Hair Oil Vs. Leave-in Conditioner: Which One to Choose?

When you compare hair oils and leave-in conditioners, the leave-in conditioner will do a better job of nourishing the hair.

When you consider leave-in conditioner and hair oil at the same time, they may appear to be the same thing at first glance, but most people believe that hair oils are more sticky, and leave-in conditioner is simply an elevated version of regular conditioner. So hair oil is the OG of all the hair moisturizing and protecting products, and for the leave-in conditioner, it is mostly the product that is a completely new innovation, and it most likely has very good moisturizing and hydrating ingredients.

Why aren’t we experimenting with hair oils? Well, there are hardly any people walking on earth who don’t know what hair oil is. For some of us, hair oils are traumas of childhood when our parents clearly stated that “without proper scrubbing and massaging of hair oil on the scalp, the hair will not get proper nourishment and the hair will fall off.” In some cases, the statement was very true. Currently, hair products have definitely changed people’s lives, and hair oils have been innovated and recreated. And most importantly, hair oils have different alternatives.

And leave-in conditioners could be one such option, as they tend to hydrate and nourish the hair as well. For the statement “hair oil vs. leave-in conditioner,” the leave-in conditioner is better considering every aspect. And the hair oil, they are all natural products. Because the function of leave-in conditioner differs from that of hair oils, admitting that the hair oil vs. leave-in conditioner debate is a legitimate one that has been surfacing on the Internet, In most cases, the leave-in conditioner really does have its effect and does change the entirety of the hair. 

Most of the leave-on conditioners do the job presently, but they are just on the surface level. And on the other hand, hair oils will try to repair the damage and dryness on the scalp, and they will help with the growth of healthy hair. So, when it comes to hair oils vs. leave-in conditioners, there is a distinct difference in the process as well as the overall application. All of these products are equally important, and they tend to change the overall feature of the hair when they are applied properly.

Hair oils  

Hair oils  

Well, let us start with the grandma of all the hair CDE routines out there. Almost every culture has its own terms for hair oil application. Especially in the Indian subcontinent, where coconut oils are widely used in hair care; even shampoos are not as common as the oils. However, in European and Western cultures, hair oils are mostly invisible, and they rarely speak about them. 

Moreover, as people struggle to find vegan and natural alternatives, hair oils are making a comeback in the West. Most hair oils are made from all-natural ingredients and are mostly plant-based. The hair oils will work on the roots of the hair and provide proteins and strength from the inside. They also ensure that both emollients are present in the hair strands and the scalp.

Though hair has its own buildup of natural oils, the added oils will never do harm when you know how to apply them and how they can make a huge difference. Hair oils are the best way to enrich your hair with moisture, and when you go rough with heat and sprays, the dryness from all those products will be cured. When it comes to tangled hair, hair oils are your best friend. Most importantly, hair oils are excellent for adding shine to the hair.

Why use hair oils?

Why use hair oils

When we think about hair oils, there are a few things to consider. And hair oils are not one of a kind but rather a blend of different products, and here we are including some points describing why hair oils are important:

  • Hair oil will nourish and hydrate the scalp as well as the strands of the hair. They do a good job of hydrating the hair from the inside.
  • With regular application of hair oil, the dryness of the scalp is visibly torn down, and dandruff is a thing of the past.
  • When you use heat protectants and heat styling tools, the hair oil will eventually protect the scalp.
  • Hair oils are great for preventing hair loss.
  • The hair oils will prevent the scalp of the hair from drying up, and they will also help to retain the natural oils, fatty acids, and lipids of the hair.
  • Hair oils make the hair more manageable, and they tend to protect the hair.
  • Hair oils will nourish both the scalp and the shaft of the hair, smoothing out the frizz.

Hair oil disadvantages?

Hair oil disadvantages

Now let’s talk about some of the benefits of hair oil.

  • Some people can get allergies to their skin from hair oils, and they can get dandruff from the oils eventually.
  • Hair oils tend to weigh down the hair, and they will look sticky and uncomfortable.
  • Hair oils have a high chance of making the hair greasy, and they tend to damage the scalp when they are not used properly.

What is a leave-in conditioner?

What is a leave in conditioner

The leave-in conditioner is used right after the shampoo, and in this case, you don’t have to rinse out the hair. The leave-in conditioner will nourish the hair and also give it shine and elasticity. And one of the main reasons why a leave-in conditioner is used is because it will work without making the hair greasy, get rid of friction, and reduce hair damage. 

The leave-in conditioners will not wear down the hair, and mostly they are the after-treatment of cleaning. So first, you go with cleaning the hair, and later you put on the conditioner, and that way, the hair will get its boost of hydration back. A leave-in conditioner can be used right after the wash and also after using a conditioner on damp hair. The hair will feel shiny and relaxed instantly with just one application.

