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Best Leave-In Conditioner For Transitioning Hair (Top Picks)

Sick of how dry, flat, and unhealthy your straightened hair feels? Time to ditch those relaxers and embrace your naturally full-bodied, voluminous curls! In this piece, we’ll be looking more into the best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair.

Speaking from experience, the easiest way to say “good riddance” to relaxed hair is to muster up the courage to cut all of the straightened hair off, otherwise known as the Big Chop.

Sometimes, this entails rocking a pixie cut for a couple of weeks until it grows longer in the next few months.

But if you love your long hair, you can opt to grow it out and transition it into your natural hair instead.

But heads up: transitioning hair needs a lot of care.

During this time, a top-notch leave-in will be your BFF.

best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair

What Is Transitioning Hair?

Transitioning hair is exactly what it sounds like – hair that is going from chemically relaxed hair to natural curls by growing them out, foregoing your usual straightening touch-ups.

Many ladies opt to cut all their straight hair off just to get it over and done with.

However, others who can’t live without their long hair choose instead to grow their hair out, even if it means having two different textures in their hair for a while.

While this option is just as valid, it’s a bit more difficult to maintain.

The most challenging part is dealing with hair breakage and snapping towards your ends from the damage dealt by relaxing.


Benefits Of Using A Leave-In Conditioner

The following are some of the benefits of using a leave-in conditioner on transitioning hair:


Infuses Hair With Much-Needed Moisture

So since most of your hair is still chemically damaged and brittle while it’s transitioning, you need to load up on healthy moisture.

You’ll also need to recondition yourself to always keep your hair hydrated, now that you’ll be dealing with naturally wavy or curly hair that is more prone to dryness.

You gotta get used to the reality that it’s harder for moisture to travel down textured hair, so it’s best to have a trusted leave-in conditioner.

Leave-ins are just like conditioners in that they hydrate, soften, and add shine to the hair.

The main difference is that you don’t rinse them out.

Instead, they stay in your hair to provide added protection and much-needed moisture throughout the day.

A leave-in conditioner’s main benefit is moisturizing your hair.

You can use a runnier leave-in with humectants like aloe vera if your hair is fine and wavy, and something richer and creamier if you have coarse, thick curls.

Moisturizing properly reduces damage and potential breakage.


Tames Frizz

Leave-in conditioners also tame stubborn frizz, which is sure to accentuate the difference in your hair texture as it’s transitioning.

Leave-ins will help smooth out the hair so that this doesn’t become an issue.


Detangles Hair

Using leave-in conditioner on transitioning hair also helps in detangling the tresses, especially if you’re susceptible to tangly, knotty hair.

It allows you to comb through your hair and keep it neat and tidy before or after your wash day.


Restores Shine

If your hair has been looking dull, you’ll love your leave-in for restoring its shine and luster too.

It’s a surefire way to make your hair look healthier and more vibrant in an instant.


Offers Protection 

Because a leave-in adds a protective coating around your hair, it also serves as a protectant from heat and damage from the elements, like the sun, free radicals, and pollution.


Best Leave-In Conditioner For Transitioning Hair

I’ve reviewed ten products that can win the title of “the best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair”.

As a recovering product junkie, I’ve tried out almost all the products on this list, and I can assure you that they’re the real deal!


Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-in Conditioner

best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair

Lock in all that moisturizing goodness before starting your styling routine.

This leave-in from Ouidad ensures your cuticle is hydrated and sealed to ensure your hair is primed and ready to look its best.

It’s infused with botanical extracts from arnica, prickly pear, green tea, and more, which all work together to strengthen and revitalize your hair, improving its overall health.

This leave-in makes sure your hair is quenched of thirst and has all the moisture it needs, without leaving it feeling heavy with a sticky or greasy residue.

You’ll only be left with softer, shinier hair that is a breeze to manage while you’re transitioning.


