How to Choose the Right Leave-in Conditioner for 3a - 4c Hair

July 12, 2021

Black woman with textured 4C hair in an afro

Leave-in conditioner, sis. You have your regular conditioner  -  one that you love. You have a shampoo that clarifies and cleans without stripping. Now, what is up with the leave-in conditioner? What is a leave-in conditioner? Is it good for your hair? Is it even necessary? Can you overdo it with the leave-in conditioner? How do you choose the right leave-in conditioner for your 3a hair? Or your 4c hair? Or your curly hair? 

Today that is what we are going to dive into - leave-in conditioners. If they're basically a mystery to you, you’ve come to the right place. 



I know we don’t need to tell you that having natural hair is not always a walk in the park. Some days your hair is all popping. And other days, it is dry and surviving. What’s worse is it’s not always clear what went wrong or what you should do about it.

And let me not even get into the never-ending list of hair care products for natural hair (not to be confused with natural hair products)!!

Well, today that is what we are going to dive into - leave-in conditioners. If these hair products have been a mystery to you, you’ve come to the right place - we’ve got all the tea!

What is a Leave-In Conditioner and What Does it Do?

As its name suggests, a leave-in conditioner is a type of conditioner that you don’t rinse out of your hair. Usually, it’s applied after you wash your hair. It helps prepare your hair for styling. Leave-in conditioners come in a variety of forms - they can be creams, sprays, and even oils.  

Whatever form they come in though, they [should] all do the same thing - penetrate your hair strands to moisturize and nourish your hair. This is true no matter what type of hair you have. Leave-in conditioners can help you keep your hair in good condition.

Here is what they do for different hair types and conditions:

Leave-In Conditioners on Natural (Afro) Hair

A good leave-in conditioner for natural hair does several things:. 

First, it helps with detangling - one of the greatest pain points for naturalistas. It makes your hair slippy enough to work out the knots and tangles without needing to use any more hair products, just a good detangling brush

Also, it moisturizes your hair. And since natural hair usually leans towards the dry side, it is really great to have the option to hydrate your hair on the go. This helps you keep the frizz at bay as well - a win-win in our book!

Leave-In Conditioner on Damaged Hair

Just because your hair is damaged doesn’t mean the show is over - you can still salvage it. You can revive and nourish that damaged hair, restoring it to its former glory. Or better. And do you know what product can help you with that? Leave-in conditioner! 

Leave-in conditioner will cover your damaged hair, moisturize it, and seal your split ends. It not only nourishes and heals your hair but also protects it from further damage. So if your hair is regularly exposed to heat, chlorine, or color treatment, a leave-in conditioner is a must-have!

Leave-In Conditioner on Curly Hair 

Maintaining healthy curls is not an easy task. You need to have products that you don’t have to rinse out all the time. That is why leave-in conditioners are so great for this type of hair. They keep your curls moisturized, detangled, and frizz-free without needing to introduce any water or greasy products.


Leave-In Conditioner on Low-Porosity Hair

If there is one thing low-porosity hair struggles with, it is moisture retention. But that’s where leave-in conditioner excels - it helps your hair absorb and trap trap more water. This is especially effective when the conditioner contains humectants like aloe vera and honey.  

Why is a Leave-In Conditioner Good for Black Hair?

While Black hair is fun and versatile, it comes with one major challenge - the constant fight to keep Black hair hydrated. And the tighter and more defined your curls are, the harder it is to keep them hydrated. So if you have 4c hair, you will probably have to work harder on moisture retention to stave off those hair dry hair issues

But do you know what’s the real bummer? The fact that you can’t just spritz some water into your hair 24/7. You need a product that will really seal in the moisture in; something like a leave-in conditioner. These conditioners will also make your hair silky, tangle-free, and easy to style.

Can You Use a Leave-In Conditioner Every Day on Black Hair?

How frequently you should use a leave-in conditioner for black hair is dependent on the type and the state of your hair. For instance, if you have very dry hair, using a leave-in conditioner every other day for a while can help you revitalize your hair.  

But if your hair is oily and already moisturized, daily use isn't a necessary. It will will only lead to buildup. After a while, you may even notice your hair getting limp and slimy. Not a good look. 

Also, you have to keep in mind that the more frequently you wash your hair, the more frequently you can apply a leave-in conditioner. Those with thick hair can get away with more frequent conditioner application than those with fine hair.


Regular Conditioner vs Leave-In Conditioner - What’s the Difference?

If you’re still skeptical about getting a leave-in conditioner for natural hair, I get it. After all, isn’t your regular conditioner enough? You may even have thought of leaving that  in your hair before. I mean what’s the difference between these two products anyway?

