You can definitely use a leave-in conditioner every day, but there are several factors to consider when doing so. Determining exactly how often to use a leave-in conditioner will require reading product instructions, examining your hair, and looking into your hair routine. There are many other online resources available to you as well, but the information below serves as a great set of first steps.
Read Your Leave In Conditioner Product Label
The first thing to look at when determining how often to use your leave-in conditioner is to read the instructions on your specific leave-in conditioner label. Usually, these instructions will state clearly how often the product should be used.
Often, you’ll see leave-in conditioners that were designed to be used every day after you wash your hair. This is the most common way that leave-in conditioners are used. You wash your hair, apply your leave-in conditioner, then style your hair for the day. This process is repeated daily to achieve the best results.
This is not to say that there aren’t other types of leave-in conditioners that should be used at different frequencies. Some heavy-duty leave-in conditioners can be used less often and this would be indicated on the product label in most cases.
It is also important to recognize that most leave in conditioners work on all hair types, so if there isn't any information on product use related to your specific hair type, don't worry!
If your leave-in conditioner doesn’t have instructions for how to use it, don’t worry. There are other ways to determine if you can use a leave in conditioner every day.
Evaluate Your Hair Routine
When evaluating your hair routine, you should consider how often you wash your hair.
Frequent Hair Washing
If you normally wash your hair every day, or even every other day, using a leave-in conditioner daily shouldn’t give you any issues. This is because when you wash your hair often, the leave-in conditioner that you use at any one time will not be sitting on your hair for an extended amount of time (like weeks). This virtually eliminates any possibility of hair damage from using leave-in conditioner every day. In fact, your hair might actually be thirsty for more moisture since your hair is constantly being washed.
Weekly Hair Washing
If you don’t wash your hair often, using a leave-in conditioner every day could cause excess buildup on the scalp and hair. This could also be the case if you have naturally oily hair. Understanding the type of hair you have will help you determine how often to wash your hair.
How quickly your hair gets gunked up with product depends on the ingredients in your specific leave-in conditioner though. Some leave-in conditioners are made of ingredients that penetrate your strands and allow your hair to be moisturized without suffocating your hair. These leave-in conditioners are less likely to cause product buildup.
Other leave-in conditioners sit on top of your hair and have the potential to cause buildup quicker. You don’t want hair buildup because it can lead to clogged hair follicles, limp hair, and more problems.
Get To Know Your Hair
Knowing your own hair, above all else, is key to figuring out just how often to use a leave-in conditioner.
For Dry Hair
Let’s talk about the condition of your hair for a moment. Touch the ends of your hair. Do they feel dry, crispy, or frayed?
If your answer to the previous question is yes, then a moisturizing leave-in conditioner can help you increase your hair’s health. You can try using a good leave-in conditioner daily for a week or so and then see how your hair feels after that.
For Moisturized Hair
If your hair is already moisturized, or gets oily quickly, you may not want to use a leave-in conditioner every day. In a case like this, adding additional moisture to already moisturized hair with a leave-in conditioner can negatively affect your hair’s health, leaving it limp and with a gummy feeling.
Feel your hair often, and see how it looks from time to time. If you notice that your hair is getting too oily or limp, you can try using your leave-in conditioner less often, like once every other day, once or twice per week, or once a month in extreme cases. If you are using a leave-in conditioner every day and your hair looks fine, feels good, and behaves well, keep doing what you are doing.
In the case of over-moisturized hair that feels gummy and doesn’t stretch like it used to, you’ll want to decrease the moisture in your hair. And in the context of this question of how often to use a leave-in conditioner, it’s wise to refrain from using leave-in conditioner every day. Skipping a day or two or stopping use altogether could be beneficial for your hair.
Try this Test
To test out your leave-in conditioner and find out how often to use it, try this.
For 7 days, use your leave-in conditioner every single day. Throughout the first week, examine your hair. Continue to use your leave in conditioner daily if you like the results. If you don’t like how your hair behaves, looks, or feels, try the next step. Take photos of your hair so you can reference these later on.
For the next 7 days, use your leave-in conditioner every other day. Examine your hair often throughout this week, as you did last week, and take pictures. Continue using your leave-in conditioner every other day if you loved your hair this week.
Continue testing out your leave in conditioner in this manner using different application frequencies (once per week, once per month, etc.). You can also do this test for different leave-in conditioners and compare results. Not only will you know without a doubt how often you should use your leave-in conditioner, you’ll know which leave-in conditioner works best for you.
Note: If your hair remains dry after using several leave-in conditioners, you may have an underlying issue in your hair routine that is preventing your hair from either obtaining or retaining moisture. Consult a cosmetologist for help. If the problem is internal, a doctor can provide assistance.
Research on Leave-in Conditioner Usage
When you do research on the web about this topic, you may find sources that say that you should use a leave-in conditioner every day, no matter what. Also, there are sources that tell you not to use a leave-in conditioner daily. These recommendations may not take into account important individual differences in people’s hair, wash routines, and specific leave-in conditioners.
Do yourself a favor and dig a little deeper into your habits, the condition of your hair, and your specific leave-in conditioner to yield the best answer for your hair.
Author: Andrea Reyes
Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.