I have been seriously considering the resolutions for my hair journey this year. There are things that I learned last year that I will definitely take with me and then there are others I’m on the fence about.
We all have come to the realization that conditioning is a vital part of a hair care regimen. I have always heard about leaving in a little bit of your rinse out conditioner in your hair for a smoother finish since it keeps the cuticles laid.
Yet my thinking was that leave-in conditioners, actually formulated for that purpose, were the obvious options.
Still I found out that many ladies are opting to use rinse out conditioners as daily moisturizers and there are also those who may not moisturize daily, but opt not to rinse it out entirely on their wash day.
I became quite intrigued by this practice. In fact, I became interested with the consequences of the practice when I heard of ladies leaving in rinse out conditioners to help define their curls as part of a wash and go or to make hair more manageable aka the curly girl method.
My first impression was “Ooh chile your hair gonna fall out!”
What Is The Difference Between The Leave-In and Rinse Out Conditioner?
Rinse out conditioners are those formulated to be placed on the hair for a specific period of time after cleansing the hair, usually up to 30 minutes, after which they are rinsed out. They are usually of a thick or heavy consistency and contain fatty acids, surfactants and oils* to aid in softening hair for manageability.
On the other hand, leave-in conditioners are usually thinner or of a lighter consistency and can be left in the hair after a wash or applied when hair feels dry to alleviate the damage that can be done during styling.
Leave-in conditioners often contain glycerine* and humectants that assist in hydrating the hair or attracting moisture to the strands.
So back to the question is: Should conditioner be rinsed thoroughly or is it ok to leave a little in your hair? Well lovelies, it appears you can leave in rinse out conditioners… but hold your horses because it’s bit is tricky. You cannot just go willy nilly piling on that rinse out conditioner without knowing a few things first.
You May Leave In Your Rinse Out Conditioner If:
► Silicones are not one of the first five ingredients in the product
If silicones form the base of the conditioner then it would mean that it would take heavy duty shampoos – often those with sulfates – to remove the build-up on the hair.
Now if you are a no poo kind of girl and you strictly cowash*, this would create some challenges for you namely dry brittle hair even with constant moisturization.
► It does not have high protein content – Many conditioners have hydrolyzed protein in their formulation. Daily application of these type of rinse out conditioners could contribute to protein overload which could result in hard or brittle hair which eventually breaks.
► The positive charge in the conditioner does not cause the negative charge of the shampoo to cause build-up on the hair – Without getting too technical, conditioners formulated to be rinsed out are usually one half of a cleansing system, with the shampoo being the other half. In essence, they balance each other so that each time you shampoo you ought to use the conditioner to balance out the effects the shampoo has on the hair.
If you go about applying the conditioner in a reversed order or with more frequency than you use the shampoo, chances are the balance will be disrupted. So now, you would have too much of one thing, essentially nullifying the effectiveness of the other.
In short, you run the risk of rendering your shampoo useless to rid your hair of the build-up caused by leaving in your conditioner. Now we know that build-up can make your hair look dull and lifeless as well as cause itchiness which is counterproductive to a healthy scalp, since you would be tempted to claw at your head.
Let’s face it ladies, unless you are a scientist schooled in formulating cosmetics, you really have no time to try to figure out how many positive charges you apply to your hair and the negative charges you would need to balance things out, hence you would run the risk of subjecting your hair to build-up which would hamper the progress of your hair in the long run.
What You should Do Prior To Deciding to Leave In Your Conditioner
If you still insist on leaving in your rinse out conditioner:
1. Read the label before you proceed
2. Do not apply the product to your scalp
3. Choose a conditioner without proteins that is gentle enough to be used daily
Remember now, that there is such a thing as over conditioning the hair so when you opt to moisturize with a rinse out conditioner it may just do too good a job; however, if it has been working for you, do share your experience with us. After all, each one can teach one.
Markisha Walmack says
I leave it in if I’m rocking curls but if I’m straightening then no!
Alx Edg says
Leaving conditioner other than a leave-in, is begging for trouble. Doing this will over soften hair and it will simply pop/snap/just fall out the scalp/pores. My experience!
