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Best Leave-In Conditioner for 4C Natural Hair [NHP Reviews]

Are you looking for the best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair? If the answer is YES, you’re more than just a hottie, you’re a SMART hottie, ha!


Because the top leave-in conditioner sprays and creams are designed to give your luscious type 4 hair an advantage at retaining moisture like a boss.

And look sis, you and I both know that…

...proper moisture retention is a major key in hair growth and length retention.

Let’s keep it 100: 

Next to doing a moisture-infusing deep conditioning session, using a good leave-in on your hair is a MUST for a complete natural hair regimen. 

Best Leave-In Conditioner for 4C Natural Hair [NHP Reviews]Best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair tutorial...

The best leave-in conditioners for 4C hair not only help give your luscious the extra moisture it needs, it also assists you in detangling your twisted, tangled strands by making the process easier, which helps make styling easier too. 

To top it all off, the better leave-ins target dryness at the source and help to nourish your scalp, while giving you softer, more manageable kinks, coils and curls.


As I’m sure you alllllready know, not all leave-in hair products were created equal, some are great for making 4C hair more curly, some are made to repair hair damage, plus more. And more than that, different hair types have different needs. 

Best Leave-In Conditioner for 4C Low Porosity Hair

best leave in conditioner for 4c natural hairFind the best leave-in conditioner for low porosity 4C hair...

If you have high porosity hair, don’t sweat it sis, I explain how to find the best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair that is high porosity further down this tutorial.

For now though, let’s deal with our low porosity 4C sisters and the best low porosity leave-in conditioners you can find. Naturals with low porosity hair often have a different us for these natural hair products.

For example:

Leave-in conditioners are used on low porosity hair to add weight, lubrication, softness and flexibility. You can’t really expect even the best leave-in conditioner to "soak in" with low porosity hair. Low-po girls benefit most by using leave-ins for a superficial effect, as a styling product. 

If you find that even the best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair seems to sit on the outside, on top of your hair, try this trick for low porosity hair:

Apply your leave-in to dripping wet hair to get better coverage and dilution. Or, put it in your hair while in the shower, after applying, quickly move your head under the shower spray and then back out (or pour some water over your hair) for good coverage and dilution. 

You can use conditioners for leaving in as a stand-alone product or mixed into a gel like homemade flaxseed gel to combine effects, improve distribution and get it all done in one step. 

Simply put, for low porosity hair, your leave-in is mainly used to help style your hair. In that case, you probably won’t need to use as much, so thinning it & spreading it out with the shower spray or by mixing the leave-in into a styling product can be a go-to move in your low porosity natural remedy.

Lastly, you can try mixing a little bit of leave-in conditioner with distilled water in a spray bottle for a more even and light application.

NHP PRO TIP: Part of mastering your natural hair journey is conquering the chemistry of these products. For example, if you’re a low porosity natural who easily gets a bunch of product build-up, the best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair would likely be a conditioner that does not contain cationic conditioning ingredients.

Or if it does have cationic conditioning ingredients they should be the type that are shorter in carbon chain and less likely feel slimy or give you nasty product build-up.

These leave-in conditioners in the list below have better ingredients to cater to low porosity hair: 

  • MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner/ Heat Protectant Spray
  • Aubrey Organics (There are no cationics in Aubrey Conditioners)
  • Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner
  • GPB Balancing Protein Conditioner
  • Chamomile Luxurious Conditioner 
  • Curl Keeper Slip - A lightweight leave-in conditioner that’s silicone-free. Great for detangling and loosening hair knots, helps lock in hair color and eliminate flyaway hair.
  • California Baby Overtired and Cranky Hair Conditioner - Plant Based Baby Conditioner formulated with plant-based emollients, chamomile and tangerine essential oils, this moisturizing conditioner can be used as a rinse out or leave-in for 4C hair kids and babies. Gives 4C hair enhanced manageability and softness. PLUS, this vegan-friendly conditioner boasts a natural herbal complex that helps restore lustrous shine while gently hydrating hair and scalp.
  • Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner 
  • Earth Science Citress Conditioner
  • Giovanni Direct Leave-in (a water-based leave-in conditioner for low porosity hair that can also be used as a rinse-out conditioner)
  • Giovanni Nutrafix Conditioner
  • Giovanni Magnetic Restructuring Conditioner
  • Kiehl's Hair Conditioner and Grooming Aid
  • Ovation VOlumizing Creme Rinse
  • Suave Daily Clarifying Conditioner
  • Trader Joe's Refresh Conditioner
  • Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner (a water based leave-in conditioner for low porosity hair)
  • As I Am Naturally Leave-In Conditioner - Asiam is one of the best leave-in conditioners for natural 4C hair because it thoroughly prevents tangles, prepares your hair for styling, eases wet combing and seals the cuticle layer. This popular, best-selling leave-in conditioner also contains organic hair strengthening agents, plus natural ingredients that promote hair growth. 

