About a year ago, I started the “curly girl method” because I was tired of frizzy hair that I could only seem to manage with heat products. My hair was getting super damaged, and I was willing to try anything to make it healthy again.
One of the most-used products for curly girls is leave-in conditioner. It makes your hair silky smooth and keeps it from frizzing. But it is so hard to find an organic leave-in conditioner that’s actually good for your hair. Once I found my favorites, I was hooked, and now I want to extend that knowledge to you!
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The Best Organic Leave-In Conditioner
My Top Pick:
This conditioner has a mere 10 ingredients that are natural and/or organic. It is my #1 go-to hair product. You will love it because it detangles well, and the oils in the formulation will help relax your frizz. Not to mention that it’s scented with some essential oils, so it smells great without any bad-for-you chemicals. If you don’t follow the CG method like I do, you can also use this leave-in as a heat-protectant!
This organic leave-in conditioner is especially formulated for black and African-American hair. I can’t personally attest to how well it works on that hair texture, but it has amazing reviews from other consumers, and it does work nicely on my own curly hair. If you’re used to spraying your leave-in conditioner, this will be a bit of a learning curve, but it’s definitely worth a try! You can choose between coconut or unscented, both of which are incredible options.
This conditioner is lightweight and super hydrating. It tames frizz and flyaways, and it leaves your hair feeling silk smooth and shiny. And when it says unscented, it really means it! There is absolutely no scent to this leave-in conditioner, so if you’re sensitive to fragrances, this one should be your top pick.
Innersence Organics also makes a popular organic leave-in conditioner, but I didn’t include it in my list because it has a lot more ingredients than the products I listed above. That being said, Innersence Organics doesn’t use parabens, phthalates, or silicones in their leave-in conditioner formula, and the product isn’t tested on animals. However, some of the ingredients are known allergens and a few have a low risk of causing cancer or messing with your reproductive system.
Why Should I Use Organic Leave-In Conditioner?
Other leave-in conditioners may have harmful chemicals in their ingredients, and you should be very cautious when using them on a daily basis. Here are some ingredients to look out for:
Ingredients You Should Avoid
Companies have been using various forms of parabens in their beauty products since the 1920’s. They’re a synthetic preservative, and they keep our makeup and hair products (like leave-in conditioner) shelf-stable for months on end.
However, parabens have been the target of many studies in recent years, and they are thought to be an endocrine disruptor. They may affect fertility in males and females, and they may also increase cancer risk.
What to look for on the label: Anything ending in “-paraben” (ie, propylparaben, methylparaben)
Pthalates are often called “plasticizers” because they are used in many plastics in order to make them flexible. In beauty products, however, companies often use phthalates as a binding agent. In leave-in conditioner, brands add phthalates in order to keep the product on your hair.
Phthalates can be dangerous though. Many studies link them to reproductive issues (including infertility and miscarriages), cancer, and damage to the kidneys, liver, and immune system.
I’ve talked about fragrance a lot in the past, but I have to reiterate it here. Fragrance may smell nice, but, unfortunately, companies are not required to disclose the ingredients that they use in their fragrances because it’s considered a trade secret. Some companies disclose the ingredients anyway (which I applaud!), but you should always steer clear of any beauty product that includes “fragrance” in the ingredients. Many fragrances use phthalates, parabens, and other chemicals that may be harmful to your health.
Phenoxyethanol is used in a lot of “clean” beauty products as an alternative to other chemical preservatives. It’s an anti-bacterial agent that keeps your beauty products shelf-stable, but it is linked to reproductive issues as well, and it also may effect the brain and central nervous system. You should try to avoid this ingredient when possible.
Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)
Brands like to use Vitamin A in beauty products because it’s supposed to be an anti-aging agent. However, according to the EWG, “Scientists have found that vitamin A can spur excess skin growth, known as hyperplasia, and that in sunlight, retinyl palmitate can form small molecules called free radicals that damage DNA,” and they can actually progress the formation of tumors. Until further researchers perform more studies on retinol and Vitamin A, you should steer clear of them.
DMDM Hydantoin is another preservative that inhibits the growth of bacteria in your hair and beauty products. This chemical, however, is a formaldehyde releaser, which means that it releases formaldehyde into the environment. Formaldehyde is an irritant that can cause allergies, and it may cause cancer as well.
How to Buy Non-Toxic or Organic Leave-In Conditioner
Unfortunately, getting non-toxic, natural, or organic leave-in conditioner is not as easy as I wish it was. This blog post required a lot of deep-digging in order to find the best products on the market, and many of them are not available at your typical drug or grocery store.
Where Can I Get Organic Leave-In Conditioner?
The best way to get organic leave-in conditioner (or any product, for that matter) is to buy it straight from the company.
When that’s not possible, there are a few online marketplaces that you can purchase these products from. Amazon and Thrive Market both have great options! You can actually purchase my top pick, Yarok, on Amazon and get it delivered in two days (maybe less if you have same-day delivery in your area).
Healthy-Hair Ingredients to Look For
Oils (Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Argan Oil, etc.)
Oils like these have essential fatty acids and vitamins that can thicken your hair and make it grow faster. They make your hair feel more silky and keep it moisturized. Plus, oils can naturally tame your hair and prevent flyaways.
Rosemary Essential Oil/Extract
Rosemary extract promotes circulation, which strengthens your hair and can promote hair growth. It also helps nourish your scalp, prevents dandruff, and may even keep you from getting grey hair too early.
Do you have an organic leave-in conditioner that you use on a regular basis? Have you tried any of the products I listed above? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your opinion!