Leave-in conditioners are crucial to every child’s natural hair routine. This is the only type of conditioner that can actually stay in the hair without the need to rinse it out. Knowing this, it’s crucial that you choose the best leave-in conditioner for your child’s hair.
So if you’ve been on the hunt for the best leave-in conditioner for your child’s natural hair, I have compiled this list of tried and tested leave-in conditioners to use in her hair.
Before we get into the product list, I’d first like to answer some frequently asked questions about leave-in conditioners and the role they serve in children’s hair care.
What is a leave-in conditioner?
A leave-in conditioner functions pretty much the same way a regular conditioner does. The only difference is that you do not wash it out. Leave-in conditioners are also known as no-rinse-out conditioners and can be used on all hair types and hair texture.
To summarize, leave-in conditioners are the only type of conditioner that STAYS in your hair, because you’re supposed to leave it in your hair.
Leave-in conditioners can be applied on both wet and dry hair, although it’s best to apply to damp hair. They are majorly used to add moisture to hair and help restore dry, frizzy, and damaged hair. They are also used to make styling easier and protect hair when heat styling.
You can use a leave-in conditioner in place of your regular conditioner or use it after applying your conditioner especially if your aim is to keep your hair moisturized or repair damaged hair.
Why should you use leave-in conditioners on kids’ hair?
Your kid’s hair can really benefit from using a leave-in, particularly if they have dry and frizzy hair. Applying the leave-in locks in moisture into the hair shaft to help control the frizz and tame flyaways.
Leave-in conditioners also help make detangling such a tear-free and painless affair for your child and equally give you an easy time. This is because it contains ingredients that make hair soft and adds slip making it easy to comb through.
They also protect your kid’s hair when you need to blow dry or heat style their hair. And if your kid has color-treated hair, they will add vibrancy to the color making their hair shinier. For this, however, you will have to get a leave-in that is specially formulated for color-treated hair.
A good leave-in conditioner also comes in handy when they want to swim and you need to protect their hair from the color fading, dryness, and brittleness that comes with swimming in chlorinated water. Make a habit of smothering some good amount of leave-in into their hair before they jump into the pool.
And if your kid’s hair is the type that is weighed down by regular conditioners, replacing their regular conditioner with a leave-in will do away with the weight and flattening.
What’s the difference between deep conditioners & leave-in conditioners?
A deep conditioner is applied like a regular rinse-out conditioner, only that it stays a little while longer. Typically, 15-30 minutes though the exact duration will vary between brands.
Leave in conditioners on the other hand are not rinsed out and can stay in the hair till the next wash day. They are lighter in consistency and milder than deep conditioners are often meant for moisturizing and manageability. They however do not contain oils and are best applied on damp hair.
Deep conditioners are stronger and thicker in their consistency. They are meant for deeper penetration and are often used to provide extra nourishment as they contain a variety of oils and other nourishing ingredients.
What makes a good leave-in conditioner when it comes to ingredients?
A good leave-in conditioner should contain natural oils for nourishment. It should also contain vitamins and antioxidants as well as botanical extracts. Heat-protectant properties are also important to have in a leave-in as they help protect hair when heat styling and when exposed to heat.
Keep off from leave-ins with sulfates, parabens, drying alcohols, and other harsh chemicals as they damage hair in the long run.
Coconut milk and coconut oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera, honey, sweet almond oil, glycerin, cellulose, grape seed oil, and shea butter are some of the best ingredients to have in a leave-in conditioner.
Of course, you don’t expect to find all these ingredients in a single bottle of a leave-in but should at least have a couple. Also, look out for ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or do not go well with your kid’s hair.
Can babies use leave-in conditioners?
Babies too need moisture in their hair, right? So yes, leave-in conditioners are totally safe for babies but always check the recommended age on the product to be certain that you can use them on their hair. Leave-ins will help restore and maintain their curls as well as make their hair much more manageable.
