The 11 Best Products for Curly Hair, According to Celebrity Hairstylists
Those with curly hair know using the right products can mean the difference between sculpted, shiny ringlets and a complete frizz-fest. Even if you already have a trusted routine, chances are your curls, coils, or waves could benefit from additional expertise.
With that in mind, we reached out to hairstylists all over the country in search of the best curly hair products out there. We used their feedback to round up 11 must-haves for curlies of all textures, from defining creams to styling tools. Keep reading for more about each product, plus advice from stylists on how to find the right products for your curl pattern.
- Best Shampoo: Gliss Hair Repair Oil Nutritive Shampoo
- Best Conditioner: Dark and Lovely Protective Styles Detangling Cream
- Best Mousse: Shu Uemura Kaze Wave Curl and Wave Defining Hair Mousse
- Best Gel: SoftSheen-Carson Let's Jam Condition & Shine Extra Hold Gel
- Best Moisturizer: Amika Curl Corps Defining Cream
- Best Hair Spray: Aussie Sprunch Hair Spray
- Best Deep Conditioner: Aloxxi Essential 7 Oil Leave-in Conditioner
- Best Value Set: Kérastase Discipline Shampoo and Conditioner Duo
- Best Comb: Louise Maelys Wooden Wide Tooth Comb
- Best Blow Dryer: Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000
- Best Flat Iron: Dyson Corrale Straightener
Those sentiments are echoed by Kendall Dorsey, the Los Angeles-based stylist behind some of Alicia Keys's most iconic looks. He recommends products with rice water, rice bran oil, and rice protein to "add strength and prevent breakage," plus those containing aloe to "restore moisture, help soften, and provide lasting hydration."
Just as certain ingredients work wonders on curls, there are plenty that do the opposite. Dueñas suggests steering clear of non-water-based silicones, which "can coat the hair and prevent moisture from reaching inside the cuticle." He also advises curlies to avoid sodium lauryl sulfate and salts, which can increase dryness and frizz. Meanwhile, Dorsey cautions against a few other common culprits for limp, lifeless curls: "Look for products without parabens, mineral oils and dyes to keep your natural hair truly protected underneath it all."
It's crucial to take equal care in selecting styling tools like blow dryers and flat irons, which can literally make or break your strands. Dorsey and Dueñas both advocate for tools with ionic technology. "Ionic hair dryers work by transferring negative ions to your hair, which attract positive ions, helping your hair dry faster," says Dueñas. "This reduces the heat required to dry your hair. With less heat comes less moisture loss, which in turn gives you a healthier and bouncier curl. This technology in a flat iron reduces frizz and the amount of heat required to smooth and straighten your hair."
No matter your goals for your hair, these are the best curl-enhancing products to buy now. Every stylist-approved pick meets Dueñas and Dorsey's high standards, and they're available through retailers like Amazon, Sephora, and Dermstore.
Best Shampoo: Gliss Hair Repair Oil Nutritive Shampoo
Los Angeles-based stylist Larry Sims counts Gabrielle Union and Regina King among his clients, and he raves about this shampoo's hydrating qualities. "Curly hair tends to be a bit dry and needs moisture," he says. "I love using Gliss Oil Nutritive on curly hair to revive moisture and shine."
The shampoo is formulated with eight non-greasy oils, from nourishing argan oil to rosehip seed oil, an antioxidant-rich compound whose skin-smoothing benefits extend to damaged curls (hair is made of skin cells, after all). It also contains keratin, the coveted protein known for keeping hair strong and shiny. A pack of three 13.6-oz. bottles costs just $20, which makes the Gliss shampoo as affordable as it is effective.
Best Conditioner: Dark and Lovely Protective Styles Detangling Cream
It may not be marketed as a traditional conditioner, but Dorsey says this cost-effective product "melts away stubborn buildup for an easier way to detangle your hair." Its formula combines growth-promoting peppermint oil and avocado oil, which strengthens and conditions tresses without leaving behind any residue.
Walmart shoppers rave about the cream's benefits, especially for removing protective styles, and add that its minty scent is an invigorating bonus. One reviewer said they use it to remove products and reinvigorate hair at the end of every day.
Best Mousse: Shu Uemura Kaze Wave Curl and Wave Defining Hair Mousse
"My favorite curl products are Shu Uemura's Cotton Uzu for almost all textures," says Melissa D'Avenio, a master stylist at the Moxie Hair Lounge in Charlottesville, Virginia. She prefers the brand's texturizing mousse over a gel when hair "doesn't need as much hold." Its light-as-air formula staves off frizz and defines curls without weighing them down, so it's ideal for thinner hair types. Plus, it's free from potentially harmful sulfates.
"I tend to stay away from mousse because it can be drying on my hair," one Sephora reviewer wrote. "Not this one! My curls are redefined, but not 'crunchy.' Gives my hair more body and the frizz is gone."
Best Gel: SoftSheen-Carson Let's Jam Condition & Shine Extra Hold Gel
Dorsey might work with A-list clients, but he still turns to this $4 gel for foolproof styling. "This Condition & Shine formula has microemulsion technology for extra hold and shine," he says. "Its conditioning formula provides up to three times less breakage. The results: No wax, no flaking, and no drying alcohol. I use it for braiding, smoothing edges, twisting, taming frizz, and flyaways."
