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Be Cautious With Your Leave In

Why Your Leave-in Conditioner May Be Drying Out Your Hair

by Dr. Kari Williams 

I talk to lots of women who use a lot of leave-in conditioners. The tricky thing about the product landscape of today is that there are some product manufacturers who will label a product “Leave-in conditioner” (because they know we love them) and it’s a great daily moisturizer, but there are others that are filled with proteins that can have a drying affect on the hair.

Hair strands primarily consist of the protein keratin. This protein gives strength and structure to your hair strand. To keep the hair healthy, you not only need moisture, but you need protein. A loss of protein in your hair can cause damage to your hair strand and can even affect your hair texture. Many product companies manufacture products with added protein. These products are designed to strengthen and protect the hair shaft, add shine and even reduce static. Of course the majority of these products come in the form of a conditioner and there are two primary types of conditioners. The conditioner you leave in and the conditioner you rinse out. In this post lets talk a little bit further about the conditioner you leave in.


The leave-in conditioner that is drying out your hair is the leave-in conditioner that contains the extra proteins. If you feel like your hair is dry and brittle, and a leave-in conditioner is a part of your regular hair regimen, it more than likely contains protein. Check the label. Some proteins are stronger than others, and some leave-ins may contain a lower percentage of protein than others. The key factor is that daily application of protein to your hair through a leave-in conditioner can create an imbalance in the level of moisture and protein in your hair, resulting in dry brittle strands.


Leave-in conditioners are great “quick” fixes from time to time, but not for daily use. On a daily basis it is more important to apply a moisture (water) based product to your strands and seal in that moisture with an oil/oil based product.


Remember: Protein overload will lead to dry strands. So read your labels and be conscious of the protein content in your products. Changing this element of your hair care routine can be the answer to your dry hair problems.




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