Is leave-in conditioner bad for children’s hair?
As I just mentioned, leave-ins are totally safe for children. You however need to pick the right leave-in for them and know how to apply it to their hair. The best place to start with is knowing their hair type and how it behaves with different products.
Always check the list of ingredients before applying it on your child to spot any ingredient that they are allergic to. Try the spot testing as well, even though most of the ingredients are safe and hardly cause any allergic reactions, you can never really tell with a child.
Another precaution is to avoid the leave-in trickling down to their eyes, it can cause eye burns or irritation. In case you do, rinse their eyes with clean water.
Is there a difference between regular conditioners and kids conditioners?
Well, there is. Kid’s conditioners are formulated with mild baby-friendly ingredients since their scalps and hair follicles are still delicate and are prone to allergies and irritations. It’s highly advisable that you only use kid’s conditioners and products in general and only switch when the kids are way older.
Can I use a leave-in conditioner in my child’s hair every day?
Not at all. Leave-in conditioners are supposed to be left in your child’s hair until their next wash day. The effects last for longer than a week, using it every day will cause build-up, make their hair greasy and weighed down. Results of product overload.
If your child’s hair is dry, tangled, damaged, or too curly making it difficult to manage, you can use the leave-in at least twice a week. Otherwise, the general rule is to apply leave-in to your child’s hair once every week.
Do you put leave-in conditioner on wet or dry hair?
Leave-in conditioners are best applied on damp hair. Typically, they should be applied after you wash, shampoo, and condition their hair.
You can still use it on dry hair in cases where you want your child’s hair to be a bit more manageable or style-able. The only downside is that the product will not fully be absorbed into their hair shaft. But that’s okay since all you want is to soften their hair and not necessarily nourish or moisturize.
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This post contains affiliate links which means that I make a small commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase with my link.
If you find a discontinued product on this list, please do let me know so I can keep this post updated. I’d also like to inform you that brands change their product packaging from time to time, which means that the product picture in this post might look a bit different from the retailer’s website at the time you decide to make a purchase.
Product promise: Eliminates tangles and protects hair from breaking, while restoring it to a healthier moisture balance. Blended with Shea Butter and Olive Oil to soften and strengthen hair, this fantastic detangling remedy makes daily combing, styling, and overall manageability a snap! Watch the comb glide through the toughest tangles. Excellent for all hair types and textures. Contains no sulfates, mineral oil, or petrolatum.
Review: “This product is easy to apply to the hair and it detangles very easily with a comb or brush.”
Product promise: A naturally fruity leave-in moisture mixture crafted to nourish young strands after cleansing. Helps the hair maintain its natural moisture content while adding shine, softens and controls the frizz. Packed with Vitamins A, B, C & E it conditions the hair making it smoother, shinier, and healthier. Helps to condition and cleanse the hair.
Review: “I love the way the product smells, and it has a nice slip and does a good job of preventing tangles.”
3) Shea Moisture Marshmallow Root & Blueberries Kids 2-in-1 Drama-Free Detangling Leave-In Conditioner
Product promise: Cleans and nourishes the hair while bringing a fresh, delicious scent. Formulated with Flaxseed and Avocado Oils to soothe and calm skin irritations. Also contains antioxidant-rich blueberries and Vitamins A, B & C to nourish the hair. Formulated with no silicone, no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no mineral oil or petrolatum.
Review: “Great kids shampoo. The kids love the smell and no tears. Hair is super easy to comb through and their hair looks so nice and is so soft.”
Product promise: A natural ingredient formulation that helps get your children’s hair styled without the hassle. It helps parents cut down their children’s prep time and leaves hair looking great. Contains Avocado Oil which naturally moisturizes dry, brittle, and damaged hair. Free from harsh chemicals, Sulfates, added colors or dyes, Gluten, and Parabens.
