Ask Jean:
Regular Conditioner vs. Leave-In?

Dear Jean, I have average-thick hair that sometimes frizzes but is otherwise okay. I want it to be shiny and healthy—should I be using regular wash-off conditioner, or leave-in?—Samantha B.

Dear Samantha, I have a Texan sort of attitude about conditioner: More = better. I believe there should be laws mandating conditioner bottles be at least 30 percent larger than shampoo bottles; my thinner-straighter-haired friends, however, are in favor of the exact opposite. But whether you love or fear conditioner, leave-in is for you—and the clean, nontoxic, subtly fresh one from Lavett & Chin is the ultimate, because its (totally non-aerosol) spray evenly distributes itself like nothing else, takes one second, and makes brushing or combing through your hair about a billion times easier. It also leaves perfect, even shine without the weight.

Personally, I am for double conditioner—in-the-shower plus leave-in, always. (My hair is medium-thick and wavy.) In the shower, the steam and the water make your hair more porous, so the conditioner can really sink in and give your hair some elasticity. I love True Botanicals—gorgeous scent, rich formula, chic aluminum pump that looks good and could not be easier to use.

For optimum shine, torture yourself with a shot of cold water to the hair right before you get out (I skip this step 95 percent of the time). Dry your hair with the brilliant, shine-conserving Aquis towel, then spritz in the leave-in, which is where the serious shine (and ease of brushing/combing, which in turn makes your hair shinier because it doesn’t break into split ends and frizz) comes in. I spritz about the bottom third liberally, then brush through, which distributes some but not as much of the conditioner to higher-up layers. (Who doesn’t want shine at the top as much as the ends? Also, if you loathe little broken-off pieces of hair waving off the top of your head as much as I do, this is a particularly crucial step.)

The modern-meets apothecary bottle is also wildly chic: A soupcon de Brooklyn, a touch of Met Bruer. It looks fantastic on the side of a sink, on a medicine cabinet shelf, and if it ends up rolling around in a drawer or travel bag, it never leaks.

NOTE: Thinner-straighter-haired types should skip regular conditioner in the shower and spritz the Lavett & Chin sparingly on ends to start, adding more as they see fit.

Related: Natural Conditioner That Works