Best Leave-in Conditioner for 4C Hair: Top 10 Reviewed

These are just some of the characteristics of 4C hair, often referred to as the kinky African type of hair. While 4C hair types may seem the most resistant of them all, it’s the entire opposite. 4C hair types are the most prone to breakage. And a lot of care is needed to keep it in its prime condition. How to ensure a healthy 4C hair type? The best leave-in conditioner for 4C hair types can keep you tame those rebellious curls!

Even coiled curls are beautiful, you just have to learn how to tame them!

So shall we go on ahead?

10 Best Leave-in Conditioner for 4C Hair ( Product Review)

Soft and manageable kinky curls. Yes, it can be achieved!

Ditch the permanent straighteners that strip the life of your hair. Embrace your natural curls and feel beautiful at the same time!

These products will make life easier for you! No more bad curl days!

1. Kinky Curly

Best Leave-in Conditioner for 4C Hair

Tame and moisturize your curls with kinky curly. Your 4C hair will surely be frizz and drama- free.

Ingredients

  • Kinky curly contains lemongrass, elm, marshmallow root, and mango fruit extract

Yes, it truly lives by its name. It’s one of the best products for type 4 hair. All-natural moisturizes and detangles your knots easily. It has quite a sweet-smelling scent too. It also doesn’t drag your hair down and it feels so light. 

What makes it a frontrunner in detangling is the organic elm and marshmallow root. Elm is slimy so it is very effective in detangling and conditioning your hair.

Marshmallow root, on the other hand, is a natural hydrator. It conditions the strand from within. The combination of this makes Kinky Curly a must-have in your vanity kit.

Pros

  • Contains natural ingredients
  • An effective detangler
  • Has a nice coconut smell
  • Can be used as a rinse-out or leave-in conditioner

Cons

  • It’s expensive

What we love the product

  • This is one of those brands that you would just slather on your hair after removing your braids and extensions. It’s just so moisturizing yet it feels so light. We love how defined our curls became. It felt like we just came from a salon!

2. OUIDAD Moisture Lock Leave-in Conditioner

Best Leave-in Conditioner

OUIDAD is teeming with natural extracts that have superior moisturizing qualities.

Ingredients

  • OUIDAD contains prickly pear cactus extract, green tea, arnica extract, and Vitamin B5

This brand contains several natural botanicals that you might not find in other leave-in conditioners for thick hair. The combination of these ingredients provide a lasting hydration effect on the hair, repairs and moisturizes the hair cuticle from within. All of these, without ever leaving any build-up or greasy after-feel. 

Let’s take a look at how these natural essences work.

Green tea is very rich in antioxidants and protects the hair cuticles. Arnica extract might not be that familiar to most, but it has many hair benefits. It cleanses the scalP of excess dirt and oil. And you can say goodbye to split ends as arnica extract will make your hair healthier by the strands! 

Pros

  • Makes hair shiny and frizz-free
  • Infused with natural botanicals
  • A little goes a long way
  • Doesn’t weigh the hair down
  • Perfect moisturizer for a rainy day

Cons

  • It’s quite expensive
  • May contain silicone

Why we love the product

  • Well, it wasn’t named moisture lock for no good reason! The organic ingredients in OUIDAD form some sort of a forcefield against humidity. And you know how humidity can wreak havoc to your curly hair right? This results in a moisturized, soft, and more defined curls. And it smells like powder too!

3. Neutrogena Triple Moisture

Leave-in Conditioner for 4C Hair

Over processed and damaged hair? Neutrogena Triple moisture can make your lifeless hair healthy again.

Ingredients

  • Neutrogena Triple Moisture contains meadowfoam, sweet almond, and olive
  • It has UV filters that protect hair from the sun’s harmful rays

Too much heat and styling left your kinky hair in dire need of some tender loving care. This is specially formulated for over-processed and extra dry hair.

Pros

  • Moisturizes the hair strands from within
  • Offers additional protection from the drying effect of the sun
  • Has a fancy smell of spring flowers
  • Works for those with seborrheic dermatitis
  • Hydrates dry and over processes kinky hair
  • It’s creamy and thick so a little goes a long way
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Though it has a nice flowery scent, some users find it too overpowering

Why we love the product

  • If you feel like there’s no more hope for your damaged hair, well, this is your hope in a bottle. We love how the combination of the three natural botanicals make the hair healthy again. Despite overexposure to various styling methods, you can have healthy curls again. It nourishes and hydrates each strand from within. And even the ends are can fully recover from extensive damage! This has to be a staple in your vanity kit. It’s on top of our recommendation for the best deep conditioner for natural hair

4. Alikay naturals (lemon grass)

Add more structure to your lovely kinky hair with Alikay Naturals leave-in conditioner in a spray bottle!

