These Are the Products You Need If You Have Curly Hair

BY Jessie Quinn · March 21, 2019

model touching curly hair

If you have curly hair, you’re probably no stranger to the amount of time and attention it takes to ensure your spiraling locks remain healthy, bouncy and beautiful. That said, the downfall of caring for curls is that we often do more harm than good. “Curly hair is physically different with variations in diameter along the entire hair shaft. These differences can cause breakage and lead to a higher chance of tangling since curly hair girls are trying to control or transform their curls,” explains Kerry E. Yates, trichologist and owner of Colour Collective. “On top of that, the strand’s shape makes curlier hair types generally drier, as the natural oils secreting from the sebaceous glands struggle to travel down the hair shaft to condition each hair strand,” Yates adds.

Up ahead, we dive deep into five common curly hair woes—including dryness, tangling and breakage—and find out how to tackle them, plus the best products to use.

Best Products for Curly Hair Concerns 

1. For Frizz and Dryness

Frizz and dryness can occur in all hair types, but curls tend to get the worst of it. According to Yates, “The lack of moisture balance within the hair is the biggest [frizz and dryness] culprit.” To tackle this curly hair frustration, she suggests using “a weekly mask to give your hair that big boost of moisture.” When selecting a hydrating hair mask, Yates says to look for one formulated with conditioning essential oils and to avoid silicone because it tends to build up in the hair and prevent moisture balance. If dryness is your biggest concern, she says to let your hair air dry once a week. “You will see the difference in overall texture, suppleness and condition after a month,” she explains.

Try: Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

2. For Breakage

Unfortunately, breakage is another way curly hair likes to act out. “Curly hair strands have multiple bends along the entire shaft and each bend can be a different diameter [with] different levels of damage and in turn, be a bit more fragile,” explains Yates. “When excess pressure is applied [such as] with combing or aggressive styling, those fragile areas can easily break,” she adds. The trick to combatting breakage is to ensure your strands remain supple, which is why Yates swears by styling creams. To improve hair suppleness and strength, Yates recommends looking for products infused with nourishing oils. One thing she says to be wary of is proteins, as too much is not always a good thing. “Certain keratin treatments can actually cause the hair to be super brittle, which in turn [leads to] breakage,” warns Yates.

Try: Oribe Curl Control Silkening Crème

2. For Knots and Tangles

Knots and tangles are another common curly-hair woe, as “curly hair can be more fragile along the bends, and if damaged, the raised cuticles can actually cause more friction and tangles,” notes Yates. “Instead of each strand gliding along each other, the strands actually stick together causing these pesky knots,” she adds. To tackle your tangles, Yates says, “You need a great blend of moisture and emollients,” and promotes using a conditioner every time you rinse. She also recommends applying “a non-silicone styling cream on the mid-lengths and ends when styling dry hair.” For both conditioner and curl cream, she is a big fan of nourishing jojoba and antioxidant-rich avocado oil.

Try: Rene Furterer 5 SENS Enhancing Detangling Conditioner

4. For Lack of Definition

Do your curls feel a bit lazy? Lack of definition is another curly hair concern to keep in mind. “You can naturally relax [your] curls as you try to aggressively style or pull on your hair,” says Yates. She suggests penciling in some heat-free days to allow your hair to dry naturally with the help of a little styling gel or cream with styling polymer to “help hold and reform the curl.” As for what not to do? Yates says to steer clear of combing or brushing on au naturale days. In addition, she notes that reaching for a serum might not be in your best interest. “Serums can be too heavy and literally stretch out your curl, leaving it less defined,” she explains.

Try: R+Co TWISTER Curl Primer

5. For Silicone Buildup

The products you use can make or break your strands, so it’s especially important to pay close attention to the ingredients list. For curly hair, Yates prefers to use silicone-based products sparingly, as they can are “difficult to completely rinse out of the hair” and can mess with your curls. “When silicone-based products are re-applied, the hair will have layers upon layers of this which can negatively impact your springy curls,” says Yates. Silicone lurks the ingredients list in the form of dimethicone, cyclomethicone, cyclopentasiloxane and dimethiconol. Yates says to avoid these ingredients when possible and look for a product with natural oils for added moisture instead.

Try: DevaCurl Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum

Jessie Quinn

Jessie Quinn is a writer and editor with work published in NYLON Magazine,,,, and more. She is a graduate of Academy of Art University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Journa... Read More >

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