First of all, don't. A regular conditioner and a leave-in are designed to help you reach the same goals, but regular conditioner is heavier and isn't made to be left in your hair. You want to rinse that out. 

Can You Over-Condition Black Hair?

Yes. If there is one thing the natural hair experts are always telling us to do, it is to condition and moisturize. But constantly doing this comes with one major risk - you can over-condition and aka over-moisturize your hair.

I know that may sound crazy if you’re currently struggling with dry, crunchy hair that you have to baby to keep from pulling it out every time a brush touches it. Isn’t moisture a good thing? Moisture is a good thing when it comes to keeping your hair healthy, but too much moisture can end up causing your hair to be hard to manage in other ways. 


Over-conditioning can make your hair limp and greasy, a telltale sign that your hair's protein-moisture balance to get is out of whack.


Fortunately, you can fix this by washing your hair. Alternatively, you can use a protein treatment to offset the excess moisture. 

What is the Best Leave-In Conditioner for Black Hair?

Let’s be honest - choosing a good leave-in conditioner for curly hair is not an easy task. You need to know which ingredients to look out for.  So, to help you out, here are a few good ingredients to look for in  your leave-in conditioner:

Avocado Oil

This oil is light, yet conditioning. It provides slip to your hair and helps you detangle the toughest of knots. Additionally, it is moisturizing, healing, protective, and soothing to the scalp. 

It’s not surprising that this oil is frequently included in a host of recipes for natural leave-in conditioner for Black hair. We even include it in our very own Avocado Oil Herbal Silk Leave-in Conditioner, a product that improves the health of both your scalp and hair.

ProVitamin B5

Known as a powerful humectant, ProVitamin B5 is a naturally occurring conditioner. It moisturizes and detangles your hair without overloading it and making it greasy. It even goes as far as increasing hair shine and strengthening the hair shaft. Because of this, it is a good ingredient for a leave-in, rinse-off, and deep conditioners. 

And guess what? It is also one of the star ingredients of our Avocado Oil Herbal Silk Leave-in Conditioner. When mixed with avocado oil, it provides a perfect elixir for dry damaged hair. 

Babassu Oil

I have said it before and I’ll say it again - babassu oil is a life-saver. Just a little of this light oil can moisturize, soften, and grow your hair. And when it is combined with avocado oil and ProVitamin B5, it becomes a star player for healthy hair. 

Cupuaçu Butter

If you’re dealing with dry hair issues, cupuaçu butter is the PERFECT solution. cupuaçu butter delivers 200X more moisture (hydration) for dry hair than shea butter. If you want long-lasting hydration, make cupuaçu butter your jam.

And if you’re in “hair repair mode”, incorporating cupuaçu butter into your hair care routine will speed up the process of restoring elasticity and shine to your hair. 

Fatty Acids

Most of us are probably familiar with the benefits of making sure we have Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet - good for brain health, heart health, and your circulatory system.  Well, these types of fatty acids are also great for your hair. 

We use a luxurious blend of argan oil and other nutrient-rich oils high in Omega 3-6-9 fatty acids plus Vitamin E which maintains natural moisture balance, strengthens hair follicles and adds softness and shine to hair. 


Get $16 Off Our Most Popular Product the Moisture LOC Kit 

Now, to keep things simple, I want to remind you that you can get what you need to restore your hair in Pydana Collection’s Moisture LOC Kit.

For the entire month of July, we are celebrating the founder’s birthday AND putting another year on the books for Pydana Collection as a company. This month, you can get the Moisture LOC Kit for $29.97, a savings of $16 off the normal price for that set. That leave-in conditioner you’ve been reading about - this saving is like getting that whole bottle for free.

Moisture LOC Kit is 35% off the entire month of July!

Winter's Coming...

It’s warm today, but we all know that in just a few weeks, the weather will start cooling down, and we’ll all be in search of that strand-saving solution to protect your hair during cold months.  Moisture LOC Kit is a moisture-rich trio of products specifically formulated to offer superb hydration and moisture for dry, frizzy and hard-to-manage natural hair. 

And hair porosity isn’t an issue. So, whether your hair is low, normal or high porosity our Moisture LOC Kit offers a complete set of products to effectively moisturize, define and seal natural hair, from type 3 to 4C hair.

Go ‘head 🎵 It’s our birthday! Go ‘head 🎵 It’s our birthday!


About the Author

Nancy Ouma is a writer, content creator, and all-round storyteller who loves sharing stories about African hair, culture, and experiences. Born and raised in Kenya, Nancy is a believer in embracing one’s individuality and being your authentic self.

When she is not trapping words on paper, she is reading, binge watching shows, or making faces at toddlers.

Connect with Nancy...

on Twitter @nakinyi  OR on Facebook @nancy.akinyi2

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