Hairstylists Swear By These Holy-Grail Leave-In Conditioners to Combat Breakage

My flyaways annoyed me to no end. It seemed that no matter how much hair spray or smoothing product I'd put on my hair, they'd pop back up again an hour later. They were always out of control, sticking up in all the wrong places. One time, the little strands of hair even blocked my friend's face in a photo. I know, I know. It was getting out of hand, but it seemed like I was out of options!

For the most part, my hair is pretty healthy. I don't dye it, and I use heat tools and my hair dryer very sparingly. Sure, I've got split ends that need to be trimmed, but who doesn't? My biggest hair gripe was the dang flyaways.


(Image credit: @emmahoareau)

When I got tired of failing to smooth my hair with hair spray, I decided to venture out and try a new product: leave-in conditioner. I always thought leave-in conditioners were for dried-out and damaged hair only. I pictured them as greasy, too creamy, and too heavy for my stick-straight hair, which already needed a bit of help in the volume department. Boy, was I wrong.

After trying leave-in conditioner on my damp hair and air-drying it, I noticed the frizzy flyaways were tamed a bit more. Sure, a few popped up here and there, but it was still a big difference pre-product. And the best part? It stayed that way throughout the day and for a few days after. Now, I apply the product every time I wash my hair (a couple of times a week), and I think it's really nourishing my hair and controlling the unruly strands.

If flyaways aren't your hair problem, a leave-in conditioner can help solve a lot of other ones, too. There are formulas for different hair needs, so choose one that fits yours exactly. I needed something lightweight, but you might need something thicker and creamier if your hair is very dry. Or you might need a product that offers thermal protection from heat tools if you use them a lot.

What to Look For in a Leave-In Conditioner

If you have flyaways, split ends, or tangled strands, your hair may be damaged from everyday wear and tear or environmental aggressors. According to Brandie Devillier, platform educator at the Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute and certified color educator at Elevate Hair, finding the right products to use on your hair can provide quick and easy fixes for the biggest concerns. "Depending on what type of damage is going on, there are different ways to help," Devillier says. "Damage can happen from a variety of sources. For example, the sun, hard water, too much heat, overprocessed chemicals in color, tight braids or ponytails, and yes, even brushing can cause damage." Devillier's solution starts with a trip to the hair salon for recommendations on hair treatments from a trusted stylist.

To ensure the health of your hair, leave-in hair conditioners used alone or in tandem with other treatments, like acidic-based masks, will help close the hair strand and prevent any further damage, combat frizz, and strengthen the hair (say buh-bye to those pesky flyaways). Take a look at some of the leave-in conditioners I've tried for my flyaways and others for different hair needs.

Best Overall Leave-In Conditioner: Olaplex No.6 Bond Smoother Reparative Styling Creme

Best With Fragrance: Ouai Leave-In Conditioner

Best Frizz-Fighting: Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner

Best for Wavy & Curly Hair: Adwoa Beauty Baomint Leave-In Conditioning Styler


(Image credit: @kariseward)

Best for Bleached Hair: K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask

Best Drugstore: SheaMoisture Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner

Best for Hair Growth: Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner


(Image credit: @tamaramory)

Best for Fine Hair: Briogeo Farewell Frizz Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioner

Best for Dry Hair: Innersense Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner

Best for 4c Hair: Verb Curl Leave-In Conditioner


(Image credit: @monikh)

Best for Damaged Hair: It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product

Best Spray-On Application: Rahua Hydration Detangler + UV Barrier

Best for Natural Hair: Plumping Primer Body-Building Gelée


(Image credit: @joannacoops)

Best Heat Protection: Aveda Nutriplenish Leave-In Conditioner

Best Luxury: Oribe Priming Lotion Leave-In Conditioner Detangler

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Managing Editor

Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019. In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot). She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.