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When choosing the best cream for your curl pattern, there are a few factors you must keep in mind. At the top of the list? Hydration, definition, and hold. It seems pretty basic, but you'd be surprised how many curl creams are a total flop. So, to help save you time and money, we rounded up our top picks to smooth, hydrate and define all textures from tousled waves to curls and kinks.
Keep reading to see the top curl creams you can snag now.
Best Overall: DevaCurl Styling Cream Touchable Curl Definer
If you've got naturally curly strands, you know every curl cream isn't created equal. That's why The DevaCurl Styling Cream is getting top honors—it stands out from the pack. It's a lightweight, super hydrating cream that transforms frizzy tresses into super-defined, weightless curls no matter how fine or coarse the texture. Not only will it help smooth and define the hair cuticle but it also offers maximum hold without leaving hair feeling stiff. This cream is award-worthy for its ability to style, shape, and hold curls into place—all without the use of any questionable ingredients. Oh and the citrus scent is so delicious, you'll be fully hooked.
Best Budget: Cantu Coconut Curling Cream
On a budget or not, this cream is a great buy. For a total bargain, you can get a tub of this moisture-rich formula to hydrate your coils. The secret behind the results is a jam-packed formula of uber-hydrating ingredients like shea butter, mango butter, and hydrating oils. Rest assured this styling product will define and hydrate even the most parched spirals around.
Pro tip: Use this cream sparingly on fine or wavy hair to avoid a greasy look—a little bit goes a long way.
Best for Thick Hair: SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
We've said it before and we'll say it again—hydration is key to styling all curls, including thick curls. Not surprisingly, this drugstore favorite is chock-full of moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil so dry strands are no issue. Aptly named "smoothie," this dense hair hydrator is like a cream-butter hybrid to boost moisture, shine, and reduce frizz. Truly a fan-favorite all across the board for thick, curly hair.
See our guide to the best hair oils for healthy strands.
Best for Wavy Hair: Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer
Want to give your loose waves a bit more oomph? Apply this tried-and-true curl enhancer on damp hair to intensify your curl pattern instantly. The formula features a unique blend of wheat protein and organic aloe to help tame frizz and boost the look of limp coils at the same time.
Best for Fine Hair: It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product
Fine strands that naturally curl need the same moisture and frizz control as other textures, but can be easily weighed down by heavy butters and oils. And since greasy tresses are never cute, finding a hydrator that won't make hair look like an oil slick is a must.
This formula 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 hair moisturizer is the silky, sheen it leaves even the driest of strands so curls are full of bounce and glossy color.
Best Hold: TIGI Catwalk Curls Rock Amplifier
Keeping curls in place is crucial 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 number of products in your hair routine.
Interested in reading more reviews? We rounded up the best curly hair products on the market right now.