Yvonne Bender says
over soften? hhhhm after a protein treatment thats what it seems to need…
Alx Edg says
Yvonne Bender,first I didn’t bother to read the article because common sense tells me that if conditioner was meant to stay in the hair they would be no need for ‘Leave-ins’. 2/ Protein conditioners are not the only conditioners there are.3/”My experience”
Angela DaRocha-Neto says
I agree Alx!
Jay Noel-Palmer says
If the instructions say wash it out then i wash it all out. The only thing i leave in is the leave in conditioner itself
Kyramel Shea Souffle says
I barely ever rinse my conditioner completely out and I haven’t had any issues. Been doing that since ’99. But everyone’s hair is different.
Dabney Ross Jones says
For me it depends on the conditioner. If it is a cheap brand I will rinse it completely out. However, I will leave in Trader Joes Nourish and Shine Conditioner, it works well with oil rinsing. No snapping or breaking.
Sherry Miles says
I never do but I know others who do. I want to see the responses and possibly learn a little more.
Josephine Mcmillian says
I rinse it all out, if not it makes my hair heavy.
Yvonne Bender says
I use my conditioner as a leave in! Hello Hydration otherwise getting my hair done would take hours
I use hello hydration as a co-wash and water it down for my leave in
Tameicka Y says
I wash everything out because I don’t want the residue on my scalp, but then I use a little of my Hello Hydration as leave-in after a protein deep condition. It balances the protein nicely.
Ruth Guzman says
I don’t rinse mine completely out. Never bothered my hair at all. My hair is soft, strong and very healthy. Plus i have LOTS of hair so the whole, it will break off statement just isn’t true for myself.
Valerie Jolly says
Sometime I leave it in if I don’t have a leave in conditioner..
Shari Powell says
I too use Helli Hydration as a leave in. It works really well for me.
Shari Powell says
Stacy-Ann Shreeves says
No I wash it out thoroughly! My hair cannot handle too much protein.. I already had the experience with my hair literally snapping off! But it may be ok with other people hair
Stacy-Ann Shreeves says
Your hair shouldn’t be too soft.. That’s a sign of too much protein
Parys Gardener says
Che Mickaela Henderson this article is the answer to all our questions :O
Imani Malika says
Leaving conditioner in my head leaves it feeling filmy and sticky. Plus the rest of my mositurizing products will leave residue if the conditioner isn’t rinsed out. Just my experience.
Semendablessed Howard says
I use only one product for mositurizing ( pink lotion) great product keep my hair soft and healthy.
Renee MizMonroe Harding-Thomas says
I wash all the conditioner out unless it’s a leave in.
Laucresha Alexander says
I don’t rinse out my conditioner I leave it in. It doesnt bother my hair I guess I depends on Wat type of hair u got.Ijs
Katrina Stoutmire says
completely wash out conditioners that does NOT state “LEAVE IN” it weighs and dries out your hair
MrsRacquel Blackwell says
Yes everyone’s hair is totally different but why leave in a rinse conditioner when they sell leave in conditioners.
Don’t assume conditioners don’t have toxic chemicals that can harm u if not used properly also be careful of creating allergies later as well*.
Mimi Reid-Hughes says
That was soooo helpful!!!
Antasia Moi says
It is ok to leave a lil conditioner in the hair
Prince Maxwell Ansong says
what a joy
Alice Caldwell says
Leave a little in, different outcomes for different hair
Savalle Boston says
Always leave my conditioner n. Makes my curls pop and it keeps my hair moisturized.
Mary Coleman says
I’ve read where egg yolk n olive oil mixed together and saturate in hair before washing helps your hair to grow. Is that true?
Tiffany Bumpus says
Yes rinse out well and use a leave in
April King says
I have use a regular conditioner as a leave in for myself and my daughter and no nothing happened. I like the Leave in by Giovanni personally…and that’s what I use on the daily basis for myself and my daughter
Lashanda Hankins says
I leave a little in. All hair is different. MY experience is different from Anothers.
