“It is through trials and tribulations that you shall find the products that best suit thy curls.” -Karleezy 3:18
When I first restored my curls I didn’t know exactly what products to use, so I settled for $2 conditioners and thought they functioned as a styling product. Whenever I wanted to “moisturize” my curls, I would just add more and more conditioner to my hair. I would invest in those large combo TRESemmé bottles of conditioner which clearly had all the chemicals (and no purpose of styling) my curls didn’t need.
I was doing the opposite of what I should’ve been doing to maintain my curls. I was even using a regular towel to dry my hair, I wasn’t deep conditioning and I was blow drying my hair every weekend. Fast forward to almost two years later, my curl health has been consistent and I haven’t had any issues in the natural hair department.
After researching and trying dozens of products, it took me a very long time to find the products that best suit my curl type. I guess I’m picky when it comes to my wash-and-gos; I hate it when my hair still looks wet and droopy after many hours of drying. Instead, I prefer it fluffy, big, and a little bit frizzy. (Besides, my round shape and layers don’t really allow for anything less.)
When searching for the best products for your curls, you must take these things into account:
- Your curl type
- How you want your hair to look when it dries
- Smell (This is actually a concern for many)
The reason I mention brand names is because although there are a lot of good products out there without famous names, you want to stick to the products that will give you effective results.
A lot of curl experts will tell you to stick to one product line when it comes to products. While this is mostly true, you can experiment with what you see works best for you. For my personal hair routine, I use the following brands for each purpose: L’Oréal- shampoo, Renpure- conditioner, Marc Anthony True Professional- styling cream, and I love how my curls look every single time. It might take a few trials to see what works for you but it will all be worth it once you find a consistent routine and products.
Now that you know a little more about what to look for when searching for styling products, you should be ready to go to your local drugstore or website and start adding a few things to your cart.
Take a look at some of my most recommended and favorite products for different curl types below:
I usually recommend Shea Moisture’s products for those who are new to the natural hair world. After my corny TRESemmé craze, I delved right into Shea Moisture products. I love their smell, affordable price, and how effective they are. Although I no longer use their products, I have no problem investing in them again if all the products I use suddenly went extinct. I don’t mean that in a bad way- I just love my choice of hair products and how they work on me. Shea Moisture has a lot of lines, including the Jamaican Black Castor Oil line (which works better for those with tighter curls.) The Coconut and Hibiscus line (I call it the “orange” line) is more general which is why I always recommend it for starters. This product in particular, the “Curl Enhancing Smoothie” is gentle on the hair and defines curls very well. It is also perfect for thick, curly hair (3B, 4A, 4B, and 4C types). It smells amazing and works well as a refreshing product for my “second-dayers”, as I like to call them. You will almost always find this product in most beauty supplies and drug stores for about $7 as it is really that popular.
I like to call this product the “Smoothie’s sister” as it is similar to the Curl Enhancing Smoothie except it suits those with looser curl types. Since it is a “milk”, it’s more watery and won’t cause too much shrinkage. It really sits in your hair and it smells just as amazing, too. It is recommended you use even distribution when applying this product so your curl texture can be uniform. This works well with loose to medium curly hair (2B, 2C, 3A types). Check your local drugstore and/or beauty supply as you’ll find it for approximately the same price as the Smoothie.
3. Curls “Crème Brule Whipped Curl Cream”
I’ve been frequently recommending this product as of late, especially to those with kinkier curl types. It works perfect for 4A, 4B, and 4C curls. Since this is a cream, it sits right in between a pudding and a milk (don’t get hungry just yet) so it’ll maintain volume and won’t weigh your hair down. I even recommended it to my respective salon, Curl Evolution, and they have started using it- it’s been a hit thus far. I always find this bad boy at most beauty supplies and drugstores ranging from $8-$10.
I was super obsessed with this product at one point in time, however, I found my baby which you will be seeing next. I love this product for various reasons: it smells fresh, it dries very well on my curls, and is consistent. However, I feel the bottle doesn’t last too long for those who do wash-and-gos very often. It is also on the pricier side ranging from $20-$26. Obviously it’s affordable, but when you have to restock constantly, it adds up. However, that shouldn’t deter you from buying it and you shouldn’t be washing your hair all the time, anyway. It’s a high quality product and Ouidad also has four different lines (loose, classic, tight, and kinky) for all curl types. This cream is labeled for tight curls but it works just as fine on looser curls. One thing about Ouidad products is that they also work very well together.
5. Marc Anthony (no, not the artist) True Professional “Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Curl Cream” a.k.a the Product That Stole My Heart
Where can I even start with this product? I was going to Jamaica and I needed to buy a last minute styling product for my hair. I felt I was already spending too much money preparing for my trip, so I paid my local Rite Aid a visit and found this gem for $8.50. My life changed shortly after. I didn’t think it would be effective for my curls because I had never heard of this product line before but boy, was I wrong. Up until this day it is the most consistent product I’ve ever used on my hair. When I say “consistent”, I mean my curls literally look the same every time, just how I like them. It smells great (there’s clearly a coconut theme in this post) and it isn’t messy. No matter how much of this product I use in one sitting, it never weighs my hair down to the point of no return. I’m so glad most drugstores have this product especially at an affordable price. It works best with those in the medium curl pattern range (3A through 3C). I’ve also tried their conditioner and it works very well on my hair and keeps my color in. For those with looser or tighter curls, I encourage you to try this product and please let me know how it works for you!