If you have curly hair, you know how important product recommendations from your curlfriends can be. See what thousands of NaturallyCurly.com readers picked as the best products for curly, coily and wavy hair for 2012.
These 30 exceptional frizz fighters, curl refreshers, leave-in-conditioners and more are all you need to know and own.
This all-natural shampoo ticks all of the curly girl boxes: sulfate-free, moisturizing and gentle. This product is one to watch as it won both your favorite shampoo and best sulfate-free product!
“Definitely hands down my favorite shampoo. It is very moisturizing and helps to stretch my 4c hair which is great since I have a lot of shrinkage. Also it gets my hair sooo soft where I’m able to just run my fingers through my hair in the shower. Lovely smell and love that its all natural.” – 4B User love2323
Best Cleansing Conditioner
Experienced curlies know the importance of co-washing and now manufacturers are offering dedicated co-wash products to meet our needs — Curl Power!
“This is my all time, number one, HG, never ever going to run out favorite. Unless they change the formula or go out of business (which I know they won’t) this will be in my arsenal forever and ever! AMEN!!!!” – User aprilrain2606
Best Daily Conditioner
This bang-for-your-buck conditioner is perfect for curlies who use lots of product on their copious curls and coils. It’s cone-free, has natural ingredients and costs just $6.50 for a whopping 25 fluid ounces.
“On my 8th month of transitioning and love this conditioner. Great slip for detangling and cheap. No cones which I love and the aloe and avocado does great in my hair. Great even on my daughters hair.” – 2C User GabbyPooh
Best Leave-in Conditioner
This leave-in has plenty of lovable ingredients, but we actually love it most for what it left out! You won’t find any dreaded glycerin, parabens, proteins, silicones or sulfates here.
“This is the best leave-in I have ever used. This stuff is great and somehow it helps to define my curls and leaves my hair looking so healthy. I have used this under several different products and it actually enhances them. When I use other leave in’s, the results are subpar. This stuff is magic!” – 4A User leslie2877
Best Deep Conditioner
Every curl is unique but we all have one thing in common — we need moisture! We recommend a weekly deep treatment to repair damaged curls, coils and waves.
This shea butter masque boasts sea kelp to detoxify hair follicles and argan oil to restore shine and elasticity.
“Life could never go on for me if this product was discontinued lol. Best healer for damaged hair..defines curls..brings out the true beauty of my hair all the way. I have seen a new side of my hair with this. I deep condish with this and put a little back in..or just use it as a leave in after a wash or co wash. Either way it does absolute wonders..wonders..” – 3B User NaturalLife
Best Styling Gel
Those were your cleansing and conditioning picks, but that’s only half the battle — next comes styling!
This Ouidad gel acts as a shield against humidity, protecting the hair shaft and preventing hair from expanding.
“I’ve tried everything to keep my hair from expanding and frizzing in the Florida humidity. This is the only product I use in my hair and I’ve used if for over a year. I absolutely love it!!!” - 3B User Tampa, Fl
Best Styling Cream
This all-natural smoothie is the most delicious way to feed your curls. It’s packed full of nutrient rich vegetable butters like coconut, avocado, and carrot — yum!
“I love this!! I typically use this when I do twist outs and I get good results, but I started using it when I do two strands and it’s great!! It moisturizes, defines my curls, gives my hair shine, and keep my twists frizz free. Also it is sulfate free, which is the main reason why I started using it.” – 3C User curly14
Best Styling Pudding, Butter or Custard
Not only is KCCC (as its adoring fans call it) your top pick for best styling custard, it also won “Best product for curls,” Best of the Best Hall of Fame, AND won our Editors’ Choice Award!
High five KCCC!
“KCCC is the absolute best curl product. Much easier to apply than other curl systems, more cost effective, and a longer lasting resulting curl. My hair is shinier and feels healthier than with other products. I’ll be using it until you stop selling it.” – User surething
Best Styling Mousse
We curlies can be a picky bunch when it comes to ingredients, and Jane Carter knows just how to please us. Paraben free, silicone free, sulfate free and glycerin free, this natural mousse will give you curls without the crunch.
