Having curly hair can be a challenge. Preventing frizz and avoiding looking like a ball of static electricity isn't always easy. What is easy is straightening, relaxing, and ironing your hair into oblivion. But guess what? That is beyond horrible for those gorgeous curly locks! One of the best things you can do to tame your curls is to master them and that takes the right products! From curl custards to the perfect conditioner, there is no shortage of things in the market meant to keep your coils tight and your waves beachy. But, not every "curly hair" product is good for you. In fact, some are just as bad as taking that flatiron to your locks!
All curly girl products aren't created equal. The best rule of thumb is to use products that don't include parabens, sulfates, or silicones. Some of those are negotiable — what works for you is the important thing! The specifics around types of products is the cornerstone of The Curly Girl Method which includes tried and true products, hairstyles, cuts, and tricks for keeping your curls perfect no matter their type. While it's definitely not necessary to follow the informative (and strict!) method, it does get one thing oh, so right: the best curl-friendly products. Most of the "holy grail" curly girl products just happen to be Curly Girl Method-approved! With increasing visibility surrounding natural hair these products have also gotten easier to find, so we're focusing on accessible options here. Whether you're fully ingrained in the Method or just skirting the edges, these curly girl products are totally worth your time!
DevaCurl is one of the biggest names in curly hair right now and, with expanded availability (now sold at Target stores!), it's not going anywhere soon. Their full line has plenty of goodies like the patented DevaTowel and different lines of products for different curl types, but our fave is the Arc Angel Gel. The gel gives maximum curl hold and provides super-defined patterns without the crunch! Touchably soft curls and definition is a hard combination to find together, but this gel nails it. It's on the pricier side ($24 a bottle!), but a full-sized bottle lasts a long while. As is true for most curly girl products, a little bit goes a long way!
Any curly girl knows that conditioner is her greatest weapon. A great conditioner will always give you a great foundation with which to apply other products. A big problem with a lot of conditioners aimed at curly hair is that they don't moisturize so great. Lack of silicones in many of the products leads to you being left without that "silky smooth" feel. But, with this Curls product, you get soft curls without sacrificing on the quality of the product. On Curls' website, they list all of the hard-to-understand ingredients in their products and share what they're for. The absolute transparency about what you're putting in your hair can help you feel good about this product... as good as your hair is going to feel after you use it!
One thing that often comes with curly hair is tangles. But we're adults, and probably shouldn't be using Johnson's No More Tangles in the bath anymore. So, here's the solution for grownups. Kinky-Curly's Knot Today detangler also works as a leave-in conditioner or rinse-out depending on your curl type. It smooths your curls without weighing them down which allows you to effortlessly detangle with a wide-tooth comb (stay away from brushes, curly girls!). The slip on this product, meaning how slippery it makes your hair and therefore how effortlessly you can run a comb or your fingers through it, is praised across the internet. As is Knot Today's natural ingredient list! Plus, at $13 a bottle at most retailers, it's actually on the cheaper side for most curly girl products!
Camille Rose Naturals
Curly hair needs a lot of things, but above all it needs moisture! Camille Rose Naturals Curlaide Moisture Butter provides that and then some. The butter is thick but it melts in the hair, providing moisture without dragging down curls. Instead, it turns tight, stressed out curls into silky smooth spirals. Oh, and did we mention that it smells delicious?! Not to brag, but curly girl products tend to have more amazing scents than other products! Those natural ingredients aren't just good for your hair — they're often super pleasing for your nose, too!
Full disclosure: this can be a hit or miss product for people. Cantu products can tend to be on the heavier side, so depending on your curl type, you may want to use a little bit or a real little bit. What it does is provide frizz-free volume for curls, giving you a bouncy look without all the flyaways. It tends to work best on super kinky, curly hair but can be beneficial for wavier curl patterns when used in moderation. Like, super moderation. It's also no-fuss and easy to scrunch into your hair, perfect for wash 'n go's and as a standalone product. Best part? No sulfates, parabens, silicones, gluten, or mineral oil in sight.
Before I start this I should probably note that this is a holy grail product for me, so maybe I'm a little biased on its amazing properties! But, the internet reviews and best-seller status don't lie: this curly girl product does it all. It fights frizz, keeps your curls soft, and adds definition all at once. You can even use it on damp or dry hair! This product is the utility player of your curly girl hair routine. For those post-shower days when you don't feel like making an entire cocktail of products, you can always count on a quarter-sized dollop of smoothie to do the trick! SheaMoisture is one of the most reliable purveyors of curly girl products — and for good reason! The company began as Sofi Tucker selling her hair-care creations in a small Sierra Leone village to those with hair like hers. For curly girls, by curly girls!
As I Am
Co-wash may sound a bit unfamiliar (especially to those just starting out on their curly hair journey!), so let me explain. Co-washing is, simply, conditioner-only washing. Shampoos have drying properties that aren't great for girls with a head of curls so many decide to forgo the practice. But, traditional conditioners won't actually clean your hair like shampoos will, so a co-wash is often necessary. This is any kind of conditioner that has cleansing properties and one of the very best is the As I Am Coconut Co-Wash. The natural formula not only cleanses all the gunk that's built up in your hair but promotes healthy hair growth as well. Oh, and it's under $10!