If you have naturally curly hair, you’ll know a massive proportion of your time is taken up by trying to get your hair to look good.
Flat roots, frizz, dryness… it’s all part of the daily struggle of having curly locks, and this can mean that you go through a ton of products trying to tame your curls.
On the other hand, if you attempt to straighten or blowdry your hair, you’re not only increasing the amount of damage your hair is exposed to, but you’re not getting to embrace the hair you were born with.
With the right products, curly hair can look voluminous, healthy, and shiny, but you have to know what to look out for. That’s why I’ve compiled the 10 best products for curly hair – from shampoos to creams, to deep conditioning masks and styling products.
Best Products For Curly Hair
Mousses can often leave hair crunchy and stiff, which is why this OGX curl mousse is part foam, part cream, to hydrate curls but also lock them in place.
Shea butter and coconut oil help hydrate and defrizz the hair, providing bouncy, healthy-looking curls and coils which stay locked in place all day long.
This is also perfect if you want to balance out the weight of your hair and add volume to your roots – perfect for those who suffer from flat, fine, or lifeless curls.
The moderate hold of this mousse won’t leave hair stiff or sticky, but will still keep curls shapely and full of life.
- Part foam, part cream to strike a balance between hydration and hold
- Enriched with shea butter and coconut oil to defrizz and add moisture
- Curls look bouncy and are locked in place all day
- Adds volume to hair and revives curls
- The scent was a little overpowering for some users
- GODDESS VIBES: Part foam, part cream, complete curl heaven. With the hold of a mousse & the hydration of a cream, this styling blend infused with shea butter & coconut oil helps enhance & de-frizz curls.
- TIGHTEN UP TENDRILS with our Locking plus Coconut Curls styling collection. Blended with coconut oil & shea butter for smooth coils that bounce & tendrils that twist without the frizz.
- BEAUTY PURE & SIMPLE: OGX products are inspired by nature. We don’t try to make hair look “perfect” because we’d rather make hair look fuller, smoother, curlier, or bouncier & smell irresistible.
- WHAT HAIR WANTS: Whether you need quenching moisture for curly hair, protection for color treated hair, blowout cream or matte pomade, OGX hair care products are designed to bring out your best.
- REAL QUALITY, REAL BEAUTY: Unattainable looks don't inspire us but originality does. OGX hair & skin care product collections are here to help you look your best. We’re beauty, pure & simple.
Cantu features on our list more than once, and so it’s unsurprising that their coconut curling cream is an award-winning formula!
This product will not only make your curls look great, but it will moisturize and strengthen strands with shea butter, so hair is healthy on the inside and the outside.
Smooth some of this cream through damp hair and you’ll unveil defined curls that are soft, elongated, and a lot easier to manage.
There’s no need to rinse out, just leave this nourishing formula in for your hair to soak up the goodness. You can also use this on dry hair to touch-up curls and make them “pop.”
One of the great things about the Cantu range is not only the quality of their products but the value for money. These are some of the most affordable curly hair products on the market, but they’re also some of the best!
- Moisturizes and strengthens hair thanks to shea butter formula
- Curls are tamed, elongated, and easier to manage
- Can be used on wet or dry hair – no need to rinse
- Great bang for your buck
- Use sparingly on finer curls and waves
- DEFINE & STRENGTHEN CURLS: soften, condition, & lengthen curls
- AWARD-WINNING FORMULA: made with lightweight pure shea butter, coconut oil, & 7 other essential oils
- GREAT FOR: Type 3 curls & Type 4 coils
- NO HARSH INGREDIENTS: formulated with no mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, gluten, paraffin or propylene
- CRUELTY-FREE: absolutely no testing on animals
Moisturized curls start with a good shampoo, and Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Shampoo will help hydrate, smooth, and defrizz curls while enhancing softness and providing your hair with much-needed body.
This rich shampoo contains 100% aloe vera as its first ingredient, as well as coconut milk, plumeria extract, and papaya extract which work together to smooth frizz and make hair softer and more manageable.
It also helps detangle curls and is gentle enough for use on color-treated hair and tight curls.
