The Cookbook


Leave-In Conditioner Vs. Moisturizer: When and How To Apply

Daily hydration is essential for healthy hair, and while the act itself is important, so are the products you choose to use. But it can be confusing to decide which product is best to hydrate your hair. In particular, many Naturals are unsure about the difference between a leave-in conditioner vs. a moisturizer, and which product is best for their hair.

Both leave-in conditioners and moisturizers are extremely important for maintaining strong, manageable and healthy hair. If you're not sure which product to use when, you've come to the right place.

What is a leave-in conditioner?

A leave-in conditioner is a light-weight water based cream that is meant to be used after shampoo and regular conditioner. Like its name, you leave it in and don’t rinse it out, and it works best when it’s used on damp hair. Compared to the deep conditioner and rinse out conditioner, the leave-in conditioner is the lightest form of a conditioner. Leave-in conditioners are meant to make styling easier, help to detangle hair because they constrain great slip and refresh the hair daily or a couple of times a week.

natural hair organic products naturall

Leave-in conditioners contain humectants that draw in moisture from the air and back into your hair, creating stronger and more flexible hair strands. They also increase elasticity and manageability and work great to detangle your hair. NaturAll's Hydrating Leave-in Conditioner contains glycerin, a powerful humectant that can be found in other products such as body lotion. 

What hair type is a leave-in conditioner right for?

Leave-in conditioners work well for anyone that’s looking to strengthen and hydrate their hair while making it more manageable for styling. However, it works best for those with low porosity hair. (Check out this guide if you're not sure what porosity hair you have.) You might see beads of water rolling off your hair when you first begin washing it, or you might notice hair products just sitting on top of your hair. Leave-in conditioners are light enough to be absorbed by low porosity hair, making it the perfect moisturizer.

Here are directions on how to use our leave-in conditioner:

After conditioning in quadrants, apply a generous amount of leave-in conditioner and rake through damp hair from roots to ends. Style hair as desired. If additional hold is desired, follow up with a custard and hair oil.

What is a hair moisturizer?

A moisturizer is also a water-based cream but it is usually thicker, creamier and more concentrated compared to a leave-in conditioner. They might come in forms of butters or creams and are meant to help you maintain the moisture in your hair when it gets dry. Hair Moisturizers contain hydrophilic molecules that draw in water to your hair strands, hold the moisture in and balance the water levels in your hair; and hydrophobic agents that help to keep in moisture in your hair. We recommend that you use moisturizers a couple of times a week, on damp hair, to keep your hair hydrated between washes. 

natural hair organic products avocado

How do I know if I should use a hair moisturizer?

We recommend everyone add a moisturizer to their hair regimen. However, because they are richer and creamier, we recommend them for those with high porosity hair and/or type 3 or 4 curls. (Learn more about hair type and curl pattern.) High porosity hair absorbs water well, but also loses it quickly. Similarly, type 3 and 4 curls require a higher level of moisture than wavy or straight hair.

The thickness of hair moisturizers keep water molecules locked into the hair strand a lot longer than their thinner watery counterparts. NaturAll's Hydrating Moisturizer works great to keep the moisture in your hair balanced throughout the week, and makes daily styling more manageable. They also work really well in helping you manage and keep your styles.

Here’s how to use a hair moisturizer:

  1. In sections, apply a generous amount of moisturizer to damp hair from roots to ends.
  1. Gently comb through for even distribution. Do not rinse.
  1. Style as desired. For best results, pair with NaturAll's Hydrating Custard for additional hold.

What hairstyles can I achieve with a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer?


Twistouts are a perfect way to wear your hair out without worrying about frizz. For your next twistout we recommend you add NaturAll's Hydrating Moisturizer to give your hair a more shine and bounce.

To achieve a twistout, you section your hair into small sections throughout your head.

After you section your hair, use a spray bottle to dampen your hair. Apply the moisturizer to every section of hair, then follow up with NaturAll's Hydrating Custard (a little goes a long way) and then seal it in with our Hydrating Oil Blend. Separate each section into two, and twist it in a two-strand twist. Leave everything in until your hair is dry, take out your twists, and style as desired. 

Wash n' Go

Wash n' gos are a super easy and versatile. After you wash your hair with NaturAll's Hydrating Shampoo and use our Hydrating Conditioner, go ahead and apply the moisturizer on damp hair. Follow with the hydrating custard and oil blend, and you’ll have the perfect wash n' go. You can use NaturAll's Hydrating Leave-in conditioner to touch up throughout the week!

Ingredients to look for in leave-in conditioners and moisturizers

NaturAll's leave-in conditioner and moisturizer both contain two vital ingredients that will transform your hair into the strong and healthy hair you deserve. The first ingredient is avocado, a fruit that works wonders for moisturizing and strengthening hair.

Avocados have high levels of fatty acids, vitamin E and Phytosterols which are absorbed into the hair shaft which moisturize the hair very well, protect against environmental damage, stimulate new growth and unclog hair follicles. It is packed with protein, making it great for dull and brittle hair. They are also full of vitamin A, D, E and B6 which all work at the cellular level to encourage hair growth and protect hair. Vitamin B primarily works to promote hair growth while Vitamin E works to repair damage on the scalp. Avocados also strengthen hair roots, lock in moisture, revitalize hair and prevent dandruff.

Kiwi is another power fruit that you’ll find in NaturAll's moisturizer and leave-in conditioner.  Kiwi works to stimulate hair growth, prevent hair loss, combat dandruff and prevent premature color loss. It is packed with zinc, which is key in helping achieve healthy hair, and contains copper which helps to fight early color loss. vitamins C & E, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorous work to stimulate blood circulation which promotes a healthy scalp and hair growth. 

natural hair products moisturizer organic naturall

I'm still not sure whether to use a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer.

So which one should you choose? It really depends on your hair type, porosity and your hair needs. If you have thinner hair with looser curls (think type 1 up to type 3a) and are looking for something that is light and doesn’t weigh your hair down, we definitely recommend a leave-in conditioner. If you have low porosity hair, or are just looking for a daily refresher we also recommend the leave-in conditioner.

For thicker and high porosity hair and for curlier hair we recommend a creamy moisturizer. They can also be used for those who don’t want the hassle of moisturizing their hair every single day, but know that when they do, their hair will stay hydrated for a couple of days.

Both have different benefits and we recommend adding both to your hair regimen to offer maximum hydration. Leave-in conditioners offer a slip that helps to detangle hair in a way that moisturizer can’t. On the other hand, moisturizers offer more intense and long lasting moisture that the leave-in conditioners don’t provide. Many Naturals will use both products as part of their styling regimen.

Whichever you choose, make sure you have a basic understanding of your hair type, and porosity hair your hair needs. And always make sure to follow up with a sealant after using both of these products to keep all of the water in. Be sure to show us your results and tag us on Facebook and Instagram @naturallclub!

Mikayla Jones

Mikayla Jones

As an intern NaturAll as a Customer Experience Rep, I began writing blogs in addition to my work in Customer Service. I luckily am still a part of NaturAll's team and enjoy sharing the information I find with you all!

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Recent Articles
Related Posts