The Best Styling Products for Curly Hair, According to the Pros

The Best Styling Products for Curly Hair, According to the Pros featured image

Being a curly-haired girl myself, I can confidently say that this hair type is both a blessing and a curse. Through years of dealing with my quirky hair, I’ve learned a few concrete things: a hairbrush is most-definitely not your friend; no matter how much you want bangs they’ll never look as good as Alexa Chung’s, and avoid the outdoors at all costs when humidity strikes.

But, when you have a day where your curls finally look good, feeling on top of the world is an understatement. While managing curly strands can be complicated, developing a routine that helps your curls stay hydrated and defined is possible with the right products. With the help of these hand-selected products, you can get your hair under curl-trol seven days out of the week.

Featured Experts

  • Johnny Lavoy is a celebrity hairstylist
  • Paul Labrecque is a celebrity hairstylist and owner of Paul Labrecque Salon and Skincare Spa
  • Kim Kimble is a celebrity hairstylist and founder of Kimble Beauty
  • Chadwick Pendley is a master artistic educator for Ouidad
  • Patrick Kyle is a celebrity hairstylist
  • Manny Rolon is the cofounder of hu.MANE beauty and co-owner of hair salon My Darling Ivy

Expert-Approved Curl Styling Products for Healthy, Defined Curls

1 / 27

Color Wow Cleanse & Quench Wash Day Duo for Curly Hair ($58)

“Curly hair has a tendency to be dryer so it’s important that your curl product hydrates without weighing the hair down,” says celebrity hairstylist Johnny Lavoy, “Two of my recent favorites for a defined, soft, touchable curl come from Color Wow’s curl line. It consists of five products, but you can cocktail and customize what works best for your curl type. The Cleanse & Quench Wash Day Duo is a hero product for me.”

100 percent clean and guaranteed to leave no residue, this sulfate-free formula helps to foster hair and scalp health while reducing shedding, all without weighing down curls or leaving a crunchy feeling.

BUY NOW – $58

2 / 27

Paul Labrecque Curly Hair Care Collection ($116)

“I love styling products that make curls bigger and looser, so I came out with my own line of four products that do just that, called the Paul Labrecque Curly Collection,” explains Celebrity hair stylist Paul Labrecque of Paul Labrecque Salon and Skincare Spa. “They add hydration and just enough lipids to eliminate frizz and create bounce.”

A 4-step system created for “unruly hair,” the nourishing shampoo, milky conditioner, curl-defining gel and high-gloss shine spray included in this collection feature rich silk proteins, jojoba and vitamin B, which work together to hydrate dry curls and ensure strands are healthy and gorgeous from wash to style and beyond.

BUY NOW – $116

3 / 27

ColorWow Shook Mix + Fix Bundling Spray ($38)

Another staple curl product from the Color Wow collection, Lavoy recommends this “naked technology” spray for reviving second-day curls without that greasy, heavy feeling.

Simply shake this powerhouse spray to activate the powerful hydrating ingredients and crunch-free polymers within the formula that help to define curls and prevent frizz while giving hair a movie star-level shine and gloss.

BUY NOW – $38

4 / 27

Leaf + Flower CBD Instant Curl Shampoo/Conditioner Duo  ($67)

Another favorite line of Lavoy’s, the hair expert likes this CBD-infused line for both it’s curl-loving properties and the scalp-healing benefits, both of which make styling a breeze.

Not only does Leaf + Flower’s CBD curl shampoo and conditioner replenish the hydrolipidic film within curl bonds in order to improve shape and bounce while providing long-lasting hydration without weight, the formula also targets the scalp and hair follicles to stop and prevent hair degeneration.

BUY NOW – $67

5 / 27

Kim Kimble Curl Cream ($25)

“I always recommend my Kim Kimble Curl Cream,” says celebrity hairstylist and founder of Kimble Beauty, Kim Kimble. “It’s great for hydrating dry hair and adding beautiful definition.”

The brainchild of Kimble’s own beauty brand, Kim Kimble’s curl cream uses silk amino acids and Brazil nut oil to ensure strands are hydrated and defined.