“1st. Love the smell. 2nd: Love the Shine. This was a staple for me during my transition. I used it for rod sets, twist outs and to tie down my edges. The results were always perfect.” 3C User sammysam
Best Hair Oil
This oil is a total multi-tasker. Jamaicans have been using this product for ages on everything from hair breakage, dandruff and eczema to itchy scalp, acne, even eyelash growth!
“Great product! It’s very moisturizing and good for sealing after using a water based moisturizer. A little goes a long way and if too much is used it can weigh your hair down. But overall I love it! Also good to use mixed in with your deep conditioner” – 4B User love2323
Best Frizz Fighter
In the battle against humidity, this product is a winner! From Best of the Best Hall of Fame 2009-2012 to the NaturallyCurly Editors’ Choice Awards, this frizz fighter has totally won our hearts.
“This stuff is amazing! It is like a very light gel that truly takes the frizz away and leaves your hair smooth, soft and shiny. Although it is a tiny bit stiff until fully dry, you don’t have to scrunch out the crunch. It is perfectly soft when fully dry.” – 3A User medusa28
Best Sulfate-free Product
SheaMoisture’s on a roll! This won for favorite shampoo AND your favorite sulfate-free product too. Their all-natural organic formula is a tried and true cleanser for curls, coils and waves.
“This is by far the best shampoo I have ever used. Before this product, my expectations of shampoo in general were pretty low. I expected them to clean my hair and that was it. I never knew a shampoo could moisturize and detangle like a conditioner! Well this product DOES. It even lathers really well, even though it’s organic. My favorite product by SheaMoisture.” – 3A User curlyfries1989
Best Straightening/Smoothing Product
Obviously if you’re reading this then you love your natural curls; but if you’re looking to change things up then Chi Silk Infusion will help transform your curls into smooth straight locks.
Best Growth Product
Hair oil and growth are both hot topics amongst curlies, so a hair oil that will promote growth is something we can really get excited about.
JBCO increases blood flow to the scalp so we suggest massaging a small amount to your scalp each night and leaving it overnight, or as a hot oil treatment weekly.
“Of course using and oil is a must in my hair care regimen anyway… using this thick castor oil on my wet hair was great. I felt like I was really putting something good in my hair and it never felt like too much. That’s a good thing! My hair felt conditioned and moisturized… Good stuff!” - 4C User Cheles08
Best Hair Coloring Product
Hair coloring has typically been associated with damaging hair, but you love this natural colorant because it actually has a long list of benefits (beyond boosting color) like volume, body and shine.
Best Silicone-free Product
This is the second Best of the Best win for this condish! Does that qualify as a, dare we say it, Holy Grail product?
“My holy grail! There isn’t one thing I don’t like about it! I use it as a co-wash, conditioner, and leave-in. Has great slip and is great at detangling.” – 2C User Nhathaway26
Best Finishing Product
Leave-in conditioner, frizz controller, shine booster — so many uses for this one product. No wonder they call it Curls in a Bottle!
“This my favorite product in all that I use. I will always use it. It finishes my hair with just the right punch. I have very tightly coily hair and this product adds the right finish to my wash n go.” – 4A User meesh64
Best Second-day Product
Mastering second-day curls is essential if you want to cut down on shampoo frequency. This hair milk will help.
“LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!! I recently did my big chop and this was the first product I used. LOVED IT!!!! It goes on smooth, keeps my curls hydrated, and gives me definition. Will definitely keep buying this as a staple!” – 3B User ashkristina
Best Styling Tool
One of the reasons being curly is the best (and there are many) is the versatility! Feel like adopting a new look? This CHI flat iron is the top pick for both our readers and our Editors.
Best Curly Hair Necessity
Curls Like Us Cloths are no stranger to Best of the Best, they are a curly girl essential, Best of the Best Hall of Famer and Editors’ Choice Award winner!
“I could not imagine living without these towels. I use the towel out of the shower for a quick patting of the dripping water and then to scrunch in my styling products. They are fantastic and my curls are frizz free most of the time because of these lovely towels.” – 2B User curlysuzy
Best Product for Curly Kids
We curlies care a lot about the products we use on our hair, but we care even MORE about the products we use on our babies! Secret tip: grown ups love it too.
