How to Choose Between Creamy or Liquid Leave-in Conditioners

combing conditioner through hair, close up
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When it comes to choosing between a creamy or liquid leave-in conditioner, which is better? As with many choices in hair care products, this is a personal decision. You'll probably find that certain characteristics work better for your hair than others.

How to Choose Between Creamy or Liquid Leave-in Conditioners

To figure out which products will work well for your tresses, take the following factors into consideration.

Hair Density

For example, if your hair is fine/thin, and you have trouble preventing it from becoming weighed down, then a lightweight, liquid leave-in should be your top pick. A creamy product, especially if it's heavy, will only cause your fine tresses to droop under the weight. This same leave-in may be perfect for women with thick and/or coarse hair. This is only a general rule, however. Some women with fine hair find that a slightly heavy product prevents their tresses from being too wispy.

Your Climate and Season

The density of your hair isn't your only concern when selecting a leave-in conditioner. You may find a liquid product fine for the summer, but not moisturizing enough in the winter. Likewise, a creamy leave-in could be too heavy for summertime styling. It can be helpful to have more than one leave-in on hand; this way, you can decide which one to use depending on your hair's needs that particular day.


A light and bouncy look calls for light products. Whether it's a carefree wash-and-go you're after, or you simply want a smooth bob that blows in the wind, a liquid leave-in may give you better results. Liquid products are ideal for women sporting weaves or braided extensions. It's easier to apply the product directly to your tresses (especially if you use an applicator bottle) without worrying that it's going to build up or become tacky underneath hair additions. If your hair is relaxed, a liquid conditioner is lighter on your straightened locks.

On the flip side of this, anyone who wants her hair to be weighed down, to calm flyaways and frizz, may be on the lookout for a heavier leave-in. Creamy ones should do the job nicely.

Does This Conditioner Work Well With Other Products?

Finally, some products don't work well with others, particularly those outside of the brand line. While many of us mix and match brands with no trouble, there's the occasional product that works best all by itself. Or, you might need to let it dry before applying anything else.

If you're finding that a leave-in just "doesn't play well with others," it could be the product itself or the product interacting with another specific product. In some cases, creamy leave-ins can leave a tacky film on your hair if you follow it with a product it doesn't gel with (and in some cases, it's going to be a gel!). Try a liquid product instead, and see if that works before you toss anything away.

Good Leave-in Conditioners to Try

Here are some top picks for leave-ins (all available on Amazon). They moisturize and help detangle hair of all textures.

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