Hair products for curly hair? Your guide to the best out there

We all know that different hair types need their own special treatment to keep them looking their best. Curly hair in particular needs some attention to keep those gorgeous curls from turning into nightmareish frizz, so if you’re blessed with curly hair, which are the best hair products to try?

A bit about curly hair

First of all, let’s look at why curly hair sometimes needs careful looking after. There’s no getting away from the fact that the structure of curly hair will always make it prone to frizz and dryness. While sebum, produced within the hair follicles, can easily glide down super straight hair to moisturise its entire length, it generally struggles to work its way down curly hair, leaving it comparatively dry.

On top of this, the outside surface, or cuticle, of your hair is made of overlapping scales that usually lie flat against each other in healthy hair, protecting its core. Curly hair’s natural kinks and waves can sometimes cause rough areas in the cuticle, and these breaks in the protective layer can leave hair prone to moisture loss and other damage.

Woman with curly hair

So, let’s get to the point (I know, it can take a while sometimes) when it comes to caring for curly hair the best products and formulations will:

  • moisturise to combat that dryness
  • protect your hair from the elements, sealing in moisture
  • define those curls to give shape and prevent frizz

As always, there are no one-size-fits-all products out there, what suits you won’t suit everyone. You also don’t need to spend loads to get an effective product, plenty of cheap and cheerful options do just as good a job as the luxury brands. So let’s look at some of products out there that can work wonders on curly hair, from shampoos and conditioners to styling products.

Onto the best hair products for curly hair…

What to look for in your shampoo

OK, let’s start with those cleansing products. As curly hair tends to be dry by nature, adding moisture is key to keep it in prime condition. Try to avoid drying, clarifying shampoos that will only serve to strip out whatever moisture is already present in your curly hair. Instead, look for creamy shampoos with plenty of conditioning ingredients. Shampoos formulated for frizzy hair can be ideal, as these contain loads of nourishing moisturising ingredients as well as film formers that can leave a protective coating on your hair.

Sulfate free shampoos are formulated with gentler detergent ingredients than your bog standard shampoo, so this can make them a good option for curly hair, offering gentler cleansing that avoids drying it out too much.

Shampoo-wise, you might want to try:

  • Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo - it’s had some brilliant reviews, its an incredibly moisturising product that’s great for keeping curly hair clean without over drying it.

Conditioners

The next haircare product up is conditioner, an absolute essential for any curly girl or boy if you want to keep your curls manageable and soft. As well as moisturising ingredients, silicones leave a protective layer over the hair and seal in moisture, making them excellent for frizzy, curly hair that’s hard to control in humid conditions. (I know there are plenty who prefer to avoid the ‘cones, though I haven’t read any solid evidence that indicates silicones are actually bad for hair … more about that a bit lower down).

Here are some of the best that are worth checking out:

  • AVEDA Damage Remedy Conditioner – this has had loads of good reviews and can help to keep problem curly hair in check, though others found it overly expensive and on the heavy side
  • Marco Pelusi Marco Anti-Frizz Leave-In Conditioner – again it’s been found to be great at controlling frizz, though some found it left their hair slightly stiff
  • Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner – this range of products have earned themselves brilliant reviews, the conditioner is said to be incredibly moisturising on curly hair, also great to use as a leave-in conditioner in small amounts.

Styling products

Curly hair really cries out for styling products more than any other hair type – the best products can smooth frizzy hair and inject life and shape into your curls.

Serums can work wonders on curly, frizzy hair. They usually contain silicones that form a barrier around the hair, preventing it from absorbing excess moisture in the air as well as adding gloss and shine.

Now, there’s currently a fair bit of anti-silicone feeling out there from those who fear that these ingredients can ultimately suffocate hair, causing it to dry out over time. I haven’t read any real evidence to support this so far, though it’s true that, as most silicones aren’t water soluble, they can start to build up on your hair if you’re washing infrequently or using particularly gentle shampoo formulations.

You may want to try:

  • John Frieda Frizz Ease Secret Weapon Flawless finishing Creme – users have said it’s brilliant at taming frizz and defining curls, though can be a bit heavy
  • Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum – this products has had fantastic reviews, it’s got a lovely smell and light formula, but isn’t cheap, so it may be worth seeing if you’re happy with a cheaper option first.

Natural hair products for curly hair

If you’ve made the decision to try to stick to natural or organic ingredients, there are plenty that have excellent moisturising properties that are worth looking out for in products for curly hair.

Jojoba, honey and vegetable glycerine are humectants, meaning they attract water, helping to lock it within dried out hair. Coconut oil and shea butter can coat and protect dry curly hair, while aloe vera is a fantastic moisturiser. Here are a couple of top rated products:

  • Jessicurl Too Shea! Extra Moisturizing Conditioner – an ultra moisturising conditioner with no silicones or sulfates, though it’s heavy formulation weighed down some users’ curls
  • Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner – a thick conditioner that adds loads of moisture to curly hair, though hasn’t always been found to be great at de-tangling

What about fine curly hair?

Of course all curls are not the same, and it can be particularly tricky finding products for fine curly hair. Slap rich, heavy conditioners or styling creams onto fine hair and you can easily end up with lank hair. The best products will be lighter formulations that can define your beautiful curls without weighing them down.

  • Curly Hair Solutions Slip Detangler – this leave-in product is an excellent detangler, it’s not rich enough to moisturise all curls but is a great light option for fine hair
  • Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper – another light product that left a bit of crunch in some users’ curls, but should be worth a try for fine curly hair.

So there you have it, not an all encompassing list by an means but hopefully you’ve now got a better idea of how to pick the best products for your curly hair.

Have you got any holy grail products that your curly hair can’t live without?

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