“I am 3A protein sensitive and actually use this as a low poo when I wash my hair every 4th day. It seems very gentle, smells nice and works well with my other products. I would recommend this as an adult hair cleanser as well as for babies.” – 3A User Valerie J.
Best Transitioning Product
We understand (better than most) your Product Junkie urges to go out try all of the Best of the Best products. But if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to try a lot of products this kit is a one-stop shop.
Best Product/line You Discovered in 2012
“I’m a big fan of As I Am products. I have my mom addicted to this brand. The leave-in detangles as well as conditions:) ” 4A User naturelle44
Best Ingredient to Add to a DIY Hair Recipe
We love creating our own homemade treatments almost as much as we love trying products. EVOO is an absolute essential, that is why you’ll find it in just about every curly recipe in existence!
Best Product for Type 2 Waves
What works for your waves won’t work 4B coils and vice versa – we get that! Wavies voted Best of the Best Hall of Famer Awe Inspiraling Spray by Jessicurl as their favorite. Incidentally our Editors love it too.
“I love the way this refreshes my wavy-slightly curly hair midday, evening, or day 2 & 3 no-poo days. It actually helps define my waves into lightly spiraled curls in places and never feels like it causes build up. I am using no fragrance only because I don’t want my curls to have a different fragrance than my body lotion and I’m not sure how intense the fragrances are, but I love both scent selections in the sample of scents received with my order.” – 2B User JJ
Best Product for Type 3 Curls
KCCC does it again! With all of these accolades chances are you already know and love this product, and if you don’t? It’s time to get acquainted.
“I have 3a/3b THICK hair. This is GREAT I cannot say anything bad about it. If you use it correctly it will work wonders for your hair. I apply it to my hair when it is wet and it even says on the bottle not to towel dry your hair so I go to sleep with it in and one thing I can tell you is that the next morning I had almost NO FRIZZ (and I’m a violent sleeper). I was amazed after I put in a little mousse and like OMG I had no frizz curls the whole day! And I live in Miami where everyday is either hot & humid or rainy & humid. I love this product. Every curly girl needs this.” – 3A/3B User praaijah
Best Product for Type 4 Coils
Look familiar? That’s probably because this the second win for the Curl Enhancing Smoothie this year. If the first award (Best Styling Cream) didn’t convince you to give it a try, maybe this will!
“My hair NEEDS THIS STUFF. It’s become a staple for me. I always get compliments on how good my hair smells after I use this stuff. And it lasts all day for me, which is big considering my hair will soak up anything in a few hours. SheaMoisture has really awesome products!” – 4A User syd
Best Wavy-haired Celebrity
When young wavies flip through the pages of glossy magazines, they now have this gorgeous wavy to inspire their looks.
Best Curly-haired Celebrity
Tracee Ellis Ross
In a recent interview, Tracee told Essence magazine, “Just embrace your hair! Anybody that tells you that there’s a way to do something — whether it be hair, dating, anything— there’s no such thing. We’re all different, it works differently for each of us and I think you should really let yourself find your own way.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
Best Coily-haired Celebrity
We love that the pool of coily-haired celebrities to choose from is growing every year! And Solange is certainly doing her part to promote our cause. Thanks Solange!
Best Hair Trend
Best Book About Curly, Coily or Wavy Hair
If you’ve seen “CG” splashed all over our CurlTalk forums, this is what they’re talking about! This is a valuable resource and a must-have guide for all curlies.
“If you’re a curly girl (or boy), who’s been mistreating your hair most of your life, this book is an inspiration. The stories about people struggling with their hair all their life will strike a chord, and it is chock full of tips, tricks and recipes to get your curls back and keep them healthy.” – 3A User tokyostyle
This entry was posted on Friday, February 1st, 2013 at 9:30 am and is filed under Curly Hair (Type 3a), Curly Hair (Type 3b), Curly Kinky Hair (Type 3c), Kinky Hair (Type 4a), Kinky Hair (Type 4b), Kinky Hair (Type 4c), Products, Wavy Hair (Type 2a), Wavy Hair (Type 2b), Wavy Hair (Type 2c). You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.