Ultimate Type 4 Hair Leave ins

Here is the summary of your ultimate type 4 leave ins. As per the previous post, please remember

1. Hair typing is relative and is highly prone to human error
2. This table is for information purposes only, no results are guaranteed

Ultimate Leave ins - Commercial
Hair Type and Length
Recommended by
Giovanni direct leave in 4a shoulder length, mid back length, 4a 3c - 20 inches 3
Kinky Curly Knot Today 4a, 3c, 7 inches, shoulder length, mid back length 4
Garnier Leave-in Conditioner, Sleek and Shine 4a shoulder length, mid back length, 4b chin length 3
Karens Body Beautiful Hair Milk 4b shoulder length, mid back length, 4b chin length 3
Oyin honey hemp 4a shoulder length, mid back length 1
African Royale Daily Doctor 4a 3C - 16 inches 1
Aveeno Nourish & Condition Treatment/w glycerin 4a 3C - 16 inches 1
Paul Mitchell The Conditioner 4b-9 inches long, color 1
Darcy's Botanicals Vanilla Delight 4a 4b 1
Aussie Moist 4a 4b 1
EcoStyler Clear gel 4b-9 inches long, color 1
Giovanni Smooth as Silk 4a shoulder length 1
Aloe vera gel 4a-12 inches long 1
Carol's Daughter Healthy Hair Butter 4a - 7inches long 1
Cantu Shea Butter Conditioning Cream (tub) 3c,4a- mid back 1
Darcy's Botanicals Peach Kernel Glycerin Free Leave-In 4a 4b - length not known 1

Ultimate Leave ins - Homemade mixes
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. Add enough water to create a lotion consistency. 4b shoulder length 1
Mix in a 1 pint container - mostly shea butter then add aloe vera, castor Oil and vitamin E. 4b mid back, brastrap length 1
Hair conditioner with castor oil 4b mid back, brastrap length 1
Lustrasilk deep conditioning cream with carrot oil or hello hydration. Add 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil, honey and aloe vera. 4b mid back, brastrap length 1
One part almond oil, four parts water and a few drops of honey 4, (length not known), color 1
50-50 mix of Karen's body beautiful hair milk and kinky curly knot today 4b chin length 1
Unrefined shea butter and virgin coconut oil (50/50) along with Qhemet Biologics Honey Bush Hair Tea 4a- 7 inches long 1
Aloe vera juice, glycerin, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil 4a 4b 1

Commercial Leave ins - Would NOT repurchase
Giovanni direct leave in 4a 4b 2
Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave in 4a 4b 1
Cantu Shea Butter Conditioning Cream (tub) 4a 4b 1

Feel free to continue to contribute to this table by commenting and letting us know what works for you.


  1. For our current climate - dry air in the UK, London I use Darcy's Botanicals Peach Kernal Glycerin Free Leave-In. It's very moisturising and I get two days moisture as long as I seal. It's water based so it really sinks into my hair.

    I've only tried Giovanni from your list and that left me with coated, stiff hair.

    I'm surprised more people didn't say Shea Moisture or more natural brands - were those polled US or UK based? I won't be using any of that list anytime soon. Darcy's is working fine for my dryness prone 4a/ 4b hair. It takes a long time to find the right products.


  2. The poll is open to anyone visiting the blog including yourself. I will update with your recommendation soon.

    Giovanni is a natural or organic brand actually. I have noticed that the premium brands did not really make either of the two lists that I have done so far. I think that this is very telling indeed, effective products clearly do not need to be expensive

  3. Thanks Jc - your conditioner charts are well put together!

  4. Hey JC,

    You listed my mix as the first homemade leave-in. I forgot to add the most important ingredient: WATER. Add just enough to make it the consistency that will work for your hair. I usually add enough to allow it to come out of the bottle like a lotion.

    Thanks for compiling this information!

  5. Thanks LBell - I will amend this. Thanks CallaLily :)

  6. Hey Jc! I have to ammend my vote for the Pantene R & N Mask. I decided to stop leaving in conditioners that are supposed to be rinsed out. Luckily, the Garnier Leave-In Conditioner, Sleek & Shine has the same first 4 ingredients as the R&N Mask. I've switched to that.

  7. Thanks for the update little one

  8. Karens body beautiful hair milk, (great slip, moisture and scents on wet/dry hair). I have been using KBB's HM since the beginning of my journey in late 2008 and have yet to be dissappointed. I also like kinky curly knot today (great slip, moisture and scent). My latest discovery is darcy botanicals vanilla delight daily leave in conditioner (great slip, moisture and scent) its actually very comparable to KBB's HM in my opinion.

    My quest still remains for a local leave-in that I like. I think I'm the only one that is not crazy about Giovanni's direct leave in and Cantu leave in gets the major boot from me. I am still on the fence with Shea Moisture Leave in as well as Beauty Without Cruelty Leave in.

    I tend to gravitate more towards creamy leave in's versus liquid leave in's you spritz on the hair. With that said, I tried Carol's daughter black vanilla leave In conditioner (spritz leave-in). My thoughts is that it is a really great hair perfume (smells awesome, but did nada for my hair).