So now let’s try to pick out the best leave-in conditioner for 4c natural hair that’s HIGH porosity and also show you some of the best leave-in conditioners for dry 4C hair.

Best Leave-in Conditioner for 4C High Porosity Hair

Best Leave-in Conditioner for 4C High Porosity HairBest Leave-in Conditioner for 4C High Porosity Hair

9-out-of-10 times, the best leave-in conditioner for 4C high porosity hair will have a bunch of protein in it. 


Because protein is essential for high porosity hair because protein temporarily fills in some of the porous holes and gaps and holes that are in your raised hair cuticles and smooths them.

Think of it like this:

Proteins patch up holes in hair cuticles much like putty or cement would fill a hole in a brick wall.

This makes your hair stronger and healthier because the “protein patch ups” help high porosity hair retain moisture for longer periods of time.

High porosity hair is prone to dry hair because the raised (open) cuticle layers let any hydration and moisture seep out soon after you put it in, high porosity can’t retain moisture much like a cup with a hole in it can’t retain its liquid.

Hydrolyzed protein is broken down into smaller components, allowing the proteins to work from the inside-out instead of just sitting on top of your hair. Most proteins (such as egg proteins) are too large to actually penetrate hair strands and provide any real benefits to the hair.

Hydrolyzed proteins are tiny molecular structures that are perfect for penetrating the hair shaft, giving you the results you need. You will know if the protein is hydrolyzed because the word “hydrolyzed” will be in front of the protein. 

Beside proteins, another ingredient to look for in high porosity hair products is aloe vera, aloe vera is a useful natural hair product ingredient that is a high porous natural’s life-saver because it smooths and closes highly porous hair cuticles and regulates the pH balance.

I will highlight the hydrolyzed proteins in the 5 products mentioned below.

PROTIP: Proteins can be assisted in strengthening your hair by some other great ingredients. Naturals sometimes forget about using: Pro Vitamin B5, Henna, Algae, Molasses, Keratin, Silk Amino Acids, Bamboo, Biotin, Baobab, and Omega 3,6,9.

Here’s another tip to keep in mind, the best leave-in conditioner for 4C hair with high porosity are often of the creamier variety. Creamy leave-ins often work better at maintaining moisture.

While women with low-medium porosity often benefit from lighter leave-ins like liquid water based leave-in conditioners and even hair milk. 

Don’t get me wrong, sis:

A liquid leave-in conditioner can also work for high porosity hair, but make sure you use a moisturizer or butter afterwards to seal in the moisture. Anywhoo…

Here’s a list of the best leave-in conditioners for 4C hair that have hydrolyzed protein and/or aloe in them...

  • OYIN Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner - Contains: Hydrolyzed Keratin AND Hydrolyzed Silk
  • TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer - Contains: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
  • ApHogee Keratin and Green Tea Restructurizer - Contains: Hydrolyzed Keratin AND Hydrolyzed Silk. Quick note about this one: I would recommend using this just as a quick spritz all over the hair and then applying a more moisturizing leave-in conditioner afterwards. Also one of best leave-in conditioners for dry 4C hair.
  • As I Am Long & Luxe GroYogurt Leave-In Conditioner - Contains: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Lupine Protein & Hydrolyzed Keratin
  • Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Leave-In Conditioner - Contains: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(Aloe vera) & Hydrolyzed Keratin

Is As I Am Leave-In Conditioner The Best Leave-in Conditioner for 4C Natural Hair?