Amazon shoppers are just as obsessed with the product, and nearly 9,000 have given it a five-star rating. "After wearing a short style for about a year, I decided to start letting my hair grow back out a bit. During the transition, I'm wearing drawstring ponytail extensions. Jam Extra Hold makes this sooo easy. My hair is smooth, shiny, soft, and light," wrote one reviewer.
Best Moisturizer: Amika Curl Corps Defining Cream
According to Daven Mayeda, a Los Angeles stylist who has worked with Adele and Mariah Carey, this curl cream "is incredible for girls who struggle with time constraints in the morning." It contains tapioca starch, which Amika says provides definition and light hold, along with oat peptide, a protein that promotes elasticity and forms a moisture-locking barrier over hair. As a result, tresses are less prone to breakage and look freshly styled all day.
Here's how Mayeda recommends using the product: "Apply a small amount on the palm of your hands from mid-shaft to ends on damp hair and allow it to air dry. You'll notice your hair will appear more defined, shiny, and full of life."
Best Hair Spray: Aussie Sprunch Hair Spray
"For curly hair, the best and most affordable product available would have to be Aussie's Sprunch Spray," says Los Angeles-based stylist Laura Polko, whose clients include Chrissy Teigen and TikTok star Charli D'Amelio. The non-aerosol spray expertly preserves curls thanks to ingredients like moisturizing jojoba oil and sea kelp, which is loaded with vitamins that strengthen strands and can even prevent future hair loss.
Polko explains that the product was formulated to "enhance curls with Australian botanicals and convenience in mind," since application requires nothing more than a few spritzes over dry hair. Most importantly, shoppers say Sprunch does what it sets out to do—one Amazon reviewer wrote that it holds her curls so well, she's remained a loyal user for 25 years.
Best Deep Conditioner: Aloxxi Essential 7 Oil Leave-in Conditioner
This lightweight leave-in contains Dueñas's beloved cupuaçu butter, plus buriti fruit extract, which he calls a "very powerful moisturizer that reduces frizz," and seven botanical oils. It's also formulated with 10 antioxidants to protect hair from UVA and UVB rays, promote elasticity, and prevent breakage.
A clinical study from Aloxxi showed that the cream controls frizz up to four times longer than similarly-priced products, so you can count on it being worth every penny. Dueñas says he especially loves the leave-in conditioner's versatility: "You can use it in the shower for a deep treatment, or you can use it as your styling product."
Best Value Set: Kérastase Discipline Shampoo and Conditioner Duo
Stylist Brian Zinno of New York's Antonio Prieto Salon calls the Kérastase Discipline line his "favorite" for curly hair, and this shampoo and conditioner set offers two of its key products for a discounted price. "The shampoo is not really a shampoo in the popular sense," he explains. "It's called a cleansing conditioner because it cleanses and conditions in one step. It's sulfate- and silicone-free, which most curly-haired girls know to look for. It gives the curl elasticity and smooths the hair fiber."
According to the brand, both products contain a detangling surface protector, a hair-precision care agent that eliminates product buildup, and a softening agent. The resulting formulas minimize frizz and leave curls of all textures feeling weightless.
Best Comb: Louise Maelys Wooden Wide Tooth Comb
"I am a big fan of the Louise Maelys wooden wide tooth combs," says Dueñas. "I have been using them for years and I always get stellar results." This 8-inch variety is made of sandalwood, so it has a naturally musky scent that reviewers call an "absolutely lovely benefit." It's received more than 2,000 five-star ratings on Amazon alone, with shoppers raving that they've started losing less hair during the detangling process.
"The comb does not hold onto a static charge, so I get less frizz," Dueñas adds. "It is incredibly smooth and glides through the hair like butter, no matter the texture."
Best Blow Dryer: Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000
"It's important to use a high-quality dryer to preserve the quality of your hair," explains Mayeda. When air-drying isn't an option, he recommends this adorable green blow dryer, which he says "has some of the best technology on the market." It has eight speed, heat, and ion settings, which allows you to customize your blowout with every use. And true to its namesake, the dryer's powerful motor lasts a whopping 2,000 hours.
A straightened look can be achieved with either of the included nozzles, but if you'd rather embrace your natural texture, just pop on a diffuser attachment of the same size. Mayeda loves the versatility of the dryer's ion button, which provides an extra smoothing effect when engaged. "Simply click the button on for sleek styles," he says.
Best Flat Iron: Dyson Corrale Straightener
This state-of-the-art straightener costs a pretty penny, but Dorsey feels it's one of the best investments you can make to protect your curls while styling. "Curly girls looking for the best flat iron should go with Dyson—modern technology controls the heat distribution and helps protect hair during the process," he says.
The flat iron's unique flexing plates reduce breakage by shaping to your hair with each pass. That technology also allows for a faster styling process, as the plates can straighten more hair at once than a traditional option. In turn, you'll apply less heat to your mane overall. As if it couldn't get more luxurious, the tool can even function cord-free for up to 30 minutes.