Project: The ultimate leave-in for type 4 hair

The most commonly asked question via email is......'My hair is type 4, I really need a good leave in conditioner, what do you recommend?'

I try not to recommend any products therefore I am going to throw this question out to you. Please pretty please only state products that work, not stuff you are trying out!

The rules
1. The product must be used on type 4 hair and you must state your hair length.*
2. The hair must be natural and if colour treated (not henna) please mention this.
3. If you use a home concoction, please give measurements (if you wing it, then let us know)
4. If you use multiple products please mention them all (for example if you apply the leave in and then apply some oil).

*Different hair lengths sometimes demand different products. If your hair is not type 4, do feel free to contribute but do mention that it is not type 4.

After we get all the submissions, I will compile a final table detailing what to try for specific lengths. Thank you in advance!


  1. I'm definitely a type 4, although I'm no longer sure what 4b is. What people now call 4c is what I thought 4b was. For the record, I have a more or less equal mix of tiny coils (which shrink 80%+) and no-pattern kinks (some of which I've recently learned don't shrink much at all, which makes them...what? Straight?? weird).

    When my hair was longer I found that the following homemade mixture worked really well for me:
    -1/2 cup Hello Hydration (or whatever co-wash conditioner works really well for you)
    -1 tablespoon each olive oil, castor oil, and aloe vera gel
    -A few drops each honey and glycerin

    I recently BC'd again and this time around I've been applying coconut oil followed by Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine leave-in. I do this on damp hair and this leaves it soft without being greasy. I admit the hair is a little dry at the end of the day but since I rinse every morning it's not a big deal.

  2. great post!the leave-in that has never failed me is Karen's body beautiful hair milk!!
    my stats: I've been natural for 4 years, my type is 4 something..I think b or c.not sure. The length is shoulder..I think.. I don't measure..some goes beyond the shoulder blade..but not arm pit...maybe one day

  3. Great idea! I use the Pantene R&N Breakage Defense Mask as my leave-in. It's at stockpile status, because it works so well for me. I am a type 4a natural, no color. My hair is about 2 inches past my shoulders in the back and CBL in the front (when straightened). I always apply a light coating of Olicoco (50/50) on soaking wet hair and then a bit of the mask on each section as I do my twist out. Can't wait to see everyone else's contributions!

  4. Thank you all for the super speedy replies. I'm off to start constructing my table

  5. I'm a type 4 natural. Not sure if I'm 4 a or b (or a mix of both) because as LBell says the definition seems to be constantly changing! I've been natural for just over 2 years and my hair is between shoulder length and armpit length. My favorite leave-in is Giovanni Direct, but I also like using Oyin Honey Hemp and Kinky Curly Knot Today as leave-ins. I don't apply any oil directly before or after my leave-in, but I do seal with coconut oil after I've moisturized and styled.

  6. My hair length is slightly longer than bra-strap, or below the shoulder blades.

    No henna.

    My mainstay product I create: shea butter, aloe vera, Castor Oil and Vitamin E. I use a 1 pint container. It's mostly shea butter, aloe vera, 1-2 table spoon(s) of Castor Oil and Vitamin E.

    When my hair is dry, to soften it up, I use Garnier Leave-in Conditioner and Castor Oil.

    Like the others who use hair conditioners, if I want to soften / detangle the hair, I mix hair conditioner with Castor Oil or Olive Oil.

  7. I should add that I have done henna 4 times. The Pantene R&N Mask worked great to soften my hair and minimize shrinkage before I ever did henna. After the henna, I get the same benefits as before, but my hair feels even softer from the the mask (really, really smooth & soft!). Before the Pantene, I used Redken Smooth Down Butter Treat as a leave-in but that didn't help with shrinkage as much.

  8. A is 4a mixed with a little 3c. Usually I apply unrefined shea butter mixed with virgin coconut oil then Giovanni Direct Leave-in. I use them both daily to every other day but they are definitely staples. She is waist length, but she is only 4 so waist length on her is I think BSL on me and I'm 5'2". I want to say her hair is around 20 inches maybe? Hmmm. Well I hope that helps anyway! lol.

  9. im a 4a textured natural and the best leave ins I use are the Kinky Curly Knot Today and Blended Beauty Silk Shake conditioner

  10. Thanks again ladies. The reason I am asking about hair colour is because permanent or semi-permanent hair colour may lift the cuticle so hair care for colour treated hair may be different. Henna does not lift the cuticle but rather binds to it, so it is in a different group

  11. I am 4A/3C, and my hair is 16 inches, average. The leave-in conditioners that work for me are:

    African Royale Daily Doctor (original formula)
    Aveeno Nourish & Condition Treatment/w glycerin

    -Jc test

  12. I have 4b hair. In general, my routine always consists of three main steps: cowashing (Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose), using a leave-in (Paul Mitchell The Conditioner), and gelling (EcoStyler - Clear). I find that the gel works as my sealer. It holds in the moisture that I put into my hair with the conditioner and leave-in. My hair is apprx. 8-9 inches long and 6 inches of it is dyed with a permanent color.

  13. I am in the 4 something family, hair is little past my chin, no color.

    I use Lustrasilk deep conditioning cream w/carrot oil or hello hydration w/ 1 tbls coconut oil and 1 tbls honey and aloe vera. They are great to leave in/ deep condition or to de- tangle with.

  14. Thanks JC! Great idea as usual! My hair is 4a/4b and I use henna. When stretched, my hair hits between my chin and the upper 1/3 of my neck. I have to cosign with Amina: I LOVE KBB Hair Milk. This is a holy grail for me. I like to mix it with KC Knot Today (50/50 mix). I also like GF Sleek and Shine Leave In. I style with coconut oil on my hands to seal. P.S. I'd love to see the results for a poll like this on deep conditioners. Just tried Say Yes to Carrots Mud Mask and I'm in LOVE! But I digress! Thanks JC!

