16 Best Curly Hair Products 2021 | The Sun UK
IF you've been blessed with curly hair, then you'll understand the struggle of trying to manage the frizz, maintain flyaways and tame your tresses– the best curly hair products do it all for you.
Your unruly ringlets can be smoothed and defined with the best curly hair products, from serums to creams, and there are even specific shampoos and conditioners.
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Curly hair tends to be dryer than straighter textures which means that you need to really nourish it when you do a hair wash. Think moisturising oil cleansers and shea butter shampoo.
There are little tricks to getting bouncier curls too, like plopping your hair up in a towel or t-shirt for an hour or two after it has been washed, or using a wide-tooth comb instead of a hair brush.
We recommend only brushing your hair when it has conditioner in it whilst you're showering, and not brushing it after that. Combing, however, can be a really effective alternative.
The amount of different options out there can be confusing, so we've found the best curly hair products to buy according to reviews, our personal favourites and best-sellers.
What's the best product for frizzy curly hair?
The general rule if you have curly hair when it comes to shampooing?
Use a gentle, low-foaming, sulphate-free shampoo when possible and wash hair infrequently so you don't rob it of essential oils.
Conditioning those curls is also crucial, so invest in a super-hydrating conditioner or leave-in conditioner to get every inch of hair nourished and hydrated.
A weekly hair mask is another mainstay to strengthen and repair those fragile strands.
When it comes to styling your curly hair, you'll want a lightweight cream or gel-oil that combats frizz, that won’t weigh hair down and leaves it looking shiny.
Here's our round-up of the best products for curly hair around.
1. We tested: VIRTUE Curl Conditioner
- VIRTUE Curl Conditioner, £32.30 from FeelUnique – buy here
One of the newest launches at VIRTUE, the Curl Conditioner hydrates without leaving your hair feeling heavy with unwanted oil or moisture.
Incorporating the brand's own Alpha Keratin 60ku®, jojoba oil and really lightweight olive oil, this is a premium conditioner crafted to care for curly hair – we decided to see if it lives up to its price tag.
First off, the smell deserves some praise: think watermelon breeze. For £38, we were a little let down by the 200ml bottle though, as within two hair washes, it had already gone down a fair amount which suggests that you're not supposed to use very much at a time.
In regards to results? Our hair is in that annoying middle between curly and frizzy, so we usually scrunch with curl creme after a shower which makes it difficult to notice the impact of other products.
However, after using VIRTUE's Curly Conditioner, our hair was noticeably shiny and soft. It gives you a deep condition but not one that's extremely drastic, so don't expect immediate results.
We imagine after long-term use it might be a bit more effective, so we'll report back in a few weeks.
2. We tested: Bouclème Hydrating Hair Cleanser
- Bouclème Hydrating Hair Cleanser, £15 from Lookfantastic – buy here
The Bouclème brand is dedicated to curly hair with their range of curl creams, shampoos, stylers and gels.
For £15, the Hydrating Hair Cleanser is for those with fine hair and loose waves, using a formula of coconut, monongo, camellia oils, vitamin C and vitamin E to nourish and moisturise your hair.
Our hair perfectly fits the bill for this as we aren't blessed with tight curls and instead have frizzy, dry waves, so we were really excited to see the results.
When we started using it in the shower, we were wondering how effective it would be because the texture is quite thin and less creamy or soft in comparison to other shampoos, although the herbal scent is lovely.
However, we've never seen our curls look as good as they looked after we used this as our waves looked so conditioned and fresh, plus it stayed looking clean for a good few days before we had to do another hair wash.
We're calling it: we've found the best shampoo for wavy hair.
3. We tested: Aveda Be Curly Shampoo and Conditioner
- Aveda Be Curly Shampoo (250ml), £17.20 from Lookfantastic – buy here
- Aveda Be Curly Conditioner (200ml), £19.20 from Lookfantastic – buy here
The Aveda Be Curly range has been formulated to boost shine and reduce frizz, enhancing your curls.
Combining organic lime, lemon, bergamot, orange and other pure plant and flower essences, this deliciously citrus shampoo uses protein and aloe blend to strengthen your hair.