I want to be honest with you sis, I can’t give a review saying that As I Am leave-In is “the best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair” because as I just finished showing you, 4C hair types can differ in porosity, thickness and other factors. 

So, there is no one-size-fits-all “best of the best” no matter what some reviews may say, still though, As I Am leave-in conditioner is definitely ONE OF THE BEST. That’s a fact, Jack.

As I Am (or Asiam, as some spell it) leave-in helps strengthen 4C hair, supports healthy hair growth and preps your hair for styling. For many women’s natural hair routine, this leave-in is a vital first step in styling.

You can smooth it on after cleansing with a premium shampoo and conditioner combo. After that, your finished hairstyle should feel softer, look shinier and be more manageable. As I Am leave-in conditioner for 4C hair also fights to keep tangles away. As a bonus, they’ve added an organic strengthening agent, as well as natural ingredients that promote hair growth.

Check out this As I Am leave in conditioner review:

"I have low porosity 3B/C low porosity, medium thickness hair and this As I Am leave in is awesome! I'm always on the hunt for products so I can switch up my hair routines. This leave in actually works better for me on day 3 hair, rather than on wash days.

I use the loc method (liquid, oil, conditioner) on my hair 2 days after I wash it. I section my hair into 4 sections, spray each section with warm water, add oil, then put in this As I Am leave-in. My curls go from frizzy to soft and defined. It's one of my holy grail leave-in hair product choices." 

- Darlindra L.

Many reviews say that this As I Am Long & Luxe Conditioner GroYogurt leave-In conditioner is one of the best leave-in conditioners for 4C natural hair because it greatly reduces tangles and combing damage, helping to strengthen hair for faster hair growth and length retention.

As I Am leave-in conditioner pomegranate also adds moisture to your hair, and preps it for natural styling. Using this leave-in conditioner in your regimen gives naturals longer lasting hairstyle results. Works well on type 3 and 4 hair. 

Here’s a list of the most common review comments about this "best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair"...

  • Eases wet combing.
  • Adds moisture and shine.
  • Helps strengthen hair to support greater hair growth and length retention.
  • Prepares your hair for styling.
  • Often used before applying gel or setting cream to avoid flaking.

And surprisingly enough, many women ask how to use As I Am leave in conditioner. Well, I got you girl…

Here’s how to use it: Apply this leave-in liberally to clean, wet and detangled hair. Distribute well throughout the entire head of hair, from root to tips. Comb through to maintain tangle free alignment. Keep your hair very wet. Proceed to style with gel or smoothie.

Best Cheap Option: Make Your Own DIY Homemade Leave-in Conditioner for 4C Natural Hair

Listen…. Sometimes it’s cheaper to make your own homemade leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair and it becomes your personal "best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair".

You can make more than would come in a single premade bottle and you’ll often end up spending less money for the amount of product you’ll have ready at the house. 

Almost anyone can get their hands on some high-quality black castor oil, coconut oil, aloe and more for a bomb homemade DIY leave-in.

You just need to see some of our recipes, follow the instructions and trust in your abilities because you can make a DIY creamy leave-in conditioner or spray at your house that can compare to some of the best off-the-shelf leave-ins. 

Peep This Super-Smart DIY Homemade Leave-in Conditioner w/ Fenugreek & Horsetail for Hair Growth:

Here is the written recipe from NowIamNappy’s homemade leave-in that uses ayurvedic herbs, fenugreek seeds and horsetail extract to help hydrate, strengthen, and moisturize dry natural hair.

This can be the best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair when you are searching for a boost in hair growth.

- Use this twice a week for extreme Hair Growth...

Fenugreek and Horsetail Tea Recipe:

  • 2 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp horsetail extract
  • 1 cup of boiling water

DIY leave in conditioner Recipe (Water Phase)

  • 2/3 cup or 137g of Fenugreek/Horsetail Tea
  • 1 tbsp or 14g of Rose water tea 
  • 1 tbsp or 14g if Rosewater
  • 1 tbsp or 18g of Glycerin

(Oil Phase)

  • 1 tbsp or 6g Mango Butter
  • 2 tbsp 14g of BTSM 225 (emulsifier)
  • 2 tbsp or 10g of Ayurvedic Hair Oil  
  • Optiphen (Preservative)
  • Essential Oils 

This "best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair growth" recipe is not meant for mass production. If you choose to mass produce please make sure you understand the role of preservatives in each state. 

