My relationship with my hair has always been complicated, spanning decades of getting harsh chemical relaxers and tight box braids, looking in the mirror, and feeling disappointed. To make matters more difficult, I had an unfortunate health stint in college that required a six-month antibiotic treatment. The side effect? Hair loss. All things considered, I should feel fortunate to have hair at all, but for a long time, I wasn't focused on that. I was too preoccupied with what I lacked, which was healthy, manageable, frizz-less hair. As an African American female, I've found it incredibly difficult to come to terms with the fact that my hair doesn’t look like what I see on the majority of people around me—and that there’s nothing wrong with that.
Almost two years ago, I made a serious decision to stop getting relaxers and to let my hair grow naturally. I hadn’t seen my natural curl pattern since I was under the age of 5 and too young to be doing my own hair, so I had no idea what to expect. While deciding to go natural has been challenging, to say the least, it’s also been one of the most educational, rewarding, and happy experiences of my life. I’m fortunate that I have two older sisters who have also decided to go natural to share this experience with. That being said, when I started on this journey I had no idea what products to use, what my hair routine should look like, or even what my hair texture was. I’ve come a long way, and none of that would have been possible without these products. If you’ve been looking for products to make your 3c, 4b, or 4c curls pop, keep scrolling because these 59 products will make you fall in love with your hair all over again.
Shampoo & Conditioner
This combo makes my curls pop before I even apply any creams or gels. It’s hands down one of the best formulas I’ve ever tried.
Whether you have curly hair or not, this is the perfect shampoo and conditioner for people who don’t wash their hair every day. I love the way these products make my scalp tingle.
This was the first sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner that I ever tried, and it’s become a mainstay in my haircare routine.
Another beloved Briogeo duo. I’ve been using this combination for months, and it’s delivered incredibly shiny, healthy hair.
Avocado oil is rich in oleic acid and monounsaturated fats, plus vitamins E and D, which may prevent breakage, reduce frizz, and combat dandruff.
This co-wash works like a dream. It’s free of sulfates and harsh ingredients, and the creamy formula makes my hair feel so smooth.
This no-foam formula makes my hair more manageable and makes my curls feel clean and soft.
This cleansing oil makes my scalp feel balanced, my hair feel clean, and it makes my hair incredibly shiny.
My favorite thing about this product is the applicator. I’m able to target areas of my scalp that feel dry or oily and massage it in to make my hair feel incredible.
This cleansing conditioner is incredible. It smells like a tropical vacation, and it made all my knots and tangles melt away in seconds.
Deep Conditioner & Masks
I’ll just say it. This is one of my all-time greatest product discoveries. If you love a pre-’poo but don’t always have the time or just want to have the softest hair of your life, use this.
The best thing about Prose products is that they're customizable—so if you need moisture, or a product that will smooth flyaways, you'll be able to have them formulate it.
This matcha- and apple blossom-infused mask enriches the scalp with nutrients, leaving it soothed and hair tamed.
I’m in love with this mask. The scent, the way that it makes my hair feel, I don’t have a single bad thing to say.
This mask makes me feel like I’ve just left the salon. It’s like any bit of dryness or UV damage melts away as I wash it out of my hair.
I’ve convinced so many of my friends to use this mask. I use it every other week, and I can feel a difference the next time I wash my hair. It literally makes any knots or tangles melt away.
This is a great mask to use while your hair is transitioning or after a big chop. It will make your hair feel healthy and strong.
Manuka honey is native to New Zealand and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It may stimulate hair growth, prevent scalp infections, and combat dandruff.
If your hair is in need of a little protein treatment for added strength, elasticity, and hydration, this is the perfect option for you.
I love this mask on its own. It’s incredibly hydrating and smells divine. Sometimes for an added boost, I add a little jojoba oil and castor oil to make a concoction that gives my hair a little extra something.
Briogeo is the haircare brand that’s taken social media and Sephora by storm, but I’m telling you this mask is 150% worth the hype. After feeling your soft, hydrated hair, you won’t be disappointed you tried this.
The majority of the time, frizz is caused by weakened, dry hair. This incredibly nourishing mask will help to prevent that from happening so your curls will look and feel smooth.
Enhanced with Japanese rice extract, this mask works on straight, wavy, curly, and coily hair.
The aerosol container helps ensure that all my curls are drenched in long-lasting moisture. Oh, and the scent is mesmerizing.
This is and will always be my go-to leave-in product. It provides the perfect amount of slip, and it makes my hair feel incredibly hydrated.