Review: “This is the best hair detangler we’ve found for the price! It smells so good, like cotton candy, and my daughters and I use it. We all have different hair textures.”
Product promise: Perfect for detangling tough knots, nourishing & softening the hair, protecting against heat, reducing frizz as well as adding moisture & shine. Eliminates wash day stress for you and your growing child. Safe for all hairstyles and gentle enough for sensitive scalp. Free of harmful components, including parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, petrolatum & animal testing.
Review: “Great for getting out tangles on wet hair. Leaves my daughter’s curly hair soft. Smells wonderful!”
Product promise: Provides gentle non-drying cleaning hair without compromising the creamy rich lather you love. Hair is left feeling soft, hydrated, and shiny. Enriched with Coconut Milk to replenish moisture and naturally soften and detangle your natural hair. Shea Butter works to help deeply moisturize, strengthen and protect your natural hair. These natural ingredients replenish dry hair as well as aids in preventing breakage. Free of sulfates, paragons, and other no-no’s too harsh for kids curls.
Review: “I absolutely love this conditioner I love the way it leaves my daughter’s hair so soft, shiny, silky and her curls are so defined!”
Product Promise: Is perfect for young ones’ hair, scalp, and delicate skin. It effectively cleanses while maintaining natural moisture balance. Gentle enough for daily use, great for all hair types. Highly recommended for hair that tends to look and feel dry. Use to enhance manageability and balance hydration.
Review: “It works great on my little one’s hair!!! Love it”
Product promise: Makes it easier to comb, style, and manage your child’s hair. This product is made with honey to strengthen hair strands and protect hair from breakage. A super nourishing detangler that is also a very effective leave-in conditioner.
Review: “This product is wonderful! My daughter has really soft curly hair and this product works great for her!!!”
Product promise: Gentle enough for daily use. Promotes growth and retention. Leaves hair feeling revitalized and refreshed. Instantly hydrates and moisturizes. Helps to remove knots & tangles to minimize damage and breakage. Sulfate-free and paraben-free.
Review: “This product works wonders on my daughter’s hair. It makes it extremely soft and the scent is amazing! It makes it super easy to comb through the tangles.”
Product promise: Promotes growth & retention. Replenish & seal in deep moisture. Strengthens & protects. Adds shine & improves manageability. Great for natural, relaxed, permed, and colored-treated hair. Free from sulfates and parabens.
Review: “I use this for my almost 2 years old who has 3b curls and I can always count on this to bring her curls back to life! The smell makes it even better! ”
Product promise: An intense daily hair hydration restoring essential. Formulated to re-hydrate, define and re-shape your child’s tresses. Infused with essential vitamins and nutrients to help to support growth and retention. The perfect balance of hydration and intense moisture. A must-have to your little one’s healthy hair growth regimen. Gentle enough for daily use.
Review: “I’ve been searching for a hydration spray for my children for the longest. This worked wonders on their hair!!! Leaving it hydrated without being extra greasy or weighed down! ”
Product promise: This kid-friendly, dual-use formula helps to soften and detangle curls with gentle, nourishing ingredients. Whether used as a daily conditioner or as a no-fuss leave-in treatment, curls will be soft, frizz-free, and more manageable-for curl confidence that starts young. Calms even the most unruly curls, making them easy to detangle. Makes caring for kids’ curls fuss-free.
Review: “Great product that I use daily for my daughter as a leave-in conditioner. It keeps her hair hydrated and her curls coiled! ”
Product promise: This creamy hair cream will quench your kid’s dry hair. As a mother, I am very careful of what I use on their hair so be at peace knowing only high-quality oils and extracts are used. It has been Infused with unrefined Avocado Oil and Meadowfoam Oil for intense hair hydration. Packaged and prepared fresh when you order. Paraben-free and vegan-friendly!!! Great hair cream for those transitioning as well to help keep new growth moisturized & manageable.