This gentle and nourishing formula is sulfate-free, vegan, free from silicones, parabens, and mineral oil, and contains no synthetic dye – so you can rest assured that everything you’re adding to your hair will only bring it goodness.
- Helps hydrate and calm frizz
- 100% aloe vera as the first ingredient – great for smoothing and moisturizing
- Detangles curls and makes hair more manageable
- Super affordable pricepoint
- Free of sulfates, silicones, and parabens, and it’s vegan
- Ideal for thick, curly hair and tight curls
- May weigh down low porosity, fine curls
- Curl-defining coconut oil anti-frizz shampoo
- DE-FRIZZ and DEFINE CURLS: This 13-fluid ounce bottle of Maui Moisture Curl Quench and Coconut Oil Shampoo helps hydrate, smooth and defrizz curls while enhancing softness and body
- CURLY HAIR CARE: Ideal for tight curls, the anti-frizz shampoo is safe for use on color-treated hair to help detangle, protect and define your hair's natural curl pattern leaving behind shiny, bouncy curls
- UNIQUE BLEND WITH ALOE VERA: The rich blend of this curl-defining vegan shampoo contains 100% aloe vera as the first ingredient along with coconut milk, plumeria extract and papaya extract
- NOT ALL MOISTURE IS THE SAME: The gentle and nourishing formula of this sulfate-free surfactant shampoo is vegan, free from silicones, parabens and mineral oil and contains no synthetic dyes
Moroccanoil’s Curl Defining Cream promises to be an all-in-one solution that leaves curls perfectly defined, free of frizz and revived and full of life.
It’s infused with argan oil, which is known for its conditioning properties that soften curls and leave hair shiny and silky smooth to the touch.
Argan oil is also associated with numerous health benefits: it’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids, and has been used for centuries to nourish hair and skin.
This curl-defining formula will provide a soft hold, and works well on all curl types, from loose waves to tighter curls or coils.
It’s also infused with Moroccanoil’s signature scent: described as memorable and addictive, it’s an iconic juxtaposition of spicy amber and sweet, floral musk.
This product is best used after shampooing and conditioning, where you can rake it through the hair to increase separation and leave to air dry, or for added volume, dry with a diffuser.
- All-in-one solution: tames frizz, defines curls, and nourishes hair
- Argan oil is packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids
- Infused with Moroccanoil’s signature scent
- Lightweight formula that suits different curl/wave patterns
- You don’t get much for your money, but it is a high-quality product
- Curl Defining Control Cream
- Enhances curl & conditions curls
- Adds volume, shine and texture
- Optimal hold and humidity resistant
- Builds body and texture and also softens and shines hair
Cantu is a defining brand in the curly hair world, and its range is great for curly and coily hair types. This curl activator cream is great if you want to minimize the number of products in your hair routine, as it’s great for a quick ‘wash and go.’
It works by smoothing and enhancing your natural curl pattern while also taming frizz but not weighing the hair down.
It’s enriched with pure shea butter and formulated without harsh ingredients, containing no mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, gluten, paraffin, or propylene.
The end result is soft, shiny curls with added volume that doesn’t weigh your curls down. The great thing about this product is its versatility: it’s great for dense curls or coils but also finer, frizzier waves – just alter the amount depending on your hair type.
It can also be used on wet hair or on dry hair to give second-day curls a much-needed boost.
- Activates curls and reveals your natural curl pattern
- Delivers volume and shine but won’t weigh hair down
- Enriched with pure shea butter for moisture
- Free from sulfates and silicones
- Versatile enough for different curl types
- You’ll need to only use a small amount if you have fine hair, as it can easily make thinner hair greasy.
- 7 ESSENTIAL OILS: nourish hair with shea butter infused with 7 essential oils
- SMOOTH STYLE: define & add shine to natural curls, coils & waves
- GREAT FOR: Type 2 waves, Type 3 curls & Type 4 coils
- NO HARSH INGREDIENTS: formulated with no mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, gluten, paraffin or propylene
- CRUELTY-FREE: absolutely no testing on animals
SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In detangles and protects wavy and curly hair, leaving it soft and manageable for styling.
