16 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: Bumble and Bumble Bb Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil

Bb Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil
Courtesy of Sephora

The idea of gel in your curls may seem like a recipe for crunchy hair. But leave it to Bumble and Bumble to come up with a fresh formula that’s a gel/oil hybrid. That means you still get the hold without that crispy feel. The light gel leaves curls super touchable with lots of movement, all while fighting frizz and helping curls keep their shape. A blend of humectants delivers long-lasting moisture. Only its shaping magic gives away the fact that you have product in your hair. 

Best Budget: AG Hair Curl 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 Drugstore: Dove Quench Absolute Supreme Crème Serum

Dove Quench Absolute Supreme Crème Serum
Courtesy of Target

If a curl crème and a serum had a baby, it would be this twofer from Dove. It’s formulated with glycerin, which pulls moisture from the air to hydrate curls, add shine, and control frizz on even the most parched locks. It’s infused with Buriti oil to soften strands, leaving curls immensely touchable and protected against breakage. The treatment can give natural curls up to four times more definition.

Best for Frizz Control: Ouai Curl Jelly

Ouai Curl Jelly
Courtesy of Sephora

Work this gel-oil hybrid through damp hair and twist into curls for extra hold. The result is defined ringlets that are frizz-free, thanks to a formula infused with silk proteins and nutrient-rich oils that fight humidity and lock in hydration. The lightweight jelly works for waves to tight coils, leaving behind a major shine. It also has an intoxicating French-inspired fragrance dubbed Rue St. Honoré, with notes of violet, gardenia, ylang-ylang, and white musk.

Best for Styling: DevaCurl Styling Cream

DevaCurl Styling Cream
Courtesy of Walmart

No list of products for curly hair would be complete without DevaCurl. This line always hits it out of the park, and their styling cream is no exception. The botanical-rich formula includes jojoba oil and tapioca starch to ward off frizz, fight humidity, retain shape, and give locks great body and movement. It works for all curl types and conditions as it does its job.

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 Curl Refresher: Miss Jessie’s Curls So Fresh Refreshing Curls

miss jessie's curls so fresh curl refresher

Courtesy of Amazon

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 Serum: Vernon Francois Pure Fro Hold and Shine Serum

vernon francois pure fro shine serum

Courtesy of Net-a-Porter 

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 Natural: Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk

Courtesy of Ulta

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

kristin ess leave-in conditioner

Courtesy of Target

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 Shampoo: Kerastase Discipline Bain Fluidealiste 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 Sulfate-Free Shampoo: DevaCurl No-Poo Original Cleanser

no poo cleanser

Courtesy of DevaCurl

This shampoo contains no sulfates, so it won't lather. But this also means there's no bad ingredients to dry out your curls even further. The No Poo has no lathering capabilities at all but will cleanse the hair and scalp while not stripping it of its natural oils. Try the Lo Poo if you have curly hair that's not too dehydrated.

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 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 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 Relaxing Balm: Phyto PhytoDefrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm

Phyto PhytoDefrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm

Courtesy of Ulta

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.

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