A LITTLE EXPERIMENTATION: Rinse-out Conditioners As Leave-Ins

I’ve been away from the blog and school work. A lovely restful week I had, doing nothing. I did not realise how badly I needed a break until school closed for the Easter holiday. I’m mentally and physically refreshed now and ready to get back to work. And yessss, the kinky twists are back. Yay. 🙂

So the last two weeks before the break, I tried something- using rinse-out conditioners as leave-ins.

I think everyone is familiar with what conditioner is.
Generally, we could categorise conditioner into two-
Rinse-out conditioner and leave-in conditioner.

Rinse-out conditioner is designed to be rinsed out and leave-in conditioner, to be left in (haha. I’m sorry, no other way to say it)

So now, let’s consider the “design”. Rinse-out and leave-in conditioners are formulated differently. Chemistry is not my thing, so let me just put this as I understand it.

Rinse-out conditioners are heavier. They are used after shampooing to smooth the hair cuticle and restore moisture to the hair. A good rinse-out conditioner should have fatty acids, fatty alcohols and surfactants.

Leave-in conditioners are much lighter. The basic leave-in ingredients are water, and humectants. The purpose is to provide moisture to the hair.

In a video, vlogger Mahoganycurls mentioned that she had been using a regular rinse-out conditioner as a leave-in. I’m almost out of Creamy Hair Lotion (ugh) and I was particularly interested because her conditioner of choice in the video is the Suave Naturals Coconut Conditioner. My rinse-out conditioner is the Suave Naturals Aloe & Waterlily conditioner, so I thought I’d give it a try. But first, I did a little reading. Here’s what I got.

1. Using a rinse-out conditioner as a leave-in is not an absurd hair practice.
2. Some people do it because their hair is super-thirsty and needs extra moisture.
3. Using a rinse-out conditioner as a leave-in can increase the likelihood of build-up so clarifying is necessary.
4. Using a rinse-out conditioner as a leave-in can cause itchiness. Particularly if the conditioner has any proteins or some quaternary ammonium compounds or quats for short.

Wait, wait, wait.
It’s easy to tell if your conditioner has proteins (kinda) but not so easy with the quats. Quats aren’t exactly listed like “x-quat and y-quat” so this is another thing to watch out for.
Leave-in conditioners have quats too but because rinse-out conditioners are designed to be rinsed out, the quats therein may be present in larger amounts than your hair should be left in long contact with. As a consumer, you might not be able to easily identify these compounds and even when you can, you do not know how much is present in your conditioner.

Week 1: Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Moisturising Conditioner.
Week 2: Suave Naturals Aloe & Waterlily Conditioner.

The Aubrey Organics was basically Aqua + Natural ingredients + fatty alcohols. Not a single ingredient to flag or Google. The Suave on the other hand had a lot more chemicals on the ingredient list (I was able to identify one quat) so I was particularly wary and tried to use as little as possible.
However, the conditioners have two things in common. Both conditioners are silicone free. Both have humectants (Suave has Propylene Glycol and Aubrey Organics has Glycerin) but I mixed the conditioners with a little glycerine anyway.

– I put the conditioner on like the top 75% of my hair, avoiding the roots because I didn’t want to risk any irritation.
– I sealed with olive oil (I’m out of Coconut oil and SPAR is out of stock >_< )
– I refreshed my hair with a light water spritz in the afternoons and sometimes an hour before bed.
– I co-washed twice a week.

I finished my two-week experiment with no itching or other irritation.

Yes, rinse-out conditioners can be used as leave-ins.

Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Moisturising Conditioner looks perfectly safe enough to be a leave-in. I’ve had this since May 2012 but I haven’t really enjoyed it as a rinse-out conditioner. I prefer it as a leave-in but it’s not the cheapest of the lot (in this Nigeria anyway) and It’s definitely not cheap enough for me to put it to daily use. It was noticeably more moisturising than the Suave.

I was really not comfortable with all the strange substances in the Suave conditioner and it wasn’t very moisturising for my hair. My hair got dry and crispy quicker than it got with the Aubrey Organics in Week 1.

I don’t intend to make a habit of using rinse-out conditioners as leave-ins BUT If I’m ever in a fix, without any leave-in conditioner- at least I know I won’t be helpless.

At the end of the experiment, I clarified with baking soda. We don’t want no build-up!

Do you use a rinse-out conditioner as a leave-in? Have you ever tried? Tell me about it.

8 thoughts on “A LITTLE EXPERIMENTATION: Rinse-out Conditioners As Leave-Ins

  1. Sometimes I like using heavier “rinse-out” conditioners as a leave-in because they give a “hold” similar to gel. Lately I’ve gone back to using Yes-to-Carrots and/or DevaCare One as my leave-in – they’re light enough not to weigh my hair down and still keep my hair moisturized. Only thing I’ve found is that some really thicker conditioners leave my hair feeling “soapy” and leave white flakes when dry.


  2. I just tried the Cantu rinse out moisturizing conditioner as a leave-in….it is SUPER!!! My hair has great moisture and feels good!


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  5. I’ve being using Pantene as leave in conditioner for almost 4 months. My hair looks healthy and smooth. I have some curves in my hair but are not to tight.

    Ps: thanks for the review ^_^


  6. i use eo rose chamomile as a leave in and my hair adores this conditioner! i went through tons and products and money trying to find a leave in that was labeled “leave in” and i had no luck, plus i was much lighter in the pockets. so happy i found this one. it works like a charm!


  7. I started leaving rinse-out conditioner in my hair about 3 weeks ago (after co-washing each week). It works for me because my hair gets lots of moisture and definition at the same time. I’ve found that my hair doesn’t like a lot of different products layered on. I’m using Aussie Moist conditioner. In the US, you can get a big bottle for about $7.

    It sounds like build-up is the worst problem with using rinse-out conditioner in this way; I will be sure to use a good shampoo from time to time.


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