This lightweight formula is perfect for those with finer curls that get greasy easily, as this product isn’t heavy or rich like other leave-in conditioners for curly hair, and can be used daily or on dry or wet hair.
That said, it’ll still lock moisture into the hair thanks to the 100% virgin coconut oil, which is famous for its nourishing and hydrating properties that will help define your curls and give them a new lease of life.
As ever, SheaMoisture products contain no silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or petrolatum, and they’re cruelty-free.
- Enriched with virgin coconut oil to moisturize and enrich hair
- Lightweight formula can be used daily
- Smells like a coconut-infused coastal breeze
- Ideal for fine hair that’s frizz-prone
- Silicone and sulfate-free, and cruelty-free
- Thicker hair might need additional products
- SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In is a sulfate free conditioner that softens hair and improves styling manageability.
- This leave-in conditioner is great to detangle, protect and control frizz. It leaves natural hair wrapped in a light coastal coconut breeze.
- All SheaMoisture hair products including this leave in hair conditioner are sustainably produced and cruelty-free.
- This SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In, blended with Coconut Oil, Coconut Milk and Acacia Senegal, can be used as a daily conditioner.
- Generously spray this daily conditioner on clean damp hair focusing on mid-lengths to ends of the hair. Blow or air-dry.
- SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In is formulated with no silicones, no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no mineral oil or petrolatum.
If you have super dry, coily hair that’s craving moisture, you’ll love DevaCurl’s coconut curl styler. It softens curls, adds definition and controls frizz, and can be used on wet, damp, and day-old curls.
This rich ‘super cream’ styler is infused with coconut oil for vital moisture and shine, and can be used in a variety of ways to smooth, soften, lengthen, moisturize, control, or boost volume.
This product has an indulgent, creamy texture so it’s great for dry hair that seems to absorb moisture quickly. It’s also 100% sulfate, paraben, and silicone-free, as well as being vegan, wheat, and cruelty-free, as are all of DevaCurl’s products.
- Great for thick, dense curls and coils that crave moisture
- Can be used on wet, dry, or day-old curls
- Enriched with coconut oil for moisture and shine
- 100% sulfate and silicone-free, vegan, and not tested on animals
- It’s a bit expensive
If you struggle with frizz – and let’s face it, many of us curly girls do – this leave-in moisturizing milk will soften your curls and leave them shiny, bouncy, and frizz-free.
Style milk is somewhere between a cream and a liquid and helps define curls while also giving your hair vital moisture.
Enriched with silk protein and neem oil, this formula is great for thick, frizzy curls and will leave them with a soft and silky feel.
Comb it through damp hair and leave it in before styling for more manageable curls or waves that smell divine and are soft to touch.
You can also rest assured that SheaMoisture sources all of its ingredients sustainably, using raw shea butter handcrafted by women in Africa, and is formulated without silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or petrolatum. Plus SheaMoisture never tests on animals.
- Great for a range of curl types
- Defines curls and waves and tames frizz
- Enriched with silk protein and neem oil for soft, shiny hair
- Sustainably sourced ingredients and no nasty additives
- Cruelty-free brand
- It may be a bit heavy for some hair types
- SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk is a leave-in moisturizer and hair treatment product that makes curly hair soft, shiny, bouncy and frizz-free.
- You can use this anti-frizz cream for curly hair from SheaMoisture every day for enviously lustrous and easily manageable curls.
- SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk, blended with Coconut Oil, helps to hydrate, reduce breakage while providing frizz-control and curl definition.
- This curly hair milk, blended with Silk Protein and Neem Oil, will smooth messy and wavy curls giving your hair a soft and silky feel.
- We are natural, sustainably produced goodness. Natural hair care made with love for you and your body. SheaMoisture is pioneering fair trade through Community Commerce at home and abroad.
