

  • The leave-in conditioner should be easy to apply.
  • The leave-in conditioner should have a light hold.
  • The best leave-in conditioners for 4c hair will be those that are able to provide moisture without weighing the hair down.

How do leave in, rinse out, and deep conditioners differ?

The main difference between leave-in, rinse out, and deep conditioners is the amount of time that they are left in your hair.

Rinse-out conditioners are meant to be used after shampooing and are rinsed out of your hair.

They help to rehydrate, soften, strengthen, and protect strands, as well as smooth the cuticle to detangle and help tame frizz.

Deep conditioners are also meant to be used after shampooing, but they are left in your hair for a longer period of time, typically 20 minutes or more.

Deep conditioners contain higher concentrations of emollient and humectant ingredients than rinse-out conditioners. This help replenish lost moisture, strengthen elasticity, and help to repair any damage.

Leave-in conditioners are meant to be applied to damp or wet hair and are not rinsed out. They are typically left in your hair to provide moisture and protection.

What to Look For in a Leave In Conditioner for 4C Hair

African American woman with 4C hair type used for best leave in conditioner for 4c hair blog post.
Photo credit: Pinterest

In order to have healthy and hydrated hair, it is key that you understand the specific needs of your 4C hair.

This information can help you determine which ingredients to look for in a leave-in conditioner, as well as which ingredients to avoid.

First, consider your hair’s specific needs. Do you have dryness, damage, or frizz?

You’ll also want to make sure the product you choose is compatible with your styling method of choice.

Ingredients for Dry hair

If you’re someone who likes to air dry their hair, you’ll want a leave-in that won’t weigh down your strands.

4C hair is generally very dry, so it is important to find a leave-in conditioner that is heavy on moisture.

Look for products that contain hydrating ingredients like:

  • glycerin
  • aloe vera
  • shea butter
  • argan oil
  • olive oil
  • coconut oil
  • humectants

Ingredients for damaged hair

It’s important to use products that will boost your hair’s health when it is damaged, whether by heat styling tools, color, chemical processes, the weather (i.e. UV exposure), or just natural everyday wear and tear.

Protein is key for helping to repair damage, so look for leave-in conditioners that contain ingredients like:

  • hydrolyzed proteins
  • silk amino acids
  • peptides
  • plant and herbal extracts

Ingredients for frizz

If you’re struggling with frizz, you’ll want to look for products that contain ingredients that will help to smooth and control your hair.

Look for leave-in conditioners that contain:

  • plant oils
  • butter
  • silicones (use sparingly to avoid weighing down your hair)
  • honey

Other ingredients good for 4C hair:

  • slippery elm
  • horsetail leaf extract
  • nettle
  • hibiscus
  • marshmallow root

How to Use Leave-in Conditioners for 4C Hair

When using a leave-in conditioner, be sure to apply it to damp or wet hair. The water will help to evenly distribute the product throughout your strands.

  1. In order to keep your hair healthy and hydrated, apply the leave-in conditioner as recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Start by applying the product to your roots and working it through to the ends of your hair.
  3. Be sure to pay extra attention to any particularly dry or damaged areas.
  4. Once you’ve applied the leave in conditioner, you can style your hair as usual.
  5. If you find that your leave-in conditioner is weighing down your hair, try using less product or switching to a lighter formula.

Tips for Moisturizing 4C Hair

Video credit: Jenn Jackson

Now that you know what to look for, keep reading to find the best leave-in conditioners for 4C hair!

The Best Leave in Conditioners for 4C Hair

IMO Hibiscus Infusion Leave-In Unscented

If you are looking for a leave-in conditioner that can detangle and hydrate your hair, then the Hibiscus Infusion Leave-In Conditioner is perfect for you.

This conditioner is infused with high quality, nourishing, natural ingredients that provide intense hydration, conditioning and softness. It is perfectly pH balanced to close raised cuticles, making detangling and styling a breeze.

Adwoa Beauty Baomint™ Leave-In Conditioning Styler

The Adwoa Beauty Baomint™ Leave-In Conditioning Styler is a rich, creamy daily leave-in conditioner that is perfect for prepping kinky, coily textures.

This product is exceptionally moisturizing and helps to rehydrate and soften dry, parched hair. It is formulated with natural omega fatty acids that help to complement hair growth and growth retention when used as part of a healthy hair regimen.

4C Only Leave-in Conditioner

If you have dry, thirsty hair, 4C ONLY Too Soft Leave-In Conditioner is a must-have in your arsenal.

Made with all-natural ingredients, this leave-in conditioner will help to moisturize and lock in that moisture for lengthy kinks and coils that don’t break. Plus, it’s made by hand and is also Black-owned.

Strands of Faith Moisturizing Cream

This is a heavy-duty moisturizer that can be used as a leave in conditioner. This cream is packed with natural ingredients that will help provide intense moisture to your hair, smoothing and sealing the cuticles, and softening each strand. Can be used daily or every other day.

Aunt Jackie’s Quench Moisture Intensive Leave-In Conditioner

The Aunt Jackie’s Quench Moisture Intensive Leave-In Conditioner is an amazing product that provides long-lasting moisture, slip, and softness to your hair.

This conditioner is made with natural ingredients like marshmallow root, shea butter, and extra virgin olive oil, which help to hydrate and nourish your hair.

It is perfect for natural curls and coils, as it helps to eliminate dryness without a heavy feel.

Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner

This is a lightweight leave-in conditioner spray for curly and coily hair that helps restores moisture and shine to thick or thin natural hair.