A leave-in conditioner will give you more manageable hair and will not make it greasy. They will repair the damage inherently and will also secure the hair from damage with styling and hot tools. With sucrose products, you can jump right in with the next products, like serums and mousses, but with too much product, the hair will feel more luxurious. These sorts of products even work with colored and permanently treated hair.

Why use a leave-in conditioner?

Why use a leave-in conditioner

Well, there is more than one reason to describe why we love air conditioners, and here we include some points:

  • The leave-in conditioner will soften and smooth the hair in the long run, and it will mostly work with shorter hair.
  • The products add bounce to the hair and can make the hair appear thick and voluminous. They are easy to apply and maintain.
  • The leave-in conditioners will create a layer against the hair strands to protect them from pollution and dust. They protect and nourish at the same time.
  • Detangling after shampoo is easiest with the leave-in conditioner.
  • They tend to make the hair silky and smooth and also tighten the cuticles and scales.
  • Leave-in conditioners will leave a super shiny finish on the hair and cure the damage.

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The disadvantages of leaving the conditioner

Because no good thing is perfect, here are some drawbacks to using leave-in conditioners:

  • The leave-in conditioner will weigh down the hair when too much product is used.
  • When the conditioners are kept on for a long time, the hair might get fragile and break.
  • Conditioners applied to the scalp will make the hair oily and greasy.

Hair oils vs. leave-in conditioner

These might seem like the same thing but they provide completely different benefits! The main difference between hair oil and leave-in conditioner is why it is being used. Where hair oils help to return the shine back to the hair and make it look better, leave-in conditioners are used to help moisturize the hair from within the hair cuticles. Other than this, here are some of the key differences between hair oils vs. leave-in conditioners.

Hair oils vs. leave-in conditioner

1. Way of application:

hair oils are mostly focused on the scalp of the hair and are meant to nourish the scalp. Leave-in conditioners are applied directly to the hair strands, and they will only protect them. The oils in the hair strands will weigh down the hair, and conditioner on the scalp will make it greasy.

2. How it works:

The hair oils tend to follow the long-term process, and they will only work on the roots and make them hydrated. The leave-in conditioner will work instantly, creating a layer of moisture around the hair strands. They do repair the hair but have no effect on hair growth.

3. Feel of hair:

 with hair oil, the hair would feel a little bit sticky, and the oils on the strands would weigh down the hair. Even the volume of the scalp will be gone. With conditioner, the hair will look fresh, and it will add the necessary volume.

4. When to use:

mostly, the oils are used before the shampoo, and the conditioner is used after the shampoo.

5. Irritants:

Not all hair oils are suitable for everyone; rather, if you are allergic to any oil, any oil can cause a severe reaction. Conditioners are not really allergenic, and they are rather beneficial for all skin types.

6. How they are made:

Most of the oils are plant-based, and they tend to make the skin soft and supple. So the hair oils are organic. The majority of leave-in conditioners are not organic and are loaded with chemicals.

What is better for hair: hair oil or leave-in conditioner?

What is better for hair: hair oil or leave-in conditioner

Depending on how you use them, we may have to answer with both of these products when considering what is best for the hair. A hair oil would be perfect for those who are in it for the long haul and want their hair to grow healthy. And when you want your present hair to look healthy and shiny, we say the leave-in conditioner would be the better alternative. So for the routine:

  • Start by oiling the scalp at first.
  • Then use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of any oil.
  • Use the leave-in conditioner before applying the hair products and tools.


1. Is hair oil better than a leave-in conditioner?

No, a leave-in conditioner is better than hair oil, as it will condition and strengthen the cuticles of the hair.

2. Can you use both hair oil and leave-in conditioner?

Yes, you can use both hair oil and leave-in conditioner in one hair care routine. First, you have to start with hair oil, then apply shampoo, and lastly, use the leave-in conditioner.

Final Thoughts

When you are about to compare the leave-in conditioner and the hair oils, in short, both of these products are important for the hair, and they are not at all damaging but rather applied for the sake of the hair. So both of them are entirely positive. With leave-in conditioner and hair oil, there are certain differences, but they are not fundamental. When you want to get the best results from both of them, you have to involve them equally. In this article, we’ll go through the details of both the hair oil and leave-in conditioner, and then you can decide which one would be more suitable for your regular use.

Key Points

  1. People’s lives have undoubtedly been affected by hair products, and hair oils have been developed and remade. Most significantly, there are other alternatives to hair oils. And leave-in conditioners, which moisturize and nourish the hair, might be one such alternative.
  2. Though hair has its own natural oil accumulation, adding oils will never damage you if you know how to apply them and how they may make a big impact.
  3. The leave-in conditioner is applied immediately after the shampoo, and there is no need to rinse the hair. The leave-in conditioner will hydrate the hair while also adding shine and suppleness.
  4. For individuals who are in it for the long haul and want their hair to grow healthy, a hair oil would be ideal. And if you want your current hair to seem healthy and shining, we recommend using a leave-in conditioner.

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