Review: “I can’t be without this! A must-have for my daughter’s hair. ”
Product promise: Handcrafted with unrefined Meadowfoam oil, and rice to nourish dry hair. It also includes oat extract to soothe a sensitive scalp. And moisturizing avocado oil. Plus it smells yum thanks to the vanilla and a touch of mint to nourish the scalp. Gently Detangles. Paraben-Free.
Review: “My girl is very tender-headed this literally melted her strands leaving them so soft.”
Product promise: Conditions, moisturizes and softens hair on contact. Adds nutrients for stronger healthier hair. The secret to combing children’s natural hair. Ideal for Kinky, Wavy, Natural and can be used on damp/dry hair. Softens and detangles hair to eliminates breakage.
Review: “It works very well on my daughter’s hair. Her hair was very hard to detangle. This makes it much easier. It makes her curls very pretty. It smells great!”
Product promise: Tames children’s locks and keeps them under control. Calms frizz and provides weightless curl definition. Has a special formula that conditions and adds vital moisture to dry and thirsty curls. Paraben-free and does not contain mineral oil or petrolatum. It’s free of sulfates and offers lasting moisture and shine. If your child has kinky, coily, or wavy hair, this product is a good choice.
Review: “I love this product. My baby’s naturally curly hair was softer, more manageable, and tangle-free after just 3 days. I highly recommend it! ”
Product promise: Works wonders on mixed and multi-textured hair. Moisturizes and conditions curly locks without being sticky or greasy. Provides maximum moisture and manageability without the sticky, tacky, greasy feel. Tames frizz and provides weightless curl definition. Ideal for hair types with a looser curl. Paraben-free and does not contain petrolatum, mineral oil, or heavy resins that can leave the hair feeling hard or crunchy.
Review: “Perfect product I love it for my son’s hair. His curls are smooth it even helped with tangles.”
Product promise: Provides maximum moisture and softness for your angel’s dry curly tresses. It is guaranteed to soften the kinkiest curl, moisturize the driest lock, and detangle the most unruly tresses. Great for all hair types, including coarse, dry, damaged, and chemically treated kinky, medium or coarse curly hair.
Review: “This product smells like cookies and is the best conditioner I’ve used on my bi-racial daughters’ hair! ”
19) Curly Q Milkshake Light Curl Lotion – for fine hair and mixed hair
Product promise: Hydrate angels curls and create silky, frizz-free tresses. Leaves soft, touchable spirals. Enhances natural curl pattern, Adds additional moisture to dry curls. Great for every curly hair type. No sulfates, silicones, and parabens.
Review: “This product is a must for my bi-racial daughters’ hair! Smells amazing, moisturizing, but not greasy ”
Product promise: Deeply moisturize and nourish curlies with the right blend of natural oils. It has properties that help manage tangles, and it helps improve softness while boosting shine. Gives you more control over your hair, so that it’s easier to style. Application is easy and simple, so you can get on with your day. It features olive oil and other herbal extracts for natural effectiveness.
Review: “I have 2 little girls with mixed hair. I use this product every time I want to comb their hair. This product helps get through the tough areas.”
Product promise: Royally crafted haircare for boys designed to detangle, hydrate and moisturize textured hair. Made with a perfect blend of plant-based ingredients, including grapeseed and coconut oil, for soft, tangle-free curls. Free from harsh ingredients (no sulfates, parabens, mineral oils, and silicone). Promotes textured hair health and growth. Works for both high porosity hair (low moisture retention) and low porosity hair (high moisture retention).
Little girls can also use this hair product.
Review: “Love this product. It smells wonderful and is lightweight, but very moisturizing. It keeps my baby’s little coils shiny and soft. He has incredibly sensitive skin and eczema and this product doesn’t bother him at all.. ”
Product promise: Perfect product to use while styling locs and natural hair. It re-conditions hair in between washes for soft smooth and manageable hair. Our refresher spray will refreshen your little ones’ locs and scalp in between washes. It’s also formulated to keep their hair and scalp from smelling sweaty as it soothes and moisturizes an itchy scalp. Your little one will be left with clean, moisturized, and fresh hair.
