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When choosing the best cream for your curl pattern, there are a few factors you must keep in mind with hydration, definition, and hold being amongst the top of the list for most of us. With those key components in mind, we wanted to help save you a headache and some extra cash with our top picks to smooth, hydrate and define all textures from tousled waves to curls and kinks. Keep reading to see the top creams you can snag now.
Best Overall: DevaCurl Styling Cream
If you've got naturally curly strands, you know every curl cream isn't created equal. Enter in the DevaCurl Styling Cream. This lightweight, super hydrating cream transforms frizzy tresses into super-defined, weightless curls no matter how fine or coarse the texture. Not to mention, the citrus scent is so delicious, you'll be tempted to reapply morning and night, but it's totally not needed.
This silicone-free curl moisturizer not only smooths and defines the hair cuticle but offers maximum hold without the crunch. This cream is award-worthy for its ability to style, shape, and hold curls into place without any gunky ingredients.
Best Budget: Cantu Coconut Curling Cream
Whether you’re trying to pinch pennies or just want to find an affordable cream to tame your curls, this cream is a great buy. For a great bargain, you can get a tub of this moisture-rich to hydrate your wavy or curly hair. If you have a fine or wavy texture, we recommend using this cream sparingly as a little goes a long way. And it’s packed with shea butter, mango butter and a slew of hydrating oils so this styling product will define and hydrate even the most parched spirals around.
Best for Natural Hair: SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
If you have naturally curly or kinky hair, hydration is key when styling your curls. This drugstore favorite is chock-full of moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil so dry strands are no issue for this smoothie. The dense hydrator is like a cream-butter hybrid so it may be too heavy for fine or wavy strands, but if weight and moisture are at the top of your list we recommend giving this cream a try. It’s won various Allure Beauty Awards and for good reason, it’s a fan-favorite all across the board.
Best for Hold: TIGI Catwalk Curls Rock Amplifier
Keeping curls in place is a must when styling strands that are prone to frizz or falling flat post-lunch. And while you want your texture to stay put throughout the day, it usually results in styling products that make waves and curls crunchy or stiff. If you find yourself reaching for gel over cream formulas, this amplifier is the best pick. It’s a two-in-one styler with the hydration of a cream and the hold of a gel so you can finally cut down on the products in your hair routine.
Best for Wavy Hair: Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer
If you have naturally wavy hair but want to add definition to your strands, this curl enhancer is your go-to. This tried-and-true product works on all textured hair including curly and kinky, but it's our top pick for wavy tresses for its ability to intensify any curl pattern. It's a lightweight lotion with a unique wheat protein and organic aloe blend that expands when hair is wet and retracts when hair is dry so your texture stays locked into place all day long. This is also a great weightless hydrator to apply on second and third-day curls when strands fall limp.
Best for Fine Hair: It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product
Finely-textured strands that naturally curl need the same moisture and frizz control as other curly hair, but can be easily weighed down with heavy butters and oils. And since greasy tresses aren't trending right now, finding a hydrator that won't weigh hair down is a must.
This go-to is super lightweight, think a serum meets a silky lotion, so you don't have to fret about too much moisture. It's also full of ingredients that nourish and repair strands like sunflower seed extract and green tea leaf extract. Our favorite thing about this moisturizer is the silky, sheen it leaves even the driest of strands so curls are full of bounce and glossy color.
Our writers spent 2 hours researching the most popular curl creams on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 18 different creams overall, screened options from 13 different brands and manufacturers, read over 20 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 7 of the creams themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.