There are so many products for curly hair available on the market that it can seem quite overwhelming. Serums, oils, shampoos, conditioners, mousses, creams – but what do they all do, exactly?
The last thing you want is to spend your hard-earned money on a curly hair product that leaves your hair greasy and drags down your beautiful curls. Whether your hair is wavy, curly, or kinky, you’re going to want to find the best product for your hair type.
If your curly hair is causing you grief with frizz, dryness, or just needs some rejuvenating, you’ve come to the right place! We understand the importance of celebrating curls, whether you want to tame or enhance them.
Here are the 10 best drugstore curly hair products that will leave your hair protected, healthy, and curly in all the right places.
The 10 Best Drugstore Curly Hair Products
1.Best Leave-in Conditioning Cream: Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk
Leave-in conditioners can be a godsend for curly-haired folks. After washing your hair with shampoo, this Camille Rose product can be applied from root to tip and left in for as long as you like (we recommend around 3-5 minutes) to reveal silky smooth curls. It can also be used on dry hair!
This product is made from women with naturally curly hair, so they know exactly what ingredients need to be used. This includes macadamia seed oil to prevent hair breakage, rice milk filled with vitamins, and elm bark to detangle and soften. It also contains rose extracts which are gentle on sensitive scalps and skin.
If your curly hair is starting to feel dry and crispy, this is an ideal product for you. Whether you choose to allow your hair to air dry or you prefer to use a t-shirt or diffuser, it will leave your curls enhanced and bouncy without losing any shape.
What’s more, this company is Black-owned, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free.
- Made by curly-haired women – Company started from Black women with curly hair who understand what their hair type requires
- Healthy ingredients – Range of ingredients to provide silky, healthy hair
- Use on dry or wet hair – Can be used at any time to provide moisture
- Not suitable for 4c hair – Those with 4c hair type may not find it moisturizing enough
- A softening leave-in conditioning cream with light notes of macadamia nut and vanilla
- Rice Milk Offers potent vitamins A, D and B12
- Macadamia Seed Oil Seals strands, aiding in breakage prevention
- Slippery Elm Bark Softens and smooths the hair shaft for detangling benefits
2.Best Curl-Defining Spray Type 2/3– Garnier Fructis Style Curl-Defining Spray Gel
For those with Type 2 or 3 curly hair, it can be a pain to control and define your curls. You need to untangle your hair, but a hairbrush or your fingers will loosen the curls and make your hair frizzy.
That’s where this Garnier spray comes in. This spray is designed to boost curls and waves by defining and enhancing the shape of your hair, leaving a natural and healthy shine. This is achieved by the key ingredient – shea.
Shea butter works to nourish the hair by providing a moisturizing shine that prevents frizz and greasiness. It’s also not sticky – which can be an issue with spray gels!
This is a great spray gel for those with Type 2 or 3 curls, though it might not be strong enough for Type 4 hair.
- Ideal for Type 2 and 3 – Lightweight formula works best for Type 2 and 3 curly hair
- Moisturizing and frizz-free – Formula is designed to define curls and prevent frizz by providing moisture
- Non-sticky – Shea butter ingredient nourishes hair without leaving a sticky residue
- Not suitable for Type 4 or fine hair – Not strong enough for Type 4 hair and too heavy for fine hair
- Garner Fructose Style Curl Shape Defining Spray Gel boosts your wavy, permed or naturally curly hair to create curl definition with shine minus the frizz
- Garner Fructose Style Curl Shape Defining Spray Gel gives you the power to create and control any style you want
- Garner Fructose Style Curl Shape Defining Spray Gel features a formula infused with nourishing shear and a powerful holding technology
3. Best Oil for Damaged Curly Hair: HASK Argan Repairing Hair Oil
Argan oil is one of the most recommended hair care products for those with damaged or dry curly hair. Whether your hair has been damaged by heat or your curls need proper care and boosting, argan oil is the way to go.
The HASK argan oil can be used on either wet or dry hair. Users will only need a small amount of oil spread evenly throughout their hair – too much oil can weigh the hair down and make it appear greasy. Also, make sure to avoid the roots. The oil provides a healthy sheen that can help to detangle and define curls.
The standout feature is the strengthening benefits. This oil is designed specifically for healing and restoring damaged and dry curly hair with its essential fatty acids in the formula.
It is also free from parabens, sulfates, and drying alcohol which works to dehydrate hair.
