Can You Put Conditioner In Dry Hair? ANSWERED!

Not sure what’s the best way to condition your hair? You’ve come to the right place. I’m busting all the myths about putting hair conditioner on dry hair.

You can put conditioner on dry hair even though it’s a lot more difficult to do so than applying conditioner on wet hair. This is because the conditioner needs to absorb into the hair follicles which is harder to do with dry hair. That said, if you apply conditioner on dry hair, let it rest for some time before rinsing it out.

I know there’s a lot of advice out there about how to best condition your hair, it can get overwhelming. That’s why I’ve decided to put my detective hat on for this article and get to the bottom of this once and for all! Take a look!

How To Apply Conditioner On Dry Hair

To apply conditioner to dry hair, section off your hair so you can coat all your hair strands; if you’re using professional hair conditioners, you need a dime-sized amount, but if you’re using a drugstore product, you need more as they’re watered down. Apply the conditioner to your hair’s ends and length. Then wait 30 minutes before rinsing it out.

1. Choose The Right Hair Conditioner

It is crucial that you use a hair conditioner that suits your hair type. The right kind of conditioner will fix the damage done by hot styling tools, harmful chemicals, and the normal wear-and-tear that your hair encounters consistently.

When shopping for hair conditioners, choose one that is advertised for your particular hair needs; regardless of whether you have wavy/curly and frizzy hair, damaged or dry hair, color-treated hair, fine hair, lank and limp hair, or relaxed hair, there is a particular conditioner that can help with each of your hair’s needs.

2. Section Off Your Hair

Since you’re applying conditioner onto dry hair you will need to section off your hair. This will make it easier to work the conditioner into your hair as it will require you to physically rub and massage the conditioner in to make sure your hair follicles absorb it. This is why it is better if you work with one section at a time to make sure you don’t miss any hair!

3. Apply Your Conditioner

You may need a little more conditioner than usual since you’re applying it to dry hair. Pour some conditioner in the palms of your hand; the amount that you will need is going to depend on the length of your hair. If your hair is long, you may require an entire palm-full of conditioner. 

Run the conditioner through the mid-shafts of your hair, make sure that you apply it to each strand. Work the conditioner towards the tips of your hair (this is the part that is often damaged as it is the oldest). Avoid putting conditioner on your scalp, it can actually clog your pores up and make your hair greasy.

Insider Tip: When using professional hair conditioners, you will only need a dime-sized amount. If you’re using a drugstore hair conditioner then you may need more as these conditioners are often watered down.

4. Allow The Conditioner To Set

Allow the conditioner to set. This process is up to your discretion, the longer you allow your conditioner to set, the more effective it will be in improving the strength and health of your hair. If you’re in a rush, you can rinse it out immediately, it just won’t leave your hair as glossy and nourished as it can! 

A good way to balance the time is to apply the conditioner to your hair then go on with your usual bath or shower routine then you can thoroughly rinse the conditioner out. 

5. Rinse Out The Conditioner

You should only be rinsing your hair with cold water or lukewarm water, never hot water. Hot water opens your hair follicles which allows moisture to escape. Coldwater closes your hair follicles thus sealing moisture in.

Make sure that you thoroughly rinse the conditioner out, unless you’re working with a leave-in conditioner (That’s a completely different story). If your hair still feels slimy then there is still more conditioner that needs to be rinsed out!

By now I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “What is it about leave-in conditioners that don’t require them to be rinsed out? or “Are rinse-out conditioners better than leave-in conditioners?”

Just keep reading to get the answers to your questions!

The Difference Between Rinse-Out And Leave-In Hair Conditioners

Both types of hair conditioners help in the retaining of moisture in your hair. They also both hydrate and soften your hair. Though they more or less have the same functions, they are made differently therefore they should be used differently.

The main difference between rinse-out conditioners and leave-in conditioners is that rinse-out conditioners have fatty chemicals and heavier silicones, so they actually work better to hydrate hair. In contrast, leave-in conditions are lightweight and work better as hair moisturizers and detangling products.

Here are a few other differences between the rinse-out conditioners and leave-in conditioners:

Rinse-Out Conditioner:Leave-In Conditioner:
IngredientsFatty acids
Fatty alcohols
Plant Oils
High molecular-weight silicones
Volatile silicones
ApplicationTypically applied when showering
Has to be rinsed out
Typically applied to towel-dried hair
Needs to rest for a while
BenefitsCoats hair’s outer layer
Softens hair
Repair damage
Provide moisture
Tame Frizz
Moisturizes hair
Softens hair
Smoothens & shines hair
Detangles Hair
Heat Protectant
Styling tool
Table Showing The Difference Between Rinse-Out And Leave-In Hair Conditioners

1. Ingredients

Both rinse-out and leave-in conditioners are made from ingredients that allow them to not only clean and hydrate hair, but also to provide moisture and tame unruly hair. The surfactants in rinse-out hair conditioners are actually designed to deposit moisture onto your hair, create softness, and smooth out your cuticle. On the other hand, the humectants in leave-in conditioners actually attract and retain moisture from the environment and bind it to your hair.

2. Consistency

Rinse-out conditioners are a lot heavier and thicker than leave-in conditions. This is why you need to rise them out to prevent them from making your hair greasy. Rinse-out hair conditioners actually coat your hair strands with a thick layer that remains on your hair even after rinsing it out!

3. Application

Rinse-out conditioners are basically used in the shower and it should only be left in your hair for two or three minutes. After that, you ought to wash it out completely. If you don’t, it could really overwhelm your hair and cause product build up in your hair. 

A leave-in hair conditioner should stay in your hair for a longer period of time before being rinsed out. It is normally applied to towel-dried hair, though there are leave-in conditioners that you can apply onto dry hair between wash days. A leave-in conditioner is commonly used in much smaller amounts than a rinse-out conditioner.

4. Benefits

Rinse-out conditioners coat your hair’s outer layers in order to moisturize your hair and make your hair feel and look softer. Rinse-out conditioners are also beneficial in that they fix any damage caused by harsh shampoos. These conditioners additionally make detangling so much simpler and help tame frizzy hair. 

Leave-in conditioners also moisturize dry hair and make it feel softer, shinier, as well as smoother. These conditioners act as detanglers, heat protectants, and even styling products. A leave-in conditioner is one of the most used hair products that are used to prevent curly hair from becoming dry and brittle.

Related Question

Can too much conditioner damage your hair?

Conditioner can only damage your hair if you use too much of it. Using too much conditioner on your hair will weigh down your hair. This is why its best to stick to leave-in conditioners as they are light-weight or even using a deep-conditioning treatment. Deep conditioning treatments should only be used once a week. If your hair is severely dry or damaged then twice a week will suffice.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about whether or not it’s okay to put leave-in conditioner on dry hair. Just click on this link (link article once published) and it’ll answer all your questions!


Hey, I’m Jodie, the gal behind CraftyHairHacks. I have a deep passion for hair extensions, hairstyles, and almost anything that has to do with hair, which leads me to the writing and research I do for this website daily. Our site is still small, however, we’re pushing to get the best hair hacks out to as many as people as possible. ENJOY!

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