This is the leave-in conditioner that I always bring with me when I travel. Not only is it a great leave-in, but it’s also a great way to refresh curls after a long flight.
This is an oldie but a goodie, and it never lets me down. If your curls are on the kinkier side, this is a great option for detangling and hydration.
SheaMoisture’s products rarely let me down, and this is no exception. This makes it easy for me to detangle my curls and the moisture lasts for days.
I bought this on a whim and fell in love with it instantly. The scent is intoxicating and it gives my curls the perfect amount of moisture.
This is a holy-grail product for curly hair. Whenever I rake this through my curls, I know that they’ll be moisturized for days. It’s also great for braids and twist-outs.
Since deciding to go natural, I’ve only straightened my hair once, and I couldn’t have done it without this product. It protected my hair from heat damage and made it super smooth and manageable.
This is the product that made me realize how much I needed a curl cream. It will always be my tried-and-true favorite.
I discovered this product this summer, and honestly, I’m upset that no one told me about it sooner. I use this religiously, and it makes my hair feel and look healthy, soft, and shiny.
This cream helps to seal in moisture and protect my hair from split ends and breakage. I couldn’t be more obsessed with it.
If you love having moisturized, frizz-free, tight, bouncy curls, you’ll instantly fall in love with this product the way that I did.
There’s a good chance that you’ve tried this incredible oil, but in case you haven’t, I’m here to recommend that you do. The lightweight formula is perfection.
The key to healthy hair is having a healthy scalp, and if you want to have a healthy scalp, you should use this.
This product makes my scalp tingle in the best way. It makes me feel like my scalp is perfectly balanced.
This product has been instrumental in keeping my ends from becoming dead or split. Also a little bit goes a long way so this product will last you for a long time.
I never really believed in curl refreshing sprays—until I tried this. This helped my curls last longer between wash days, and for that, I couldn’t be more thankful.
This product has been a godsend this summer. I spent a lot of time at the beach and this has protected my hair and scalp from UV damage.
This oil is so luxurious and hydrating. It’s lightweight, smells like a dream, and makes my hair feel so soft.
I love the consistency of this product. I slather my curls in the gel and wake up to hydrated, beautiful hair.
People swear by this product for hair growth, and I don’t disagree with them. I love warming it between my hands, then massaging it into my scalp.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone owns this cure-all beauty product. It’s great to use on its own, as a ’poo, or to combine with other powerful ingredients for a DIY deep conditioner.
This gives my curls extra bounce and can be used to slick back my hair and keep frizz at bay. What’s not to love?
Seriously, my curls would be non-existent without this gel. This makes them defined, bouncy, and absolutely perfect.
If you have curly hair and live in a warm climate or like being outside during the summer, you will love this miracle gel from Ouidad.
This is the product I rely on to keep my edges perfectly laid. It doesn’t leave behind a residue, and the added almond oil makes it smell so good.
This lightweight gel will keep your curls bouncy and intact, no matter how hot it gets outside.
If you’ve ever struggled to define your type 4 curls, those days are about to end. This product will give your kinky coils amazing definition.
I deep-condition my hair at least once a week, and this product makes that possible. It helps the conditioner penetrate my hair for long-lasting effects and yields salon-quality results from the comfort of my own home.
As someone who works out frequently and hates having curls, defined or not, stick to their neck in hot weather, I love an updo. These silk scrunchies protect my curls from being pulled too hard or rubbing against harsh fabrics.
I have been taking these vitamins for years. They taste delicious, and I can notice their positive effect on my hair and nails.
I love this diffuser. I can attach it to any blow-dryer, which makes it great for travel, and it helps give my curls extra volume.
If you have curly hair, you know that you can’t go far without a wide-tooth comb. This is the one that I swear by.
I started taking this supplement just over a year ago, and it made my hair grow like weeds. It’s safe to say I’m obsessed.
The journey to healthy hair never stops, which means while I sleep, I rely on these silk pillowcases to keep my hair feeling soft.
Bad news: Your beloved terrycloth towel could be making your hair frizzier than it needs to be. That's why I rely on this microfiber towel to prevent damage on wash days.
Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overview. Int J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450
McLoone P, Oluwadun A, Warnock M, Fyfe L. Honey: a therapeutic agent for disorders of the skin. Cent Asian J Glob Health. 2016;5(1):241. doi:10.5195/cajgh.2016.241
Trüeb RM, Henry JP, Davis MG, Schwartz JR. Scalp condition impacts hair growth and retention via oxidative stress. Int J Trichology. 2018;10(6):262-270. doi:10.4103/ijt.ijt_57_18