18 Hair Products That Let Your Curls Live Their Best Life

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Wearing your hair au naturel has never been cooler, but those of us with curly or wavy strands know that letting our kinks loose with abandon is easier said than done. To state the obvious, there's a fine line between a little effortless static and downright frizz. Our curls can only be as good as the products we use—defined, gorgeous curls and healthy, hydrated strands go hand in hand, after all. 

The best ones work with your texture and curl type, helping you embrace your natural strands. Why spend time battling nature when you can flaunt what you’ve got? From styling creams to smoothing oils to leave-in conditioners, we've got you—and your curls—covered.

Here are the best hair products for curly hair.

Best Overall: Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Crème

Define and humidity-proof your curls with this leave-in cream. Rice amino acids and avocado oil will help your hair retain moisture, which prevents frizz and damage. This cream is made with 96% naturally-derived ingredients and contains no dyes or silicones, so it's safe to use on all types of hair.

Best Budget: AG Hair Re:Coil Curl Activator

As the name suggests, this curl-friendly formula helps define, strengthen, and moisturize coils so they look and feel their best. To use, apply a small amount through damp hair and dry your hair as usual.

Best Cream: Ouidad Curl Quencher Hydrafusion Intense Curl Cream

Think of this curl cream like nutrient-rich food for your curly hair. It coats every last coil with intense moisture to instantly eliminate frizz and dryness. Instead, your curls will look instantly defined and feel insanely soft.

Best Curl Refresher: Miss Jessie's Curls So Fresh

Second- or third-day curls can be left looking a little flat and tired. Instead of locking them up in a boring topknot, reach for this spray. A combination of water and glycerin bring curls back to life, reshaping and rehydrating them as soon as you spritz it on. It also delivers major shine and frizz control. In other words, it puts your curls back in formation.

Best Co-Wash: As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner

If you're struggling to find a solution to dry, brittle curls, the right co-wash might be just what your routine is missing. Instead of using shampoo for every wash, try this hydrating formula to remove product residue and impurities without sacrificing moisture. While some shampoos strain and strip your hair, this formula uses yummy ingredients like coconut oil, castor oil, and citrus extract to revive your curls for more manageable hair.

We also love that it has lots of slip, making it ideal for detangling.

Best Deep Treatment: NaturAll Club Ice Cream Treatment Deep Conditioner

Give your hair some TLC with this all natural deep conditioning treatment. With three different formulas to hydrate, repair, or define your curls, you can think of this product like a frozen treat for your tresses. Apply it to clean hair for 20 to 40 minutes under a plastic cap and your hair will thank you for the fresh fruit, protein, and transformative fatty acids.

For hair that retains moisture and length, experts recommend deep conditioning at least biweekly.

Best Diffuser: DevaCurl DevaFuser

When you have curly hair, you may find the hair dryer can be your enemy. Too much heat and you get frizz. But now there's an entire industry around maintaining healthy curls, resulting in products like this diffuser, which attaches to the end of your hair dryer (try ionic dryers to cut drying time in half) and coaxes the perfect ringlets out of hair.

Best for Fine Hair: Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream

Having fine hair and curls can be ​tough since many defining creams can weigh them down. But not this gem from Moroccanoil. The featherweight formula is infused with argan oil to calm frizz and refine ringlets, all without ever feeling greasy or sticky. It works its magic to bring on the bounce for all curl types, from waves to tight coils. Plus, it restores elasticity, making hair more manageable. 

Best Oil: Pattern Argan Oil Hair Serum

Argan oil is unbeatable when it comes to oils that hydrate your hair, and this serum packs plenty of it along with sunflower, castor, sweet almond, apricot, and shea oils. A little of this serum goes a long way to keep strands moisturized and elastic. Made specifically for curly hair, PATTERN is a haircare company created by actress Tracee Ellis Ross.

Best Leave-In Conditioner: Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Leave-In Conditioner

Available exclusively at Target, celebrity hairstylist Kristin Ess (known for her work with Lauren Conrad, Lucy Hale, and more) has a line of affordable, high-quality hair products that you need to try ASAP. Those with curly hair know what a tangled mess your tresses can be when you first get out of the shower. Spray this leave-in conditioner all over your wet hair up to 10 times—seriously, it's so weightless, there's no need to be frugal—and it will leave your hair soft and shiny. Bonus: This conditioner smells amazing (think tropical breezes and piña coladas).

Best Mask: Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask

Use this weekly treatment on extra dry or over-processed hair. It provides intense moisture to frizzy hair, smoothing out even the most dehydrated hair. It uses natural oils including olive, meadowfoam seed, and sweet almond. 

Best Natural: SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk

Coconut oil is this leave-in conditioner’s secret ingredient, which works to detangle and hydrate. Ideal for letting your hair air dry, it’s a major time saver. Curls are left soft and swingy, protected from frizz, and humidity. The natural formula includes ethically-traded ingredients that are also sustainably produced.

Best Butter: Carol's Daughter Healthy Hair Butter

This hair butter will leave your hair nourished and hydrated without weighing it down or leaving it grease. Made without petroleum and mineral oil, this butter is packed with natural ingredients and seven key essential oils. Keep your hair healthy and manageable with this best selling formula.

Best Gel: CURLS Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly

A gel that defines your curls without leaving it dry and flaky? Yes, please! This hydrating curl control jelly eliminates frizz and elongates curls while leaving it soft to the touch — making it the ultimate styler. Raw castor oil nourishes your hair to promote growth and the blueberry extract smells amazing. This non-sticky gel gets extra props for delivering results to those with loose curls and waves to those with thick, kinky hair.

Best Relaxing Balm: PHYTO Botanical Straightening Balm

Another great way to tame coarse, flyaway hair is to use a relaxing balm. You'll love the lightweight texture that won't leave hair feeling greasy.

Best Serum: Vernon Francois Pure For Hold and Shine Serum

If you’ve embraced your natural texture, this is the product for you. And Vernon Francois knows natural hair. Made for kinky hair or tight coils, this serum encourages healthy hair growth by nourishing strands with a mix of six botanical oils. It holds curls in place without ever feeling or looking sticky or greasy. Grapefruit and ginseng give it a crisp, invigorating fragrance.

Best Shampoo: Kerastase Discipline Bain Fluidealiste Sulfate Free Shampoo

Kerastase makes some of the best products for curly hair. Their Bain Fluidealiste Nutritive Bain Elasto-Curl Shampoo is praised by beauty experts for its intense moisturizing properties. It will soften coarse, curly hair while enhancing your natural curls and eliminating frizz.

Best Detangler: Kinky Curly Knot Today Detangler

Say goodbye to knots that lead to breakage and grow your hair longer and stronger with this herbal conditioner. The name says it all! Those with kinky curly hair know that wash day can be a time consuming task, but the slip in this moisturizing product makes detangling a breeze by smoothing the cuticle and removing knots.

Use it as a traditional rinse-out conditioner for those with waves and loose curls, or try it as a leave-in for those with tighter textures.

To avoid breakage in curly hair, always detangle hair while wet and drenched with product.

Final Verdict

Curly-haired gals and guys have no shortage of products to choose from, but we think the best product for curly hair is Briogeo's Curl Charisma Rice Amino Avocado Leave In Defining Cream (see at Ulta). The rice amino acids and avocado oil will help your hair retain moisture, which reduces the risk of frizz and damage. To refresh second or third-day curls, try Miss Jessie's Curls So Fresh (see at Amazon). The water and glycerin combo will rehydrate your hair and bring your curls right back to life.

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