- Little goes a long way – Coin-sized amount is needed to provide a healthy shine
- Essential fatty acids – Formula works to restore and hydrate damaged and dry curly hair
- De-frizz and defining – Oil works to define curls and prevent frizz
- Don’t use too much – Too much oil can weigh hair down and make the curls oily
- Repairing Argan Oil - The Argan oil in this repairing hair oil, is rich in essential fatty acids and penetrates hair to restore shine and provide soft, silky results in dry, damaged hair. It’s no wonder they call argan oil the “miracle oil”!
- Strengthen and Restore - This lightweight, alcohol-free hair oil absorbs instantly to provide frizz-free shine without leaving an oily residue.
- Use On Wet & Dry Hair - Can be used on both wet and dry hair to create a silky, smooth finish. Apply a coin-sized amount evenly throughout hair, avoiding the root area. Style as desired. For the sleekest, healthiest hair imaginable, use HASK Argan Repairing Hair Oil.
- Kit Includes - 2 Shine Oil Pump Vials to strengthen, restore & smooth dry, damaged hair
- Free Of - Sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten and drying alcohol.
4. Best for Frizzy Curly Hair: SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz Control Curl Mousse
With curls comes the unfortunate frizz. Whether you’re in a humid, dry, or windy environment – frizz is unavoidable. That’s where curl mousse comes in!
The SheaMoisture curl mousse is all about defrizzing curly hair whilst maintaining that lovely bounce that straight-haired folks envy so much.
Some people prefer mousse to oils and serums, which can often weigh hair down. Mousse is mostly used by those with Type 3 and 4 hair as it works with natural curls to keep them in place rather than tame them.
This mousse is filled with moisture to protect hair from frizz in humid environments. It works as a strengthener for dry and sensitive hair without crisping it up. This product can be applied on dry or wet hair, with either a brush or fingers.
Plus, this product smells like coconut and hibiscus, which is always a bonus!
- Frizz control – Moisture-rich formula prevents hair from frizzing as it defines the natural curl memory
- Doesn’t weigh hair down – Provides bounce and volume to curly hair
- Cruelty-free – SheaMoisture does not test on animals
- Don’t use too much on fine hair – Fine curly hair only needs one pump per side, otherwise, it will be too heavy and appear greasy
- The SheaMoisture Coconut and Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse, blended with Fair Trade Shea Butter, to make your curly hair beautiful and bouncy
- Our volumizing hair mousse enhances natural curl memory and wave pattern, and leaves no residue, creating shiny curls with high impact volume and a soft finish
- Coconut and Hibiscus curl mousse, blended with coconut and neem oil, helps to control frizz while adding a brilliant shine to your curly hair
- The frizz free hair mousse is formulated with no silicone, no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no mineral oil or petrolatum; It's been tested on our family for generations and never on animals
- This hair styling mousse, blended with Silk Protein, leaves your curly hair smooth, soft and silky
- This hair mousse for curls by SheaMoisture has been tested on our family for generations and never on animals
5. Best for Styling Curly Hair: Marc Anthony Strictly Curls 3-in-1 Styling Cream
This 3-in-1 Marc Anthony product works as an oil, cream, and butter to tame and enhance curly hair. It is designed especially for styling purposes because sometimes regular oils and serums just aren’t enough for events. Styling curly hair can be a nightmare without the right products, after all.
The formula of this styling cream works to smooth and define tight and wavy curls. It also provides volume to the hair and prevents frizz.
Curly-haired folk are usually frequent users of hairspray that can be harsh and drying to their hair, but this product provides a natural hold that will maintain the definition of curly hair for many hours. It also works to control frizz with its humidity-repelling technology.
This styling cream can be applied on wet or damp hair from root to end in a scrunching movement. Then, you can style your hair as you would like it.
- 3-in-1 formula – Works as an oil, cream, and butter to define silky curls
- Volume enhancing – Provides volume and a neutral hold to maintain hair shape for hours
- All-day moisture – Moisturizing benefits prevent frizz and restores dry hair
- Won’t add curls – Product is designed to enhance natural curls rather than create curls
- STYLING CREAM FOR CURLY HAIR: Combats frizz, adds shine, moisturizes the hair & softens each strand with this 3-in-1 styling cream. Formulated to give natural hold & definition for super curly hair. Use with Strictly Curls curl products for best results.
