Do you wash out leave-in conditioner? Can you use it in your hair without washing first?

woman holds leave-in conditioner and comb

  • No, don’t wash out leave-in conditioner from your hair. And you can use it even on days you don’t wash your hair, although you should always wet your hair before applying it.
  • What makes leave-in conditioner different from regular conditioner is that you don’t rinse it out of the hair, as the name implies. You should leave it in.
  • While you apply traditional conditioner to your hair during shampooing, leave it on for two or three minutes and then rinse it out, you apply leave-in conditioner to wet hair and leave it on until the next wash.
  • Below, I’ll tell you which leave-in conditioner you can choose depending on your hair type.


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One of my clients’ most frequently asked questions in the salon is:  What is the difference between a leave-in conditioner and a traditional conditioner? 


And usually, that question leads to the next one: why can’t you leave the regular conditioner in your hair for several days?


The answers to these two questions are simple:

  •  The difference between leave-in conditioners and regular conditioners is their composition.  Leave-in conditioners have a lighter chemical composition and longer-lasting ingredients. And traditional conditioner is thicker, contains creamier moisturizing agents, and acts immediately.
  • That’s why if you leave a traditional conditioner in your hair for several days without rinsing it, it will go hard and dull.


woman shows creamy consistency leave-in conditioner

With these differences in mind, now you know. You don’t wash out leave-in conditioner. It’s designed so you can leave it in your hair until the next wash without damaging your hair.

Why should you keep leave-in conditioner in your hair until the next wash?


 You can use it to moisturize, control frizz, and nourish your hair. Leave it in for 2 or 3 days. You can even use it to style your hair. 

How should you use it? That’s what I’ll talk about next.


How to use leave-in conditioner correctly

damp hair before applying leave-in conditioner

 You can use leave-in conditioner anytime. That is, you don’t have to use it right when you finish washing your hair. 


However, you should always apply it to damp hair.

  • Wash your hair with your usual shampoo and rinse it out.
  • Apply your usual conditioner and rinse it out.
  • Remove the excess water from your hair with a towel and detangle it.
  • Your hair shouldn’t be dripping before you apply the leave-in conditioner.
  • Apply the leave-in conditioner without touching the roots of your hair.
  • Style your hair to your liking.  Don’t rinse out the leave-in conditioner. 


 On the days when you don’t wash your hair, just dampen it, towel off the excess water, and apply the leave-in conditioner. 


Okay, so you know how to apply leave-in conditioner. You also know you shouldn’t rinse it out of your hair afterward. But do you know how often to use it? Read on.


How often to apply leave-in conditioner

Shea Moisture Leave-In Conditioner

Actually,  you can use leave-in conditioner every day or every time you wash your hair .


It all depends on the leave-in conditioner you use. Some are designed for daily use, while others should only be applied to your hair every two or three days.

My advice is to read the instructions for the leave-in conditioner you choose. Why? Because if you use a conditioner every day that’s meant to be used every three days, your hair will become dull and heavy.

So before choosing a leave-in conditioner, think about your hair’s characteristics and needs. There are many types of conditioners, even for keratin-treated hair.


  •  If you want to keep your hair frizz-free , you can use SheaMoisture Daily Hydration Leave-In Treatment, because it’s for daily use.
  •  If your hair is damaged , you can use Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Leave-In Conditioner two or three times a week.
  •  If your hair is curly and you want to shape your curls , you can opt for Renpure Coconut Whipped Cream leave-in conditioner and use it two or three times a week.
  •  If your hair gets extra tangled after you wash it , you can use Pantene Moisture Leave-In conditioner in spray form, which will help you detangle while moisturizing and repairing it.
  •  If your hair is straight and fine , you can use L’Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths No Haircut Cream Leave-In Conditioner, which comes in spray form. It will add moisture without taking away volume from your hair.



You don’t wash out leave-in conditioner from your hair. Leave it in until the next wash. You should always apply it to wet hair. Choose a leave-in conditioner depending on your hair’s needs and characteristics.

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