Ingredients

  • Alikay Naturals contains lemongrass, aloe vera, and amino acids   

One of the common dilemmas of having kinky is hair shrinkage. 4C hair tends to shrink to as much as 70 percent. That’ll make your hair look shorter and less defined. The moisturizing ingredients penetrate each strand to the core. This leaves curly hair manageable, soft, and more defined.

Pros

  • Has a zesty lemon scent
  • Can be used on wet or dry hair
  • Detangles knots easily
  • Moisturizes and softens the hair
  • Leaves a cooling sensation on the scalp
  • Makes curls more defined
  • Lessens hair shrinkage
  • Tames unruly kinky hair

Cons

  • He nozzle on the spray bottle can be improved
  • Doesn’t feel heavy on the hair

Why we love the product

  • This is one of our top recommendations for the best leave-in conditioner for 4c natural hair. It simply works without the greasy after-feel. We love how it makes kinky hair a bit longer and oh, the well-defined curls, you have to enjoy for yourself. The lemon zest is an extra! It’s a great pick me up scent too!
  • We also love how moisturizing it is to the hair yet it feels so light. It doesn’t feel greasy at all. It left our hair feeling fresh, cool and revitalized. It’s a two thumbs up for us!

5. As I Am

This organic, all-natural leave-in also promotes hair growth! It’s quite light and can be used every day. 

This may be one of the top contenders for an all-natural leave in for 4C hair! Lightweight, easy to use, and it softens your coarse hair with Mother nature’s bounty.

Ingredients

  • As I contain green tea extract, lemon peel extract, beetroot extract, saw palmetto and coconut extract

Pros

  • Aids in hair growth
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Feels very light
  • Defines curls
  • effectively hydrates hair
  • doesn’t have a greasy after-feel
  • The consistency is easy to distribute (gel-like)
  • Smells nice and fresh

Cons

  • The bottle packaging is not convenient to use

Why we love the product

  • It definitely works. It’s all organic and all-natural, no chemicals whatsoever, yet it works! Our curly hair was moisturized to the tip. And if you’ve got a bit of a bald spot, this can help cover it up. It can help you grow back that patch of hair!

6. Milk Shake

Dreaming of smooth and soft hair with vibrant colours? Milk Shake leave-in conditioner rejuvenates dried hair and keeps colors as lively as ever. And it comes in a spray bottle too.

Ingredients

  • Yogurt and milk
  • Milk Shake also contains fruit extracts from papaya, sunflower, strawberry, and honey. 

Yogurt. Milk, and proteins. These are good for your body. And what’s good for your body is good for your skin too! Enriched with vital proteins, these substances strengthen your hair and protect it from further damage. Proteins repair your muscles and it can repair your hair’s structure too. 

Pros

  • Has a nice luxurious scent
  • The fruit extracts give hair a lasting shine
  • Keeps the hair color vibrant and long-lasting
  • Reverses damage caused by too much heat
  • Keeps frizziness at bay
  • Gives extra protection from the sun’s heat

Cons

  • The packaging can be improved
  • Quite expensive 
  • Can leave hair a bit greasy

Why we love the product

  • The spray bottle is too convenient for us! The unique combination of the protein-rich substances and Vitamin E can protect your hair’s color. It’s also quite handy if you’re heading out to the beach! Milk Shake can protect your colored hair from the damaging effects of the sun and chlorine. And if you’re craving for cake, the smell of this one might trigger your cravings all the more!

7. ArtNaturals Argan Oil

Feel like having your hair spa at home with the deep moisturizing effect of ArtNaturals Argan oil. It has a rich combination of organic substances, proteins, and vitamins that fortified each hair strand. 

Ingredients

  • ArtNaturals contains Argan oil, aloe vera, thyme, rosemary, white willow bark, oats, quinoa, and wheat proteins.

Artnaturals contains coconut oil, argan oil, aloe vera, keratin, and Vitamin E. These powerful botanicals helps your hair recover from dryness and styling damage. Argan oil, the main component of this brand, is coveted for its superior moisturizing and hydrating properties. It coats each strand and acts as a barrier from damage.  