- STRICTLY CURLS 3X MOISTURE CURLY HAIR PRODUCTS: For curly hair that needs moisture & definition, these formulas include triple moisture blend of marula oil, shea butter & coconut cream. Restore moisture, strengthen curls & smooth those locks, Curly Girl!
- Marc Anthony's line of Strictly Curls hair care products, recommended for curly hair types, are paraben-free, sulfate-free, and phthalate-free. Love your curly hair by using products that help curly hair look smoother, softer and feel more manageable.
- Marc Anthony products are ultimately tailored to our clients’ needs. From curly hair products to create curly hair styles and frizz control, to hair thickening products to create high volume and hold, we have the right product for your hair.
6. Best for Dry Scalp Curly Hair: Head & Shoulders Scalp Cream and Treatment for Curly Hair
Having a dry scalp with curly hair can be a nightmare. Some oils and serums can be too heavy to go on the roots, which will only leave your hair looking greasy rather than hydrated. Some products may be too harsh for a sensitive scalp.
Head & Shoulders are one of the leading brands in the hair products industry. This cream and treatment bundle is ideal for restoring scalp health if used regularly. Please note that this is a treatment and is not designed for styling or curl-defining purposes.
The Daily Moisture Scalp Cream comes with a handy pointed nozzle to target the scalp – which is very useful for Type 4 hair and those who have a weave. It is meant for daily use and helps to provide moisture to the scalp.
The Royal Oils Instant Soothe Elixir is designed to soothe any sensitive areas and prevents dryness from occurring in the future. Both formulas are designed specifically for those with curly hair, especially kinky and coily Type 4 hair.
- Hydrating – Daily treatment is designed to hydrate and restore dry scalps
- Duo bundle – Two products in the bundle make for good value for money
- Pointed nozzle – Nozzle is ideal for targeting the scalp for kinky and coily hair or weaves
- Not a styling product – Designed to restore and nourish curly hair dry scalps, not to style curls
- Head and Shoulders Royal Oils Daily Moisture Scalp Cream helps balance and restore scalp health* (*with regular use)
- Light, absorbing leave-in formula moisturizes scalp to prevent dryness and itch (associated with dandruff
- Head and Shoulders Royal Oils Instant Soothe Scalp Elixir helps balance and restore scalp health (with regular use)
- Fresh, cooling leave-in formula invigorates scalp and soothes to provide instant scalp relief, no rinsing required!
- 24-hour scalp protection (when used as directed)
- Expertly designed scalp relief for natural, relaxed, kinky and coily crowns
- SAFE FOR COLOR TREATED HAIR and Great for protective styles, twists, and locs
- Free of mineral oils, alcohol, parabens, sulfates and dyes
7. Best Conditioner for Curly Hair: Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Conditioner for Curly Hair
Most conditioners are designed to create silky smooth hair for wavy and straight hair types. These are not suitable for curly hair types as they can weigh the curls down and can often make the hair appear oily, which is why curly-haired folk require specific conditioners.
The Carol’s Daughter conditioner has a sulfate and paraben-free formula that works to support curly hair. It features castor oil which helps to moisturize and restore curly hair to hydrate it and prevent breakage – leaving a silky shine afterward. This is also ideal for those with weak curly hair as it helps to strengthen the curls.
It is worth noting that a conditioner alone will not create curls as this is the job of a serum or mousse – but this conditioner is ideal for detangling curls without losing their natural shape.
- Sulfate and paraben-free – No harsh chemicals or artificial ingredients that dry out hair
- Moisturizing benefits – Castor oil ingredient helps to hydrate curly hair and strengthen the quality of natural curls
- Ideal for all curly hair types – Suitable for Types 2, 3, and 4 hair
- Scent – Aroma is ginger and cumin, rather than other fruity scented conditioners
- Carol's Daughter Goddess Strength Fortifying Sulfate Free Shampoo for weak hair with Castor Oil cleanses while moisturizing and provides hair that’s instantly stronger, less prone to breakage and healthy looking
- Goddess Strength System - Delivers 15X stronger hair in one use and 94 percent less breakage and supports the strength of your hair as it gets longer - see disclaimer
- Explore the Regimen - Goddess Strength System with Castor Oil for hair that is weak and breakage-prone includes Fortifying Shampoo, Fortifying Conditioner, Anti Breakage Hair Oil and Leave In Conditioner
- The Goddess Strength Recipe - Blended with Castor Oil, Black Seed Oil and Ginger – Sulfate Free, Paraben Free, No Artificial Colors, Vegan
- Made With Love: Carol's Daughter was born in a Brooklyn kitchen in 1993 and made with a mother's love and encouragement; Today we carry a full line of hair care products and body and skin care products
8. Best Shampoo for Curly Hair: Garnier Whole Blends Moroccan Argan and Camellia Oils Shampoo
Like with conditioner, people with curly hair need to consider what is best in a shampoo for their hair type.