- This curly hair cream 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. Dispenser Style: Squeeze
Sometimes your hair can look great straight after washing, but the next day your curls are lackluster, limp, and have lost their bounce. Carol’s Daughter refresher spray is perfect for giving curls, coils, kinks, and waves the renewing boost they need.
The lightweight formula remoisturizes, redefines, and renews your hair without weighing it down. Enriched with moisturizing ingredients such as cocoa butter, shea butter, and agave nectar, this formula is perfect for defining waves without leaving them crunchy or hard.
It’s also great for protecting your curls from environmental aggressors like humidity, and thanks to agave nectar, moisture is locked into the hair to help control frizz.
Wheat protein and sweet almond oil help to soften and detangle hair so it’s easier to manage, and you get to enjoy your curls for days longer than usual.
- Great for using the day after washing to revive curls
- Lightweight formula renews hair without weighing it down
- Cocoa butter and shea butter moisturize the hair
- Agave nectar helps control frizz
- Formula softens and makes hair easier to manage
- Enriched with vitamins B and B5 to strengthen and condition hair
- It’s a little pricey compared to similar products by competitors
- Refresh Your Curls: Give curls, coils, kinks, and waves the renewing boost they need with this lightweight mist that remoisturizes, redefines and renews your hair without weighing it down
- Deep Moisture For Curly Hair: Use Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner, Leave-In Conditioner, and Styling Pudding to help prevent frizz, softly define curls, and hydrate hair without crunch or residue
- Hair Milk For Naturally Curly Hair: Created for naturally curly hair, from the short-cropped 4c curly hairstyle to 1c waves, we use the ingredients your curls crave, like Agave Nectar, Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter
- Carol's Daughter Curly Hair Products: Whether your curls are coiled, kinky, or loose, we make products for curly hair of all kinds, including curl custard, gel for curly hair, shampoo, conditioner, and hair oils for natural hair growth
- 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
Okay, so this product isn’t specifically designed for curly hair alone, but it works well at taming hair and repairing damage.
If your hair is limp, lifeless, dry, and damaged, look no further than Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask.
This mask should be used weekly to restore essential hydration and natural vibrancy to dry, brittle, over-processed, and otherwise lackluster curls. The potent natural ingredients work together to enhance hair’s resilience and help protect against future damage.
It’s formulated with Briogeo’s unique NOVA Complex, providing your hair with an optimal blend of transformative nutrients from B-vitamins, natural oils, algae, and biotin to repair and restore hair, and is packed with algae extract, containing minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins to revitalize hair and add shine.
B-vitamins, including biotin, also fortify and strengthen the hair, while rosehip oil provides essential fatty acids which balance hair hydration and control frizz, and argan oil leaves hair feeling softer, silkier, and shinier.
Healthier hair means curls will form more easily and will look healthier with natural volume and body.
- Helps restore life to brittle, dry, and over-processed hair
- Packed full of natural oils, b-vitamins, and fatty acids to restore moisture, add shine, and fortify the hair
- The formula is 98% naturally derived
- Contains no harsh sulfates (sls/sles), silicones, phthalates, parabens, DEA, or artificial dyes. And it’s certified gluten-free and cruelty-free!
- It’s expensive!
- WHO IT’S FOR: For those with dry, damaged or color treated hair. Hair types: straight, wavy, curly and coily hair.
- WHAT IT IS: A weekly, clinically proven hair mask and deep conditioner that strengthens damaged hair and helps prevent future damage.
- WHAT IT DOES: Clinically proven to decrease hair breakage after two uses. This hair mask is clinically proven to boost hair strength, shine, and silkiness and improve the long-term health of damaged hair.
- HIGHLIGHTED INGREDIENTS: Formulated with rosehip oil, B-vitamins, and algae extract, this hydrating, antioxidant-rich formula restores essential moisture to dry, brittle, colored, or over-processed hair. Formulated with 97% naturally derived ingredients.
- SAFE FOR: Color treated, keratin treated, chemically-treated, and relaxed hair.
One of the most important things when it comes to curly hair products is to understand your own hair.
It sounds obvious, but curly hair is a lot more nuanced than you might think: there are loose waves, bouncy curls, tight coils…and different curls require different hair care routines and products.