So now that you know how to make your own Homemade DIY Leave-in conditioner, aint-nuthin’-to-it-but-to-do-it!

And who knows, you can play with the ingredients and invent something unique!

You might come up with a natural DIY leave-in conditioner that is good enough to put up for sale. You might end up as the next Jane Carter, it’s time to start these Black businesses and stop playin’! 

Speaking of Jane Carter, let me show you a few more popular picks for best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair. Maybe you’ll get your hands on the perfect leave-in for your tresses.

Four Best-Seller Leave-In Conditioners for 4C Hair

1. It’s no secret that the Jane Carter Revitalizing Leave-In conditioner is super popular among type 4 naturals. Tons of positive reviews tell you the story about this very lightweight leave-in conditioner that can be used daily. 

2. Another best-selling favorite that the ladies love is the most popular SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair multi-action leave-in.

4C naturals not only love this Shea moisture leave-in conditioner because of how moisturizing it is, but also because of the deliciously floral scent. So it smells heavenly while also helping protect your hair against sun and heat damage.

This natural hair product is always mentioned in the “best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair” conversation because of these extremely high quality ingredients and results you gain.

This Shea moisture leave-in conditioner is created with certified pure organic Shea Butter, reparative Manuka Honey and yogurt perfectly blended together in a lightweight leave-in treatment that fortifies type 4C hair (especially high porosity) with strand supporting proteins while fighting frizz. Ideal for hair that is prone to breaking, snapping or splitting. 

Here are number 3 & 4 on the list of high-quality leave-i conditioners with very good reviews… They are both lightweight enough to use as a daily spritz to give your Afro some added moisture. #3 on this "best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair" list is...

3. Aphogee Pro Vitamin Leave-In Conditioner

4. Creme of Nature Strength & Shine Leave-In Conditioner with Infused with Argan Oil from Morocco.

[ Wanna Laugh? See our silly kinky curly hair memes page ]

How To Use The Best Leave In Conditioners for Natural Hair 3C-4C

So lastly, let’s talk a bit about how to use the best leave-in conditioners for 4C natural hair.

Because many naturals don’t realize how important a good leave-in for helping your hairstyles hold up and keeping your hair from being a dried-out shriveled up mess. 

You’ll often see inexperienced naturals people use hair gels without applying a leave-in conditioner first, this is a common mistake.

For proper moisture retention and style preparation, it truly helps to have a “primer” layer of moisturizing leave-in conditioner between your hair and and even the best 4C hair gel.  If you forget this primer step, you’re asking for a stiff hot mess. 

Aint nobody got time for dat (lol)!

If you just think of your need for a leave-in conditioner as a primer for your hair gel the same way that you need to prime your skin before putting on foundation when doing a professional makeup job.

So don’t poo-poo the use of a leave-in conditioner after you shampoo. Check out this video by FinallyAmber to see some best use tips for the best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair (or any other natural hair type).

It should be a practice in your 4C natural hair regimen. After you step out of the shower and have taken advantage of a dope hydration deep conditioner to get your hair in a health-promoting state, work to keep that moisture and get your hair ready to take advantage of your stylers with the best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair.

Always use your leave-in as a primer for your favorite 4C styler products, another little trick you can use is to alternate between using your best leave-in conditioner for 4C natural hair and your hair milks or hair creams and use that as a primer under your gel every other wash day or so, and you will see a huge difference with making your stylers more effective and give your precious locks more POP!

If you’d like to see more of the best leave-in conditioners for 4C natural hair, check out these best-sellers at Amazon.

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Melissa Lee is a Contributing Editor to NHP and a former owner of the BlackhairOMG website. She formed 4C Trichology Growth Services, LLC., a US based hair care consultation service. She has also contributed as a writer and consultant for various hair and beauty websites. Melissa can be followed on Twitter here.