Pros

  • Has natural and organic ingredients
  • Paraben and sulfate-free
  • Has a great scent 
  • Works great for color-treated hair
  • Has an affordable price
  • Leaves hair soft and smooth

Cons

  • You have to use a lot to get the desired results
  • May contain silicone
  • Not ideal for oily scalp

Why we love the product

  • When you’ve kinky hair, it’s often inevitable to style it every single day. That could leave your hair stripped of moisture. And you know how 4C hair can be prone to breakage and damage! ArtNaturals can revive your kinky hair’s lost glory. It’s like having your bottle of salon products ready to use anytime, anywhere!

8. TGIN Green Tea

Infused with green tea, this brand is a natural moisturizer and detangler in one bottle! It’s an antioxidant-rich leave-in conditioner.

Ingredients

  • TGIN Green tea contains green tea, argan oil, sunflower seed, shea butter, pro-Vitamin B5, rosemary extract, and castor seed oil

Pros

  • Helps in hair growth
  • Detangles knots and frizz
  • Doesn’t contain silicone
  • A little goes a long way
  • Effectively softens the hair
  • Adds more moisture to curls

Cons

  • Some find the green tea scent a bit synthetic
  • Has an awful synthetic scent
  • May contain phenoxyethanol ( skin and lung irritant)
  • A bit pricey

Why we love the product

  • Super moist. It lives by its name. 
  • It left our curly hair as soft as the clouds! It added a great layer of moisture to the curls and keeps it that way longer. Moreover, this brand is very rich in antIoxidants. No wonder it can do wonders to dry and lifeless hair. Hair becomes very easy to manage and style too. If your hair always ends up in tangles, this is a great product to loosen those unruly curls!

9. Shea moisture

All-natural Jamaican castor oil leave-in conditioner. Shea Moisture is made for coarse curly hair.

Ingredients

  • Shea Moisture contains black castor oil, peppermint, organic shea butter, and keratin

What makes this product stand out is its main ingredient- Jamaican castor oil. This coveted oil is very ideal for those with thick curly and kinky hair. It can also cleanse your scalp of the excess dirt, flakes, and oil. That’s why it also works well for those suffering from seborrheic dermatitis. And if you have sparse curly hair, this natural botanical can help thicken your hair strands too.

Pros

  • Repairs split ends
  • Can be used as a detangler
  • Keeps hair shiny
  • Doesn’t weigh down hair
  • Has organic ingredients
  • Provides the needed extra moisture for curly and kinky hair

Cons

  • The consistency of the cream is quite runny and thin
  • Can dry the hair a bit
  • Has an unpleasant smell
  • The formulation has changed

Why we love the product

  • No more excuses not to look fab with your kinky hair! Shea moisture lets you enjoy your natural curls, with a ton of moisture too! Though it can work with all hair types, this brand specifically targets 4C hair. We love how our hair stayed shiny even after a day! So, yes we didn’t shower then, just to check the claims!

10. Miss Jessie’s

Miss Jessie’s maybe one of the most lightweight leave-in conditioners for 4C hair! You get soft and volumized curls without the dragging feeling.

Ingredients

  • Miss Jessie’s contains soybean and aloe

Miss Jessies contains several hard to pronounce ingredients. But the good thing is that it contains these two natural botanicals that made it a go-to product of some. It’s like a rescue in a bottle. A detangler, anti-frizz, and moisturizer in one. Let’s look at what makes this brand very effective. 

First up, soybean. It might be a staple in Chinese cooking, this oil also does your hair good. Soybean can penetrate the roots of each strand and moisturize it from within. It’s very rich in omega-three fatty acids and what’s good for your body is good for your hair too, right?

And then there’s aloe. Aloe is a natural conditioner and makes hair smooth and shiny.

Pros

  • Fights the frizz and detangles knots effectively
  • doesn’t leave the hair greasy
  • Gives shinier and more defined curls for days
  • A little goes a long way
  • Can be used as a styling prep
  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • The smell is a bit overpowering for some
  • Can dry the hair a bit
  • Contains alcohol
  • Quite hard to find in stores

Why we love the product

  • It feels like you haven’t applied any product to your scalp at all. It’s very light yet it adds a nice layer of protection on your hair. And it can also be used as a pre style agent! And oh, our curls are more defined and it lasted for a couple of days too!

What is 4C Natural Hair?

African hair falls under the 4C hair types. These are the kinky, natural curls that are quite dense. If your hair is naturally curly, you’re a type 4. But type 4 has three subcategories- A, B, and C.  