I think anyone with curly hair will agree that it can take a long time, and a lot of trial and error, to figure out what works for your hair.
If you’re not yet sure what type of curls you have, check out this guide below:
Type 2 – Wavy
Type 2 waves are bendable in shape and can be fine to coarse, but they’re mainly characterized by their definitive s-shape pattern.
2a – Tousled, very loose waves that are almost-straight
2b – Defined, s-shape curls starting below brow level, with straighter roots
2c – Defined waves that start at the root mixed in with some full ringlets
Type 3 – Curly
Type 3 curls can range from loose spirals to tight, springy corkscrews and while they can have a little sheen, they’re likely to frizz up easily.
3a – Large, loose curls which fit around your middle and index fingers combined.
3b – Springy, tight ringlets that fit around your index finger alone.
3c – Densely packed corkscrews that are tighter and fit around a pencil.
Type 4 – Coily
Type 4 hair is made up of very tight, small coils and zig-zags that curl straight from the root and are prone to major shrinkage.
4a – Dense, springy s-shaped coils that fit around a chopstick.
4b – Small, tighter coils that look a bit like the spring in a pen.
4c – Tightly coiled, z-shaped strands with greater density that are prone to shrinkage
You should also consider your hair’s density. For example, is it fine, thick, or normal?
Choosing products that are designed not only for your curl type but for your hair density will help ensure you use products that aren’t overly heavy for your hair and provide it with the right amount of moisture.
You should also consider other characteristics, for example, is your hair particularly dry, or does it get oily quickly?
If it’s the latter, you’ll want to avoid any heavy creams and opt for lighter products, such as sprays or milks instead.
There are thousands of curl products out there all promising to transform your hair, but what you are looking for in a product will depend largely on your hair type. Most people will curly hair are looking for the following:
Curl definition: curl definition begins with your shampoo and conditioner and you’ll want to follow up with a curl defining cream or styling milk. Some curly-haired girls also opt for a curl gel while their hair is wet, which they rake through to add definition to their curls. A mousse can also come in handy, and a wide-toothed comb, or a Denman brush, is great for adding definition before allowing your hair to air-dry or defusing it.
Taming frizz: often curly hair is prone to frizz, and the best products for frizz control are usually lightweight sprays that can be used on day two or three hair to reactivate curls and minimize frizz. Milk products can also be great for this, as can curl creams.
Adding moisture: Many girls with curly hair (especially type 3 or 4) will feel that their hair is particularly dry. In this case, look for moisture-drenching creams and definitely invest in a leave-in conditioner or an intense mask treatment. Products containing argan oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter are great for offering hydration and nourishment.
Smoothing curls and adding shine: curly hair, especially if it’s dense or coily, can sometimes lack shine. If you want to increase shine in your hair, look for products containing olive oil or argan oil, and using an oil or serum on wet hair can be great for locking in moisture and adding shine to your curls.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I bring out my natural curls?
You can bring out your natural curls by paying close attention to your curl pattern and choosing products that will add definition to your curls.
You’ll want to use a curl defining shampoo and conditioner (one that is free of sulfates and silicones ideally), and then comb through your hair with a wide-toothed comb or a Denman brush.
Use oil or leave-in conditioner to tame frizz and add shine, and follow up with a defining curl cream or gel before leaving your hair to dry naturally, or using a diffuser to gently dry your curls.
Many curly-haired girls swear by using a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt to dry their hair, rather than a regular towel, as this minimizes frizz.
You should also scrunch your curls while your hair is damp – and there are many different ways to do this.
There are lots of different youtube tutorials online, so I’d recommend finding a vlogger with curls similar to your own and following their tips and advice.
How do I fix my curls after sleeping?
A great trick for reviving your curls when you wake up is to spray them with water to ‘reactivate’ the products you put in your hair the day before.
Some people also swear by a homemade mixture of a tablespoon of your favorite conditioner mixed with water in a spray bottle and using this to dampen your hair before scrunching with your fingertips to create wave or curl definition.