Whilst shampoo is designed to clean the hair rather than style any curls, there are some shampoos that are only suitable for those with wavy or straight hair.
Garnier is one of the best drugstore hair care brands that consistently create great formulas for people with curly hair. This Whole Blends shampoo is no exception.
Argan oil is one of the key ingredients, which helps to nourish and moisturize curly hair without drying the curls out. The Camellia oil, likewise, is a strengthening ingredient.
This is ideal for curly-haired folk who may use products or heating appliances that can damage their hair over time. Remember, taking care of curly hair is all about the whole process, not just the styling process.
- Moisturizes and smoothens hair – Argan oil revitalizes dull and dry hair and helps to keep curls in their natural state
- Strengthening benefits – Camellia oil works to strengthen and protect their hair
- Ideal for frizzy hair – Works best with dry and frizzy curly hair (Types 2, 3, and 4)
- Won’t create curls – Shampoo is designed to clean hair and work with curls, rather than create curls
- Whole Blends Illuminating Shampoo formula is blended with sustainably sourced Argan Oil known to smooth and Camellia Flower Oil known to gently moisturize
- Whole Blends Illuminating Shampoo is paraben-free, enriched with a natural blend, and gentle enough for everyday use
- Argan Oil emolients work wonders on dry, dull hair, used to help smooth the look of split ends, detangle, improve dry scalp feel, and strengthen hair as it grows
- Garnier Whole Blends Illuminating Shampoo brings to life our wholesome care that cocoons hair in luminous suppleness
- For every blend, there’s Whole Blends, Hair Care blended with purpose, Because when the right ingredients come together something beautiful happens, We believe in the power of blends because Blended Makes us Better
9. Best for Enhancing Curly Hair: TIGI Catwalk Blue Curls Amplifier
One of the most common statements heard by curly-haired folk is “wow, I wish I had curls like yours!”. Some will disagree with them, and others will only want to enhance their natural curls. This is the ideal product to do so.
The clue is in the name of this product. TIGI’s Catwalk is all about amplifying and enhancing your beautiful natural curls. It is best applied by separating wet hair and applying the cream in small portions with your fingers and/or a brush. This is to ensure every curl gets an even amount of product.
The real way to amplify your hair after this is to blow dry your hair. Fortunately, this product comes with heat protection technology. Then, your hair will stay in its amplified and held position for the rest of the day.
- Ideal for Type 4 hair – Designed to define and separate kinky coily curls
- Heat protection – Works well with heated appliances like hairdryers
- Trusted and reliable – Formula has existed for several years and has been trusted by many users
- Sticky – Sticky residue may be left on hands after use
10. Best Custard for Curly Hair: MopTop Curly Hair Custard
Custard gels are a simple and affordable way to activate and define natural curls. The MopTop custard is ideal for all curly hair types, including Types 2, 3, and 4.
Free from parabens, sulfates, silicones, and other artificial ingredients, this is a non-harmful product that nourishes natural curls rather than drying them out. The application requires damp hair and small amounts of product evenly distributed amongst the curls.
This custard is made from natural ingredients including nettle, honey, and silk amino acids that work to enhance curls without weighing the hair down. It also contains aloe which helps to restore the health of the hair, topped with a delicious citrus scent.
- Easy to apply – Only a small amount needed on wet hair
- Natural ingredients – Honey and silk amino acids provide a smooth texture, and aloe to restore damaged hair
- Ethical brand – MopTop supports anti-bullying programs inspired by the bullying of natural Black hair
- May go off – No preservatives means there is a shelf life, so make sure to read the product’s service life
- BEST CURL ACTIVATOR - This product fights frizz, activates & enhances natural wave (2a-c), curl (3a-c), or kinky-coily (4a-b) textures, adds definition, leaving a nice natural sheen & shine.
