Should you use leave-in conditioners? If you asked me this question four months ago the answer would be yes. My hair regime used to be: lather… rinse… repeat, condition in the shower, add Infusium 23 to my wet hair and torture it for two hours under the dryer and then top it off with with some carrot hair oil.
These days my regime is a bit different, I have tweaked it to the point where I unintentionally left out my leave-in conditioner and guess what? My hair doesn’t miss it! Most of the things that I was told that my hair really needed are things that my hair does quite fine without.
The Role of Leave-in Conditioners
Leave-in conditioners are supposed to soften, smooth and repair hair shaft damage (it does so by smoothing over cracks in the hair shaft). It cannot repair split ends. I am instantly suspicious of any product that purports to repair split ends, surprisingly many hair product marketers do make that claim. Fact: SPLIT ENDS CAN NOT BE REPAIRED. They can be cut off so that they do not split up to the hair root but once they split repairing them is impossible. Get them while the split is still small and do not waste your money of products that claim to repair splits ends.
Many persons swear by their leave-ins, in fact, some of them make very good moisturizers and can keep hair soft and moisturized for the week. My advice to anyone who wants to use leave-in conditioners is to look at the ingredients on the bottles. Read the ingredients on all your product labels but be wary of anything that will be sitting on your hair for days. If the ingredients are carcinogenic (cause cancer) then you need to tread softly. If the ingredients contain alcohol, do not use it for your hair. Alcohol in any form dries out hair and leaves it stiff and straw like.
Do not use the leave-in conditioner if it has on the ingredients list “contains other ingredients”. Your hair is close to your brain, do not take a chance on what the other ingredients might be. You will be surprise at how nasty some hair product ingredients can be.
A friend of mine makes her own homemade leave-in conditioner by buying a sulphate, silicone free conditioner and adding vegetable glycerine to the hair recipe along with coconut oil. She puts this in a spray bottle and dilutes it with almost half the bottle filled with filtered water. She has used it for years and it works for her.
I like to think that if you deep condition your hair properly then using the leave-in conditioner is conditioning overkill. However, if you use an ordinary conditioner which just coats the hair, then a good leave-in conditioner will be a great solution to soften, smooth and repair your hair.