BUY NOW – $25

6 / 27

Olaplex’s No. 6 ($30)

Another personal favorite of Labrecque’s, Olaplex No. 6 is a bond smoother that he says “helps keep your curls conditioned. It is a leave-in that helps hair dry naturally beautiful.”

A cult-classic amongst fans and celebrities alike, Olaplex’s No.6 bond smoother is a leave-in styling treatment that minimizes frizz and flyaways for up to 72 hours while balancing the hair and scalp’s pH and decreasing blow-dry time.

BUY NOW – $30

7 / 27

Color Wow Flo-Etry Vital Natural Serum ($30)

Another one of Lavoy’s favorites from the ColorWow curl line, he says the Flo-Etry serum is a “rich oil blend that moisturizes strands from root to tip for instantly plump, plush, juicy curls. No weight or greasy feel!”

The magical part of this curl-enhancing hair serum is how it mimics the natural oils of the hair to ensure optimal moisture from root to tip, making it perfect for restoring moisture to curly and coily strands.

BUY NOW – $30

8 / 27

PATTERN Microfiber Hair Towel ($19)

A good curly-hair styling routine starts from the minute you get out of the shower, and as Kimble notes, a microfiber towel goes a long way for shaping and scrunching wet curls without damage. PATTERN’s Microfiber Hair Towel is one of Kimble’s favorites, and its cute, too.

Using a regular bath towel to dry hair can create frizz and disrupt curl patterns, but PATTERN’s 100 percent microfiber towel helps to absorb excess water without damaging or unraveling natural curls.

BUY NOW – $19

9 / 27

K18 Molecular Repair Hair Oil ($65)

“I also like K18’s Hair Repair Oil,” Labrecque says. “This is excellent for when your hair does not shine and needs extra help, which is always an issue with curly hair.”

K18 is a fan-favorite when it comes to hair repair, and this molecular repair hair oil is clinically proven to repair damaged hair, with users reporting a 78 percent reduction in split ends and an 107 percent increase in shine with use.

BUY NOW – $65

10 / 27

Leaf + Flower CBD Instant Curl Defining Cream ($34)

Another Leaf + Flower recommendation from Lavoy, this innovative, alcohol-free curl cream helps to nourish and define curls without that crunchy or sticky feeling.

Alcohol-free and formulated with only vegan- and plant-based ingredients, Leaf + Flower’s CBD curl cream boosts hydration and creates touchably soft curls without frizz.

BUY NOW – $34

11 / 27

milk_shake leave in conditioner ($24)

There’s a reason one of these iconic leave-in conditioners is sold every minute, and Kimble also sings the praises of the product as a staple for curly hair styling. “I really like the Milk_Shake Leave in Conditioner as well to help protect curl structure and the hair’s moisture balance,” she says.

Perfect for improving manageability in normal to dry hair, the milk protein in this leave-in conditioner strengthens the hair’s structure while fruit and honey extracts revitalize and give shine to the hair and proprietary ingredient Integrity 41 and vitamin E protect hair from UV rays, making it great for colored hair.

BUY NOW – $24

12 / 27

Curlsmith Curl Defining Styling Soufflé ($28)

Curlsmith is somewhat of a gold standard when it comes to curly hair styling products, and the Curl Defining Styling Soufflé is no exception. Infused with Irish moss, babassu oil and flaxseed extract, this strong-hold, curl-defining product delivers long-lasting hold while simultaneously hydrating and creating shine.

As the brand describes, “our Soufflé has been designed for those of you who feel gels make their curls feel dry and stringy,” which is why the curated, jelly-like texture utilizes softening ingredients to help create lasting-hold without crunch or stringiness.

BUY NOW – $28

13 / 27

Pattern by Tracée Ellis Ross Moisture Milk ($28)

Tracée Ellis Ross’ Pattern has taken the curly-haired world by storm, with products that are both healthy-hair promoting and curl-enhancing. The brand’s Moisture Milk features a creamy formula packed with nourishing ingredients like alma oil and agave nectar to help soften curls and reduce frizz. As the brand explains, the product is “perfect for providing daily moisture to curly hair and refreshing twist outs and wash-and-gos.”

