The 11 Best Curly Hair Products To Restore Your Natural Coils
Kickstart your natural hair journey with the best curly hair products to makeover your mane.
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Almost 60% of the global population has curly hair. That may come as a surprise considering many prefer to straighten their locks instead of diffusing or wearing it natural. If you’re ready to embrace the mane, regardless of your curl pattern, perfecting a routine will help get the most out of your ringlets. So we found the best curly hair products on the market, some of which can even be bought at the drugstore.
According to hair experts, you might have curly hair if it can be brushed straight when wet but dries frizzy and waved. Years of heat damage, low-quality products or even pregnancy can negatively affect curl patterns. On the bright side, there are plenty of cost-effective products to help tame frizz and revive natural hair curls once and for all.
How to layer the best curly hair products
Let’s start with the basics. A clarifying shampoo and hearty conditioner provide a clean palette to work with. Instead of wrapping freshly washed hair in a towel (which leads to friction, frizz and breakage), absorb water with a cotton T-shirt using your hands.
Curly hair experts recommend that hair still be dripping wet when you move on to a leave-in conditioner, mousse and gel. Equip yourself with a brush designed for curly hair and a solid diffuser and you’re good to go. Read on for our favorite picks and the best products for curly hair to bring life back to your coils.
Ouai Detox Shampoo
There are so many products required to keep curls bouncy, so scalp buildup is inevitable—even while using the very best curly hair products. A clarifying shampoo breaks down product differently than a standard shampoo. This one from Ouai works wonders at cleansing your scalp of hair products, hard water and dirt buildup. Use the clarifying shampoo once a week and massage with a scalp brush. Your head will thank you.
SheaMoisture Curl & Shine Shampoo
SheaMoisture is a cult favorite among the curly hair community. Their Curl & Shine shampoo is a star, and nearly 14,000 five-star Amazon reviews agree it’s one of the best shampoos for curly hair. It improves hair elasticity, a helpful feature for those constantly tugging or brushing their curls into submission. Most of the brand’s haircare line is free of pesky sulfates, parabens and silicones; including this pick. It’s gentle enough for daily use and a perfect density for those with thick hair.
Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm
Curly hair requires moisture—there’s no way around it. Conditioner locks in hydration to prevent it from being stripped by the environment (think sun damage), styling tools or hard water. This Matrix Biolage vegan formula features aloe and color-safe properties to maintain long-term moisture. Professional hairdressers use and recommend it for a salon-like finish from the comfort of your home.
Mielle Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner
If conditioner is the foundation, then leave-in conditioner is the support beams. Mielle shook the internet with its popular rosemary mint oil, but its leave-in conditioner is a hidden gem for frizz control. Formulated with pomegranate extract, babassou oil and other organic ingredients, the product is gentle for daily use and provides deep hydration.
K18 Leave-In Hair Mask
K18 is a strong tool to have in your routine. According to our editor’s review, the leave-in molecular repair mask works so well, it could replace leave-in conditioner, gel and curl cream altogether. Apply the mask after you’ve shampooed and in lieu of a traditional conditioner. No need to rinse it out because the formula’s active properties are strong enough to outlast whichever method you use to dry your hair post-shower.
Denman Classic Styling Hair Brush
Once the leave-in conditioner is worked into your strands, use a curly hair brush to form the curls. This is a crucial step in your routine, and using the best brush for your hair type makes a big difference. With nearly 60,000 five-star Amazon reviews, this Denman brush does the trick. Twisting sections of hair around the brush to create a spiral will guide the hair to take its natural shape. This Denman D3 pick is perfect for distributing product and restoring curl patterns.
Ouidad Vitacurl Soft Defining Mousse
The right mousse defines waves without the crunchy after effects. This Ouidad mousse formula uses a Botanical Omega 3-6-9 Complex: a blend of chia seeds, Japanese camellia and sunflower oils that repairs the natural lipid barrier. Curls can be heavy, but the Ouidad mousse adds volume and dimension from roots to ends—without the added weight. You can also replace mousse with another frizz-blasting product for a sleek look.
Pattern Curl Gel
Gel is typically the last step in a curly hair routine to lock everything in. The Pattern Curl Gel uses aloe vera, coconut oil and cacay oil to hold curls in place. Work the product from the midsection and below instead of scrunching the ends or weighing down roots. Made with recyclable packaging and formulated without parabens, silicones and formaldehyde—this product is a natural way to have great hair.
Prose Custom Curl Cream
Everyone’s hair is different—why shouldn’t the best curly hair products reflect that? Prose’s Custom Curl Cream can be personalized to your hair goals, lifestyle and environment. Whether you want fiber repair, UV control or curl definition, the curl cream can be factored into your shower routine or on a non-wash day.
John Frieda Frizz Ease Serum
Unfortunately for many, frizz and curls go hand in hand. John Frieda’s Frizz Ease Serum combats humidity and heat damage with a bamboo extract perfect for unruly strands. When hair is still soaking wet, add a pump of the serum—two tops—and distribute it evenly. It’s also safe to use on color-treated hair. Learn more about it in our review.
Drybar Bouncer Diffuser
Diffusers are a secret weapon for people with any type of wave and remain one of the best curly hair products. Most come in a standard size that attaches to the head of a hair dryer. This Drybar diffuser is loved by people with all hair types to set products and curls into place. Prevent the roots from laying too flat by flipping your head upside down and holding the diffuser at the roots.