    I recently made my own spritz type mix that I actually like. By no means am I a mixtress, I actually prefer just to buy a product instead of mixing any and everything lol. But first time for everything right? so here goes what my mix consisted of: aloe vera juice, glycerin, coconut and extra virgin olive oil (I tried it w/out the glycerin as well and it worked both ways for me).

  9. I love the Aussie Moist.. I have 4b hair.

  10. Thanks Sheila and Anon, I am updating

  11. i have 3c/4a hair and there are 3 leave-ins that i LUV!!: I'm currently using African Royale and it's A-ah-mazing :) as a light, moisturising spray leave-in for the summer; I have used Cantu Shea butter as a creamy leave in especially cos of its great hold when styling twists/twist outs (I have also mixed Cantu Shea butter with equal parts of unrefined shea butter to create a moisturiser...note: Cantu must be shampoo'ed); and i like making an aloe vera juice/gel homemade concoction just specially to lay down those cuticles and seal those ends.


  12. I always went for the more expensive, high end products...CHI,Fudge,Kerastase ets.... hoping my hair would give me the results I was looking for. Then I swiched to just natural product, Castle Soap, Giovanni, Carols daughter etc... still nothing but finally I decide to try something cheaper by comparison 1st up was Herbal Essence and OMG... I think I'm almost there... I love the scent my hair felt for moisturized. I owe this all to the "So nice I brought it twice article". Thank you.

  13. i don't like leave ins that are have a watery consistency because once it dries my hair goes back to feeling how it did before i used the conditioner, i prefer thicker leave ins. i mostly use curl activator gels because they are really moisturizing or i use deep repair leave ins (the brand doesn't really matter)

  14. I have 4a/4b hair, and I am planning on giving away the Giovanni leave-in I purchased to a natural friend of mine who has been using Luster's pink oil. I would not buy that Giovanni's again but I figure my friend will be better off with it than that pink mess. I do, however, really like the Giovanni deeper moisture conditioner that I use for detangling and then wash out. Go figure.

    These days I have mostly been using a mix of Oyin Honey Hemp and a dab of the Burnt Sugar Pomade for sheen (applied to damp hair every 2 or 3 days). I own the Karen's Body Beautiful Honey Oatmeal hair milk and will hold on to it and try to use it to the end since it was so expensive, but I would not buy it again. It smells good but it doesn't really do anything for me except make my scalp feel a little itchy. I am interested in the hair nectar they sell, but for my money I'm probably just gonna stick with Oyin.

  15. 3c/4a
    Currently my fave leave-in is Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Fortifying Conditioner mixed with coconut oil and water. It's applied with a spray bottle. Sometimes I apply Giovanni Direct underneath. The combination works magic for my twist and twist-outs :)

  16. I have several textures in my hair; type 3b,4a, and 4b/c ... i finally found a leave-in that not only helps with the detangling process before washes but also helps with making PERFECT twists (not straggly thick ends i promise ... just nice smooth curly/coiled ends)... so here is my recipe:

    2 tbsp of Afro detangler leave in conditioner(@ growafrohairlong.com)or any other RICH and CREAMY conditioner
    2 tsp of unrefined shea butter ( leave this ingredient out if using mixture to detangle; keep this ingredient if using on twists or for leave in)
    2 tsp of EVOO (or coconut oil)
    1 tsp of Aloe Vera juice

    works like a charm.. the moisturizing effect of the EVOO, shea butter and the rich leave-in condittioner leaves my hair fluffy while the acidity in the Aloe Vera gel closes my cuticles and EVEN gets rid of tangles easily (since most tangles are due to cuticles lifting an grabbing on to other cuticles) with my cuticles closed my hair is not only tangle free but it also has a great sheen and my ends are amazing! I only apply this once a week after deep conditioning. during the week i spray my hair with a mixture (a liquid leave in mixture):

    3/4 water
    1/4 of the rest which is below:
    1/16 coconut oil
    2/16aloe vera juice
    1/16 conditioner (Giovanni's smooth as silk)

    Try it and let me know what you think :)

  17. First, thanks so much for this! I have been searching for a leave-in for my 4b/c hair - one that I can make and one that I can buy.

    But, I easily get overwhelm by the info out there. I like this chart since I'm a visual learner.

    Second, I already got a tub of Cantu Shea butter; loved it at first until I realized that the product build-up is awful. You only can use a little at a time as a leave-in. That God that it does moisturize my hair super-well. The best moisturizer I've had thus far. Still, hopefully I'll find one without the product build up situation.

    Third, I'm scared to try homemade mixes with commericial conditioner that are suppose to be rinsed out. I used them as leave-in with EVOO before and when I re-wet my hair in the morning and/or exercised, the conditioner would get in my eyes. Again, I probably was too heavy-handed.

    Still, I think I will try that shea butter mix. Where do you find vitamin E?

  18. My fave leave ins:
    Yes to Carrots Conditioner
    AVG/EVOO mix

  19. I'm a 4b and i really like kinky curly knot today. The oyin hemp is great as a prepoo/leavein for me.
    ecostyler gel as a leave in? nope!
    Giovanni direct leave in is ok- i dont notice anything good. It just makes my hair puff a lot more.
    neutrogena silk leave in is good for straightening the hair.

  20. Shea Moisture DTM!


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