  • Makes a terrific primer right before styling your hair
  • Locks in moisture to keep your hair hydrated all day long
  • Arnica, prickly pear and green tea extracts strengthen the hair
  • Doesn’t leave behind a greasy film on your hair strands
  • Enhances your natural texture for soft curls


  • Might be too light and gentle for thicker, coarser hair


Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave-In Conditioner

best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair

Alikay Naturals leave-in is a fan fave and is nicknamed “liquid gold” by loyal users.

This is thanks to lemongrass oil that penetrates deep into the hair cortex to strengthen and revitalize it, preventing breakage from damage.

The formula is also enriched with aloe vera that hydrates the hair and adds a glossy shine while smoothing out your hair cuticle.

Meanwhile, silk amino proteins work to repair damaged hair from your relaxing sessions to restore it to health.

This leave-in leaves your hair silky smooth and super soft to the touch.

It’s the perfect way to end your morning routine to give you a boost of confidence.


  • Lemongrass penetrates the hair shaft to strengthen it
  • Aloe vera hydrates the hair and adds shine
  • Silk amino proteins repair and fortify damaged hair
  • Leaves your hair soft and silky smooth


Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner

best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair

If you have thicker hair that needs a lot of help when it comes to detangling, this rich and creamy leave-in from Kinky-Curly might do the trick.

Its rich, creamy, moisturizing formula was formulated for thick and coily curls.

It’s just what you need to start transitioning back to caring for your natural ringlets.

Organic mango extract, slippery elm, and marshmallow root provide heavenly slip to this leave-in, making it a holy grail for detangling even the most stubborn knots and tangles in your curls.


  • Perfect for thick, coily curls that need extra moisture
  • Creamy formula that’s rich in herbal extracts to rejuvenate hair
  • Detangles the most stubborn knots and tangles
  • Doesn’t contain silicones that can produce buildup in the hair


  • Doesn’t do much for taming frizziness


Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifier Leave-In Conditioning Spray

best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair

This leave-in from Taliah Waajid is unique because you can spray it on both your hair and scalp, which is recommended if you suffer from a dry, itchy scalp.

It leaves a cooling effect thanks to menthol crystals to help soothe your scalp.

It’s infused with olive and coconut oils for rich and deep nourishment, as well as to add shine to your locks.

It also has wheat germ extracts that help strengthen your hair, keeping it resilient against damage.

That way, you don’t have to worry about breakage and split ends.

This leave-in softens and smoothens out your curls, whether you have loose waves or tight, springy ringlets.


  • Leaves a cooling effect to help stop scalp itchiness
  • Olive and coconut oil nourish the hair deeply
  • Wheat germ extracts strengthen the hair
  • Reduces breakage and split ends
  • Softens your curls to make them touchable and smooth


  • The tropical smell can be a bit strong


Mielle Organics White Peony Leave-In Conditioner

best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair

This Mielle leave-in provides the rich moisture your parched, damaged hair needs without being too heavy on your head.

It’s made with cult-favorite hair oils, like coconut oil, argan oil, and jojoba oil.

These three work together to nourish your locks deeply and add softness and shine to your hair.

That said, they don’t make the hair feel heavy, and your locks won’t be weighed down even if they’re fine and less dense.

This leave-in provides heat protection too, so it’s a great option if you can’t fight the temptation to style your transitioning hair with heat.


  • Seals in moisture in your hair to keep frizz at bay
  • Coconut, argan, and jojoba oil add deep hydration
  • Doesn’t feel heavy or weigh down your locks
  • Protects your hair from heat damage


  • Leaves some sheeny residue due to the rich oils


Davines All In One Milk Lotion

best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair

This lightweight leave-in lotion by Davines is infused with the unique and exotic rocou oil, which is rich in beta-carotene and antioxidants that strengthen your hair cuticles.

It also provides lightweight hydration that won’t weigh your hair down or make it look flat and limp.

Instead, it leaves fine hair looking plump and alive while feeling super soft and silky smooth.

It’s a great detangler as you prep for styling and tames even the most stubborn frizziness.

It also leaves the hair smelling light and sweet without being overpowering.