- CURLY HAIR NEEDS HYDRATION - This styling custard gel with Aloe, Sea Botanicals & Honey provides Maximum hold, moisture & shine; No heaviness or crunch.
- NATURAL MATTERS - PARABEN-FREE; SULFATE-FREE; DYE-FREE; SILICONE-FREE; PHTHALATE-FREE
- EASY TO USE - Remember a LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY! Start with a small amount applied to the complete surface of wet hair. All products are CONCENTRATED for best value. 100% GUARANTEED
- EVERY UNIT SOLD SUPPORTS - We believe that people make choices in life based on how they FEEL about themselves. We support ANTI-BULLYING programs whether on the playground or behind closed doors.
Curly Hair Types
“Curly” hair is somewhat an umbrella term for a variety of hair textures.
Whilst it doesn’t really matter what you choose to define your hair type as, it can be very useful for finding the right products. Some curly hair products may be better suited for kinky coily hair rather than wavy hair, for example.
If you’ve heard about different “Types” of hair, here is the basic rundown.
Type 2 – Wavy Hair
- Type 2a: This is the finest form of wavy hair. The curls naturally fall in a faint “S” shape and can be straightened or curled easily.
- Type 2b: This is thicker than Type 2a, and often is characterized by flatter hair by the roots and wavier hair at the ends.
- Type 2c: This is when the “S” shaped curls cover the entirety of the head, which is generally more prone to frizz.
Type 3 – Curly Hair
- Type 3a: These are thick yet naturally loose curls that have a natural shine and are prone to frizz.
- Type 3b: These are thick and fairly loose curls that need moisture for dryness.
- Type 3c: These are tight, corkscrew curls that have a tendency to frizz.
Type 4 – Coily Hair
- Type 4a: This is where the line between curly and coily hair is stepped over, and the coils are much smaller than the 3c curls.
- Type 4b: These are tight coils close to the scalp that have a springy texture.
- Type 4c: Also known as zig-zag coiled, this is the most afro-textured hair.
Distinguishing which hair types are which is the first step to understanding what products you need for your hair. Few curly-haired folks are blessed with waking up naturally to perfect curly hair. Everyone will develop their own personal routine that works for their hair texture, so most of the time, it’s a matter of trial and error.
Tips for Curly Hair
- Don’t towel dry – Ditch the towel and use a t-shirt or microfiber hair towel wrap to dry your hair. Towel drying can enhance frizz and may break fine hair.
- Satin pillows – Like towels, regular pillows (made of cotton, for example) can be rough on the skin and hair. Satin pillows will lower the chance of bad bed hair as the fibers won’t create frizz.
- Diffuser – Diffuser hair dryers are ideal for people with Type 2 hair. They work to spread the air in smaller sections to create curls and prevent frizz.
- Cold water – Spraying your hair with cold water after washing it will close the cuticles and prevent frizz.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is gel or mousse better for curly hair?
It mostly comes down to personal preference and hair type. Generally speaking, those with Type 2 hair prefer gel due to the lightweight formula.
Those with Type 3 or 4 hair benefit more from mousse that is designed to hold and enhance tighter curls.
However, both can be used at the same time (sparingly), as gel is best for controlling frizz and taming pesky flyaway hairs.
How do you sleep with curly hair?
Everyone will create their own routine for sleeping with curly hair.
We recommend sleeping with a satin pillow, tying your hair into sections or with the “pineapple” method, wear a silk scarf or headband, and use a gentle product such as a gel to prevent frizz overnight.
Loosely tying your hair into braids or sections helps to stretch out and protect your curls, which will all prevent bad bed hair.
Is coconut oil good for curly hair?
Coconut oil is a great all-natural ingredient for a multitude of uses, including curly hair.
A small amount of coconut oil works to prevent frizz, create a smooth texture, and can cooperate with curls to maintain their natural structure.
Coconut oil is also good for maintaining moisture and can be used in a homemade hair mask for damaged hair.
Why am I losing my curls?
If your hair has been damaged or requires an overdue haircut, this can weigh down your hair and lose its natural curls and elasticity.
It’s best to have regular trims and to avoid pulling your hair into uncomfortable styles and leave it natural for a while for it to heal.
Also, changes of hormones during pregnancy or menopause can change the shape of your hair follicles, which can ultimately redefine the texture of your hair.