Aveda has a strong reputation when it comes to expert haircare, so we had really high expectations for this duo.
After the first use, we weren't blown away with the results as our hair is frizzier than most being in that in-between stage of wavy and curly ringlets.
We found that after a couple more washes though, we started to recognise that our bonds felt healthier and stronger, although in terms of reducing frizz, we're not sure how effective this is.
To get shinier results, we recommend also applying the Curl Enhancer on towel-dried hair.
4. Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream
- Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream, from £24.50 from Amazon – buy here
A curl-defining, frizz-fighting product with Argan oil and proteins to hydrate, detangle and strengthen, wavy-haired gals love this product for encouraging their waves to go curly.
People love how it softens hair – and rave about its delicious smell.
5. African Pride Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioner
- African Pride Shea Butter, £6.73 from Amazon – buy here
A heavy-duty moisturising conditioner is essential for curly, wavy, coily hair, and this popular shea butter product from African Pride does a good job hydrating, detangling, smoothing and adding plenty of shine to curls.
For best results, use daily and enjoy as the compliments start flooding in.
6. Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream
Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream, £6 from Amazon – buy here
A sulphate-free, shea butter product that you can apply to damp hair and scrunch up to style, Cantu has a cult following among the curly-haired.
It manages to moisturise locks, define curls and leave hair looking shiny.
Fans love that it's "affordable and effective" and "marvellous for frizzy hair," with one declaring: "I'm in love with this product! I have naturally curly and dry hair and this product saves my day every time I use it.
"I use it on dump hair (just a tiny amount is sufficient) and then simply dry it. The result is amazing: my hair is hydrated, soft, and maintains the style all day! Highly recommended."
7. Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Edge Treatment Masque
- Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Edge Treatment Masque, £10.39 from LookFantastic – buy here
Shea Moisture's Jamaican Black Castor Oil does what it says on the tin, working to strengthen and restore your curls so they can reach their glossy bounce potential.
Complete with a nutrient-rich formula that conditions and encourages hair growth, Shea Moisture's castor oil is perfect for controlling frizz and any unruly baby hairs, sleeking out your locks.
There's absolutely nothing dodgy inside either, free from sulphates, paragons, phthalates, paraffin, mineral oil and synthetic colour. Phew. Plus, it apparently smells delicious.
8. Percy & Reed Oh-So-Smooth Frizz Fixer
Percy & Reed Oh-So-Smooth Frizz Fixer (150ml), £15 at FeelUnique – buy here
If you have super frizzy hair that's hard to tame, this light mist is the ideal product for you.
Its formula contains Sweet Almond Seedcake Extract that creates a humidity resistant shield around each and every hair strand, while Coconut & Moringa Oils moisturise and enhance shine.
Spray it over dry hair, for a smoothing effect and to reduce any humidity induced frizz.
9. Oribe Cleansing Crème for Moisture and Control
- Oribe Cleansing Crème for Moisture and Control, £44.50 from Harrods – buy here
First of all, how gorgeous is Oribe's pale green and gold bottle? This cleansing crème is definitely one to have on display in your bathroom.
For £44.50, you get the high quality you pay for as this formula of purifying oils and fruit extracts has an amazing scent of mint, removes impurities from your scalp and helps dry hair in need of serious moisture.
Another 250ml bottle, this is sure to last a long time as you only need a small amount to see results.
10. Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil
- Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil, £26 from CultBeauty – buy here
Loved by the Kardashians, Vicky Pattinson and just about every celebrity hairdresser, Olaplex never disappoints – their No.7 Bonding Oil is a curly-hair must-have.
This concentrated golden oil repairs broken bonds but also maintains any frizz or stray hairs, leaving your hair soft and well-tamed at all times.
One glance at the reviews is enough persuasion, anyway: "I cannot believe what this product and No.6 have done to my dry, frizzy, mixed race hair. Even after one application. I love it!" Apparently, just a small amount goes a long way.
11. The Inkey List Chia Seed Curl Defining Hair Treatment
- The Inkey List Chia Seed Curl Defining Hair Treatment, £7.99 from CultBeauty – buy here
Affordable favourite The Inkey List has a loyal customer-base in the beauty world, so we have high expectations for the Chia Seed Curl Defining hair treatment.