Although these three have quite a similar curl pattern, they differ in how coiled each strand is. And the more you know your hair type, the better you can take care of it.

Curls are beautiful! Just know the proper techniques and products to use and embrace your natural beauty! So let’s identify each first so we’d know what magic potion to use.

1. 4A

This type is characterized by S-shaped strands. 4A hair has a prominent curly structure and is tightly coiled. While the coiled strands can retain moisture (out of the three types), it’s still prone to dryness and breakage. If you have this hair type, it can also be wiry and fun.

These natural curls go best with wash and wear hairstyles, you just need the right products to achieve this effortless hairdo.

2. 4B

The strands are fluffier and resemble a Z shape. 4B hair is more tightly coiled and can be dense or scare. This hair type is more fragile and can break easily than 4A. Moreover, the curls have less structure, hence the Z shape. and it has very sharp angles too.

3. 4C

This category is the most prone to shrinkage. If 4B shrinks to about 70 percent, 4C hair type shrinks a lot more. It’s often mistaken with 4B, but what differentiates? It’s more tightly coiled and densely packed.

Some may say that these air types have limited styling options and are better off permanently straightened. True, it may not be able to accommodate some hairstyles because of the risk of breakage. But on the other hand, who cares about having straight hair if you can rock those curls? No in this day and age!

Gone are the days when you have to have straight hair to be beautiful. You are beautiful, even with tight curls! 

So now that you have fully embraced your God-given curls, let’s see what products will help you tame them.

Buying Guides: Choosing the Best Leave In Conditioner for 4C Hair

Did our review left you overwhelmed with products that can finally tame your curls! That’s a good problem to have, right?

No worries, we’ll help you decide what brand to choose. Not one product works for all, so it’s just about knowing what your needs are, the current state of your hair and what ingredients would best address those concerns.

1. Determine your hair porosity

What’s hair porosity? It’s your hair’s ability to absorb moisture and water. Some opt to consult a hair specialist to get this done. But you can also do this at the comfort of your home with these simple hacks.

Let’s do a little bit of a science experiment, shall we? So we have two methods that we can use to do this

  • Slip and slide test

Get a strand of hair and slide your finger up and down ( from the roots to the shaft). Did you feel any bump? The more recurring the bumps are, the higher the porosity level of your hair is. If it feels smooth as you do this method, hence, your hair has a lower porosity.

  • Float test

Get a couple of hair strands and let them sit in a container with water for 2-4 minutes. The lower it sinks to the bottom, the higher the hair porosity is. If it floats about, it has a lower porosity

Determining your hair’s porosity will let you know how you should moisturize your hair. Hair with lower porosity has difficulty absorbing moisture. Hair with high porosity is the most prone to damage and can lose a lot of moisture.

2. Look for ingredients that seal in moisture

4C hair tends to be stubborn in terms of retaining moisture in its cuticle. That’s one reality of having natural, curly hair, but that doesn’t need to be a disadvantage. Finding products with oils such as shea butter, castor oil, and avocado oil can help you keep your curly hair smoother and softer throughout the day.

3. Avoid products with multiple sulfates

If you can avoid sulfates, avoid it. Use salfates free shampoo as well But if not, make sure that the content is just minimal. You can check these by looking at the labels. The ingredients are listed according to its content in the product. Hence, if it’s listed at the bottom, the product would contain trace or small amounts of that one. 

4C hair is quite prone to breakage and damage. Sulfates strip off your hair’s natural moisture, making it more prone to damage. So better to go for products that don’t contain this foam building substance.

Tips to Maintain, Grow, and Care for 4C hair

Unruly and difficult to maintain

These are the common perceptions of 4C hair and those with this hair type can’t help but to just agree.

Then, the optimum solution is just to straighten your locks. Yes, it can be convenient at one point, but soaking up your hair in all those drying and harmful chemicals? Not a good idea

Besides, 4C hair types break easily, so harsh chemicals are a definite no-no. 

Let’s ease your kinky hair dilemma a bit. Follow some of our simple tips and you’d surely be embracing your kinky hair in its full glory! A proper hair routine will give you healthy curls so we should get started!

1. Clean your hair

Always start on a clean slate. Cleaning your hair and scalp of excess grime, dirt build-up is crucial. These can render your hair more resistant to conditioners and moisturizing products. 