  15. I'm a 4A natural, my hair is shoulder length (stretched). My staple leave-in is Giovanni Direct...I usually seal with EVOO or coconut oil. I've found that my styles come out best when I use a creamy leave-in instead of a spray leave-in.

  16. I'm a 4a natural and I like using the Giovanni Smooth as Silk conditioner as a leave in. It leaves my hair incredibly soft and it helps it maintain more moisture (along with frequent/daily moisturizing) throughout the week till my next wash.

  17. 4a/3c, completely natural, henna/indigo color. all time fav leave in is Kinky Curly Knot Today.

  18. My hair is definitely a 4, forms very tight coils when it air dries, so I'm not sure if that's b or c. I use semi permanent black coloring every other wash to hide my greys. I make my own leave in spray condidtioner with one part almond oil, four parts water and a few drops of honey. I use war water so the honey doesn't clump up. I put this in a spray bottle, shake well, and apply it everyday.

  19. Hair Stats: 4a, 12-13 inches. (No color).

    Leave-In: Aloe Vera Gel. My hair feels soft and moisturized for days when I use it. Doesn't need to be followed with anything else, though I have paired it with coconut oil before which was great as well. It also happens to be an AMAZING detangler.

  20. 4 b with a little 4 a. Length 6.5-7.5 inches. Virgin hair.

    I've been natural all my life but I wore a very close-shaven cut about 1 and a half years ago, so I've been growing my hair out since then.

    Carol's Daughter Healthy Hair Butter was my staple leave-in/moisturizer for over 6 years.

    Now I use unrefined shea butter and virgin coconut oil (50/50) along with Qhemet Biologics Honey Bush Hair Tea (applied together). If I need to change styles between washes or if my hair is just very dry, I'll use Kinky-Curly Knot Today along with the shea/coconut mix. I use a water spritz about every other day and a few drops of castor oil on my scalp every few days.

  21. I'm 3c with some 4a patches (no matter what anybody tries to tell me)
    My fave leave in is a great moisturizer called Cantu Shea Butter Conditioning Cream (it comes in the white tub with the orange top, NOT the orange bottle)

    It's wonderful!

  22. type 4a hair lenght 4 inches
    creamy leave in conditioners work best for my fine hair texture
    leave in conditioner Cantu Shea Butter Cream

  23. Karen's Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia, which was formally called "Hair Milk". It makes my hair silky and gives it some shine. It makes it so soft that I can run my fingers through it easily. I wash and condition (Deva Curl No Poo & Jane Carter Nutrient Replinishing Conditioner, then use the KBB sweet ambrosia. If I am doing twists, I also use KBB creamylicous and Jane Carter Nourish and Shine. After twisting, I add hair oil by Curls.

    I have 3C curls in the back on on the sides and 4a & 4b mixed in the top middle of my head. I have been natural for almost 3 years and I do not have any color in my hair.

    My hair is SBL stretched. It shrinks at least 80%

  24. My hair is 4B/4C (if 4C exists), it is at arm pit length. My last relaxer was Feb 2005. What works for me is:

    2 parts jojoba oil
    2 parts aloe vera gel
    1 part Kinky-Curly's Knot Today
    1 part Qhemet Biologics' Burdock Root

  25. Hair Type:4A/B (18mnths post relaxer more, natural hair then relaxed)

    Hair Length:Longest layers bordering APL/Others layers need to catch up :)

    Fave Leave in:
    2 tbsp Herbal Essence Hello Hydration
    2 tbsp Aloe Vera Gel
    2 tsp Castor Oil
    2 tsp EVOO

    My hair loves this combo and it even works without the Aloe Vera when i happen to run out!

  26. Hair type: mainly 4a with 3c and 4b patches

    Hair length: 3.5" is ear length in me, but I have layers

    I like Kinky Curly Knot Today's leave-in. But I think my hair likes spray leave-ins because everytime I use a cream one, I get residue.

  27. Hair Type: Afro-textured, kinky coily, highly textured, spongy, type 4
    Hair Length: ~11-12 inches
    Leave-In Conditioner: Alba Botanica Leave In Conditioner

  28. ~ grace

    my hair is partly 3 and partly 4 type, fine and fragile and frizzy. Chin length and I use henna.

    If you want moisture with slippy slippery slip, I recommend Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion. More slippy than Kinky Curly, though I like that too. It really helps with finger detangling and combing. I don't know if that reduces damage, but for me it at least makes the whole process more fun. In the UK you can get it online through

  29. Few months ago I removed human hair single braids from my hair that I'd been wearing for 15 years. Boy was my hair in bad shape - broken, dry, crunchy. I cut off about 2" of ends and started working on it.

    I use Giovanni Direct Leave In in a home-made concoction consisting of:

    3 Tbls. Giovanni Direct
    2 Tbls. Aloe gel
    2 Tbls. Marshmallow Root tea
    2 tsps. Castor oil
    2 tsps. grapeseed or avocado oil

    Whip that all together then put about half of it in my hair and work through. I section it off with clips. Use melted shea butter on my ends and hair then twist it up. When I get near the end I add a dab more of conditioner and some liquified raw shea butter to seal. My hair ends up being soft, full, little to no breakage and few if any tangles.

    I've tried the Knot Today and though it was great for my daughter's hair, I think its a bit too alkaline for mine.

    My hair has no color or henna.

    It is about 8 inches long at this juncture.


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