6 Best Options for Water-Based Leave-In Conditioner

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woman with natural hair using water-based leave-in conditioner
Author Name: Beth Rush
Date: Monday July 18, 2022

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A good leave-in conditioner is essential to any curly girl’s hair routine. Natural hair needs plenty of extra moisture since it takes a long time for oils from the scalp to reach all the way to your ends. Without the proper product, your hair will likely end up frizzy and undefined. 

Many ladies turn to oil-based leave-in conditioners, thinking those oils will mimic their hair’s natural ones. However, they often prove too heavy for curls and weigh them down. Also, while oil is excellent for hair health, its job is to lock in moisture that’s already there. To add extra hydration and get the best results, you’ll want a water-based leave-in conditioner. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites to help you maintain your curls, reduce frizz and give your hair the moisture it craves. 

1. Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Quench Leave-In Conditioner

A green leave in conditioner bottle

The texture of this product melts right into your hair — a little goes a long way. It also works really well as a detangling product because it has a nice slip to it. It smells delicious but not too overpowering. This leave-in conditioner works well on wavy or kinky hair, offering great results for all curl types. The special ingredients in this stunner include shea butter, extra virgin olive oil and marshmallow root. 

$6.97 from Amazon

2. Paul Mitchell The Conditioner Original Leave-In

A white leave in conditioner bottle

Paul Mitchell knows hair. This leave-in conditioner goes on completely clear and dries that way too. The Hawaiian awapuhi helps tame frizz and bring much-needed moisture to your curls. Women using this often find their scalp is also less dry and flaky. The herbal scents of lavender and rosemary add to the spa-like experience. 

$34 from Amazon

3. Renpure Coconut Whipped Cream Leave-In Conditioner

A leave in conditioner

All of the options on this list are reasonably gentle. However, Renpure’s offering is the best choice for delicate strands — it’s free of dyes, gluten, propylene glycol, sulfates, parabens and phthalates. It’s also made from all-natural ingredients. The water base adds plenty of moisture while the extra virgin coconut oil locks it in place. If you love beachy smells, you must give this a whiff. 

 $23.16 from Amazon

4. Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner

 a Mizani leave in conditioner product

While Mizani 25 is one of the more expensive options, the results don’t disappoint. It has a convenient spray application, and the moisture it gives is incredibly long-lasting. In fact, this one is so intense that fine hair types may want to steer clear of this option. For those with coarse hair, Mizani 25 Miracle Milk is a dream. As a bonus, it also works as a heat protectant. For the best results, use it on freshly-washed, damp hair. 

$26 from Amazon

5. Mielle Organics White Peony Leave-In Conditioner

water based leave in conditioner - a Mielle leave in conditioner bottle

Mielle Organics brought it with this incredibly affordable option, available on their website or at some drugstores. The white peony water-based leave-in conditioner fights frizz and prevents damage from dry, broken locks. The only caution with this one is the smell — it’s nice but quite strong, so avoid it if you’re sensitive to scents. 

$10.39 from Amazon

6. Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Divine Strength Leave-In Cream

a Carol's Daughter leave in conditioner bottle

Let’s be honest — if you’ve tried anything from Carol’s Daughter, you know her products smell amazing. The Goddess Strength leave-in cream claims to deliver hair that’s 15 times stronger with 94% less breakage after one use. Castor and black seed oils protect hair from further damage as it grows. 

$12.97 from Amazon

Your Perfect Product Is Out There

Finding an option that’s just right for your hair type may take some trial and error. Hopefully, the recommendations on this list will get you started in the right direction. There’s definitely something here for everyone.

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