Ruth Dyson says
Years ago, my sister who is a beautician told me that I could leave the rinse out conditioner in because it stops working after a certain length of time anyway. She never explained it the way it’s done in this article. Thank you for the clarification and that explains part of why my hair was always “straw-like”.
Sonja Robinson says
Hi my name is Sonja, I have natural curly hair. I would like to color my hair because of the grays. What’s a good name brand to use for natural hair.
In the winter time, I usually leave the conditioner in and still add Leave-in for styling (like youtuber JewJew Bee with her tailbone length hair). During Summer months, I rinse out the rinse-out conditioner for a “lighter” feel. But during the week, I use my rinse-out conditioner (diluted with water) as a moisturiser until my next wash. I too use, Hello Hydration. I’ve experienced no build-up from it although it has dimethicone. I think the occassional sulfate wash (once a month) may have kept the build-up at bay.
Dollie Page says
Only leave-in conditioners I meant to be left in your hair. I think all others should be washed out.
Bola Olaosebikan- Makinde says
Little should be left in
Rochelle Corilette Liyah Warner says
Most conditioners eg tresemme naturals are used as a leave in although that is not th er purpose so I don’t see the harm in leaving a little but in during a co wash or a wash.
Tammalah Matlock says
If it says rinse thoroughly I rinse it all out. If it can be used as a leave-in I leave in a bit.
Murielle Coomee says
It should be rinse thoroughly.
Hollidae LadyDae Muhammad says
I say whatever works for your hair. There are some light rinse out conditioners I can use as leave ins and when im on a tight budget and can’t afford Giovanni leave in, that’s what i do. Now would i tell someone else to do that if it doesn’t work for them? No. And would I tell a person who it does work for to stop? No. Works for some and others it doesn’t. I don’t think this issue is anything to go back and forth on. Everyone has different preferences and needs.
Kenya White says
I leave some in. Been doing it for years and never had a problem. I also use regular conditioner to make my own leave in.
Courtney Price Ajoke says
I leave some in
Adhana Lahab Guggino says
It depends on the conditioner. I’ve used leave-ins that have left my hair full of flakes and some I can mix with water in a spray bottle and use every so often. Everyone’s hair is unique. Guess and test
Candi Ballard-Zolicoffer says
I always rinse out all conditioner now occasionally I will deep condition may hair with a regular conditioner along with my regular deep conditioner but wash it all out please
Hannah Okorafor says
On the hair strands/body? Okay, yeah it’s down to you.
On the scalp nope, I’d suggest washing it out. 🙂
Angie Anjanette Lateise says
I have been leaving conditioner in for years. Hasn’t harmed my scalp or hair. I co-wash and leave in between washing.
Dee-Lila Sharp says
It all depends on the hair type and texture/curl pattern, hair’s moisture, type of conditioner that is needed for the hair and the kind of products used on the hair
Yez Marie Beaulieu says
I leave in most of my deep conditioner. After I let it sit for an hour (or more if I fall asleep or get wrapped up in a movie) I stick my head under running water for a few seconds, rub my scalp then gently squeeze out some of the excess water and conditioner so it’s not running down my back then immediately seal with my oil mix. I don’t have to remoisturize all week.
Sherry Miles says
I rinse it out and use my favorite leave-in conditioner. I’ll be layering product anyway so if it’s light, it doesn’t hinder anything.
Asha Jamia says
The organic conditioners I leave a little in, but conditioners like my pantene deep conditioner I don’t.
Vera Keaton says
Renee Freeman Battle Jackson
Vedejah Scroggins says
I rinse all mine out because it never fails to turn my scalp white lol or leave like little white flakes in my hair after it dries
Brenda Warner says
I left a deep Condition in my hair from more than 12 hours Morocco oil and.I.lost a lot of hair I thought I was going have to cut all my hair off , I believe some.of them should only be use ask on the.label.
Michelle Nicole Charley says
Do whatever you want, it’s your hair…if you want it super clean or covered with conditioner its up to you. Whatever the outcome there is no “wrong” way and no 100% “right” way to do anything…. Everything is relative to the individual and her desires. In the end her hair results are her choice to deal with…. I’m tired of all these hair rules.