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The Best Products for Curly Hair, According to Experts

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Calling all curlfriends. You’ve probably all been caught up in using heat-free techniques, like hair peeling, to get the voluminous curls of your dreams and have discovered expert-approved tips for creating a wash-day regimen. Now is the time to discuss the best products to keep your curly hair healthy and thriving.

There are many factors to consider before determining which hair products work specifically for you. While we would love to see the day when there would be a list of must-have curly hair that every curlfriend I would swear by, it’s important to figure out what works best for your hair texture. Celebrity hairstylist and founder of Veluer Creative Michel Duenas and Cataanda James, natural hairstylist and brand educator for The Mane Choice, shared tips with Seventeen on the needs of curly hair and the best curly hair products to keep your spirals healthy.

What should you look for in curly hair products?

Humidity, humidity, humidity! Curly hair thrives on moisture. According to Dueñas, products formulated with moisturizing ingredients, like argan oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, avocado oil and hyaluronic acid, nourish and hydrate strands. These types of ingredients are important because they “enhance the elasticity of your strands for easier detangling,” James said. It also minimizes breakage and promotes length retention.

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What should be avoided in products for curly hair?

When looking for moisturizing products, it’s also important to watch out for formulas that can harm hair. “Sulfates are detergents that can strip hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle,” Dueñas explained. Alcohols are another ingredient to avoid as well, as alcohol can cause dryness, leading to brittle and brittle hair. While some alcohols get a bad rap, benzyl alcohol is a helpful preservative that Dueñas says “has no ill effects” on hair.

How to define the textures of curly hair?

There is a wide range of hair textures, ranging from numbers 1 to 4, with three different categories, A to C, to represent each individual hair type. According to Dueñas, 3A hair represents loose, voluminous curls, while 4C hair is the tightest, most coiled texture.

What kind of shampoo should I use for curly hair?

Removing dirt, product buildup, and natural oils from the hair and scalp is essential to maintaining healthy hair, and it all starts with shampooing. It’s also important to use a shampoo that cleans the curls without risking damaging them. Dueñas suggests sulfate-free shampoos because sulfates strip hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry, brittle, and possibly prone to breakage. Instead, the Veleur Creative founder suggests mild shampoos because they “deliver moisture and don’t strip oils.”

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NO-POO ORIGINAL Zero-Lather Cleanser for Rich Hydration
DevaCurl NO-POO ORIGINAL Zero Foam Cleanser for Rich Hydration

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Curl Quencher Hydrating Shampoo
Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Shampoo

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H2Oh!  Hydration Therapy Deep Cleansing Shampoo
H2Oh! Hydration Therapy Deep Cleansing Shampoo

What is the best conditioner for curly hair?

Curly hair thrives on moisture. According to Dueñas, curly hair is naturally dry and often prone to frizz. Using conditioners enriched with hydrating ingredients like argan oil, aloe vera gel, and coconut oil locks in moisture and fights frizz. James adds that moisturizing products like conditioners “enhance elasticity,” which helps simplify the detangling process, minimizes breakage, and promotes length retention.

Approved by experts

H2Oh!  Hydration Therapy Hydrating Conditioner
H2Oh! H2Oh! Hydration Therapy Hydrating Conditioner

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Relaxing Conditioner

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Rce Amino + Shea Curl Defining Conditioner
Rce Amino + Shea Curl Defining Conditioner

Does deep conditioner help curly hair?

Every now and then your curly mane needs a little extra TLC. Deep conditioning treatments are more hydrating than conditioners, like those recommended by our experts, while replenishing your strands with extra moisture.

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Anti-frizz moisturizing mask
Ouidad anti-frizz moisturizing mask

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    Don't Despair, Fix Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Hair Mask

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Baomint™ Deep Conditioning Treatment
adwoa beauty Baomint™ Deep Conditioning Treatment

How do Curl Creams work on curly hair?

When it comes time to do your hair, curl creams are a must. The trusty product helps define curls while moisturizing and protecting against frizz. Dueñas recommends curl creams because they’re “essentially hold conditioners” and “the perfect combination for your hair to retain” its curls.

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Advanced Climate Control Lightweight Styling Cream
Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Ultra-light styling cream

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be curly™ curl enhancer
Aveda be curly™ curl enhancer

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Coily Miracle Curl Cream
It’s a 10 Coily Miracle Curl Cream

What other products does curly hair need?

While there are several products that all curly hair needs to thrive, there are plenty more that can be used depending on your styling preferences. If you live for wash-and-go styles, alcohol-free gels are an easy way to get the look you want and make it last. Dueñas says the alcohol-free gels help “lock your curls in shape and control frizz without drying them out.” If you’re looking to prevent breakage, James recommends serums to repair and help promote stronger hair. To bring out your curls without risking air-drying frizz, diffusers are a great tool suitable for curly hair to achieve fluffy, healthy-looking curls.

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Curl Body Enhancing Gel
Amika Curl Body Enhancing Gel

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Ancient Egyptian antidote anti-breakage and repair serum
The Mane Choice Ancient Egyptian Anti-Breakage & Repair Antidote Anti-Split Ends Serum

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DevaFuser universal diffuser for all curl types
DevaCurl DevaFuser Universal Diffuser For All Curlkind


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