Can You Leave Conditioner in Your Hair: Ask the Expert

washing dyed hair

Conditioner is the key element to a healthy and beautiful hair. Some hairstylists even agree that the conditioner you are using is more important than the shampoo, since it is the last layer of protection you add to your hair. But to enjoy all these benefits, you need to apply your conditioner in the correct way and use it properly.

And the most important question that you need to know the answer to is how long you can leave conditioner in your hair. The answer may vary according to certain factors so in this guide we will look at all the aspects that you need to consider when you use conditioner.

Keep reading to see what type of conditioner requires more time to take the effect you need for your hair and what happens if you leave it in more than it is recommended.

Why should you use conditioner in the first place?

A good conditioner will add nutrition and health to your hair after you washed it with your shampoo. The conditioner will cover your hair cuticles in a hydrating and moisturizing layer. This will protect your hair until you wash it next time and it will add the healthy shine that you love to have on it.

By applying a good quality conditioner on your hair, you make sure that bacteria, dust and pollution stay away from it and don’t affect its structure. So, your hair will stay clean and looking great for a longer period of time and you won’t have to worry about getting it damaged by weather conditions.

On the market nowadays, you will be able to find a wide variety of conditioners to use according to your type of hair. Also, keep in mind that there are two major types of conditioners: rinse-out ones and leave-in ones.

The rinse out conditioners need to be washed off after a certain period of time, so you can’t just let them on your hair. But how long you have to leave your conditioner on until you rinse it out, is the big question.

When you use conditioner, which should be every time you wash your hair, there are two main aspects that you have to keep in mind: try using the right type of conditioner and apply it in the right way. Nowadays you can find conditioner for greasy hair, damaged hair, soft hair or even for colored hair.

And if you are not sure which one to choose, ask a specialist because the right conditioner can make miracles to your hair especially if you use it constantly. The next factor is applying it right and you should do that according to the instructions that it comes with. The most important thing is the time you leave your conditioner on, since this can really make a difference!

How long should you leave conditioner

Different types of conditioners will take different time to get effect on your hair. Manufacturers make conditioners that take action in a matter of just a few minutes as well as conditioners that take longer than 10 minutes to treat your hair.

leaving conditioner in hair for an hour

But according to your hair’s needs, you might need to use one or two different types of conditioner. For instance, you might use one for daily showers that involve washing your hair and one for weekly use that will treat your hair in more depth.

Learning how to use these conditioners differently is essential for obtaining the results that you are aiming for. And the best way to use them right is to follow the recommendations that they come with.

Keep in mind that you should always try to dry your hair a little with a towel to get the extra water out of it, before applying your conditioner. If you don’t do that, you will just waste a lot of conditioner and obtain minimum results.

Not to mention that the product won’t get applied evenly on your hair which will most likely give you close to no advantages. Assuming that you applied your conditioner correctly, you need to make sure that you give it time to take action and have the impact you need it to have on your hair.

If you use a regular, daily type of conditioner, you might need to rinse it out after less than 10 minutes. The precise information will be given to you in the instructions that come along with the product.

These conditioners are great for every day use but they on’t take care of your hair in the deepest form that you need them to. Which is why most people and especially women, turn to the deep treatment conditioners.

Deep treatment conditioners require around 10 minutes or 12 minutes to be left on your hair before you should wash them off. This is because they need extra time to penetrate your hair at a deeper level and nourish it from the inside out.

These deep treatment conditioners will hydrate your hair a lot more than others and if you choose the best one for your needs, you might be impressed by the results. However, you might not have to use these conditioners daily and some of them are meant to be used 3 times a week or even once a week, according to your hair’s needs.

Also, there are certain deep treatment conditioners that only take a few minutes to make a difference for your hair, but these are the ones that tend to be pricier.

The leave-in conditioners are meant to just be left in, just as their name says. You won’t have to rinse it at all as they are created to be absorbed in your hair’s structure completely and maintain a protective layer on top of it until next time you wash it.

However, these conditioners are not having such a lasting effect and even if they treat your hair good, they shouldn’t be used on a regular basis simply because your hair needs more than that to be healthy. But, nevertheless, leave-in conditioners are very convenient and easy to use and considering that you never have to rinse them, they are definitely a great alternative to consider.

What happens if you leave conditioner in your hair too long?

Ideally, you should rinse your conditioner off your hair according to the instructions written on the package. However, if you forget to do that after a certain number of minutes, your hair will not get seriously damaged.

It will not get better either, so for ideal results, try to respect the rinsing time. If you leave conditioner on your hair for some extra minutes, you might not see any immediate negative effects. But this should only happen as an accident and don’t become a habit.

If you forget to rinse conditioner off your hair regularly, it can lead to build up of product that might create an unnecessary layer on your hair. This build up layer of conditioner will become a trap for bacteria and impurities and it will be hard to wash off so you’d better avoid it to begin with.

You can pamper your hair with a deep treatment conditioner if you want something that will stay on your hair longer before you rinse it and make a deeper difference to your hair’s quality and health.

Can you leave conditioner in your hair without rinsing?

No, you can’t just leave conditioner in your hair unless is one of those leave in types of conditioner that don’t need to be washed. Leaving conditioner in your hair and never rinse it, is a lot worse than rinsing it a few minutes later. It can get your hair seriously damaged not to mention that it is going to look unaesthetic.

But chances are that you will not even feel right about leaving conditioner in your hair for good simply because you will not be comfortable with the way it looks like. The type of conditioner that needs to be rinsed off, is somehow “asking for it” and you just can’t get away with not washing it off your hair at the end of your shower.


Bottom line, the amount of time that you should leave the conditioner in your hair depends on many factors including the type of conditioner that you are using and the type of hair that you have. In order to obtain best results from any type of conditioner you should make sure to follow the instructions that it comes with.

But rest reassured that leaving conditioner on for a few more minutes than the instructions recommend, will not do unrepairable damage to your precious hair.

And as long as you don’t leave it on for hours when all you need is to have it for a couple of minutes, you will not have to suffer any consequences. Washing your hair correctly and using the right conditioner will make you feel more confident and beautiful so it is worth the investment!

Irina Tracy

I am a writer, journalist and nonconformist blogger. I was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. When it comes to writing, I like to explore every topic I find to be interesting and I get out all the details about it. I published several books and wrote for national & international publications. Looking forward to share my writing with all you, readers so we can learn new things together with every post!

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