Ringlets lost their bounce? Well, this vegan, weightless serum combines carefully-selected ingredients to bond your strands, protecting them from chemical damage, frizz and breakage.
There are some mixed reviews on CultBeauty, but it's because it's not-so heavy, offering a light combat of frizz and best used to strengthen colour-damaged hair.
12. KeraCare Oil Moisturizer with Jojoba Oil
- KeraCare Oil Moisturizer with Jojoba Oil, £6.75 from BeautyBay – buy here
Suited for both natural and braided hair, KeraCare's moisturising oil is made to soften without making your hair go oily.
For under £7, it nourishes the hair, softly hydrating it and forming a shield against any breakage.
One happy customer new to the hair-product-game says, "10/10 for my curly hair!" and another writes, "It smells amazing and really gives you moisture and shine."
13. Bumble and Bumble BB.curl Curl Reactivator
- Bumble and Bumble BB.curl Curl Reactivator, £19.20 from LookFantastic – buy here
Another great-smelling curly hair product: Bumble and Bmble's BB.curl Curl Reactivator is here to boost the energy and life of your locks.
Mixing avocado, coconut and jojoba oils, shea and coca butters, it's made for re-activating your ringlets, letting your curls reach their full potential.
The bottle's 250ml too which is always a plus, so although it's a little pricier than some products, it's sure to last you through months of bouncy good hair days.
14. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo
- Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo, £10.99 from Boots- buy here
Finding the right shampoo is essential to keeping curly hair in its best condition – and you also don't want to over-wash it.
The pros recommend a sulphate-free, low-foam shampoo like Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo, with gorgeous, nourishing ingredients like coconut oil and silk protein.
It cleanses the scalp gently and protects against breakage and you won't need to use it more than once a week.
15. Bumble and bumble Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil
- Bumble and bumble Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil, £20.40 (Was £24) from Boots – buy here
A lightweight gel-oil hybrid, this Bb product hydrates and holds curls without weighing hair down, while the blend of Brazilian oils keeps hair shiny and glossy.
Fans love it so much they call it their "holy grail," "saving grace" and "amazing on so many levels."
One customer declares: "I have been religiously using this product for a little over a year now. My hair is thick and textured and I like to wear it natural.
"This product lets me do that. Because it is a gel-oil, it has the moisturizing effect of oil but it is lightweight like a gel. It leaves my hair shiny and soft without making it crunchy like most gels."
16. Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly
- Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly, £7.25 from Boots – buy here
For just £7.25, the Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly from Boots is such a steal for creating defined curls and taming frizz.
Not only has it been best-seller for over a decade, it also works well for fine or thick hair.
According to reviews, most customers have re-bought it after purchasing, as it smells great, leaving curled tresses feeling oh-so soft and defined for a long time. For more volume, apply upside down!
What's better for curly hair gel or mousse?
Whether gel or mousse is better for your curls will very much depend on the thickness of your hair.
Mousse may be better for thinner hair, it will be enough to keep your hair steady for hours without weighting them down or making them look greasy.
But gel usually works harder in keeping hair in place, so it's a better option for those with thicker curls. It will hold them steady no matter the weather and give you more sculpting ability if you're after a particular style.
How can I make my curls more defined?
There are a few things you can do to get rid of the frizz and get well defined curls.
First, make sure you keep your hair well- moisturised.
Curls that are too dry will never achieve the same definition than well moisturised ones.
Try to set aside some time aside weekly do a regular hydrating treatment or masque, once or twice a week.
Another tip is to start styling your curls while they are still wet straight after you had a shower. Start with a leave-in conditioner to control your hair and seal in moisture before you begin the rest styling process.
Finally, make sure you use a diffuser when drying your hair. It can help even out your curl pattern and boost the volume of heavy curls, giving more body to your hair.
You can still get lovely soft curls with shorter hair – à la Alexa Chung – you just need the right tools. Check our round-up of the best of the best curling wands for short hair.
Enjoyed our roundup of the best curly hair products? head over to our Sun Selects Beauty page.
We’re all about helping you find the best products at the best prices, so follow the link if you want to check out more of Sun Selects’ recommendations.
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