Review: “Great product!! Very healthy for the hair ”
Product promise: An all-natural, hydrating formula that is designed to help detangle and manage your child’s hair on a daily basis. Can be applied to wet hair after shampooing to help you manage your child’s textured or curly locks, or it can also be used on dry hair for everyday styling. Features jojoba oil and shea butter for a smooth texture and shine. Great for ethnic hair, eczema, and friendly for sensitive skin. Free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Certified Natural product-Plant-based ingredients.
Review: “Wish there was a 6-star rating! Made my baby’s fine curly hair super soft! And tear-free!”
Product promise: This all-natural Hair Mist formula includes aloe vera, vitamin E, sweet almond oil, and jojoba oil to smoothens and detangle a child’s hair. Adds a little shine to your baby’s hair while making it more manageable. It’s also great for soothing scalps when following close-cropped haircuts. Great for textured hair, soothes sensitive scalps. No parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, or petrolatum. Eczema-Friendly formula. Certified by Natural Products Association.
Review: “Smells great, very distinct smell, leaves my son’s hair with beautiful curls and stops it from getting frizzy. It helps with untangling his hair and keeps his curls in place. ”
Product promise: Refreshes and refines curls without build-up. Reduces frizz & adds shine. Nurtures and nourishes fragile coils, curls, and waves. Made with shea butter, coconut oil, and honey. Made without mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, gluten, paraffin, propylene, PABA, or DEA
Review: “I applied this spray to clean dry hair and immediately all frizz vanished! curls appear more defined, and it’s not heavy, greasy, or super smelly.”
Product promise: Perfect addition to your daily hair routine. The Milk protein phase of this conditioner gives your hair intense hydration and protection from split ends and frizz. The protein binds to the hair fiber and strengthens cuticles to make hair stronger and prevent breakage. Our honey phase protects hair from heat damage while leaving hair shiny and full of body.
Review: “Nice product I use in my kiddos natural hair as well as a braid spray. Keeps our hair feeling soft and moisturized.”
Product promise: It deeply conditions the hair. Contains coconut oil and honey to moisturize delicate strands and coils. It helps reduce frizz and makes hair less susceptible to breakage. This product is made without harsh ingredients. It contains no paraffin or parabens. Nor does it contain sulfates, phthalates, or silicones. The formula is gentle on children’s hair and delivers the nourishment fragile coils, curls and waves need to remain strong and maintain definition.
Review: “Excellent for fussy kids who get tangles and frizz easily.”
Product promise: Gently detangles while moisturizing medium and fine curly hair types. Contains no Sulfate and harsh chemicals. Oil-Infused. Contains a Provitamin B5 a natural ingredient.
Review: “ This works great if you have little girls and they have hair that tangles easily this helps”
Product promise: Ideal for curly and coarse hair, this leave-in conditioner boasts a kid-friendly formula free of harsh chemicals. Apply this gentle conditioner on your child’s hair to banish frizz and reveal bouncy curls. Eliminate Frizz & Define Curls.
Review: “Great leave-in conditioner. My two children have curly hair and this product defines the curls and is very lightweight.”
Product promise: Promotes fuller, thicker-looking hair while helping to stimulate new growth with vitamins: biotin, niacin, and vitamin B6. Vitamin E antioxidants, green tea, and sunflower oil help protect hair color. Plus, aloe vera moisturizes, argan oil adds shine & wheat protein adds volume.
Review: “Love this product for my daughter. Even though it isn’t tearproof, it’s still sensitive enough and doesn’t make her eyes burn. Her hair is growing beautiful and thick quick!”
Do you have any questions about using leave-in conditioners in kids’ hair? Have additional products you’d like to add to the list? Please send me a direct message on my Instagram page right HERE.