Whenever possible, use a sulfate-free shampoo to clean your hair. Sulfates will only make your hair drier and susceptible to breakage. And take it easy on the shampoo. Extend the time between washes. Moreover, using shampoo regularly could potentially dry out your hair too.

2. Deep condition

Get the best products for 4C hair. From your rinse, out to leave-in conditioners, those with protein stands out. Your hair needs all the protein that it can get so that it’ll become stronger and more elastic.

3. Detangle

Detangle regularly to avoid further knots and twists. And when you do, don’t use a hairbrush or small toothed combs! This will cause more tangles. Instead, go for a wide-toothed comb. It’s easier too.

Another note, detangle only when your hair is wet.

4. Don’t use rubber bands to tie your hair

When tying your hair up in a pony or a bun, never use rubber bands. These can cause further damage and breakage. Why not go for something softer and more luxurious? Silk or satin hairbands perhaps? These can help your hair retain moisture too

5. You are what you eat

Yes, in more ways than one! Pack your daily food intake with a substantial amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fatty acids. 

6. Trim at least twice a year

Trimming the dried ends will ensure healthier growth and prevent further damage. After all, you wouldn’t want to keep those split ends, do you?

7. Use hair protectants, leave-in conditioners or sealants

These products help seal more moisture into your curls. Since kinky hair is more coiled and moisture can’t easily penetrate it, these products can give your hair the necessary moisture it needs.

8. Don’t over-style your hair

Be kind to your hair! Avoid too much styling products. These can also cause a build-up of grime and dirt on your scalp. Not to mention, most styling products contain harmful chemicals that can dry your hair.

All it needs is just a little bit more extra care and you can finally flaunt your healthy naturally curly hair!
Let’s dive further into one of the most important things that you have to do when you have 4C hair..moisturize!

How to Moisturize 4C Hair Daily

Bad hair days are bound to happen if you won’t moisturize properly!

4C hair is stubborn when it comes to absorbing moisture, so you have to help your hair as much as you can!

1. Use more of water-based leave-in conditioners

Kinky hair has difficulty retaining moisture, so one way to work around this is to use a water-based conditioner. And it’s better if you use ones that are in a spray bottle. You just spritz on whenever you are and keep your hair hydrated throughout the day.

2. After spraying on your leave-in conditioner, apply some oil to seal in the moisture

Best curly hair products should contain humectants such as glycerin, castor oil, and honey. Substances such as these moisturize your hair by helping retain water in the shafts.

3. Use satin or silk pillow or wrap your hair in satin bonnet when sleeping.

This luxurious fabric can do wonders for your 4C hair. Regular fabrics tend to absorb more oil and moisture from your hair. You need all the moisture that your hair needs to keep it healthy!

4. No to too much heat.

If you’re bound to get out on a sunny day, make use of protective styling

Since it’s challenging for 4C hair to absorb and retain moisture, several hairstyles can help you. Hairstyles such as box braids and Marley braid are great choices for kinky hair. It reduces the hair strands’ exposure and helps hair retain as much moisture as they can.

5. Meet your daily recommendation of water

If you can have more than 8 glasses, go ahead! Keeping your body hydrated will also keep your scalp and hair hydrated.

It’s quite easy isn’t? These simple steps will guarantee that you’ll love your curls more. So be proud of them!

FAQ

1. How often should I condition my 4C hair?

If you’re going to use a rinse-out conditioner, it’s advisable to do this every two weeks. The routine of wetting the hair, towelling, and drying it will make it more prone to breakage. On the other hand, leave-in conditioners are a bit more friendly as you don’t need to wet your hair. You can spritz this on a couple of times a week.

2. Is coconut oil good for 4C hair?

Yes. coconut oil can help retain moisture in 4C hair.

3. What is the best oil for 4C hair?

Let me give you the five best oils instead. These are black castor oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, extra virgin olive oil, and avocado oil. These oils are one of the best natural hair moisturizers.

4. Does olive oil darken hair?

Since olive oil is a bit darker compared to other oils, there’s a possibility that it can stain light-coloured hair. It may even give it a darker hue. But the word to note here is “possibly.” Since no heads are the same, the effect might not be the same for all.

Conclusion

Kinky curly hair, it’s still sexy believe it or not!

You just have to know how to take care of it and stick to a hair regimen and products that work for you. The best leave-in conditioner for 4C hair will make you love your naturally curly hair again. No need to hide behind harsh straighteners and chemicals! Let it bare and be proud of its natural beauty!

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