  • Nutrient-rich rocou oil moisturizes and strengthens hair
  • Lightweight and won’t weigh down your natural texture
  • Leaves fine hair feeling silky smooth and soft
  • Detangles hair and tames stubborn frizziness
  • Has a soft, pleasant perfume scent


  • Might not be hydrating enough for thicker hair


Oyin Handmade Hair Dew Daily Quenching Hair Lotion

best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair

If you have thick, coarse, and dense hair, you might want to consider something with deep, intense moisture, like this daily hair lotion from Oyin.

It’s infused with castor, coconut, and olive oils, known for their intensely moisturizing properties.

It’s the perfect combo of fatty oils to refresh your curls and make them look more defined.

This lotion prevents breakage in your damaged ends because the oils keep your hair nourished all day.

It also leaves your locks with a charming, sumptuous vanilla sugar scent!


  • Castor, coconut, and olive oils provide intense moisture
  • Perfect for refreshing curls to make them defined
  • Prevents hair breakage because it keeps your strands nourished
  • Has a light vanilla sugar scent


  • Very thick and may feel heavy on fine hair


Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner

best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair

This tried and tested Living Proof leave-in is a crowd-favorite for a reason.

It does everything a high-quality leave-in should and has bonus properties thanks to the brand’s unique technology!

It combats frizzy hair by hydrating and conditioning it, which smooths it down to keep it looking sleek, snatched, and shiny all day.

The conditioner also resists humidity, so you don’t have to worry about your environment bringing frizziness back to life.

It’s formulated with Living proof’s Healthy Hair Molecule, which repels dirt and oil.

This allows you to keep your hair’s body, volume, and refreshing scent.


  • Conditions and smooths down the hair to keep it sleek
  • Resists humidity to keep frizz and flyaways in check
  • Formulated with the Healthy Hair Molecule to repel impurities
  • Leaves your hair feeling soft and looking shiny


  • It takes a while for your hair to dry after using this leave-in


Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner

best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair

If you want a fuss-free and straightforward yet effective leave-in conditioner, this one from Jane Carter Solution might pique your interest.

It’s made with essential hair vitamins and hydrating botanical extracts that moisturize the hair and do everything you need in a proper leave-in.

The formula locks in moisture from panthenol and extracts from aloe vera, nettle, rosemary, and more.

It resists humidity as well to combat frizz and pesky flyaways.

It has fantastic slip, so it’s amazing at detangling all the fairy knots from your hair as it transitions back to natural curls.


  • Locks in moisture from panthenol and aloe vera
  • Resists humidity, so you don’t have to worry about frizz
  • Has lots of slip to help detangle knots
  • Protects the hair from heat and sun damage
  • Restores shine to keep your hair looking luminous


  • Can leave the hair sticky if too much is used


Curls Quenched Curls Daily Leave-In Moisturizer

best leave-in conditioner for transitioning hair

Quench your thick, damaged hair’s thirst with this leave-in moisturizer from Curls.

It’s infused with moisturizing and strengthening ingredients that bring your curls back to life.

Shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and other botanical extracts nourish your hair deeply, adding back softness and gloss to your transitioning locks.

It also has wheat germ oil and silk amino acids that repair your damaged ends.

It’s also an excellent refresher for second-day hair since it’s terrific at detangling knots in your hair and leaving your curls and waves more defined.


  • Shea butter, jojoba oil, and coconut oil moisturize the hair deeply
  • Wheat germ oil and silk amino acids repair damaged locks
  • Refreshes second-day hair to bring curls back to life
  • Makes detangling a breeze because of the rich ingredients


  • Can be too heavy for fine hair



When transitioning back to your natural hair, there are a lot of things you have to relearn about caring for it.

Disciplining yourself to keep your curls moisturized is only one of them.

Remember that there will be awkward phases when you’re transitioning, like the difference in texture from your roots to your ends.

But if you nourish and care for your hair properly and stick it out just long enough to chop off all the damaged ends, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated when you’re rocking your real hair again – and you’ll look good doing it!

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