Leave-in conditioner may just be the most undervalued hair product out there. For many of us, it was the first hair product we ever used — perhaps under its alias "detangler" — when our parents doused our heads with it to make brushing through tangles a little more merciful. But by now, many of us have cast aside leave-in conditioner in favor of what we see as more advanced, sophisticated stylers, products like curl gels, smoothing lotions, volumizers, and heat protectants. But leave-in conditioner may just be the secret to never-ending good hair days, even if you think you don't need any more conditioning in your routine. "Leave-in conditioner is the foundation for great hairstyling; it's the first product that should touch your hair once it's been washed and conditioned," says hairstylist Kristin Ess (who made sure to have a leave-in in the mix when creating her own line of products). "I love it because it makes the hair soft but also creates incredible weightless shine that you wouldn't get without using it, it protects hair from breakage, and gives the hair a little extra slip when going through your hair with a flat or round brush."
Ever since she told me this I've never not had a leave-in conditioner in my arsenal of hair perfectors.
I've used Honest Beauty's Moisture Milk consistently for almost a year now. To be honest, I discovered it by accident, throwing a travel-size bottle into my toiletry bag for a trip to Iceland because I had heard the Blue Lagoon could turn your hair into peanut brittle. Well, turns out I forgot to pack actual conditioner, which meant the Moisture Milk was the only way to get any hydration into my very long, fine, highlighted hair. (For reasons that are still unclear to me, Icelanders must hate conditioner, as there was none in any of the hotels we stayed in.) And just using this stuff after shampooing did the trick. It was strong enough to soften and detangle, but light enough not to leave my hair greasy.
Once I returned from that trip (and gave the bottles of conditioner in my shower a big hug and promised to never leave them again), I continued to use the Honest Beauty spray. My ends are pretty bleached and therefore super dry and susceptible to knots, so I decided to start spraying it from the midlength of my hair to the ends after I wash and condition. And I've never stopped. It makes it infinitely easier to comb through my wet hair (which, as Ess notes, minimizes breakage), keeps my ends soft, and seems to reduce frizz when I air-dry or blow-dry. I have a stash of bottles in my closet so that I never run out, and I still bring the travel-size spray on every trip — whether I forgot conditioner or not.
I've also found Moisture Milk comes in handy as a styler to smooth down frizz along my hairline, and I like to use it after I've slicked my hair back into a ponytail or down into a low knot to give my hair a sleek finish (I've often used it in place of hair spray when on vacation or traveling for work, although it obviously doesn't provide nearly as much hold as hair spray does).
Hairstylist Jennifer Yepez (an ambassador for Honest Beauty) uses Honest Beauty Moisture Milk as a prestyling prep on many of her clients, a list that includes Zendaya, Bella and Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Salma Hayek, Adriana Lima, and Jessica Alba (the founder of Honest Beauty). Which goes to show you that everyone needs a little leave-in conditioner in their life, no matter your hair texture, and no matter whether your mom is brushing your hair or not.