BUY NOW – $28

14 / 27

Pattern Blow Dryer ($189)

A first-of-its kind hair tool designed for curly, coily and tight textures, Pattern’s Blow Dryer was created with curly health and radiance in mind. Complete with four different attachments, the Pattern Blow Dryer to stretch, smooth and define natural curls.

BUY NOW – $189

15 / 27

Ouidad Mongongo Oil Multi-Use Curl Treatment ($38)

Using oil is a must for curly girls; it tames, de-frizzes and soothes the hair, giving your locks the perfect sleek finish. This oil in particular, derived from the oils of the mongongo nut and coconut, helps to diminish the harsh look of split ends while protecting stands from heat—without the worry of having a greasy finish.  

“I regularly reach for the Mongongo Oil when I’m looking to add an extra boost of shine and hydration–curls really come to life when I apply it,” says Chadwick Pendley, Ouidad master artistic educator. Another fan of the oil blend is head designer and trichologist at Cosmo & Company Salon & Spa, Helen Wagmeister. Her go to-tip? “For tight and kinky curl types, which typically need more love, the oil makes a great overnight hydrating treatment.”

BUY NOW – $38

16 / 27

Revitalash Volume Enhancing Foam ($152)

“For those frayed curls, I love Revitalash’s Volume Enhancing Foam for hair that helps grow those tiny annoying baby hairs around the forehead,” Labrecque syas, “This helps them grow longer due to Revitalash’s unique BioPeptin technology.”

This unisex hair-enhancing foam utilizes BioPen Complex—a blend of peptides, lipids and vitamins—to reduce brittleness and fortify hair structure, resulting in curls that are healthier and more radiant.

BUY NOW – $152

17 / 27

Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Activating Mousse ($9)

For under $10, Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Activating Mousse provides definition and a soft, touchable hold while protecting against environmental aggressors for curls that are both gorgeous and healthy.

Not Your Mother’s went viral on TikTok for their curl-enhancing products, and the silicone-free, gluten-free formula in the Curl Talk Activating Mousse is a must-have for protecting curls from the effects of humidity.

BUY NOW – $9

18 / 27

Saints & Sinners Medusa Divine Curl Cream ($32.50)

A little goes a long way when it comes to this concentrated yet crunch-free curl cream. Infused with nourishing ingredients like jojoba, African date seed and olive extract, this multitasking curl cream defines curls, eliminates frizz and protects color.

Not only does a small drop of this curl cream define the hair’s natural texture and leave a soft, touchable hold, the fragrance profile—made up of white musk, ylang ylang, sparkling citrus, violet and fresh ginger—makes styling a luxurious, sensorial experience.

BUY NOW – $32.50

19 / 27

Moroccanoil Curl Control Mousse ($30)

If your hair is on the tightly-curled or coily side of the curl spectrum, check out Moroccanoil’s Curl Control Mousse—a lightweight foam that locks in moisture and repels humidity for definition that lasts.

The argan oil infused in this light-as-air curl mousse helps to tame and define curls for hours on end with no sticky residue or thick, weighed-down feeling.

BUY NOW – $30

20 / 27

JVN Complete Air Dry Cream ($26)

If it’s good enough for JVN, it’s good enough for us. Straight from the Queer Eye hair expert, this air dry cream is perfect for creating natural, frizz-free styles, whether you’re dealing with waves or curls.

Sulfate-free, color safe and vegan, this formula is perfect for the “wash-and-go” lifestyles, as participants have noted an instant reduction in frizz by 97 percent, as well as 24-hour frizz control and 97 percent saying Air Dry Cream adds hold without stiffness.

BUY NOW – $26

21 / 27

Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel ($75)

If your curls are feeling dry or damaged, Ouidad’s Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel is the perfect way to combine lasting definition and deep nourishment for curls that are getting healthier while styled.

Free from non-water soluble silicones, parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, phthalates, petroleum and gluten, Ouidad’s styling gel is a great option for curly girls who always keep clean, hair-safe products in mind.

