Shopping Guide

These Are the Products You Need If You Have Curly Hair

By Andrea Jordan · January 27, 2021

If you have naturally curly hair, you’re no stranger to the amount of time and attention it takes to ensure your spiraling locks remain healthy and beautiful. Mia Emilio, senior stylist at Devachan Salon in New York City, says curly hair actually gets its curl from the shape of the hair follicle. “The oval-shaped follicle causes the hair to grow out of the scalp in the shape of a curl,” she explains. This also plays a significant role in the types of products that work best for curly hair.

Because the follicle is oval-shaped, natural oils can’t travel down the hair shaft as easily as they would with straight hair. This is why moisture is essential and key to having bouncy, and defined curls. In addition to moisture, most people with curly hair struggle with frizz, tangles, breakage, lack of definition and split ends. This is where proper care and the right products can make a world of difference.

Best Products for Curly Hair

“As a person with curly hair, you need to decide what you’re looking for in a product,” says Emilio. “Do you want hold, definition or volume?” She also notes that the most common products for curls are creams, gels and mousses, but taking the time to test out and learn which products work for your hair type is the best way to perfect your spirals. To help jump-start your product search, we’ve rounded up our top products to address your curly-hair concerns.

  • For frizz:

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    This bonding oil is practically weightless and helps to keep flyaways and frizz to a minimum. The best part is, it has a built-in UV and heat protection so if you do choose to heat style or spend a day in the sun, your strands are protected from any unwanted damage. For best results, apply a small amount to damp or dry hair and focus on areas that typically frizz easily like the ends or crown of the head.

  • For breakage:

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    While some formulas do tend to dry out and weaken curly hair, this reparative formula does the exact opposite. Thanks to its key ingredient, Alpha Keratin 60ku®, this gentle cleanser works in tandem with specific hydrators and polymers to amp up the natural curl pattern and repair brittle hair that’s prone to breakage. Not to mention, it has all of the other properties you want in a cleanser like removing oil and product buildup and a healthy dose of hydration.

  • For lack of definition:

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    Not all curly hair loves or needs gel, but if you find that your curls don’t hold their shape for very long or need a bit of hold, gel is your best bet. This gel is free of silicones and full of emollients and oils that add smoothness, shine and moisture to strands while locking style into place. “The purpose of gel is to freeze the look of your hair when it’s wet,” Emilio says. “That’s why it’s important to apply product on wet hair to lock in that moisture, then you can remove the excess water with a microfiber towel.” She also notes that if you don’t like the crunchy cast that’s left when it’s dry, simply scrunch the curls until they are soft and pliable again.

  • For split ends:

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    The truth is, the only permanent solution for getting rid of split ends is trimming them off, but if you’re looking for an alternate fix, this product will get the job done. A special polymer blend helps to bond split ends back together and prevent further breakage from occurring. This formula also doubles as a hair serum that provides weightless shine and protects against UV damage. “If you’re applying a product to help with split ends, only do so until you can see your stylist for a trim,” Emilio warns. “And to avoid split ends all together, go easy on the heat and avoid frequent brushing,” she adds.

  • For tangles:

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    Let’s be real, tangles are not fun to deal with. They can be a pain to remove and even lead to split ends and breakage if not taken care of properly. This is where detanglers like this one can make a huge difference. While a detangler doesn’t magically melt knots and tangles away, it helps to separate the strands making it easier to remove and smooth out the hair. Briogeo’s blend of aloe vera, oat milk and green-tea extract help to calm and smooth out the hair while giving it a boost of nourishment. Emilio suggests using this product and then using your fingers instead of a comb or brush to detangle. Not only is it gentle on your hair and scalp, but it also gives your curls definition.

  • For dryness:

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    No matter your product preference, every curl type needs moisture, and deep conditioning masks are a great way to ensure your strands don’t become dry and brittle. “Deep treatments are extremely important to maintain moisture in curly hair because they keep the hair shaft smooth and provide natural shine to our curls,” says Emilio. This mask was made to replenish moisture in the hair. “It’s an intense moisturizing treatment with matcha butter, sweet almond oil and beet-root extract that helps deliver extreme moisture and softness,” she says. You can use this in the shower, leave it on while binge-watching Netflix or even sleep with it overnight.

Andrea Jordan

Andrea Jordan

Andrea Jordan is a lifestyle and beauty writer who is obsessed with skin care. She'd choose a luxurious mask over makeup any day of the week. She loves learning about new ingredients and will never turn down an opportu... Read More >