It is made with moisturizing ingredients for hydration and no weigh down. This product transforms unmanageable, frizzy hair into incredibly moisturized and soft feeling hair.

Mielle Organics White Peony Leave-In Conditioner

Here is another lightweight leave in conditioner spray that helps seal in moisture, smooth hair shafts, and tame frizz and flyaways. It also protects hair from heat damage.

The conditioner contains organic ingredients such as white peony oil, green tea leaf extract, grapefruit seed extract, and more that help hydrate and restore dry, thirsty hair.

Uncle Funky’s Daughter Thirsty Curls Leave-In Curl Revitalizer

The Uncle Funky’s Daughter Thirsty Curls Leave-In Curl Revitalizer is a lightweight, coconut water-based mist that helps revive the bounce in frizzy, fallen curls.

The revitalizer aids in comb-out and styling, while the coconut milk helps eliminate shedding and promotes hair growth. It also contains nettle extract, coconut milk, chamomile flower, marigold, rosemary, and horestail.

These ingredients work together to add moisture, shine, and definition to your curls.

NaturAll Club Nourishing Avocado Moisturizer

NaturAll Club Nourishing Avocado Moisturizer is a lightweight, yet potent formula that helps defines natural hair texture while keeping hair hydrated and frizz-free.

It is perfect for natural, curly, coily hair types. The product can be used in place of a leave-in conditioner, as a refresher for second day hair, or as a daily styler.

EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea Natural Leave-In Conditioner

The EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea leave-in Conditioner is one of the best leave ins on the market. It absorbs quickly into the hair, locking in moisture while promoting curl definition. This lightweight conditioner can be used every day without causing build up, and it adds shine to the hair.

Taliah Wajid Shea-Coco Condition Daily Leave-In

This leave in conditioner is daily leave-in conditioner for hair that is lacking in moisture. It helps prevent shrinkage and protect hair from damage.

Shea butter, coconut oil and silk proteins penetrate the hair shaft to condition and strengthen while reducing frizz. With continued use, hair will be softer, smoother and more manageable.

Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner

This creamy, herbal leave in conditioner is enriched with botanical extracts and is designed to smooth the cuticle and remove knots, snarls and tangles.

I love that it’s organic and cruelty free, and it leaves my hair feeling soft, silky and knot-free. A little goes a long way, so be sure to use sparingly. I highly recommend this product for anyone with thick, curly or coily hair.

Camille Rose Naturals Honey Leave-In Treatment

Camille Rose Naturals Honey Leave-In Treatment is a unique golden honey syrup that provides maximum hair hydration.

It can be applied to damp hair after washing and cleansing, and will help to moisturize every strand. For best results, it should be followed with the Camille Rose Naturals Leave-In Collection Step 2 Latte and Herbal Tea. Honey transforms into a natural emollient hair softener and smoother.

Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave In Conditioner

If you’re looking for a Leave-In Conditioner that can do it all, then this is for you!

This amazing product contains lemongrass oil, which helps to strengthen hair follicles, promote healthy hair growth, reduce hair shedding, soothe dry hair and itchy scalp, and add shine to every strand.

Plus, it provides extra moisture, definition, and overall softer, shinier strands. It’s great as a light-weight styler and can be used daily as a detangler on all hair types and textures – even locs!

Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Leave-In Treatment

You can never go wrong with Shea Moisture products! This is 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Leave-In Treatment that helps detangle and soften hair while preventing frizz.

The rich blend of virgin coconut oil and creamy coconut milk smooths hair to ensure it stays tangle-free, while the acacia senegal delivers intense hydration to keep hair moisturized. The leave-in treatment also helps add shine to your curls and coils.

Soultanicals Knot Sauce Coil Detangler

Looking for a delicious detangler that will make your hair super soft? Then this is the one for you!

This product is made with blue malva herb, broccoli seed oil and coconut nectar, all of which work together to create a product that is easy to spread through your hair, and leaves it feeling soft and silky. I love this product!

Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-in Conditioner

Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-in Conditioner is a must-have for curly hair. It helps provide a protective shield against heat damage and primes coils, curls and waves for a detangled, frizz-free finish.


How do you identify 4c hair?

The best way to identify 4C hair is by its texture. 4C hair is generally very tightly coiled, with a range from fine to thin to coarse texture that are densely packed together. It is also very prone to shrinkage, so it often appears much shorter than it actually is.

There are hair typing charts available that can help you to determine your hair type. However, For me, it’s much easier to define hair types by texture rather than attempting to decipher which charts overlap.

What is the Maximum Hydration Method for 4C hair?

The Maximum Hydration Method is a series of steps that is designed with low porosity hair in mind. It helps to achieve ultra-hydrated (or “maximum hydration”), frizz free 4c hair.

The steps may seem like a lot, but once you get the hang of it, it’s actually quite easy and the results are amazing!

Video credit: OnlyOneJess

How often should you moisturize 4C hair?

You can moisturize your hair every other day, depending on the following factors: 

  • Your hair porosity level
  • The current condition of you hair 
  • The climate in which you live  
  • Product choices

Ideally, you should moisturize your 4C hair at least every other day. If your hair is particularly dry or damaged, you may need to moisturize more often.


I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

My Favourite Things

Great hair goes beyond using shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. Shop my favorite must-haves.

After years of requests, I’m finally sharing my go-to skincare products.

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Prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure and make sure to pack these essential items to take with you on your journey.


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