BUY NOW – $75

22 / 27

Bumble and Bumble Bb.Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil ($35)

This frizz-fighting, heat-defying oil deserves to be in your next shelfie if you have thick, ringlet-full hair. The best way to use this is post-shower and you can even enhance your unique curls by shape-curling individual tendrils with your fingers. Not only is the hold amazing, but it immediately quenches your curl’s thirst with the help of exotic oils like Babassu and Pracasi.

Celebrity hairstylist Patrick Kyle, who has worked with celebrities like Zara Larson and Willa Fitzgerald, says this formula works on everything from waves to tight spirals.

BUY NOW – $35

23 / 27

Davines LOVE Curl Controller ($28)

This taming cream is a must for getting naturally polished curls without the heat. Applying this fresh out of the shower yields the best results; simply work through the hair and let the magic of powerhouse ingredients rhizobian gum and mica do the dirty work. What you’re left with is a defined, elastic texture that is gloriously smooth to the touch.

Leonardo Manetti, editorial hair stylist and founder of ION STUDIO NYC—a sustainable salon hidden among the streets of SOHO—uses this potion daily. “I love this curl controller; it helps to keep the hair’s texture alive and tamed.”

BUY NOW – $28

24 / 27

Bounce Curl Light Creme Gel ($20)

I love when I get my hands on an inexpensive hair product—I constantly find myself running out of my must-haves in a blink and if it doesn’t break the bank, I don’t stress about it. This one in particular is a blessing because it keeps my curls in tact for days. It’s a gel and a cream combined into one and it gives the perfect amount of volume without any weight.

Hortencia Adams, influencer and curly-haired goddess, raves about this product on her blog. She writes: “I use Bounce Curl’s gel to define and give my curls the extra hold they need to provide me with 2 and 3 day hair! Embrace your curls people!!!”

BUY NOW – $20

25 / 27

Nexxus Comb Thru Volume Finishing Mist ($18)

Coming in hot with another affordable steal is a salon-crafted hairspray that leaves the hair full of natural movement. Hairsprays are tricky; they can rid your hair of natural elasticity and they can build up in your hair, causing it to look desperate for a wash day. This finishing spray, however, administers just enough product to weightlessly refresh and set the hair for a look that can last through any party.

Lacy Redway, celebrity hairstylist, keeps this in her back pocket. In an Instagram picture featuring this product being put to work on red carpet–ready Zazie Beetz, she writes, “The last few mins before running out the door are the most crucial especially on Oscar day. Thankfully @nexxushaircare comb thru can help me keep these gorgeous locks in place…especially on this rainy Sunday afternoon.”

BUY NOW – $18

26 / 27

Oribe Priming Lotion Leave-in Conditioning Detangler ($38)

Oribe’s Priming Lotion is the ultimate product for improving manageability. This silicone-free dream conditions the hair to protect from dryness, smooths the cuticle to prevent breakage and unleashes an irresistible finish. This can be used on both wet and dry hair, depending on how much love your curls need on that day.

Manny Rolon, cofounder of hu.MANE beauty and co-owner of hair salon My Darling Ivy, uses this primer before the styling process begins. “The combination of the beautiful oils—avocado, jojoba and olive—do such a great job of offering hydration to dehydrated curls and assist in encouraging the formation of the pattern. The other reason is because, come on… who could possibly resist that Côte d’Azur fragrance.”

BUY NOW – $38

27 / 27

Aveda be curly Curl Enhancer ($34)

No matter what look you’re going for, this styling know-it-all will be your best friend. It goes to work on wet or dry hair and is formulated with high-tech ingredients that make sure it’s always living up to every curl’s expectation. The secret? A Hydrolyzed wheat protein and aloe blend that expands when hair is wet and retracts when it’s dry to enhance the pattern.

BUY NOW – $34

Related Posts

Find a Doctor

Find a NewBeauty "Top Beauty Doctor" Near you

Give the Gift of Luxury

NewBeauty uses cookies for various reasons, including to analyze and improve its content and advertising. Please review our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for more about how we use this data. By continuing to use this site, you agree to these policies.