See how to make an easy DIY leave in conditioner spray! The leave in spray conditioner smooths and protects your hair, giving your locks a sleek, soft touch. This homemade hair product is enriched with moisturizing aloe vera and essential oils and comes together in minutes.
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Homemade conditioning spray for hair
Blowing drying, styling, dye jobs, changing seasons, and scratchy pillowcases – our hair has to keep up with a lot! I like to give my hair all the extra care I can get, and leave in conditioners play a big part in keeping my hair healthy and good looking.
I have developed a few leave in conditioner recipes (which I will share very soon – stay tuned!). They work great but take some time to prepare and are a bit more advanced.
If you want something simple, then this DIY leave in conditioner spray is the recipe for you! It’s quick to make, easy to use, and still features all the benefits you want to see in a homemade leave in conditioner.
And for more spray hair treatments, try my DIY moisturizing hair spray.
What is leave in conditioner spray?
Leave in conditioner spray is not a substitute for rinse-out conditioner but an optional step after washing and conditioning your hair. Unlike the conditioner you use in the shower, it isn’t rinsed out but stays on the hair.
What does leave in conditioner spray do?
The lightweight formula conditions and moisturizes hair, making dry, brittle strands smooth and shiny. The spray seals the hair cuticle and protects it from environmental influences.
Benefits of DIY conditioner spray
- Protection + frizz control: The conditioning spray tames frizz, revives dull hair, and protects your locks from a multitude of factors. Your hair will feel touchably smoother and softer.
- Lightweight: The ultra-light formula will leave your hair silky rather than greasy. Great if you have fine hair and need a product that doesn’t weigh down your locks.
- Convenient: The spray bottle makes the application process effortless and quick.
- Buildable: The homemade conditioner spray plays nice with other hair care products and is suitable for various layering techniques.
- Natural ingredients: The recipe is made with natural materials and free of synthetic fragrances, silicones, and sulfates.
- Easy: Making your own DIY spray conditioner is super simple, much easier than creating creamy leave in conditioners.
Ingredients for leave in spray
- Distilled water is the solvent and carrier for the other ingredients.
- Aloe vera gel contains over 70 active ingredients, including vitamins and essential amino acids that nourish and moisturize the hair. It also helps to soothe an itchy scalp.
- Cationic guar gum is the secret ingredient that perfects this leave in conditioner recipe. It provides slip and makes your hair feel soft and smooth. I tell you more about this fantastic ingredient below.
- Preservative is a must to keep the water-based conditioner spray safe from yucky mold and microbes. I used Preservative Eco (Geogard ECT), a natural broad-spectrum preservative. Optiphen Plus would also be a good choice.
- Essential oils (optional) provide a natural fragrance and additional hair care benefits. See below for a few fun blends.
Essential oils leave in conditioner spray
Customize the formula with essential oils to meet your individual hair care needs. I usually use a few drops vanilla and ylang ylang. This combination smells incredibly delicious and doubles as a hair perfume. Here are more ideas to try:
- Hair perfume: 14 drops botanical vanilla extract + 6 drops ylang ylang
- Hair growth: 10 drops rosemary + 5 drops peppermint
- Deep repair: 7 drops lemongrass + 4 drops thyme + 2 drops clary sage
- Shine: 9 drops lavender + 4 drops steam-distilled lemon
How to make leave in conditioner spray
Let me show you the simple steps for how to make your own leave in conditioner spray:
Step 1: Combine
- Pour the distilled water, aloe vera gel, and preservative into a small beaker. Add the guar gum.
Step 2: Dissolve guar gum
- Using a glass stirrer or spoon, mix the liquids until everything is thoroughly combined, and the guar gum has fully dissolved. The solution will thicken a little and feel slippery to the touch.
Step 4: Add essential oils (optional)
- Add an essential oil or essential oil blend. Stir the mixture until the oils are dispersed throughout.
Step 5: Package
- Transfer the mixture into a spray bottle and affix the spray nozzle. The hair softener spray is now ready to use.
Step 6: Store
- Keep the leaven in conditioner spray in a cool, dark place at room temperature.
How to use leave in conditioner spray
Leave in conditioning spray is super simple to apply and requires no rinsing. Follow these steps to get the best use out of your DIY leave in conditioner spray:
- Shake the bottle before each use.
- Spray light on your hair, going down from the roots to the ends.
- Run your fingers or a wide-tooth comb through your hair to disperse the conditioner evenly throughout your stands, and leave in.
- Apply hair oil or moisturizing cream and your other hair care products on top.
- Let your hair absorb the conditioner before blow drying or heat styling.
- The spray can be used on wet and dry hair.
Please note that the leave in spray is exclusively meant for conditioning. It’s not a styling product and doesn’t offer heat-protective properties.
When to use conditioning hair spray?
- Freshly washed hair: The most obvious way to use this leave in conditioner is to apply it to freshly washed hair. Simply spritz a few pumps on your strands and run your fingers through your hair to disperse the product.
- Between washes: You can also use the spray hair conditioner to freshen up your locks if your hair requires a little care between washes. Simply spray all over your mane to tame frizz and reduce roughness.
