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Leave-in (or leave-on) conditioner is often seen as an optional step added to the end of a hair care routine. But this optional step is actually the missing link to finally achieving that goal of soft, silky, and manageable hair. Here’s why you should incorporate this product into your routine and how: 1. If your hair is still tangled, dry, or unmanageable after a shower with shampoo and conditioner, it’s a sure-fire sign that you need a leave-in conditioner. They often provide an extra dose of moisture and have detangling properties to make your hair better until your next wash. 2. Curly hair? Leave-in conditioners are a must to keep them soft. However, make sure that the product you choose has water listed as the first ingredient on the label. This means that water is the main ingredient of the leave-in conditioner; that water is going to be the source of moisture for your hair. 3. There are two main types of leave-in conditioner: sprays and creams. Sprays are recommended for fine hair, as they have light formulations. Meanwhile, creams are best used for thick hair, as they are heavier and contain more moisture. 4. To apply leave-in conditioner thoroughly, separate your hair into 3 to 5 sections and apply it per section. Make sure to cover everything from root to tip if you’re using a cream, then from ends to roots if you’re using a spray. And don’t tug at your hair when applying it—just smooth it on gently to avoid breakage. 5. In a rush? Use leave-in conditioner to style your hair, instead of other styling products, if you don’t need extra strong hold. By combining your moisturizing and styling step into one, you’ll surely save time and money. Many leave-in conditioners also have heat-protecting ingredients that your hair will definitely need after a few minutes of blow drying.