There are so many gels, custards and curl creams, that it can be confusing and frustrating to find the right one, so we've put together a list of our favorite top curl definers.
Remember: no two heads of hair are the same, even if they fall in the same curl category.
What works for thin 4b hair may not work for thick 4b hair, and what you thought wouldn’t work on your hair texture may turn out to be a holy grail!
Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Creme combines the moisturizing benefits of a leave-in conditioner with the smoothing and holding properties of a gel. It’s lighter than dense creams or stiff gels, and can act as your leave-in and styler in one! Those with 3c-4a hair seem to love this product. Give it a try if you want a light, bouncy wash and go.
Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Creme; $22
Most naturals tell us that Kinky-Curly Curling Custard is a tough product to master. It’s full of nourishing botanicals like agave nectar extract, aloe vera juice and marshmallow, and has a very slippery and goopy texture. A little goes a long way, as it instantly clumps and smoothes your coils. Expect extremely shiny and springy coils. Although it works best on very tight, coarse coils in the “4” category, it might pack too much of a punch for loose curls. Be sure to pair it with a leave in conditioner like Kinky-Curly Knot Today.
Kinky-Curly Curling Custard; $17
3. Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Gel
The Ouidad brand is on many a holy grail list and it’s because their products don’t make you choose between defined and moisturized hair – you can have both! Meadowfoam seed oil helps hydrate and clump, leaving you with juicy curls. Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Gel is great for thick type 3 curls.
Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Gel; $22
4. Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
It’s dense, rich, and packed with nourishing ingredients like aloe, vitamin E, and coconut oil. If you don’t like the crunch of gels, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie provides a more natural, touchable look. Since it’s not a gel, it might be difficult to define tighter coils and springs. Those with looser curls can expect soft, shiny, and light curls instead of the wet, heavy look that gels might give.
5. AG Re:coil
6. Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper
Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper is a water-based styler fights frizz and gently clumps curls, so those with thick, 3b and up hair may want to pair it with a gel for more definition and hold. It’s smooth like a serum, but creates definition like a gel. If you don’t like layering products or it doesn’t take much to define your waves or curls, give Curl Keeper a try. You can reactivate it with water as the week progresses!
Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper; $9.99
7. Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls
Give Quick Curls a try if you have waves and loose curls or fine, thin curlier hair. It’s a light cream, so it won’t weigh down your hair. If your hair regimen has more scrunching than meticulous raking and finger styling, your hair might love this product.
Miss Jessie's Quick Curls; $9
8. Tigi Catwalk Curlesque Curls Rock Amplifier
Tigi's Curls Rock Amplifier has the texture of a creamy hair lotion. Curlies with different curl patterns love it and agree on one thing: you only need about a pea-sized amount to get defined hair. If you apply too much to each section, expect crunchy curls! Make sure to use your favorite leave-in conditioner underneath so the styler doesn’t dry out your hair.
Curls Rock Amplifier; $16.95
Cantu's Coconut Curling Cream smells delicious. Like, heavenly. It defines curls and provides a soft, flexible hold. Not only does it not dry out the hair, it provides a real boost of moisture. The price is right too! It yields a soft, fluffy and yet defined wash and go. You can also re-apply to dry hair without the fear of build-up.
Cantu Coconut Curling Cream; $6.29
10. Curls Curl Gel-les’C
Curls Curl Gel-les’C is a very lightweight, serum-like gel, perfect for preventing frizz on looser curls and defining fine (as opposed to coarse), tight coils. If you need high hold and staying power, this might be better to use on top of a conventional gel.
Curls Curl Gel-les’C; $25
As an aside, remember-- moisturized curls are defined curls. If you concern yourself with hair health (deep treating w/ heat at every wash), curl definition will follow. Naturally. I promise!