- Creating protective styles: A third option is to use the spray to moisten your hair when you’re creating a protective style.
How often can I use the product?
Use the product once after washing your hair and once in-between washes, but not more than 2 times per week.
Can I use conditioning spray daily?
No! Applying leave in conditioner every day leads to product build-up, which will weigh down your hair and cause breakage.
Which hair types can benefit from leave in conditioner spray?
Conditioner spray is beneficial for all hair types. It provides an extra boost of hydration and protects your hair against environmental stressors. Let me show you what my homemade leave in conditioner spray can do for your hair:
- Straight and wavy hair (types 1A – 2C): The product provides lightweight moisturization and conditioning for straight and wavy hair. Because the product is oil-free, it won’t weigh down fine strands, making it an excellent leave in conditioner for fine hair.
- Curly and coiled hair (types 3A – 4C): The liquid leave in conditioner conditions and forms a protective film on your curls. For more nourishment and moisturization, pair it with a hair oil and hair balm. As I’ve mentioned, the DIY spray leave in conditioner is very buildable and suitable for LOC, LO, and LCO layering techniques.
Does this DIY conditioner spray really work?
Yes, it does! The simple formula does exactly what it’s supposed to do: condition your hair. And it does an excellent job at that! Interested in how and why my spray hair conditioner works? Then let’s look a little more into the most important ingredient in this recipe, cationic guar gum.
Why do we need to condition hair?
Hair naturally has a negative charge. The sebaceous glands on our scalp produce a lipid film that coats each strand and keeps the negative charge in check.
This protective coating is removed when you wash your hair, and the negative charge rises (like static electricity). The strands try to separate from each other, making your hair feel frizzy and rough.
What is cationic guar gum?
Guar gum is an off-white powder made from guar beans. Cationic guar gum is regular guar gum that has been modified to have a positive charge. Elements with a positive charge are called cationic.
Guar gum is a natural sugar polymer and has a conditioning and thickening effect.
How does guar gum condition hair?
Equipped with a positive charge, cationic guar gum conditions the hair by replacing the protective layer and neutralizing the negative charge. Your hair will appear smooth and feel soft and silky.
Where can I buy cationic guar gum?
You can order cationic guar gum from different beauty supply shops:
To ensure you’re buying the correct ingredient, check that the INCI name is: Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride
Why does guar gum smell fishy?
If you catch a whiff of guar gum, you may notice a fishy smell. Although unpleasant, there’s nothing wrong with the material. The smell comes from the ammonium salt that makes guar gum cationic. The essential oils will mask the odor, and you won’t notice it anymore.
Can I use regular guar gum?
No, regular guar gum isn’t suitable for this DIY hair spray because it isn’t cationic and has no conditioning qualities.
Packaging and storage instructions
- Packaging: For the best shelf life, fill DIY leave in spray conditioner into a 4-oz amber glass spray bottle. Amber glass protects the conditioning spray from UV rays that can alter the composition of the ingredients. The exact bottle you see in the pictures is no longer available. However, Hydior still sells frosted bottles with gold nozzles.
- Storage: Store the DIY spray conditioner in a dark, cool location at room temperature. Keep the spray out of direct sunlight, for example, in a bathroom cupboard. For a cooling effect, place the spray in the fridge.
- Shelf life: The leave in hair conditioner spray will keep for at least 6 months, but only with proper preservation. Without a preservative, the product will only last for a week.
Does this spray conditioner detangle hair?
No, the main purpose of this spray is to condition your hair. The spray provides slip and removes static cling, which can lead to tangles. For a detangling effect, swirl 1/2 tsp marshmallow root powder into the solution.
Can I make this spray hair conditioner with hydrosol?
Just note that the consistency will become thicker. Hydrosols are slightly acidic, and guar gum will thicken more in acidic conditions.
When I tried the leave in hair conditioner spray recipe with rosemary hydrosol, I ended up with a product that was almost too thick to pass through the fine sprayer nozzle.
Can I make the spray leave in conditioner more nourishing?
Of course! You can add a carrier oil to make the leave in spray more moisturizing and nourishing. Simply combine 1 tsp of your favorite hair oil (e.g., argan oil, moringa oil, neem oil) with 1/2 tsp Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside in a small beaker. Then add the oil mix into the water phase and mix until both phases are well blended.
Whole Elise has a conditioning spray that is extra nourishing thanks to the addition of shea butter and jojoba oil. Definitely visit Elise’s wonderful site if you need a DIY leave in conditioner spray for curly hair.
Is a preservative really necessary?
Yes! Water-based formulations are prone to contamination with microbes, bacteria, and mold. A preservative inhibits the growth of these microorganisms. It ensures that your leave in conditioner treatment is safe to use for many weeks.
Do I need an emulsifier?
I find that the hair softener spray works well without an emulsifying agent. The guar gum helps to keep the essential oils suspended in the water solution.
However, if you notice water oil separation, you can include 1/2 tsp Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, which is an excellent solubilizer for oil-in-water applications.